Yehuda Glick shot and wounded (UPDATED), Chickengate, and BDS descends into outright Jew-hatred

Rav Yehuda Glick on the Temple Mount

I’ll start with some terrible breaking news: Rav Yehuda Glick, the advocate for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, has been shot and very seriously wounded in Jerusalem:

Yehuda Gilck, a leading advocate for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, has been very seriously wounded after being shot in Jerusalem on Wednesday night, Arutz Sheva has learned.

Glick was shot outside the Begin Heritage center in the capital, witnesses said, after a terrorist pulled up in a scooter or motorcycle and shot him before fleeing the scene.

Initial reports are indicating that Glick – who founded and heads the LIBA Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount – was deliberately targeted for nationalistic reasons, but police have not yet officially announced a motive.

The Begin Center had been hosting an event to help in efforts to re-establish a greater Jewish presence on the Mount Wednesday night, just before the activist was shot.

He has been rushed to Sha’arei Tzedek Medical Center for immediate medical treatment.

Magen David Adom (MDA) spokesman Zaki Heller said that Glick was shot in the upper body no fewer than three times and paramedics had barely had time to speak to him during the initial stages of treatment.

Activists have asked that prayers be said for the urgent recovery of Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Ita Breindel.

May Rav Yehuda have a complete and speedy recovery. And may the Jerusalem Police apply themselves for once and arrest the terrorist perpetrator of this act rather than working so hard to prevent Jews from praying at their holiest site.

UPDATE: The terrorist who shot Glick was killed early this morning as he resisted arrest. It turns out he worked at the restaurant of the Begin Center where the conference was being held, and he previously served prison time as a member of Islamic Jihad. (What were the Begin Center thinking?!).

Rabbi Glick survived surgery but is still in a serious condition. Please pray for Yehuda Yehoshua ben Rivka Ita Breindel.

Who’s the chicken?

The main news item that has been dominating the media for the last day is an article in the Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg in which anonymous Washington officials were quoted as calling PM Binyamin Netanyahu “chickensh!t” for being too recalcitrant on “making peace” (i.e. surrendering) with the Palestinians, and for being too cowardly to bomb Iran. The article itself is the usual Goldbergian lament at Israel’s reluctance to commit suicide by surrendering to the Palestinians’ maximalist demands, and Goldberg seems to take great delight in quoting the uncivil, uncouth descriptions of Netanyahu made by assorted US politicians. You can read the article at the link above.

What I want to focus on is the extraordinary epithet quoted about Netanyahu’s character. Besides being utterly undiplomatic, juvenile and just plain rude, there are two problems with this epithet.

Firstly, “chickensh!t” usually means something of little value. It does not mean cowardly. I think the officials were intending to use the term “chicken-hawk” – i.e. someone who talks the talk but does not walk the walk.

My main problem with this term however – besides my obvious outrage at the utter rudeness of politicians towards a foreign leader – is that these anonymous officials (talk about being chicken! They’re too scared to be quoted by name) sound angry that Netanyahu did not order the bombing of Iran. But can you imagine the outrage if Netanyahu had done just that? It does not bear thinking about.

Think about it for a minute. None of this makes any sense whatsoever. The Americans warned Israel over and over not to bomb Iran. So Israel did not bomb Iran. And the Americans call us cowards. Go figure.

Their rudeness speaks more about themselves than about us or Netanyahu.

The reactions from Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians and commentators were not slow to follow.

Ari Soffer in Arutz Sheva (h/t David) explains why rude words shouldn’t bother Israel:

Goldberg – a key advocate of the Israel-as-an-American-vassal-state model of “pro-Israel” – begins by informing us how an unnamed but “senior” Obama administration official chose to describe the Israeli prime minister: chickens**t.

You can almost feel Goldberg shudder with pleasure:

“Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and ‘Aspergery.’ (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)” he gleefully informs us (does keeping a detailed list of the epithets hurled at one specific world leader also qualify as “Aspergery”?)

“But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a ‘chickens**t.'”

The crux of this sophisticated and objective article comes right at the end, with Goldberg warning that as a result of the perception within the Obama administration that “Bibi is a chickens**t”, “the White House will be much less interested in defending Israel from hostile resolutions at the United Nations, where Israel is regularly scapegoated. The Obama administration may be looking to make Israel pay direct costs for its settlement policies.”

Such moves, he warns, could even be as extreme as a unilateral and public attempt by the US to draw the borders of a “Palestinian state” and present Israel with a fait accompli.

The “revelation” that one unnamed US official used a rude term to describe Israel’s PM, and that another official responded by jumping up and down, pumping his fist and saying “yeah, yeah!” made headline news here in Israel – mostly because that kind of undiplomatic language makes for great clickbait. (As an aside, it was quite amusing to see the Hebrew media scramble to find a translation for the word “chickens**t”, before unanimously settling on the somewhat liberal translation of “pahdan” – coward.)

So yes, it is vindictive and petty in an almost childlike way – but Goldberg’s article must be read by anyone striving to understand precisely the self-defeating neuroses a free and independent Jewish state must avoid if it is to remain as such. The Israeli government must not allow these kinds of blatantly political broadsides to influence our own legitimate, internal political discourse, which should be conducted confidently, if cautiously, and with a level-head….

But if Goldberg is correct that the Obama administration is genuinely considering something as radical as throwing its most dependable ally in the Middle East under a bus because some top officials feel personally slighted, or because Bibi is not an agreeable person to work with, that is simply a reflection of how and why American foreign policy under this current administration will not, and should not, be taken seriously by anyone.

Ben Cohen in the Algemeiner also has a go at the chickengate story:

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economy minister, got it 100 percent right in a Facebook posting just a few hours after the latest blow to American-Israeli relations—aka “chickenshitgate”—surfaced in the media.

Responding to the anonymous “senior Obama administration” official who told The Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a “chickenshit,” Bennett said, “Cursing the prime minister and calling him names is an insult not just to him but to the millions of Israeli citizens and Jews across the globe. The leader of Syria who slaughtered 150,000 people was not awarded the name ‘chickenshit.’ Neither was the leader of Saudi Arabia who stones women and homosexuals or the leader of Iran who murders freedom protestors.”

“Chickenshit?” That’s rich, coming from an administration whose fear of Vladimir Putin is the subject of derisory mirth in the Kremlin, and whose cravenness towards Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus has directly resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Syrians. Blissfully dismissive of their own failings, they round on Netanyahu, a man who served with distinction in his country’s elite Sayeret Matkal army unit, by calling him, of all things, a coward!

Jonathan Tobin at Commentary Magazine slams the Administration for the consequences of a chickensh!t policy:

While most of those writing on this subject, including Goldberg, have emphasized the real possibility that the U.S. will sandbag Israel at the United Nations and otherwise undermine the Jewish state’s diplomatic position in the last years of Obama’s term in office, that won’t be the only blowback from the administration’s “chickenshit” diplomacy. Rather than harm Netanyahu, this ploy, like previous attacks on the prime minister, will strengthen him while making mischief for the president’s party in both this year’s midterms and in 2016.

Nor should anyone discount the potential for severe damage to Israel’s diplomatic standing in the world should Obama decide to collude with the Palestinian Authority and to allow them to get a United Nations Security Council resolution on Palestinian statehood, borders, and Jerusalem.

But for all the huffing and puffing on the part of Obama’s minions, the administration’s real objectives in all this plotting are not likely to be achieved. That’s because nothing published in a Goldberg column or leaked anywhere else will weaken Netanyahu’s hold on office or prompt the Palestinians to make peace or Iran to be more reasonable in the nuclear talks. The only people who will be hurt by the attacks on Israel are Obama’s fellow Democrats.

As I pointed out yesterday, Obama’s barbs aimed at Israel haven’t enticed the Palestinians to negotiate seriously in the past and won’t do so in the future.

But Obama should have also already learned that challenging Netanyahu and insulting the Jewish state in this manner has one definite side effect: strengthening the prime minister’s political position at home. The same thing happened after Obama’s attacks on the status of Jerusalem in his first term.

But Netanyahu isn’t the only person who will profit politically from this astonishingly crude assault on the Jewish state’s democratically elected leader.

Foreign policy is rarely a decisive factor in U.S. elections but at a time when Democrats are suffering the ill effects of Obama’s inept response to the threat from ISIS, it won’t do the president’s party any good for the administration to pick a fight with it’s sole democratic ally in the Middle East. Americans have a right to ask why an administration that was slow to react to ISIS and is intent on appeasing a murderous Islamist regime in Iran is so intent on fighting with Israel. That won’t help embattled Democrats seeking reelection in red states where evangelicals regard backing for Israel as a key issue.

Read the whole thing. It gives a very good insight into the political machinations in Washington, and while it gives us hope that the Democrats will lose at the next elections, we still have another 2 years to go of the execrable Obama Administration.

Interestingly the White House is rapidly taking evasive action, calling the slur “inappropriate”

Netanyahu meanwhile behaved in a gentlemanly fashion, taking issue with the insult while gracefully defending himself and the State of Israel:

Disgusting and sickening: Siphakamise Ngxowa of South African student body COSAS displays a severed pigs head in the kosher food section of a Woolworths store in Cape Town

A final item for this woeful post comes from South Africa, where BDS bigots took the final step from anti-Israel activity into outright Jew-hatred when they placed a pig’s head in the kosher section of a Woolworths supermarket:

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel took another step into open antisemitism today when student activists in South Africa placed the severed head of a pig in the kosher meat section of a Woolworths store in Cape Town. The shocking gesture was aimed, the perpetrators said, at preventing “people who will not eat pork to pretend that they are eating clean meat, when it is sold by hands dripping with the blood of Palestinian children.”

Jewish leaders were quick to condemn the act, organized by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS,) a body affiliated with the ruling African National Congress (ANC.) “Disregarding all standards of basic decency, the Congress of South African Students today chose to send an ugly message to the Jewish community of South Africa. This morning, as a protest against Woolworths for stocking Israeli products, COSAS members in Cape Town deposited a pig’s head in the kosher meat section of a Woolworths food store,” said the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. “The SAJBD regards this incident as a hate crime and is investigating its options regarding taking the matter further.”

And what did the bigots have to say for themselves? In a rambling antisemitic rant which could have come out of the pages of Der Sturmer, the head BDS bigot said:

A statement issued by Siphakamise Ngxowa, COSAS Western Cape provincial chairperson – who was photographed displaying the pigs head inside the store – read as follows:

It is unacceptable that people, especially those who claim to believe in God to buy products from supporters of Israel. We will not allow people who will not eat pork, to pretend that they are eating clean meat, when it is sold by hands dripping with the blood of Palestinian children. Woolworths is NOT Kosher. We cannot allow food like this to be called halaal or Kosher. It is dirty food – the dirtiest food. We have placed the pigs head in Woolworths to show these people of God that Woolworths is Haraam and it is not Kosher.

BDS activists on social media network Twitter positively rejoiced at the COSAS action. “COSAS has basically said that Woolies is not Kosher, thus a pigs head is suitable for its Kosher section,” crowed one of dozens of similar tweets.

The bigots tried to justify their sickening action but only made matters worse:

UPDATE 1: Kware Kekana of BDS South Africa eventually emailed The Algemeiner to say, “The pig was placed in both the halal and kosher section of the store, BDS is a non-violent movement and strongly condemns all forms of racism including Zionism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I refer you again to our press release.” Our original question – “Would you use the phrase ‘good intention’ about a physical attack on a Jewish individual or institution if the Palestinian cause is cited as the reason for such an attack?” – was unanswered.

Anyone trying to justify BDS in the light of this disgusting action is just covering up for anti-Jewish racism and bigotry.  They should look in the mirror to see what apartheid, racism and bigotry look like.

Posted in Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS, International relations, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Huge rise in campus anti-semitism and anti-Israel activity

I have documented academic anti-Israel and antisemitic activity on occasion, but my focus was more on the anti-Israel activity against Jewish and Israeli academics and institutions, including boycotts. I have not really focussed on campus antisemitism against Jewish and pro-Israel students.

It was therefore shocking, if not unexpected, to see this horrifying video produced by Jewish Voices on Campus (via Arlene Kushner):


Staged “checkpoint” at a campus Israel Apartheid Week event

Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has been documenting campus antisemitism for a long time now (see here and here for example) and today links to an item similar to the video above reporting on a huge rise in campus anti-Israel activity in the US:

The Anti-Defamation League issued an important report on Monday, Oct. 27, finding a dramatic increase in anti-Israel activity, compared to last year. The ADL attributes the increase to the aftermath of the 50-day Gaza war this past summer.

According to the ADL, this fall semester there have already been 75 anti-Israel events reported on U.S. college campuses. In the same period last year, there were only 35 such events.

The problem is even more alarming than the ADL’s report suggests.

William Jacobson, clinical professor of law at Cornell Law School and founder and publisher of the excellent blog covering legal matters, especially anti-Israel activity on campuses, Legal Insurrection, made the point:

“It is no real surprise that anti-Israel groups are trying to leverage the summer’s fighting in Gaza to their advantage on campus.

“But that is just the latest excuse for what has been a long-running campus propaganda war against Israel. If it was not Gaza it would have been something else. There are groups always looking for an excuse to attack Israel on campus,” Jacobson explained.


Those campus anti-Israel activities include mock “Apartheid Walls” intended to represent Israel’s passive security barrier as a weapon of racism; mock checkpoints in which anti-Israel thugs act out the role of Israeli security forces intimidating, harassing and aggressively demanding identification from hapless and often helpless students who are forced into playing the role of meek and innocent Palestinian Arabs, and fake “die-ins.”

There are also the mock eviction notices slipped under the dorm room doors of students. These notices demand the students leave their rooms, pretending that the evil Israeli empire is confiscating their dwelling space. Although there is (at least now) a line usually at the bottom of the notice, informing the student that the eviction notice is not real, the level of anxiety it creates is real, as is the feeling of students having their private space violated.

These tactics, along with the Israel divestment resolutions (all of purely symbolic value as students cannot vote on how a university’s money is invested, but the platform provided to bash Israel can be deeply upsetting nonetheless) and activities promoting the boycott of, divestment from and sanctions against (BDS) movement have metastasized. In the past few years several large academic organizations have focused a great deal of time and energy on whether to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

Jacobson, another observer in the front row, agreed with the ADL that most campuses in the U.S. do not experience problems with openly hostile anti-Israel activity. But, Jacobson explains, “that is not for lack of trying. Groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, often with the assistance and encouragement of anti-Israel faculty, have become more aggressive in the past two years.”

By whatever standard is used, there is little doubt that the problem of orchestrated anti-Israel activity on U.S. campuses is growing and needs to be taken seriously.

And it is not a new phenomenon. As long ago as 2009, after spending two weeks on a speaking tour of North American colleges, Arab Israeli journalist Khaled abu Toameh had this to say about the anti-Israel climate on those campuses: “there is more sympathy for Hamas there than in Ramallah.”

Read the whole article for a depressing and alarming insight into what is happening in US academia.

In the UK matters are at least as bad.  The Stand With Us organization does sterling work in countering academic boycotts, BDS in general, and defending Israel in various forums. Of course many individuals (e.g. Ronnie Fraser) have confronted anti-Israel boycott proposals by teachers’ unions like the UCU, often to the detriment of their own career.

A scene from Manchester’s Say No to Anti-Semitism rally on Sunday, October 19,2014. (Mike Poloway)

Now there is more trouble afoot Britain, this time for Jewish students in Manchester, as they have to contend with a vote to continue twinning Manchester University with the “Hamas greenhouse”, An-Najah University in Shechem (Nablus):

Even by the standards of British student politics, the campus-wide vote due to take place from October 24-31 at the University of Manchester is most questionable and controversial.

The proposal being put to vote is to renew the university student union’s twinning partnership with An-Najah National University in Nablus, a place called by Hamas “a greenhouse for martyrs.”

According to Jewish watchdog organization the Anti-Defamation League, “the student council of An-Najah is known for its advocacy of anti-Israel violence and its recruitment of Palestinian college students into terrorist groups. The council, almost completely controlled by factions loyal to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel.”

Unsurprisingly, students connected with Manchester’s Jewish society oppose the motion.

In London’s Jewish News, James Graham wrote that he and other Jewish students supported the proposal’s motion to bring a student from a Palestinian university to study in Manchester.

“What we as a J-Soc [Jewish student union] were opposed to is the twinning with An-Najah, an institution with links to Hamas and that has publicly called for the annihilation of the Jewish people. Instead we were in favor of a three-way relationship between Manchester, an Israeli university and an alternative Palestinian one,” Graham wrote.

What is witnessed in wider society is not reflected proportionally on campus, but rather boiled down and concentrated. Organized student politics, as a result, can appear radical or extreme on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The current campus clashes began, in fact, before students returned to classes in late September and early October. In early August, during Operation Protective Edge, the National Executive Committee of the National Union of Students (NUS) voted in favor of a motion to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

The NUS – a national confederation of 600 student unions in Britain representing the interests of more than seven million students – backed 23 votes to 18 to commit itself to “ensuring that, as far as is practical, NUS does not employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and to actively work to cut ties with those that do,” a spokesperson said at the time.

But the motion went further than that. Support for BDS was tagged to a motion which condemned “Israel’s attacks on Gaza” and “the collective punishment and killing in Gaza,” and backed calls to lift the blockade on the Strip. It also beseeched the British government to cease aid and funding to Israel and impose an arms embargo against Israel,according to Cherwell, a student newspaper of Oxford University.

Anti-Israel demonstration in London during the Gaza war summer 2014

This would not be in the NUS’ only intervention in the Middle East. Earlier this month, the National Executive Committee blocked a motion to “condemn the IS and support the Kurdish forces fighting against it, while expressing no confidence or trust in the US military intervention” and “campaign in solidarity with the Iraqi people and in particular support the hard-pressed student, workers’ and women’s organizations against all the competing nationalist and religious-right forces.”

Decisions such as these — condemning Israel, but not Islamic extremists — have set a tone for political activity in other students’ unions across the country. At Goldsmiths, University of London, the students’ union voted down a motion to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, among other anniversaries of genocides and atrocities in Europe, including the Armenian genocide. The motion read in part:

The Student Union recognizes the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, of the other genocides, of totalitarianism and racial hatred. It further recognizes that commemorating the victims of genocide, racial hatred and totalitarianism, and promoting public awareness of these crimes against humanity, is essential to sustaining and defending democratic culture and civil society, especially in the face of a resurgence of neo-fascism, racial hatred and neo-Stalinism across Europe.

Meanwhile at Cambridge…

At the University of Cambridge, a collective of doctors and professors put their names to a September 28 statement which demanded an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip and “a more far-reaching justice for the Palestinian people, including the displaced refugees.” This change, they argued, “without an end to the violence perpetrated by the State of Israel against Palestinians, an end to the siege of Gaza and to the occupation, and an end to the discriminatory and dehumanizing treatment of Palestinian citizens within Israel.”

Students at the university connected to the Israel Society issued a counter-letter, condemning the academics for “demonstrating a severe lack of nuance surrounding the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and for issuing an un-academic statement that achieves little save establishing the desire to discriminate against a sole nationality.”

The original letter, however, asserted that Israel “singles itself out” for criticism “through its claims to moral impeccability, its celebrated status as a democracy, through its receipt of massive support from the US and other nations, and through its abuse of the memory of the Holocaust in order to deflect criticism and to discredit the Palestinian struggle.”

Joshua Gertner, co-president of Cambridge’s Israel Society and one of the authors of the counter-letter, told The Times of Israel, “This eye-opening letter from the student body rightly highlights the lack of nuance from these Cambridge academics in their strikingly un-academic torrent of criticism leveled at Israel. It was very important to send a strong message that their unhelpful and misguided sentiment is not blindly accepted by their students.”

n explaining this raft of extremely politicized decisions by the NUS and other students’ unions, Daniel Cooper – one of the co-sponsors of the motion to condemn ISIS – argued that “there is a stranglehold of ‘identity politics’ on the student movement.” He added that “the idea is widespread that if a Liberation Officer opposes something, it must be bad.”

Some “appear not to research issues, work out what they think, engage and take ideas forward. Instead, some are not very interested and vote on basis of who they want to ally with.

In other words many British students are dimwits who vote with their emotions without studying the facts first. Exactly how a university student should NOT behave in fact.

However it is not all bad news, though the good news are few and far between.

The President of Liege University in Belgium condemned an antisemitic invitation to an anti-Israel student event and demanded that it be cancelled:

The president of the University of Liege in Belgium said he was “appalled” at philosophy students for staging a mock Gaza-themed initiation ritual of newcomers.

The invitation to the event, scheduled for Tuesday, was couched in an anti-Semitic language, reading ‘’your goal is to avoid the big bad Jew,” according to the European Jewish Press..

University’s president Albert Corhay demanded the cancellation of the event and added that students involved will be summoned in the coming days.

In a statement, the Union of Jewish Students in Belgium declared: “The student body has a tradition of humorous initiations. Here, however, we are dealing with something else: a Manichaean and anti-Semitic vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Kol hakavod to Mr. Corhay for having the courage to stand up to these bigots and for imposing a modicum of decency in his university. If only British deans adn professors woudl act likewise.

In New York too, a boycott motion was defeated at CUNY by the Doctoral Students Council:

On Friday afternoon, the Doctoral Students Council of the City University of New York (CUNY) once again considered a hateful resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

After the same measure was defeated by 41 votes last month, this destructive and divisive resolution once again reared its ugly head. For a second time, the resolution failed to win passage, receiving 31 out of a required 39 votes.

The hypocrites who promoted the resolution are part of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This well-funded and increasingly organized campaign seeks to isolate, demonize, and ultimately destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

The resolution’s backers claimed they were promoting justice and human rights, that they were seeking sovereignty and freedom for the Palestinian people, that they are trying to end the “occupation.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sensible students and faculty at CUNY organized to stand up for academic freedom and moral integrity by helping defeat this resolution. They were supported by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, StandWithUs, The Third Narrative, The Israel Project, and an on-site rapid response team from Israel on Campus Coalition.

Kol hakavod to all the students and the pro-Israel advocacy groups who supported them in their tireless efforts to defeat this bigoted motion.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in the above article, being defeated once, or even twice, is not enough to deter the bigots and Jew-haters. I’m sure they will raise their ugly heads again in further boycott attempts and anti-Jewish events. We all have to stand guard and give support to the Jewish students and faculty.

Posted in Academia, Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel’s allies and enemies – which is which?

Lately I have been feeling that, like Alice in Wonderland, we have stepped through the looking glass and are living in an alternative universe.  Our old allies have turned against us whilst our old enemies are now siding with us and even doing our dirty work for us.

Case in point: It has been documented several times recently how petty and thin skinned is the US Administration. Last week they demonstrated this nasty characteristic once again with their juvenile and petty behaviour against Israeli Defence Minister Moshe (Bogie) Yaalon.

One meeting which did take place: Moshe Yaalon meets US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel

The Administration refused to arrange a meeting between Yaalon and Vice President Biden and other US officials because of their annoyance at Yaalon’s criticism of John Kerry and the US appeasement of Iran:

The Obama administration this week refused Israel defense minister’s requests to meet several top national security aides, still miffed over negative comments he made about Secretary of State John Kerry’s Mideast peace efforts and nuclear negotiations with Iran, US officials said Friday.

While Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon did see Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, the officials said the White House and State Department rejected Israeli proposals for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, national security adviser Susan Rice and Kerry on his five-day trip to the United States. The administration had sought to stop Ya’alon from seeing Power but the objections were made too late to cancel the meeting, according to the officials.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the snubs, which were first reported by several Israeli media outlets.

Earlier this year, Ya’alon infuriated officials in Washington with comments accusing the administration of being weak on Iran and questioning the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security. That followed reports that Ya’alon had criticized Kerry for being unrealistic and naive in trying to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

The blogger Abu Yehuda has more on the pettiness of the US Administration and their stupidity in thinking that the Muslim terrorists are not out to get them too.

In another example of American duplicity, the Administration was rather upset at the killing of a Palestinian-American teenager who was shot by the IDF as he was throwing firebombs at Israeli cars. The US has demanded a full investigation. However I did not see them demand a full investigation of the Palestinian American who drove his car into a crowd of commuters, killing baby Chaya Zissel Braun.

The blogger Edgar Davidson chronicles the American hypocrisy:

Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian who was throwing Molotov cocktails at them. And the US Government really did issue the following statement:

The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a US citizen minor (Orwah Hammad) who was killed by the Israeli Defence Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24. We demand a speedy and transparent investigation into his killing.

This came just two days after the US government initially refused to condemn the Palestinian terror attack that killed 3-month old American-Israeli baby girl Chaya Zisel Baron, and injured many others – an attack that had not only been incited by the rhetoric of PA President Abbas but was wildly celebrated by both Hamas and the PA. The US government – which insists Israel must make concessions to Hamas and the PA – did eventually issue a half-hearted condemnation but in the same statement demanded that Israel “show restraint”. The US Government has also desperately tried to cover up the fact that Chaya (and several of the other injured victims) were US citizens. This is especially strange since we are now seeing a trend whereby the US Government is very keen to announce that Palestinian terrorists ‘victims’ are ‘US citizens’.

So now it seems that any Palestinian terrorist can not only be a hero martyr to Hamas and the PA, but can also be considered an American citizen, thereby gaining the protection of the US government in addition to the UN.

All this while Israeli Jewish Americans receive little to no support from the US Administration they so sensibly left behind.

Karen Yemima Muscara HY’D, murdered in the Palestinian terrorist attack by car

Tragically the death toll from that attack has gone up as another victim died yesterday. Karen Yemima Muscara, a new immigrant from Ecuador who had converted to Judaism, was buried last night in Jerusalem.

Outrageously, her funeral had to be delayed so as to avoid riots as her terrorist murderer was buried nearby. Isn’t it amazing that when Jews are murdered and buried, they don’t go on rampages and riots?

 Hundreds attended the funeral early on Monday of a woman killed in last week’s terrorist attack on a Jerusalem light rail station, including Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and the Ecuadorian ambassador to Israel.

Karen Yemima Muscara was an Ecuadorian citizen in her 20s, had come to Israel to convert to Judaism after discovering she was descended from Conversos, Spanish Jews who were forcibly converted to Catholicism after 1492.

The funeral was postponed so as not to coincide with that of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi, the man who drove his car into the Ammunition Hill light rail station, killing Muscara and a three-month-old baby and injuring seven others. Police shot Shaludi as he attempted to flee the scene on foot and he later died; he was buried Sunday night in the Muslim cemetery outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat eulogized Muscara saying that she was “a delicate soul and guardian of peace who fought to be a Jew,” the NRG news site quoted him saying.

“Like many before her, she also fell in love with Jerusalem. Seven months ago she joined us and tonight, with unbelievable pain, she is parted from us,” Barkat said. “As mayor of Jerusalem I say that the situation won’t continue. It’s unacceptable that those whose live their whole lives for peace fall victim to those who glorify death.” He vowed once again to restore calm to Jerusalem.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday flew in Muscara’s parents after she suffered head wounds and was seriously injured in the attack. Her mother said Sunday that her daughter’s dream had been to come to Israel and build her life here, but her life was cut short.

May Karen Yemima’s memory be for a blessing and may her parents, family and friends be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

Meanwhile our erstwhile enemy, and often very cold peace partner Egypt is acting more forcefully against Hamas than we could ever hope to do without world condemnation. After a deadly car bombing by Jihadi terrorists against Egyptian forces in the Sinai, killing 28 soldiers, Egypt has cancelled its attempts at reviving Israeli-Hamas peace talks, has closed down the Rafah crossing and is planning building a wall to close off Gaza:

After a terror attack on Friday killed at least 30 Egyptian soldiers in the northern Sinai, Cairo has declared a state of emergency in the area, closed down the Rafah crossing from Gaza, canceled indirect cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas, and now says it will build a wall to block smuggling with the coastal enclave, Israel’s NRG News reported.

On Friday, militants mounted a complex, combined attack at an Egyptian base using what appeared to be a suicide car bomber, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside charges. Despite Hamas denying involvement, Egyptian security officials charged that attackers utilized smuggling tunnels from Gaza in perpetrating the attack, leading to the breakdown in relations.

Hamas is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, which, under the rule of Mohammed Morsi, was deposed last year.

Hamas leaders warned that the strip was on the verge of an “explosion” if the passage with Egypt remained closed. Israel, meanwhile, has continued allowing humanitarian aid and construction material to enter the enclave.

One would expect that Palestinian “President” Mahmoud Abbas would be outraged at this move by the Egyptians. One would be wrong. In another topsy-turvy turn of events, Mahmoud Abbas is supporting the Egyptian move, as the Elder of Ziyon reports:

Now, this means that Egypt will once again be enforcing a blockade on Gaza. People will not be able to leave Gaza for medical, educational or professional reasons. This is what would be characterized as “collective punishment” if done by Israel..

Egypt, by any yardstick, is treating Palestinians in Gaza worse than Israel is. Israel has not closed the Erez crossings and hundred of truckloads of materials go to Gaza every weekday from Israel.

But how does Mahmoud Abbas respond to Egypt’s latest moves to enforce a crippling siege on Gaza?

He supports them!

After Sisi’s speech, Abbas said “We stand by Egypt’s leadership, government and people, and we support all measures to be taken by the Egyptian leadership in order to maintain security and stability in Egypt in the face of terrorism in the Sinai and all the Egyptian territories, because of the service of the Palestinian cause and the Arab national security.”

Abbas praised the Egyptian position as being “courageous in the face of terrorism,” saying he has great confidence that Egypt will overcome the enemy.

How’s that for hypocrisy?

He probably learned the hypocrisy from the Americans. Or taught it to them.

Flag of Azerbaijan

In another subject of interest regarding Israel’s changing alliances, the Algemeiner has a report from the Muslim world is that Azerbaijan is becoming one of Israel’s emerging Muslim-majority allies in place of Turkey which has become one of our fiercest opponents:

But now, along comes Azerbaijan—the world’s first Muslim-majority democracy, which is fast taking the place of Turkey in becoming a crucial ally of Israel in the Muslim world. It’s no surprise that of all Muslim-majority countries, Azerbaijan would fill the void. Like Turkey before Erdoğan, Azerbaijan has proudly and sometimes aggressively reinforced its secular society, banning the hijab (veil) in schools.

In a gathering with the Jewish community held in the Washington, D.C. area last month, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States, Elin Suleymanov, recoiled from the criticism his country received from the U.S. and others for its tough line on maintaining its secularism. “We are criticized because our girls are not forced to wear the hijab, and this is the worst problem in the Middle East?” he said.

To date, Israel’s relationship with Azerbaijan has taken an almost identical trajectory as its early ties to Turkey. As it had with Ankara, Israel has steadily ratcheted up defense ties with Baku. Last month, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited Azerbaijan, one of a number of such recent defense-oriented visits.

As it had with Turkey, Israel has established a vital economic lifeline to Azerbaijan, which provides the Jewish state with 40 percent of its imported oil.

As with Israeli-Turkish relations, bilateral ties between the two countries signal Azerbaijan’s desire to strengthen its connections to the U.S. and the West. The country has become an invaluable NATO supply line to Afghanistan and has joined NATO war efforts.

When much of the rest of the world interrupted flights to Israel during the conflict with Hamas last summer, Azerbaijan continued flying.

Undoubtedly, Israel sees the tremendous potential in its relationship with Azerbaijan, as does Azerbaijan with Israel. American supporters of Israel must do their part to reinforce that relationship in Washington. As was discovered with Turkey, Muslim-majority allies don’t grow on trees.

Indeed. And not only Muslim-majority allies. It seems that Western liberal democratic allies not only do not grow on trees, the ones that have grown seem to be dying and falling like shrivelled leaves.

Israel needs to focus on its own interests and if an ally turns against us, we must learn to stand on our own two feet, besides finding other allies.

A good example of coping with negative fallout: It turns out that during Operation Protective Edge the Americans really did block not only shipments of Hellfire missiles to Israel, but a lot more than that:

The Obama administration stopped shipping to Israel all defense items – and not just Hellfire missiles as previously reported – for a short time in the middle of the war against Hamas, reported Israel Defense’s Amir Rappaport, the well-informed and highly credibly editor of the website.

Makor Rishon added to that report that the US actually cut off all communications with Israel’s Ministry of Defense purchasing offices in the US for days.

In response, Israel is now looking to produce its own weapons so as not to be reliant on fair-weather friends in the future:

The Defense Ministry, now realizing it cannot always depend on the Obama administration in a time of crisis, already has decided under a “veil of secrecy,” according to Israel Defense, to manufacture a highly sensitive weapon in Israel instead of buying it from the United States.

The change in policy is a major step that would wean Israel away from dependence on the United States and which also would be a significant change in the policy of buying American-made weapons with most financial assistance from the United States.

American aid to countries, including Israel, usually is conditioned on a majority of the money being poured back into the American military-industrial complex.

“The Israeli defense establishment will reduce the production of weapon systems in the USA in the context of joint Israeli-American projects, and will rely more heavily on Israeli-made products” as a result of the punitive action taken by President Barack Obama, Rappaport wrote.

The ministry also is examining the possibility of using Israel-made precision guided air-to-surface munition to replace Hellfire missiles, a project that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.

The American decision is cutting off their nose to spite their face, since their military aid to Israel is spent mostly in the US itself, providing jobs and income. But if that’s how they want to play it, Israel too can play the game.

Except that for us it’s not a game. It’s an existential matter of life and death.

Posted in International relations, Mideast news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Good News Friday

After the hard week we’ve just been through, it’s not easy to write about good news. Nevertheless, for reasons that will become clear further on, here is another Good News Friday installment.

Piles of salt at the Melach Haaretz mining company near Eilat

We’ll start with one of Israel’s greatest natural resources – salt! (via  Brian Goldfarb). Salt, of all things, is providing Israel with yet more commercial success.

Israel is known as the land of milk and honey – and now salt, too. Israel’s Salt of the Earth, which packages salt mined in Israel, has just won awards from SIAL Innovation Selection 2014. SIAL (Salon International de l’alimentation) is the world’s largest food trade show, and SIAL Innovation Awards are among the most coveted honors given out in the food business.

Salt of the Earth (“Melach ha’aretz” is the company’s Hebrew name), a part of the Arison Group, has been mining salt since 1922, selling to both the retail and industrial markets. The salt is mined in the areas of Eilat in southern Israel and Atlit, near Haifa, in an environmentally responsible manner, preserving
harvesting areas “as nature reserves, islands of greenery, hosting many species of animals and combining bird-watching and nature activities through setting up lookout points as well as habitation and nesting areas for thousands of waterfowls and migratory birds,” the company says, and it “cooperates with
Israel Nature & National Parks Protection Authority in the protection of sea turtles.”

While you might think not much could be done with salt, the company has dozens of products, including table salt, “gourmet” salt like black salt granules, white salt granules, rosemary salt granules and smoked salt granules, reduced sodium salts, industrial salts used in meat koshering, cheese production, pickling, leather tanning, plastics manufacturing, and more, and even salt for dishwashing powder products.

Salt of the Earth won the SIAL awards last week for three products: WonderSalt, a low-sodium sea salt for kids, naturally colored with fruit and vegetable extracts; a “fun-colored” salt designed to help children control sodium intake; Umami-Essence Sea Salt, derived from tomato extract, pure salt from the Red Sea that can reduce the level of a recipe’s sodium while boosting flavor via umami, the “fifth taste” (after salt, sweet, sour and bitter) that scientists agree is an important part of the taste universe; and Salt ‘N Easy, seasoned sea-salt roasting mixes for poultry, fish or vegetables.

Who knew that salt could be so interesting? Or so delicious? Kol hakavod to Melach Haaretz on winning the SIAL award. May they go on from strength to strength.

The dam at Nahal Taninim

Brian also recommends a wonderful Israeli tourist attraction, which though not new, received a fantastic write-up in the Times of Israel:  how an effort to stop the main road from Tel Aviv to Haifa flooding during winter led to the creation of a new nature reserve – Nachal Taninim (Crocodile River): – which despite its name, does not hold any crocodiles:

“Nahal Taninim includes a glistening lake, a flowing river, flora, fauna, quarries, a Roman aqueduct, and an entire ancient dam.”

If it hadn’t been for several torrential downpours in 1992 and a couple of heavy storms in 1995, Israel’s Nahal Taninim Nature Reserve as we know it today simply wouldn’t exist.

But fortunately for us nature lovers, water pouring into the sea near Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael and Zichron Ya’akov flooded the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway each time, and the powers that be decided that they had to take action.

The problem stemmed from a dam that the Romans built two millennia ago to transport water from Nahal Taninim to the coastal city of Caesarea. In any kind of serious downpour the 1,500-acre lake formed by the dam would fill up to the brim. And since openings that the Romans carved into the dam walls were blocked up with debris, the overflow would end up on the road.

This is certainly a highly recommended visit for tourists to Israel – and for Israelis too!

Hebrew Manuscript smuggled into Israel from Syria by the Mossad in the 1990s

The next item is, as Brian put it, just a jaw-dropping appreciation of the culture of the people I’m a part of.  This is an article about how Israel’s National Library hopes to digitize every possible Hebrew manuscript in the world. To publicize the project, there is an exhibition on to show off some of the documents they already have, such as Franz Kafka’s Hebrew vocabulary notebook, when he started to try and learn Hebrew; the first evidence of Yiddish; and Newton’s theological ponderings.

These are treasures that Israel doesn’t allow anyone to check out of its national library.

Kafka’s Hebrew vocabulary notebook. The first written evidence of the Yiddish language. And the Crowns of Damascus, Bibles smuggled out of Syria 20 years ago in a Mossad spy operation so classified that their very existence in Israel was kept secret for years.

Many nations maintain official libraries of their countries’ most prized historical manuscripts. Israel’s is unique: It seeks manuscripts from every country in the world where Jews have ever lived.

Now the National Library of Israel is dusting the cobwebs off some of the most prized jewels of its collection as it seeks to draw attention to a new effort to preserve — and publicize — these treasures.

It’s pioneering a worldwide initiative to digitize every Hebrew manuscript in existence. It’s building a new home next to the Israeli parliament. On Sunday, it sent a prized manuscript handwritten by medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides to France accompanied by bodyguards for a first-ever display at the Louvre Museum.

Here’s a look at a few of those manuscripts, and the unlikely route they took to Jerusalem.



These “crowns,” a Jewish term for revered biblical manuscripts, are some of the earliest complete manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. Written in the Middle East and Europe between 700 to 1,000 years ago, they were safeguarded by Syria’s ancient Jewish community in Damascus for hundreds of years.

The exhibition sounds and looks fascinating. I’m sure the publicity is hardly needed because the public interest is going to be huge.  Read the rest of the article to see some of the other amazing exhibits.

A monumental Roman inscription found in Jerusalem by the Israel Antiquities Authority. (photo credit: Moti Tufeld)

Speaking of historical finds, the most important 2,000 year-old monumental stone with Hadrian’s name inscribed on it was uncovered in Jerusalem, it was announced this week:

The massive limestone slab, roughly a meter wide, with Latin text inscribed in six lines with letters several inches high, was part of a monumental arch dedicated to the emperor in 130 CE in honor of Hadrian’s arrival. It’s one of a rare few Latin inscriptions found in Jerusalem from that period. The slab’s discovery sheds light on the timeline of Jerusalem’s reconstruction following its destruction by Rome in 70 CE, demonstrating that it was in large part rebuilt just 60 years later.

“To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with the tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country [dedicated by] the 10th legion Fretensis (second hand) Antoniniana,” the text reads.

The 10th legion Fretensis, garrisoned in the ruined city of Jerusalem after the first revolt and also known for its participation in the siege of Masada, dedicated the monument at the city’s entrance to Hadrian before his historic visit.

Two years after Hadrian’s visit, and after the monumental arch was erected, the province of Palestine was consumed by a second Jewish insurrection against Rome known as the Bar Kochba revolt.

“This is an extraordinary find of enormous historical importance,” said IAA archaeologist Dr. Rina Avner, who headed the dig. A find of this kind “is once in a lifetime, if at all.” Speaking outside the IAA headquarters at the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem, Avner explained that her team found the stone slab during excavation at a construction site on Nablus Road. They uncovered a Byzantine cistern and were surprised to find the Roman inscription used as a capstone. Part of the inscription was missing because a semi-circular hole was cut from the stone.

“It provides us with an exact date for the official construction of the city,” Avner said. “It indicates that there was monumental, official construction projects in the city at least two years before the Bar Kochba Revolt.”

By 130 CE, just 60 years after Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus, the city had its main roads, piazzas, temples and monuments, she said.

One matter that the stone does not resolve, however, is the name of the city, which was changed by Hadrian to Aelia Capitolina. Scholars debate whether it took place before the Bar Kochba rebellion in 132, or after it was crushed as a punitive measure.

Jerusalem is such a fascinating city, with layer upon layer of history lying beneath our feet. Some layers have been discovered, others remain yet to be revealed – as long as the Muslim supercessionists can be stopped from destroying priceless relics on the Temple Mount and at other Jewish holy sites.

Shabbat table

And now, with a complete subject change, this Shabbat is the week of the Shabbos Project – a brilliant idea whose principle is that as many Jews as possible should observe Shabbat (Shabbos) together on one day. The Jewish Press gives more details:

In 340 cities around the world Jews from all walks of life, stars and simple folks, academics and others across the spectrum this week are all going to be ‘Keeping it Together.’

Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.

However you refer to it, even vocalist Paula Abdul is joining in with Nobel Prize laureates for 25 hours this weekend to keep the seventh day holy, as God commanded His Chosen People.

“The Shabbat Project is an opportunity for the entire Jewish world to keep one complete Shabbat together – from Friday evening just before sunset on October 24, until Saturday night after the stars have come out on October 25,” says South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein.

It was Goldstein who originated the Shabbat Project last year in South Africa. His drive and enthusiasm sent the project around the world in 2014.

“The beauty of this is that it is so practical and manageable. It’s only one Shabbat. It’s something everyone can do…This approach is predicated on the idea that the real energy of Shabbat – its transformative power – is wholly dependent on immersing oneself in the full Shabbat experience.”

In Israel, the Rami Levy supermarket is, as usual, leading the retailers’ part in the initiative. The chain is offering a “challah for a shekel, wine for five shekels” special this week to encourage Jews to participate in the project.

Poster ads are running on Egged buses across the country and along its highways and byways. A local team in the “Startup Nation” has also launched the #Keeping It Together app .  It has everything anyone needs to know about keeping the Sabbath holy, and it’s programmed to put your phone to sleep over Shabbat. (After all, it is the ‘day of rest.’)

Read the whole article. It’s a brilliant idea, breathtaking in its simplicity, and with such a powerful message.  In Toronto my cousin Lynda and her daughter Dena are prime movers of their own local Shabbos Project, and I say a hearty kol hakavod to them.

The greatest thanks and Kol Hakavod go to Rabbi Goldstein (about whose South African Shabbos project I posted a while ago) who thought up the whole project. He is one of the Jewish People’s most influential leaders. May he and his ideas grow and and influence the world with its positive message.

Mixing Shabbat with family, here now is the reason why I was so determined to write a Good News post this week.

60 yearsIn a short while the whole family – we, my parents, my siblings, our children and grandchildren, a veritable tribe in fact – are heading out to a hotel for Shabbat to celebrate our parents’ Diamond Wedding, their 60th wedding anniversary.

My parents are a shining example of love, dedication and loyalty to each other, to the family and to the Jewish people.

I’m sure you all join me in wishing them good health, nachat (enjoyment) from their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and may they have many more years of happiness together עד מאה ועשרים – until 120.

Mazal tov!

And on that happy note, I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Family, History, Israel news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Terror attacks in Canada – and more stone-throwing in Jerusalem

Israel has sadly not been the only victim of Muslim terrorism this week. In two terrorist attacks in Canada two soldiers were killed and several people injured.

Quebec provincial police examine the wreckage of car driven by the terrorist who ran down two soldiers in the parking lot of a shopping centre in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

In the first terror attack, in an echo of yesterday’s attack in Jerusalem, (h/t TCKT) a homegrown terrorist drove his car into a Canadian soldier, killing him on the spot and injuring another:

The Canadian soldier who died a day after being run down by a suspected homegrown terrorist has been identified as 53-year-old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

Quebec provincial police confirmed the news Tuesday after a news conference at which they said they believe the attacker, Martin Rouleau, may have been lying in wait for more than two hours before running his victims down with his car.

Police said the investigation into the hit-and-run that killed one and injured another has so far uncovered evidence that Rouleau had been sitting in the parking lot outside of a federal building that offers support to Canadian military veterans and other personnel as early as 9:15 a.m. on Monday. The attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal, occurred around 11:30 a.m.

Rouleau, 25, was shot by police after a brief chase that ended about four kilometres from the site of the hit-and-run and died several hours later in hospital.

“He was sitting in the car in the parking lot,” said police spokesman Lt. Guy Lapointe. “The working thesis is that this was a deliberate act.”

On Monday the Prime Minister’s Office said Rouleau had “become radicalized.”

Friends of Martin Rouleau said that over the past year they tried to help him see the error of his new opinions. They say he was lost to a world of conspiracy theories, hatred and religion-fuelled anger that led to what intelligence and security experts have been fretting about for years: a homegrown, radicalized terrorist acting out on Canadian soil.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was fatally shot at the War Memorial in Ottawa

The second attack took place just two days later, when terrorists opened fire outside and inside the Canadian Parliament building in Ottawa, killing another Canadian soldier:

OTTAWA — Two people are dead after at least one gunman stormed Parliament Hill on Wednesday morning.

One of the dead is a soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist with Argylls of Canada – 91st Canadian Highlanders in Hamilton, Ont., who was standing guard at the National War Memorial. The other is the gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, born in 1982, who opened fire in Centre Block across the street.

Two U.S. officials said that U.S. agencies have been advised that Zehaf-Bibeau was a Canadian convert to Islam. One of the officials said that the man was from Quebec.

Police continued to search vehicles in downtown Ottawa, where blocks of the city’s core were locked down all day.

Gunfire exploded shortly before 10 a.m., just outside where the Conservative caucus was meeting.

The shooter was met with return fire — dozens of shots were heard — and was killed outside the parliamentary library.

Watch the terrifying incident caught on video:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the attack, and kudos to him for calling the killers “terrorists”. This is so unusual in these days of political correctness that it deserves special mention:

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the perpetrator of a “brutal and violent” attack on the Parliament complex in Ottawa that left a soldier dead Wednesday as a “terrorist” in an address to the nation.

“We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Harper said before vowing that the attack would “lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts” to keep the country safe and work with Canada’s allies to fight terrorists.

The report continues:

The assault rocked Parliament over and over with the boom of gunfire, led MPs to barricade doors with chairs and sent people streaming from the building in fear. Harper was addressing a caucus when the attack began outside the door, but he safely escaped. He gave his address Wednesday evening from an undisclosed location.

Earlier Wednesday, Canadian authorities identified the shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32. A government official told Fox News that they have been advised that Zehaf-Bibeau, a Quebec native, was thought to be a recent convert to Islam who had changed his name from Michael Joseph Hall. Investigators offered little additional information about the gunman. However, Harper said in his address that “in the days to come we will learn about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had.”

Court records that appear to be the gunman’s show that he had a long rap sheet, with a string of convictions for assault, robbery, drug and weapons offenses, and other crimes.

The shooting, which triggered a lockdown of Canada’s capital, came just two days after a deadly hit-and-run terror attack targeting soldiers in Quebec by a man the Prime Minister referred to as an “ISIL-inspired terrorist.” That killer, also identified as a convert to Islam, had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey.

My sincere condolences to Canada and to the families of the two soldiers who were murdered. Of all the countries in the world, Canada is the one who least “deserves” to be targeted by terrorists – which of course is precisely the reason they were targeted: because they are not politically-correct, because they stand up for Israel, and because they confront terrorists.

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu called PM Harper to convey his condolences on the attack:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday evening with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and asked to convey the condolences of the Israeli people in wake of the terrorist attack in Ottawa.

Netanyahu expressed his full support for Canada’s fight against terrorism, in which Israel and the international community are partners, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

It is shocking to note the growing phenomenon of “home-grown” or “radicalised” Muslims, particularly the converts to Islam. Canada is not the first country to suffer from this terrorism and unfortunately won’t be the last, until the world learns to stand up to the extremists.

Speaking of home-grown terrorism, as if it weren’t enough that a Palestinian terrorist killed a baby just yesterday afternoon, this morning Palestinian rioters, aka terrorists, have been pelting a Jerusalem kindergarten with stones:

Stones were thrown at a Jerusalem kindergarten as a baby crawls nearby

A day after the tragic attack in Jerusalem, resulting in the death of an infant girl, assaults against Jewish targets by Arab extremists continue.

Masked Arabs threw rocks at a children’s kindergarten Thursday morning. The kindergarten is located in the Ma’ale ha-Zeitim neighborhood next to Ras al-Amud, in eastern Jerusalem. No injuries or damage were reported. Police and border patrol are attempting to determine the location of the suspects, who fled.

“Jerusalem police emphasizes that it will demonstrate zero tolerance towards any incident of violence and will put its hand on anyone who disturbs public order in the city and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

It is unclear if the kindergarten which was attacked is the same one targeted by Arab thugs late last month. That shocking attack was caught on camera.

In addition to the attack at the kindergarten, stones were thrown at the light rail station in Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem Thursday morning. The train was damaged, but no injuries were reported.

A similar incident took place Wednesday at the same location, also causing damage. However, there were no injuries then either.

A 12-year-old boy, who was caught Wednesday throwing stones at an Israeli vehicle in the neighborhood At-Tur, was brought to a bail hearing today.

But don’t worry. I’m sure AP and the other media will gleefully report that “Israel arrested a Palestinian child” without giving any context.

Posted in International relations, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Terror attack by vehicle in Jerusalem – 3-month old baby killed

3-month old Chaya Zissel Braun HY’D, murdered in a terrorist car attack in Jerusalem

As if predicted by my previous post, a Palestinian terrorist with previous form drove his car directly into a group of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill light rail stop, killing a 3-month old baby and injuring several others.

A three-month-old girl was killed Wednesday afternoon and eight others were injured when a car crashed into a crowd at a light rail station in Jerusalem in what officials said was a terrorist attack.

The suspect, identified by an Israeli official as a member of terror group Hamas, attempted to flee the scene on foot and was shot and badly hurt by police, a police spokesperson said.

“A private car which arrived from the direction of the French Hill junction hit a number of pedestrians who were on the pavement and injured nine of them,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.

“Initial indications suggest this is a hit-and-run terror attack,” Samri said.

The baby, Chaya Zissel Braun, died at the nearby Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus a few hours after the incident. A spokesperson for Israeli rescue service Magen David Adom said a 60-year-old woman and seven other people, including the baby’s parents, were also lightly and moderately wounded in the attack.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said that both Chaya Zissel Braun and her parents were American citizens. US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf couldn’t immediately confirm whether the family was American, but condemned the attack.

The alleged attacker is Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, a former Palestinian prisoner from the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan.

a baby stroller at the scene of a terror attack at a Jerusalem light rail station, by Ammunition Hill (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen to receive a briefing about what happened. Netanyahu ordered increased security in the capital.

“This is how [PA President Abbas's] partners in government act, the same Abbas who just a few days ago incited attacks on Jews in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

As if this terrible news were not bad enough, it takes an even more tragic turn, as Arutz Sheva reports:

The grandfather of the three-month-old girl murdered in this evening’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem has issued a heartbreaking statement in response.

The baby girl, named Chaya Ziso was among nine people wounded when an Arab terrorist mowed down pedestrians with his car at a light rail station in Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill. She succumbed to her wounds shortly afterwards; another victim suffered serious wounds while the remainder were moderately or lightly injured.

“Her parents waited for a child for many years during which they did not merit to have children,” said grandfather Shimon Halperin. “Today they were coming back from praying at the Kotel (Western Wall) and a terrorist came and ran over their baby.”

He told of her parents’ joy after she was born, and described how he enjoyed playing with his granddaughter during her tragically short life. He and his wife had just arrived in Israel from the US to meet his grandchild, but only had a few short hours with her.

May Hashem avenge the blood of little Chaya Zissel Braun, and may He bring comfort to her grieving parents and family amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.  May all those wounded have a speedy and full recovery.

But while we Jews await Hashem’s vengeance, the Palestinians have no such compunction. Instead of keeping a low profile, and maybe even apologizing for such a dastardly attack, what do our “peace partners” do? Why, they riot and throw firebombs of course!

A few hours after the suspected attack, dozens of masked Palestinian youths blocked roads in Silwan, set tires alight and fired off firecrackers. Clashes were reported with police forces in Silwan and Issawiya. One police officer was reported injured by a firebomb in Silwan.

A Hamas spokesperson said in response to the reports that if indeed it was a terrorist attack, then it was a natural response to Israel’s actions in Jerusalem, particularly Jewish incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel Radio reported.

Just imagine if we Jews were to avenge ourselves on the Arabs for their desecration of our holiest site in a similar manner. There would be no Palestinians left! Trying to justify a terrorist attack against civilians is simply beyond the pale. Except for the Palestinians of course.

As for the Americans – since the baby and her parents are American citizens – what was their reaction? You can guess it I’m sure (from the previous link):

US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf couldn’t immediately confirm whether the family was American, but condemned the attack.

“The Israelis are currently looking into the incident. We are in touch with them and we’ll see what more information we can get, also urge all sides to exercise restraint and maintain calm,” Harf said.

They should have addressed that demand to the rioting Palestinians, not to the Israelis who show nothing BUT restraint.

In truth we must stop restraining ourselves. It has only brought more terror and devastation upon ourselves. It’s about time we stood up for ourselves and fought back with our full strength. It’s time Israel and our leaders stopped fearing the nations and took responsibility for our own safety.

In a particularly nasty piece of reporting which has now gone viral round the internet, AP reported the incident thus (via Israellycool):

How AP reported the terror attack in Jerusalem

Words fail me – and everyone else.  As Brian of London remarks:

It’s hard to describe how evil this is. It immediately (and automatically) was pushed out by Yahoo! and hundreds of other sites that just run any AP story without modification.

It’s all over Google News and the Middle Eastern sites are loving it.

Many people are blaming Yahoo! That’s not entirely fair, the real evil was done by the headline writers at AP. It matters not that they’ve changed the headline now (many times). The damage is done.

The AP need to be kicked out of Israel. I’m too angry to even link to all the pieces I should.

A twitter response has been gaining steam with the ironic use of the hashtag #HowAPWouldReport:

Thus we have the following examples intended to embarrass AP:

All fun and snarkiness aside, this is no laughing matter. Seth Mandell at Commentary Magazine call this a case study in media bias:

If you want to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict, those two stories are a good introduction. The Israeli government built rail access to Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem to better integrate them into Israeli society. Arab Jerusalemites have made the very instruments of Israeli outreach and integration into targets of sporadic violence.

The Associated Press got plenty of attention for its initial headline of the story: “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem.”

But the AP wasn’t alone. Scanning the BBC, I had noticed their initial headline (since changed as well): “Nine hurt as car hits pedestrians at Jerusalem station.” As the Jerusalem Post’s Seth Frantzman pointed out, the headline on the version he saw, and took a screenshot of, was “Car hits people at Jerusalem station.” Either the BBC was deliberately downplaying the story, or the editor in charge thought he was posting a story about an evil car magically becoming sentient only to lash out, like Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, at the humans around him.

Later in the day, after executives at the BBC located a shred of integrity hidden somewhere in the sofa cushions, that was changed as well. It now reads: “Jerusalem car ‘attack’ kills baby at rail station.” I say “a shred of integrity” because the BBC still saw fit to wrap “attack” in scare quotes. What are the options, here? Was it a car “love tap”? It was a terrorist attack, perpetrated by a member of a terrorist organization.

Addressing the Americans’ call for restraint, Mandell says:

I suppose if the driver of the car had said something mean about John Kerry, she’d really let him have it.

In any event, all sides are not exercising restraint and maintaining calm. Only the Israeli side is. The Palestinians are agitating for more, relying on an international press to obfuscate and deploy scare quotes as needed.

And that encapsulates the dangers of anti-Israel media bias. The Palestinians are always excused, the Israelis are always accused – and are demanded to show restraint. This what encourages the Palestinians in their maximalist demands and their rejection of anything resembling peace and normalization. And they are never required to pay the price for their rejectionism.

If ever there is a reason for the “cycle of violence” between Israel and the Middle East, Western encouragement is one of the major ones.

Posted in Media and journalism, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments