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First Israel Flight to Uganda Brings Back Memory of Entebbe

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 04:00

It’s been more than 40 years since the IDF operation to free hostages at the Ugandan Entebbe airport. Now, an Israeli commercial flight has landed for the first time in the two countries’ history.

At Warsaw Summit Pence Cites Jerusalem as Model For World Peace

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 03:09

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence addressed approximately 60 international leaders on the final day of the Warsaw Summit in Poland, emphasizing the imperative for nations to withdraw from the nuclear deal and for others to recognize the global threat posed by Iran.

Pence called Iran the “greatest threat to peace and security” in the Middle East. President Trump has called for with Iran reinstating sanctions against the rogue nation. Participants in the summit also discussed the Islamic State (ISIS) and the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

In his address, Pence described the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran  negotiated by the Obama administration and signed in 2015 as “disastrous” and a “devil’s bargain with our common enemy.”

“The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action did not prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon it merely delayed the day when that vile regime would gain access to the world’s deadliest weapons.”

Pence explained that even though Iran has complied with the terms of the JCPOA, the U.S. still objected.

“Compliance is not the issue,” Pence said. “The deal is the issue.”

Pence noted the consensus of opinion at the summit was that the JCPOA had ushered in an era of increased Iranian aggressiveness. He described how President Trump was leading an initiative to reinstate economic sanctions against Iran “that should never have been lifted in the first place.” He listed several cases on international cooperation on this front.

He noted that some of the “leading European partners have not been as cooperative,” specifically naming Germany, France, Great Britain, and the European Union who were conspicuously absent from the summit. Pence made a heartfelt promise that if the gathered nations stood with the U.S. on this issue, the U.S. will stand with them in the future.

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At this point in his speech, Pence made a surprising segue.

“It’s remarkable to think that more than 4,000 years ago, a man was called to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldeans and make a long journey north,” Pence said to the gathering of world leaders. “He wore no crown. He commanded no armies. He performed no miracles. He delivered no prophecies. Yet, to him, was promised in those ancient words, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky.”

“Today, Jews, Christians and Muslims, more than half the world’s population, and nearly all the people of the Middle East claim Abraham as their forefather in faith. And so he is.”  

“I believe on that foundation of that Abrahamic tradition, we can find a firm foundation for a brighter future for all the people and all the faiths of the middle east. It doesn’t just simply have to be a part of our imagination. It is actually happening as we speak.”

“We need to look no further than the old city of Jerusalem as an example of what could be true for the region as a whole. There we see the followers of three great religions in constant contact with one another. We see each faith come together in new and renewed ways every day. “

“At Haram al-Sharif (The Dome of the Rock) we see young Muslims with their heads bowed in prayer. AT the Church of the Sepulcher we see a Christian child receiving her baptism. At the Western Wall, we see a young Jewish boy being Bar Mitzvahed.”

“What we see there, we can achieve all across the Middle East.”

“That is the vision that President Trump has. That is the hope and aspiration of peace-loving people in our nation and around the world.”

“I think we would do well to look to a promise that was made to that man I referred to who made that journey so many centuries ago. It was a promise in those ancient words I will surely bless you. I believe with all my heart that we can claim that blessing anew for all the people of this region, for ourselves and our posterity. I believe God will surely bless us with peace. So let us begin.”

Russia was not present at the Warsaw Summit and chose instead to hold a simultaneous summit in Sochi on the Black Sea with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Occupation Didn’t Kill Ori Ansbacher

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 02:00

We have always been told that for as long as Israeli occupation continues, Palestinian terror will not end. Although the terrorists were not born murderers, the harsh reality of life made them this way, say the claimants. In order to uproot it, however, one has to give the Palestinians hope, and remove all cause for them to resort to terrorist activity. This thesis of “terrorism caused by occupation” is supported by many —too many, one might say. Not all of them are even anti-Semites or anti-Zionists; some are good people, who actually believe this nonsense.

Sometimes, there is indeed a connection between terror and a struggle for liberation. This is not the case when it comes to Palestinian terrorism, which in recent decades has practically evolved into jihadist terrorism. They indeed were not born murderers, but the brainwashing, the incitement and the overall environment turned them into them.

During the week in which Ori Ansbacher was murdered, some 186 people were killed by jihadists elsewhere in the world. Since the start of 2019, 712 people have been murdered, while 2018 saw some 11,769 jihadist killings.

The majority of these terror acts did not actually make international headlines, because they occurred in Asia and Africa, so who cares? In Congo, Chad, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, and many other places. That’s in addition to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, where jihadist murders are carried out on a daily basis. The majority of the victims in these attacks are Muslims and their sins unclear.

Terror is also rampant in Sweden, Belgium, London, and New York. Is there an occupation in those places too? The main reason for terrorism is incitement and brainwashing in mosques and on social networks. Some brave, prominent imams, such as the Paris-based Hassen Chalghoumi or Mohammad Tawhidi from Australia, as well as many others, are fighting this cancerous ideology. Although they reveal the mechanisms of brainwashing, they usually are given a cold shoulder, because the progressive elites would rather hear the post-colonial and anti-Zionist attribution for this horrific phenomenon.

Ansbacher was killed because her murderer originates from a community where many sanctify death and hatred. She was killed because the highest religious official in the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, regularly calls for the murder of Jews. She was killed because the environment that encourages murder is sustained by PA’s monthly salary payments to terrorists.

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Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher’s cold-blooded murderer, knew that not only nothing would happen to him and his family following this horrific attack, but that they would actually benefit from it. And the moment Irfaiya was arrested, the PA opened its wallet. The rewards are already on the way. Even if his house or his room is destroyed, it will be rebuilt within days by volunteers who support him, using the funds received by the family.

We must strive for peace and reconciliation, and against settlement expansion. But this is not the ambition of the jihadists. They are not looking for a two-state solution, which was presented to them again and again: in 1937, 1949, 2000, 2008 and in 2014. They always rejected it. Irfaiya didn’t set out to murder because he supported some kind of peace plan or wanted an end to the occupation, just as those who killed 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015 for instance, didn’t need a pretext of the occupation to murder.

It is worth emphasizing that one day we will be able to reach some sort of agreement, with or without the consent of the Palestinians, that will either entirely or partly end the occupation. We shouldn’t, however, fool ourselves into believing that it will end jihad or terrorism. Not in Paris, not in Jerusalem, not in Nigeria. It is doubtful whether the level of terrorism will even decline.

And while we should never stop striving for a peace agreement, we must understand that this will never stop the terror — because the terror was never meant to stop the occupation anyway.

Reprinted with author’s permission from YNet News

Mainstream Outlets Use Anniversary of Parkland Shooting to Push Agenda

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 01:00

The mainstream media used the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida to continue to push for a Democratic agenda on gun control and didn’t broaden the conversation to include other remedies to prevent horrific shooting massacres like more robust school security, stronger mental health provisions and anti-bullying initiatives like Rachel’s Challenge, which news reports indicate has prevented seven school shootings and prevents 150 suicides annually.

As the Daily Caller Foundation’s Evie Fordham reports, “Democratic Florida Rep. Ted Deutch and Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez plan to reintroduce a high-capacity gun magazine ban Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting Thursday. The legislation, which would ban any magazine that exceeds 10 rounds of ammunition, has been dubbed the “Keep Americans Safe Act,” reported CNN. 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kamala Harris of California are cosponsors.”

Outlets like MSNBCThe AtlanticNPRYahoo News and others included one-year anniversary coverage with discussions about more gun control without bringing in conservative voices to add additional insights and policy proposals.

The mainstream media haven’t often brought in alternative voices like Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the shooting at Columbine High School, and founder of Rachel’s Challenge, who said that lawmakers would be unable to completely stop school shootings and says schools are failing our children by becoming profession-oriented, instead of character-oriented.

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“If we practice in the home, if we practice in the school, if we practice in our relationships with each other, a little more empathy, listen a little more, talk a little less, spending more time trying to connect, we will eliminate a lot of the problem,” Scott told me in an interview. “No matter how many laws we pass, it’s not going to stop school shootings. Young people are going to find a way to vent, older people as well. If someone has it in their mind to kill others, they will find a way to do that.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Accuracy in Media

Do You Unwittingly Support Anti-Israel Groups?

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:00

Politically speaking, do you consider yourself a liberal, a progressive, a conservative, a libertarian, left wing, right wing, none of the above? Regardless, are you a supporter of Israel? If so, do you support or “follow” one organization or another that is involved with Israel, whether it be the United Nations or a much smaller association such as AIPAC or JStreet? Of course, you have no influence over international institutions, but as a contributor to the smaller, non-governmental, supposedly non-profit groups (NGOs), you do have some input.

Unfortunately, many of the countless organizations and NGOs that deal with Israel have an agenda against it, ranging from defaming Israel as an apartheid state, to slamming it as overly “militant” towards its enemies, especially the Palestinian Arabs.

The Palestinian Arabs have many supportive organizations, but upon examination these groups prove to be more interested in being anti-Zionist (or antisemitic) than being helpful to their supposed beneficiaries. The truth is that groups which promote BDS (which stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and seeks total Israeli withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, Golan Heights and “full equality” for Israeli Arab citizens and Palestinian Arabs residing outside the 1949 armistice lines) do nothing positive for the Arabs. Their real agenda is the destruction of Israel, with little attention paid to the detrimental effects on Palestinian Arabs of BDS and other hateful actions against Israel.

One need look no further than the full-bodied ideological and financial support that Jews lend (often unwittingly) to virulently anti-Israel organizations, many of them founded and financed by (sometimes) well-meaning Jews. (Bear with me here; this is not even a full list.) These include J Street, Open Hillel, If Not NowAmericans for Peace Now, B’TselemBend the ArcBreaking the SilenceNew Israel FundJews for Racial and Economic JusticeThe  Forward, Tikkun magazine, Reform Action CenterT’ruah (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights), Jewish Voice for PeaceJews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs,, and the Anti-Defamation League, which was such a bulwark against antisemitism for my parents’ generation, et al

Also, generic NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Women’s March, Movement for Black Lives, Black Lives MatterAntifa, Doctors Without Borders, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), newspapers like The New York Times (and other media outlets), Christian organizations like American Friends Service Committee (AFSC-Quakers), World Council of Churches (WCC), Presbyterian Church USA, a myriad of Islamic NGOs such as CAIR, and huge bureaucracies such as the United Nations and the European Union.

What the entities all have in common are varying degrees of disrespect for Israel and/or Jews, from blatant or genteel antisemitism to bias against those Jews who live in Israel. There are too many organizations named to discuss each one. Below is a criticism of the Anti-Defamation League, perhaps the least damaging of the lot, according to Isi Leibler, a prominent worldwide Jewish leader writing in the Jerusalem Post.

The ADL is now just one more left-wing group, “a radical extension of the Democratic Party.”  The only anti-Semitism that it will fight is that of the tiny fringe group of white supremacists.  The greater danger of the radical left and Muslim activists gets a pass.  The Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, declared anti-Semitic by the American government, is supported by Democratic politicians and so ADL won’t fight it.  ADL actively supports the Marxist anti-Semitic group Black Lives Matter, which “incorporates anti-Israel passages in its platform and campaigns against anti-boycott legislation.

The reality is that anti-Zionism/antisemitism has returned to its halcyon days of a century ago. We know what that led to…. As for now, the Labour Party in the UK immediately comes to mind with its charismatic antisemitic leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s time for everyone to think critically about the objectives of the organizations they support, especially the above-mentioned ones, small and large: whether they seek to delegitimize Israel, to harm Israel, or even to eradicate the Jewish State. Without Israel, or with an Israel forced behind the “Auschwitz borders” which many harsh critics of Israel envision (pre-1967 Israel), the Jews would be on the way to extinction!

Think about it: if you’re a Jew or a Christian-Zionist, or any rational person, do you really want to support organizations that promote policies leading to the decline of the West, which is the inevitable result if Israel were to fall.

APPENDIX

Here are some details on some of the organizations mentioned in the article:

Ireland has tabled a new law to make purchases of goods and services from “East” Jerusalem and other areas beyond the Green Line illegal. This is in line with the European Union policy demarcating “West Bank” and Golan Heights products as Jewish (oops, I meant Israeli) items that should be boycotted. That this law is even being considered is RACIST!

New Israel Fund supports Arab groups denying Israel’s legitimacy, such as Adalah, which was involved in creating a “platform” released by the Movement for Black Lives (MBL) and Black Lives Matter (BLM) which supports BDS and labels Israel as an “apartheid state.” The platform also accuses Israel of committing “genocide” against Palestinians.

J Street insists that all major pro-Israel organizations be open to speakers who favor opposing views (as does Open Hillel) such as supporters of the BDS movements, supporters of the single, secular binational state approach (which would eventually eradicate Israel), and those who are against the possibility of Palestinian recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

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Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a leader in BDS campaigns in a variety of different forums, including with local governments and on university campuses. JVP supports and promotes the Palestinian narrative of “Nakba” (referring to the establishment of the State of Israel as a “catastrophe,”), as well as a Palestinian “right of return,” which, if implemented, would mean the elimination of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.The group has embraced and advocated on behalf of Palestinian terrorists and has been lauded by CAIR. (NGO Monitor)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is perhaps the best-known and most controversial Muslim organization in North America, presenting itself as an advocate for Muslims’ civil rights and the spokesman for American Muslims. But there is another side to CAIR that has alarmed many people in knowledgable positions. The Department of Homeland Security refuses to deal with it. Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat, NY) describes it as an organization “which we know has ties to terrorism.” (See more at MEForum.org)

Presbyterian Church USA blasts ‘apartheid’ Israel at its most recent General Assembly

Gathering and passes 7 resolutions against Jewish state, including opposing anti-BDS legislation, calling Israel an apartheid state and slamming Israel’s defensive actions in Gaza. One amended resolution completely removing Hamas as a factor in Israel-Gaza battles passed by a vote of 438-34, according to the Presbyterian Outlet news service. (June ’18 TimesofIsrael.com)

The World Council of Churches started the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel or EAPPI in 2002. “That is the main tool for training anti-Israel activists within church organizations and churches around the world and it’s also the main tool for inserting anti-Israel and anti-Zionist propaganda and rhetoric into those same churches,” said Yona Schiffmiller, director of research at NGO Monitor.

Amnesty International calls on web giants Airbnb and TripAdvisor to boycott Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and Golan Heights – all beyond the 1949 armistice lines but Israeli since 1967, and incidentally home to Jews for millennia. It also calls out Expedia and Booking.com, saying they are benefiting from ‘war crimes.’ The group vigorously calls out Israel at every opportunity while practically ignoring war crimes killing scores and hundreds of thousands around the world, including in many Muslim countries.

Human Rights Watch could be called “Human Rights Distortions.” Systematic analyses demonstrate that HRW disproportionately focuses on condemnations of Israel and that its publications related to Israel often lack credibility. HRW also promotes an agenda based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization and Israeli aggression.

The United Nations is set to publish a blacklist of Israeli companies operating over Green Line. Remember the Arab boycott from the ‘70s? Now the UN will have its own boycott of Israeli businesses. The list, to be released next month, is said to include many of Israel’s largest corporations. The exemplary Soda Stream company was already forced by BDS pressure to move its factory from an industrial park adjacent to the Green Line to another location, causing many Arabs to lose their excellent jobs.

The New York Times (NYT) has a history of praising individual Jews and criticizing Israelis. One example: opinion journalist Michelle Goldberg, in a recent, well written but typically biased apology for anti-Zionism, wrote: “Certainly, some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, but it’s entirely possible to oppose Jewish ethno-nationalism without being a bigot.” Wrong, because Israel alone is singled out for having a national state in its homeland. (Like Musim countries, France, Germany, Scandinavian countries, etc.) NYT articles misrepresenting Israel are numerous, mirroring the negative preoccupation with Israelis that is commonplace among media, global “peace” organizations, and NGOs today.

LAMENTATIONS 4:19

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 18:09

This verse conveys an image of the enemy lurking on all terrains and in all locations. Unfortunately, even after arriving on the shores of Israel following the Holocaust, Jewish refugees from Europe encountered persecution. Having survived the Nazis, these Jews were met by a new enemy: The local Arab population, which fought violently to keep them away from their ancient homeland. This enemy also waged war on a number of fronts, including the mountains and the wilderness, as described in the above verse. In January of 1948, a terrible tragedy took place in the Judean hills. A group of thirty-five soldiers was dispatched to bring provisions and food to the beleaguered communities of Gush Etzion, the Etzion bloc. They set out on foot at night to avoid detection, but the sun rose before they managed to reach their destination. Still in the vicinity of hostile villages, they were detected by some Arab women who had gone down to the valley to gather branches. Arab mobs were quickly deployed and after a lengthy battle, all thirty-five of the soldiers were killed in a bloody massacre. “They chased us in the mountains, lay in wait for us in the wilderness.”

Shabbat Observance Saved IDF Base From Terrorist Attack

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:43

On Wednesday, Rabbi Eitan Shenrav, the rabbi of reserve IDF battalion 8101, received an award from the director of the Rabbinate Division in the IDF, Rabbi Shilo Adler, and the head of the IDF Yehudah and Shomron Division, Rafi Mila, for “his efforts and awareness in identifying and acting against terrorists next to the town of Har Bracha.”

The incident took place on Tuesday when Rabbi Shenrav and an assistant were checking the eruv around their base in Samaria. An eruv is an area enclosed by a wire boundary for the purpose of a rabbinic allowance to carry objects on the Sabbath.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Shenrav described the event.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-in_article'); }); “They called me to check the eruv wires,” Rabbi Shenrav said. “We went around the outpost. We also went down the slopes below the posts to see if the wires were standing properly. We circled the entire post and suddenly I saw two Palestinians watching the base. They hid behind a rock. One came out while the other remained hidden. That’s how they watched the base from all sides. I called a fast-response squad and within a few minutes, in a nice and quiet operation, they flanked them from the left and surprised them from the west. The terrorists simply did not have time to resist. They immediately surrendered, dropping their weapons and knives.”

Rabbi Shenrab emphasized that the rabbis of the battalion are also fighters, a tradition he learned from his rabbi. “We have been in the battalion for 20 years and along with our role as rabbis, we are also active in fighting.”

“Of course, after the event was over, we checked the Eruv and thank God, everything was in order. And I also want to thank Rabbi Rav Oren Rivlin.”

“The wonderful Sabbaths of the battalion at the post and especially here in the Golani Brigade, including the meals and prayers, are the very image of the Jewish people in all our glory. This includes both the religious and non-religious soldiers. Of course, we all thank the wives and children who remain alone on Shabbat while the men serve.”

Israeli Engineers Greatly Speed up AI Learning Process

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 09:05

Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a platform able to speed up the learning process of artificial intelligence (AI) systems 1,000 times over.

No one thinks that machines will completely take the place of human brains, but the most sophisticated computers can process data much faster than we can. AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.

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Many people have become nervous as computers become increasingly capable, yet even though they can pose dangers such as cyber attacks, the possibilities for benefiting humanity are immense. AI makes societies more efficient, opening new jobs, saving money and creating opportunities for revenue generation. They also save mankind from the very boring jobs that many have to do.

Computers are already creating smart homes that save energy and improving medical care by monitoring patients from afar. They will save lives currently lost in road accidents by driving cars for us more safely. AI can also expand human ingenuity and creativity. Since we can’t turn the clock back, it is advisable to take advantage of AI while keeping it in check.

Prof. Shahar Kvatinsky and doctoral student Tzofnat Greenberg-Toledo – together with students Roee Mazor and Ameer Haj-Ali of Technion’s Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering – recently published their research in the IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems journal, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

In recent years, there has been major progress in the world of AI, mostly thanks to models of deep neural networks (DNNs), which are sets of algorithms inspired by the human brain that are designed to recognize patterns.

Inspired by human learning methods, these DNNs have had unprecedented success in dealing with complex tasks such as autonomous driving, natural language processing, image recognition and the development of innovative medical treatments. All this is achieved through the machine’s self-learning from a vast pool of examples often represented by images. This technology is developing rapidly in academic research groups, and leading companies such as Facebook and Google are utilizing it for their specific needs. 

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Learning by example requires powerful computing power and is therefore performed on computers that have graphic processing units (GPUs) suited for this job. But these units consume considerable amounts of energy, and their speed is slower than the required learning rate of the neural networks, thereby hindering the learning process.

“In fact, we are dealing with hardware originally intended for mostly graphic purposes; it fails to keep up with the fast-paced activity of the neural networks,” explained Kvatinsky. “To solve this problem, we need to design a hardware that will be compatible with deep neural networks.”

Kvatinsky and his research group have developed a hardware system specifically designed to work with these networks, enabling the neural network to perform the learning phase with greater speed and less energy consumption. “Compared to GPUs, the new hardware’s calculation speed is 1,000 times faster and reduces power consumption by 80%.” 

This novel hardware represents a conceptual change; instead of focusing on improving the existing processors, they decided to develop the structure of a three-dimensional computing machine that integrates memory.

“Rather than split between the units that perform calculations and  the memory responsible for storing information, we conduct both tasks within the memristor, a memory component with enhanced calculation capabilities assigned to work with deep neural networks.”

Although their research is still at a theoretical stage, they have already shown via simulation how it could be implemented. “Currently, our development is destined to work with the momentum learning algorithms, but our intention is to continue developing the hardware so that it will be compatible with other learning algorithms as well. We may be able to develop a dynamic, multi-purpose hardware which will be able to adapt to various algorithms, instead of having a number of different hardware components,” Kvatinsky concluded

Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers Supports IDF Lone Soldiers

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 08:41

IDF lone soldiers have volunteered to devote three years of their lives protecting Israel. We provide their flights home to visit their family and friends which builds morale and shows we care and appreciate their service. Please donate to IDF lone soldiers

Temple Mount Prophecy Taking Place Precisely on Schedule

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 07:09

Christians, Jews, and Muslims have been battling over mountaintop land in Jerusalem for centuries. Recent attempts at a rational, politically negotiated solution have all ended badly. Perhaps what politicians should do is reference prophetic sources which describe in great detail the end-of-days Temple Mount agenda for all concerned.

When most people think of the Temple Mount they consider one building; the golden Dome of the Rock built by the Muslims in the Seventh Century. The Temple Mount Compound is actually quite large, comprised of 144,000 sq. m./37 acres of land, most of it either empty or covered in trees planted in the last few decades. Though Israeli and international law mandates allowing equality of religions and universal prayer at the site, the Israeli police cite security concerns for restricting the right to pray only to Muslims.

In a rare display of Islamic pluralism, a 2017 article in The Muslim Times noted that there is certainly room at the site to create a worship space, even a Third Temple, for the Jews. The editor, Dr. Zia Shah, suggested a multi-story structure to maximize the space.

“Every Jewish, Christian and Muslim denomination that has a sizeable presence in Israel gets a floor in the plaza free of charge, as their synagogue, church or mosque and in return they provide a public relations campaign to make the project a success. The state of Israel gets to choose the leaders of those denominations, giving the state and PM Benjamin Netanyahu some stake in the process.”

Despite Dr. Shah’s largesse, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University, noted that the plan would be unacceptable to mainstream Islam.

“There is no way in Islam to accept such a plan,” Dr. Kedar told Breaking Israel News. “The essence of Islam is that Judaism and Christianity are no longer relevant in the world. The reason Islam exists is to replace them. Any visible reminder that Christianity or Judaism still exists is proof that Islam has failed in its primary mission.”

Jewish sources describe that in the end-of-days the descendants of Ishmael will have a place and a purpose on the Temple Mount. A surprisingly detailed description of the Messianic process is given in the Zohar Hadash, a collection of previously unpublished manuscripts pertaining to the Zohar printed in the late 16th century. In one section (Balak 68b), the Zohar Hadash describes a process that will begin in the 274th year of the sixth millennium. This works out to be the year 5774 in the Hebrew calendar which began in September 2013. Part of the process described included a “destruction” in a synagogue in “the south” in which five tzadikim (righteous men) will be killed.

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Indeed, in November 2014, two Palestinian terrorists armed with knives, guns, and axes carried out a bloody attack in a Har Nof synagogue on November 18, 2014. Four Jews were killed in the attack, as well as, Zidan Saif, a Druze policeman. The following October, Rabbi Haim Rothman died from the wounds he suffered in the attack, bringing the death toll to five, precisely as predicted more than 400 years earlier.

The first five victims of the Har Nof Jerusalem Synagogue terrorist attack. (Credit: Breaking Israel News)

This same prophecy is repeated in other sources, adding that the “Sons of Ishmael” (Arabs) will make war against the Messiah, and will “come and bow down before God at the holy mountain in Jerusalem”.

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific author and respected Torah scholar, noted the prominent end-of-Days role the Arabs are predicted to play on the Temple Mount.

“It is not a coincidence that Ishmael is on the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “The Christians tried hard for centuries but mostly failed.”

“The rabbinic tradition teaches the reason why Ishmael succeeded in having a place in Israel and the Temple Mount is by virtue of Ishmael’s brit milah (circumcision). The Zohar related how the angel of Ishmael complained to God that since he performed brit milah, he should also receive a portion in Israel. God responded that the brit milah Ishmael and his descendants perform does not include priah (the folding back of the foreskin that is an essential stage in the circumcision and if it is not performed, the circumcision is not kosher). God described this form of brit milah as ‘empty.’ By virtue of Ishmael’s brit milah his descendants will have a part in the land but since the brit milah was ‘empty,’ they will have the land when the land is empty.”

Rabbi Winston cited another aspect of Ishmael’s presence on the Temple Mount.

“Ishmael was circumcised when he was 13 years old,” he explained. “For every year of his life before his circumcision, his descendants inherited 100 years on the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock was built in 648 CE. They lost control of the Holy Land in 1947 exactly 1,300 years later.”

According to the Rambam, it was preferable that Muslims should be on the Temple Mount. The Catholic religion has elements of idolatry and the Muslim presence on the Temple Mount protected it from idolatry. But the Muslim lease to the Temple Mount was finished in 1947. Their job now is implicit in their name: Yishma El (God will hear). Their job on the Temple Mount is like the Egyptians; to push us until we cry out to God to save us and bring Messiah and to bring back the Temple.

“This is why there can’t be peace with them based on reason or politics,” Rabbi Winston concluded. “The only thing the Jews can do is what we were supposed to do; cry out to God.”

Trump, Pence Upbraid Omar Tweets, Saying ‘Antisemitism no Place in Congress’

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 05:16

Both the president and the vice president of the United States reprimanded Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for recent anti-Semitic comments and called for her to face consequences.

[Omar’s] tweets were a disgrace & her apology was inadequate. Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress, much less the Foreign Affairs Committee,” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted on Tuesday. “Those who engage in anti-Semitic tropes should not just be denounced, they should face consequences for their words.”

Pence’s chastisement came after Omar responded to a tweet supporting her right to make anti-Israel statements on Twitter with her own tweet saying it’s “all about the Benjamins baby,” and implied that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was using money to motivate American politicians to be pro-Israel and to deter them from taking anti-Israel positions.

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President Donald Trump backed Pence’s statement, calling Omar’s apology after the incident “lame, and she didn’t mean a word of it” during a Cabinet meeting. He also said, “I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

In her apology, Omar stated that her “intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”

After facing a firestorm of criticism on social media and a public rebuke by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan continued to retweet Twitter posts asserting that Congress members were hesitant to be anti-Israel because of their desire to access donations from AIPAC supporters.

Omar’s anti-Israel position became evident as early as 2012, during which she tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

Abbas Proves Once Again He is not a Partner for Peace

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 04:53

The Palestinians are hoping to keep the United States from presenting its Middle East peace plan.

To this end, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has embarked on a tour of Arab states, to try to keep them from supporting the so-called “deal of the century” and to ensure the Arab leaders stick to their promise to support Palestinian demands on the core issues of the conflict, chief among them the recognition of eastern Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to consolidate a regional peace plan in collaboration with the moderate Arab states, in lieu of the two-state solution following a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Abbas in Bethlehem in which the American president said he intends to cut the Mideast deal. Trump noted the deal had earned the support of the moderate Arab states.

Now, senior government officials in Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have confirmed that Abbas was recently informed by senior officials in Washington that Trump’s peace team is in the final stages of consolidating the plan. Once Trump approves it, senior U.S. adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt will visit the moderate Persian Gulf Arab states to present them with the details. Ramallah’s assessment is that the Trump administration will try to earn the support of the Arab states in order to attempt to execute the plan following the Israeli elections and once a new government has been formed in Jerusalem.

A senior Arab diplomat said that the regional peace plan was largely expected to include economic incentives, to be integrated within the main points of the Arab peace plan. The plan’s framework would lead to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and a normalization of ties between Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab states.

A senior Palestinian official claimed that Abbas was interested in keeping the influential Arab states—Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Persian Gulf Arab states—from endorsing the plan.

According to the official, “Later on, the [Palestinian] Authority chairman is expected to demand an emergency meeting of the Arab League countries, with the aim of blocking the attempts by the American president and his advisers Kushner and Greenblatt to enlist the support of the moderate Arab states for the peace plan.”

The senior Palestinian official added that Abbas’s attempts to convene an emergency meeting of the Arab League states have failed until now, although the league may convene at the Palestinians’ request in the coming days.

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‘New approaches on the solution to the problem’

As part of these efforts, Abbas met with Saudi King Salman in the royal palace in Riyadh. Following their Tuesday meeting, the Saudis issued a statement saying that “it was made clear to the P.A. [leader] that Saudi Arabia continues to support its Palestinian brothers in the building of their independent state, with its capital in east Jerusalem.”

The Riyadh meeting appears to serve as a joint Saudi-Fatah response to Qatar’s continued economic support for Hamas, of which Abbas disapproves. Salman and Abbas discussed programs that would see Saudi Arabia provide economic support for the Palestinians. Given the fact that Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has avoided sharing the Qatari funds with Fatah, Saudi Arabia is set to invest its efforts solely in the West Bank, in the hope of tightening the economic stranglehold on Gaza.

Nevertheless, senior officials in Ramallah, as well as Arab diplomats involved in Abbas’s efforts to thwart the American peace plan, emphasized that Saudi Arabia had merely issued a declaration of support.

They noted that “talks between the axis of moderate Sunni states and the Persian Gulf states and Trump’s people on the issue of support for the deal of the century have gone into high gear in recent days.”

A senior Egyptian official who is involved in talks with the Trump administration on the regional peace plan maintained that the “moderate Arab states look set to demand significant corrections to the American peace plan in order for it to suit the interests of the Arab states, but not necessarily the interests of the Palestinians. They [the Palestinians] will be forced to accept the plan—that or Trump will implement the plan with the support of the moderate Arab states, bypassing Abu Mazen [Abbas].”

A senior Palestinian official said: “The way it looks, all that remains for Abu Mazen to do is to try and minimize the damage as far as concerns Trump’s deal and hope for the American plan to clash unexpectedly with Israel’s interests.”

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke out against the upcoming peace plan.

“The ‘deal of the century’ is not enough to ensure a Palestinian state on the ’67 borders and will not include a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem,” he said. “The U.S. is proposing, or preferring, to impose new approaches on the solution to the problem.”

New Book Teaches Evangelical Millennials to Photograph with a ‘Biblical Lens’

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 04:42

In the context of a flourishing era for Jewish-Christian relations in the United States and abroad, Israel is witnessing a new level of passionate support from Evangelical Protestant Christians – a group that represents more than a quarter of Americans, according to the Pew Research Center.

Israeli professor and author Mel Alexenberg says that Israelis value the support of such Zionist Christians, who have largely been credited with strengthening the political and spiritual bonds between Washington and Jerusalem, especially under the Trump presidency. Their bond to Israel relies on the Biblical mandate to bless Israel and the belief that the modern rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 and re-gathering of millions of Jewish people to Israel represents fulfillments of Biblical prophecy.

However, in light of studies that raise concerns that the younger generation of Evangelical Christians “may not continue the enthusiasm for Israel of their parents and grandparents,” their support should not be taken for granted, says Alexenberg. The professor of art and education saw the great potential of Evangelical support for Israel, as well as the challenge of capturing the interest of the next generation, and set out to engage the younger generation towards a more Biblical and pro-Israel mindset.  

“There are many fine books written by Christian Zionists that set out the case for Israel based upon the Biblical narrative,” he wrote in a blog post. “I have found, however, that none speak in the language of the ubiquitous digital culture shaped by smartphones and social media. It is the language that Evangelical millennials understand best.”

Alexenberg’s newest book, published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing and entitled Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media, fills this void in a new and creative way, urging the younger generation of Jews and Christians to translate the Bible from contemporary viewpoints. “It speaks to the millennial generation in the their language of digital culture, smartphones and social media,” he told Breaking Israel News, “creating dialogue between digital texts and images that teach how Biblical insights can transform smartphone photography and social media into imaginative ways for seeing spirituality in everyday life.”

AT&T as well as American Airlines have sponsored his innovative efforts about which he writes in the book, such as a visual commentary that conceptually linked wings to corners of a garment and to corners of the United States.

He writes, “While working on my continent-wide artwork, I began to see the four corners of America through a Bible lens. The Biblical Hebrew word kanfot used for the four “corners” of one’s garment and metaphorically as the four “corners” of the earth is the same word used for “wings.”  The preeminent Biblical commentator Rashi points out the links between corners and wings, “The fringes are placed on the corners of their garments, alluding to God having freed the Israelites from Egypt, as it states, ‘and I carried you on the wings of eagles.’”

It brought to mind four Biblical passages:

Speak to the Israelites and say to them that they shall make fringes on the corner wings of their garments for all generations. And they shall include in the fringes of each corner wing a thread of sky-blue wool.” (Numbers 15:37)

Before the Israelites received the Ten Commandments, God tells Moses to say to the Israelites:

You saw what I did in Egypt, carrying you on wings of eagles and bringing you to me.” (Exodus 19:4).

Forty years later standing on the east bank of the Jordan River, Moses reviews the laws of the Torah for the generation born in the desert before they enter the Promised Land. He again said:

Make yourself fringes on the four corners of the garment with which you cover yourself.” (Deuteronomy 22:12).

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Before donning his prayer shawl each morning, a Jew says, “May the talit spread its wings like an eagle rousing his nest, fluttering over its eaglets.”  

The Biblical prophecy in Isaiah 11:12 is being realized in our day:

He will ingather the dispersed ones of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

I created Four Wings of America as a visual commentary that conceptually links wings to corners of a garment and to corners of the land. I made white rope multi-strand fringes each with a sky-blue thread to attach to the four corners of America.”

Four wings of America. (Mel Alexenberg) Four wings of America Northeast Corner Tzitzit on Maine Coast (Mel Alexenberg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Wings of america Southeast corner tzitzit on Florida coast. (Credit: Mel Alexenberg)

 

(Credit: Mel Alexenberg)

 

Alexenberg’s book is informative and educational, not read as a traditional “how to,” but clearly sparking food for thought for the younger generation about how they can make their photographs spiritual. Chapters include content on the creative process, to linking personal and Biblical narratives, to photographing attributes such as compassion, strength, beauty, success and splendor. “This is especially useful for a young person who has planned a trip to Israel,” said Alexenberg. “So they will know how to experience Israel, not just photographing, but seeing everything from a Biblical perspective.”

As a professor of art and education at Columbia University, research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies and dean of visual arts at New World School of the Arts in Miami (in addition to his many teaching credentials in Israel), Alexenberg has previously written academic books on the intersection of art, digital culture, and Jewish thought: The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness and Educating Artists for the Future, both published by Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press, and Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Four Essays on Judaism and Contemporary Art published in Hebrew in Jerusalem.

After looking into who purchased and read his academic books, Alexenberg realized that they were being purchased and read by more Evangelicals than Jews. He thus sought to publish his next book with a Christian publishing company to “educate young Evangelicals for the future” where emerging art forms of the 21st century are “consistent with the Jewish view that spirituality is to be found in everyday life, embedded in everything we do.”

He explained that Judaism teaches us to strive to draw spirituality down into the world and into every part of our involvement with it, our work and our social life, until not only do they not distract from our pursuit of God, but they become a full part of it.  As the younger generation is constantly looking at the world through their smartphones, he said, this tool is the natural answer to the question of how to engage the younger generation in the goal of embedding Godliness into the world.

In his new book, Alexenberg shows creative ways to use a smartphone as a magic lens that lets you see your place of work and your fellow workers in a new light. It invites taking selfies with your spouse, parents, siblings and children so that you see them in ways you never saw them before. You can transform your old friends into new friends by focusing through a Bible lens.  

His book is a practical guide for photographing the splendor of God by opening your eyes in wonder wherever you find yourself. As the author relates, “Seeing with eyes of wonder is seeing for the first time, every time.”

Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media is available for purchase on Amazon.

Written in collaboration with Mel Alexenberg

LIBI: “Our Heart Breaks With the Ansbacher Family and Ori’s Friends”

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 03:27

This week, Israel and the Jewish people mourned the loss of a beautiful soul, gone far too soon. On Thursday February 7, a Palestinian terrorist left his home in Hebron carrying a knife with the intent to murder in the name of Palestinian ‘liberation.’ From his home, he traveled to the Palestinian village of Beit Jala and began walking toward the Ein Yael forest in southern Jerusalem, where he saw 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher. There, he attacked, raped and killed her, claiming he wanted to be a “martyr” for the Palestinian cause.

After Israel’s Border Police and Civilian Counter Terrorism Unit (Yamam) gathered intelligence information identifying 29-year-old Arafat Irfaiya as the murderer, on Friday, IDF soldiers located and arrested the Hebron man near Ramallah. According to interrogations by Israel’s Security Service (Shabak), Irfaiya’s motives were nationalistic. The man comes from a well-known Hamas-supporting family in Hebron and has previously served time in Israeli prison for terror incitement.

On Saturday, IDF forces mapped the home of the terrorist, a preliminary stage in its demolition, a tactic used by the IDF to deter future terror attacks.

IDF’s Hebrew Twitter account posted a video of the operation:

במהלך הלילה פעלו כוחות צה״ל בעיר חברון שבמרחב חטמ״ר ״יהודה״, ממנה יצא החשוד ברצח אורי אנסבכר ז״ל. במהלך הפעילות מיפו הכוחות את בית החשוד, לצורך בחינת אפשרות הריסתו pic.twitter.com/imYbDa3O0u

— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) February 10, 2019

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to implement the ‘Pay-to-Slay’ law passed last July that gives the government power to deduct funds from tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority, equal to the amount of money that the PA gives to terrorists and their families for committing attacks against Israelis.

Dr. John A.I Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, sent his deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ori Ansbacher. “Our heart breaks with the Ansbacher family. A beautiful soul murdered, volunteering as part of her civil service in the Ye’elim youth center at Ein Yael. Her parents, Rabbi Gai and Na’ama Ansbacher, described their daughter as a holy soul who sought deep meaning and had sensitivity for each person and living thing. Ori, like our soldiers, had an endless desire to repair the world in goodness. We mourn her loss and  may her memory be a blessing to us all.”

Grossman thanked the IDF soldiers whose bravery and swift actions led to the successful arrest of the terrorist. “In a joint effort by various Israeli institutions including the IDF, the murderer was arrested within days of committing this horrible act. As we mourn this tragic event, we are reminded of all for which we are thankful – from the collective heart of the Israeli people who comforted the Ansbacher family, to the courageous soldiers who worked to ensure that this murderer would not get away after committing such evil.”


As the IDF continues its plans to demolish the home of the terrorist, Palestinian response to the murder and the IDF’s efforts have been varied. On Friday, the arresting forces encountered violent resistance, including Palestinian men who threw rocks and petrol bombs at IDF vehicles. On Sunday, Palestinian Religious Affairs Minister Youssef Ideiss complained about Israeli forces entering a mosque outside Ramallah in search of Irfaiya. Terrorists often seek refuge in mosques, taking advantage of the IDF’s sensitivity to Muslim religious practice, even during counter-terrorism efforts. Indeed, data seized from the mosque led to the arrest of the murder shortly afterwards in a nearby building.

According to media watchdog Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA’s official daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported Ideiss as decrying the incident as a “cowardly attack against a religious and sacred place of worship, without any consideration for its sanctity and its religious and spiritual value.” Ideiss further claimed that the event “constitutes part of a series of daily attacks against our Islamic and Christian holy sites, and particularly the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the pearl of Palestine, by the occupation forces and unbridled settlers and under political cover of the right-wing occupation government.”

In an unusual silence for the terror groups following a murder of an Israeli by a Palestinian, neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad have praised or acknowledged the attack. Other Palestinian groups have quietly condemned the attack, including a senior Fatah member serving in Israeli prison. The unusual silence and condemnation of the attack is attributed to the rape, which is considered “criminal,” as opposed to murder (especially of IDF soldiers), which is considered by the Palestinian Authority a legal form of resistance.

Qadura Fares of the Palestinian Authority-affiliated Palestinian Prisoners Club, which finances the legal defense and supports them and their families with stipends and grants of terrorists, said Monday that he would not represent the terrorist because of the sexual assault. As a result, Irfaiya is currently represented by the Israeli public defender’s office. According to The Jerusalem Post, 30 Palestinians also paid consolation visits to the Ansbacher family in Tekoa, who welcomed them with open arms.  

LIBI USA continues to grieve the loss of Ori, a light to her family, friends and to all of Israel.

Written in coordination with LIBI USA

GENESIS 22:18

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 03:08

After Avraham (Abraham) demonstrates his unwavering faith in Hashem (God) with the binding of Yitzchak (Isaac), the Lord assures Avraham that all the nations of the world will be blessed through him. When we look at the many contributions that the State of Israel makes to the entire world even beyond its spiritual message – such as its technological, agricultural and humanitarian innovations – we see that the State of Israel is a fulfillment of this biblical promise. Israel plays an outsized role in the global economy, proving this blessing’s efficacy.

Israeli PM Confirms Strikes in Syria

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 02:23

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that the IDF indeed conducted military strikes against sites in Quneitra, Syria. It resulted in the destruction of two Syrian army garrisons and a hospital. Some reports suggested Iranian operatives were also in the area.

Rep. Ilhan Omar Slammed for Claiming US Supports Israel Due to “The Benjamins” and AIPAC

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 02:00

In a new round of tweets on February 10, US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar claimed “it’s all about the Benjamins baby” in response to a question about GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and criticism of Israel.

Glenn Greenwald had noted: “GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens punishment for  and  over their criticisms of Israel. It’s stunning how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

Asked by Batya Ungar-Sargon “Would love to know who  thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess. Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted,”  Omar replied “AIPAC!”

She was immediately critiqued by a wide variety of voices, including Chelsea Clinton who noted “We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”

Omar appeared . to re-tweet another anti-semitic tweet before apparently un-retweeting it.

CNN’s Jake Tapper was also critical:

“Just to note regarding this tweet from Rep Omar suggesting that support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins” — GOP Leader McCarthy’s comments were focused not on policy differences but on what he sees as anti-Semitic rhetoric from Reps. Omar and Tlaib”

The AJC wrote “Suggesting that a Jewish organization is buying off American politicians is both demonstrably false and stunningly anti-Semitic. American politicians are pro-Israel because Americans are (). Apologize.”

Not everyone agreed. Sarah Silverman responded. “I truly don’t think she meant it that way AT ALL, but Im surprised she’s earnestly not aware of the people that will absolutely take it that way..”

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And Roweida Abdelaziz noted “She’s clearly talking about Israeli lobbying money. This isn’t a dog whistle.”

Seth Mandel noted “If you write the Omar antisemitism story as “Republicans pounce” please stop communicating forever.”

Elad Nehorai argued: “So when are the Jews allowed to complain? Once it’s mainstream that Israel buys off politicians or once this inevitably leads to saying Jews own politicians? I just wanna follow the rules that others have set for us before I try and say something about how dangerous this is.”

Rep. Max Rose: “Congresswoman Omar’s statements are deeply hurtful to Jews, including myself.”

Clinton said she would reach out to Omar about the issue.

Omar responded: “Chelsea – I would be happy to talk. We must call out smears from the GOP and their allies. And I believe we can do that without criticizing people for their faith. I look forward to building an inclusive movement for justice with you.”

Reprinted with author’s permission from Seth Frantzman

“Coalface” and the Left’s Betrayal of the Working Class

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 01:00

When I was growing up, the man who delivered coal to our school jokingly warned me that if I didn’t study hard and get good grades, I would also end up delivering coal.

It was a joke. But it also wasn’t.

Working with coal was hard and dirty. Even if all you had to do was deliver it. And, there, far removed culturally and geographically from America and its old minstrel shows, coal dust meant hard work.

Once upon a time, the Left romanticized coal dust and the coal miner as symbols of the oppressed working class. Then it degenerated into a movement of university bred urbanites with contempt for hard work and a calculated ignorance of the “brown energy” that makes their lives possible.

The disdain and ignorance reached a fever pitch with two media articles conflating coal dust with blackface. The Arizona Republic, ran an editorial by Rashaad Thomas, a self-described poet, essayist and Buddhist thinker, who was offended by a photo of Welsh coal miners hanging in a restaurant.

“Phoenix restaurant says this is a photo of coal miners. But I see offensive blackface,” Thomas complained. “My concern that the photograph of men in blackface was a threat to me and my face and voice were ignored. A business’ photograph of men with blackened faces culturally says to me, ‘Whites Only.’ It says people like me are not welcome.”

The photo is actually of Welsh coal miners from a century ago. And its political context is a million miles away from the case of Governor Ralph Northam in Virginia and mockery of African-Americans.

It does have a political context, but one that has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with class. The inability of Thomas and Arizona Republic editors to immediately grasp this encapsulates how detached they are from the working class.

Old lefties would have recognized and understood the political meaning of the photo. It was taken during the great coal strike of 1910 and 1911. The early twentieth saw massive strikes by coal miners both in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Tonypandy riots, which is the context for the coal miner photo, was one of the larger and more explosive confrontations which spiraled into a larger strike and culminated in Churchill, then Home Secretary, sending in the British Army as backup.

The strike would grow until one in six miners in South Wales were part of it.

The photo depicts coal miners in Cwmbach, Wales, discussing the upcoming strike. The coal boom had transformed Cwmbach, but working in the coal mines was risky with mine collapses that killed dozens. Cwmbach became part of the strike fairly early which actually started when the mines stopped allowing miners to take waste timber for their own homes. The men in the photo are relaxing in the pub, knowing that they won’t be going down into the mines again, but also that they won’t have any work.

They’re having a drink while knowing that it may be a while before they will be able to afford one again.

The significance of this is lost on the Arizona Republic’s Buddhist poet who writes, “The photograph shows coal miners’ faces covered in soot. The context of the photograph is not the issue.”

But the context is an issue. It’s just an issue that his fellow lefties once embraced, before abandoning.

The strike is still commemorated in the UK, where the romanticizing of a working class that actually worked with its hands still lingers a little, but strikes in the US invariably involve municipal workers.

Driving through Los Angeles in the rain a few weeks ago, you couldn’t escape men and women in red bellowing through megaphones outside schools to demand that their 6% raise be a 6.5% raise. And the usual teachers’ union obsession with destroying charter schools, testing and student education.

That’s what a strike looks like in 2019. And it’s very different than the dirty men in that pub.

“If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them,” Obama had boasted.

“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Hillary Clinton told West Virginians.

She didn’t. But coal miners helped put her out of work and put Trump in the White House. American coal miners aren’t threatened by cartels, but by environmentalists. They’re not oppressed by billionaires who own mines, but by billionaire lefties like Michael Bloomberg who don’t own mines, and don’t want any to exist. And hardly a day goes by without another proposal to replace coal mines with lavender farms, in a recent Bloomberg magazine, or a proposal to teach coal miners how to code.

In recent years, the media was full of proposals to teach coal miners to code. “Hillbillies who code,” was one of the ridiculously condescending media headlines. But when digital media ventures recently began laying off hundreds of journalists, the media insisted that telling them to “learn to code” was a hate crime. It’s one thing to suggest that coal mining is obsolete, but another to suggest that journalism is.

But the Arizona Republic and the New York Times make a compelling case for journalism’s obsolesce.

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Unhappy with all the attention that the Arizona Republic was getting for conflating coal with blackface, the New York Times decided to run an op-ed accusing Mary Poppins, specifically Bert, of blackface.

“’Mary Poppins,’ and a Nanny’s Shameful Flirting With Blackface,” the old gray lady huffs and puffs.

The rant by Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, who had amassed a PhD in English from Harvard, contends that, “Part of the new film’s nostalgia, however, is bound up in a blackface performance tradition”.

“When the magical nanny (played by Julie Andrews) accompanies her young charges, Michael and Jane Banks, up their chimney, her face gets covered in soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks even blacker,” he writes. “Then she leads the children on a dancing exploration of London rooftops with Dick Van Dyke’s sooty chimney sweep, Bert.”

“One of the more indelible images from the 1964 film is of Mary Poppins blacking up,” claims Pollack-Pelzner, who has a chair in Shakespeare but can’t tell race from class.

The scene that Harvard’s best and brightest is referring to has Bert singing about the life of a chimney sweep, “Tween pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world/Where there’s ‘ardly no day and ‘ardly no night”, while taking middle class children out of their sheltered home and into the mysterious grime of a working class world.

A world that is both magical and dirty. And one that romanticizes the coal dust of hard work.

What was once a politically subversive scene has, much like the coal miner photo, become magically reactionary with the passage of time and the distancing of the Left from the working class.

Does Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a member of the faculty at the University of California Dickens Project, really not understand the role of the chimney sweep in British life? Or British class structure? Did he somehow manage to get a PhD in English at Harvard without ever once encountering Blake’s The Chimney Sweeper “a little black thing among the snow”? Did he think Blake was referring to blackface?

He probably isn’t that ignorant or incompetent. But he’s playing to an audience that is.

An essay on British working class life wouldn’t get you into the New York Times or Arizona Republic op-ed sections, but discovering racism lurking in Mary Poppins or a restaurant photo will.

The chimney sweep and the coal miner were powerful symbols of the working class. But the transgressive images of Mary Poppins and middle class children smeared in coal dust or coal miners enjoying a pint in a pub before the big strike are no longer politically useful.

And what isn’t politically useful swiftly becomes reactionary. Every progressive will live long enough to become his own villain as yesterday’s revolutions of social progress become tomorrow’s hate crimes.

In what some are calling, “facecrime”, media essays read hateful volumes into the quirk of a teenage boy’s lips at a pro-life rally or the coal dust on men’s faces. These exercises in theoretical physiognomy don’t reveal new truths, they are just the Rorschach inkblots that justify the bigotry of the observers.

And their ignorance.

The new obsession with racism demands ignoring the terrible damage that the Democrats have done to African-American communities with their policies through an endless search for shiny new racisms. Reading racism into movies and photos does nothing to help African-Americans in the working class, but fuels a boom in the work of academics and essayists of all races whose work is geared to the upper class.

The coal miner photo and the dancing chimney sweeps date back to an era when the Left was interested in class. Now it’s refocused all its attention on race while leaving the working class behind in the coal dust. And to the Buddhist poets and Harvard academics, coal dust doesn’t represent class, but racism.

When you don’t work for a living, then the people who do, real or fictional, are incomprehensible. Like their upper class predecessors, the Left sees the working class as ‘other’ and their dirt as moral decay.

The cultural signifiers and attitudes haven’t changed. Only the exact definition of immorality has.

The upper class of a century past thought that dirty working people were crude, indolent and savage. Our leftist upper class thinks that they’re racist.

They could benefit from joining Bert in a trip up the chimney.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Sultan Knish Blog

Islam: The West’s “Most Formidable and Persistent Enemy”

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 00:00

At the height of Western dominance over Islam in the early twentieth century, the European historian Hilaire Belloc made a remarkably prescient observation that may have seemed exaggerated at the time:

Millions of modern people of the white civilization—that is, the civilization of Europe and America—have forgotten all about Islam. They have never come in contact with it. They take for granted that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past (from Belloc’s The Great Heresies, 1938, emphasis added).

Anyone who doubts that Islam has been “the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had,” should familiarize themselves with Islam’s long offensive record vis-à-vis the West.   A succinct summary follows:

According to Islamic history, in 628, the Arabian founder of Islam, Muhammad, called on the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius—the symbolic head of Christendom—to recant Christianity and embrace Islam.  The emperor refused, jihad was declared, and the Arabs invaded Christian Syria, defeating the imperial army at the pivotal Battle of Yarmuk in 636 (see my MA thesis on this battle, which one prominent historian described as the world’s “most consequential”).

This victory enabled the Muslims to swarm in all directions, so that, less than a century later, they had conquered the greater, older, and richer part of Christendom, including Syria, Egypt, and North Africa.

Their drive into Europe from the east was repeatedly frustrated by the Walls of Constantinople; after the spectacularly failed siege of 717-718, many centuries would pass before any Muslim power thought to capture the imperial city. The Arabs did manage to invade Europe proper through and conquered Spain but were stopped at the Battle of Tours in 732 and eventually driven back south of the Pyrenees.

For more than two centuries thereafter, Europe continued to be pummeled by land and sea—untold thousands of Christians were enslaved and every Mediterranean island sacked—in the ongoing Muslim quest for booty and slaves, as what historians have dubbed “the Dark Ages” descended on the continent.

The vicissitudes of war ebbed and flowed—the Eastern Roman Empire (“Byzantium”) made a major comeback against Islam in the tenth century—though the border largely remained the same.  This changed when the Turks, under the leadership of the Seljuk tribe, became the new standard bearers of jihad.  They nearly annihilated eastern Anatolia, particularly Armenia and Georgia in the eleventh century and, after the Battle of Manzikert, 1071, overran Asia Minor.

By now, however, Western Europe’s military might had so matured that when the Pope called on the knights of Christendom to come to the aid of the Christian East, the First Crusade was born.  Western Christians, led by the Franks, marched into the beast’s lair, defeated their adversaries in several encounters and managed to establish a firm presence in the Levant, including in Jerusalem, which they recaptured in 1099—only to lose it less than one hundred years later, in 1187, after the fateful Battle of Hattin.  By 1297, the Crusader presence was eliminated from the Middle East.

But if it failed in the East, the Crusade succeeded in the West.  A handful of years after the Muslim invasion and conquest of Spain around 711, fugitive Christians holed in the northern mountains of Asturia began the Reconquista; by 1085 it had proven effective enough to prompt two new Muslim invasions from Africa to counter it.  Again, the ebb and flow of war dominated the landscape, but by 1212, at Las Navas de Tolosa, Spain’s indigenous Christians gave Islam its death-stroke, so that by 1252 it was confined to Granada at the southernmost tip of Iberia.

Around that same time, a violent but relatively short-lived Mongolian storm overwhelmed much of the east; both Christians (notably Russians) and Muslims were pummeled.  A new Turkish dynasty arose from the Seljuk ashes: the Ottomans—whose identity revolved around the concept of jihad more than any of their predecessors—renewed Islam’s perennial war on Christendom.  They managed to enter Eastern Europe, defeated a combined army of Crusaders at Nicopolis in 1396, took much of the Balkans, and crowned their achievement by fulfilling Muhammad’s desire of conquering Constantinople—and enslaving and raping thousands of its inhabitants in ways that ISIS tries to mimic—in 1453.

But mourning was soon tempered by joy: to the west, Spain finally conquered Granada in 1492, thereby snuffing out Islam as a political power; to the east, the most overlooked chapter of Muslim-Christian conflict was also coming to an end.  The Russians, who had lived under distinctly Islamic rule for nearly two centuries, finally cast off the “Tatar Yoke” in 1480.

Even so, the Ottomans continued to be the scourge of Christendom; they continued making inroads into Europe—reaching but failing to capture Vienna in 1529—and sponsored the seaborne jihad originating from North Africa.  While the Muslims largely failed to capture new European lands, Barbary pirates and Crimean slavers captured and sold approximately five million Europeans.

In 1683, over 200,000 Ottoman jihadis attempted to take Vienna again.  Even though their failure marked the Ottoman Empire’s slow decline, Muslim slavers of the so-called Barbary States of North Africa continued to wreak havoc all along the coasts of Europe—reaching even Iceland.

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The United States of America’s first war—which it fought before it could even elect its first president—was against these Islamic slavers.  When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams asked Barbary’s ambassador why his countrymen were enslaving American sailors, the “ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that … it was their right and duty to make war upon them [non-Muslims] wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.”

Europe’s final triumph over the Barbary States in the early 1800s ushered in the colonial era.  By 1900, most of the Muslim world was under European control; by 1924, the more than 600 year-old Ottoman caliphate was abolished—not by Europeans but Muslim Turks,  as the latter sought to emulate the successful ways of the former.  Islam was viewed as a spent force and virtually forgotten, until recent times when it reemerged again.

Such has been the true and most “general” history between the Islamic and Western worlds.

The above map (© Sword and Scimitar) should give an idea of how far reaching and multi-tentacled the perennial jihad was. The darkest green shading represents Western/Christian nations that were permanently conquered by Islam; the lighter green shading represents those Western/Christian nations that were temporarily conquered by Islam (sometimes for many centuries, as in Spain, Russia, and the Balkans); green stripes represent areas that were raided, often repeatedly, though not necessarily annexed by Islam; the crossed swords mark the sites of the eight most landmark battles between Islam and the West.

From a macrocosmic perspective, the consequences of the historic jihad are even more profound than first appears.  After writing, “For almost a thousand years, from the first Moorish landing in Spain [711] to the second Turkish siege of Vienna [1683], Europe was under constant threat from Islam,” Bernard Lewis elaborates:

All but the easternmost provinces of the Islamic realm had been taken from Christian rulers…  North Africa, Egypt, Syria, even Persian-ruled Iraq, had been Christian countries, in which Christianity was older and more deeply rooted than in most of Europe.  Their loss was sorely felt and heightened the fear that a similar fate was in store for Europe.

The “loss” of North Africa and the Middle East “was sorely felt” by premodern Europeans because they thought more along religious and civilizational lines than nationalist ones.   And before Islam burst onto the scene, most of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East were part of the same religio-civilizational block.  As such, Islam did not merely invade and eventually get repulsed from Europe; rather, “Muslim armies conquered three-quarters [or 75 percent] of the Christian world,” to quote historian Thomas Madden.

Thus what is now called “the West” is actually the westernmost remnant of what was a much more extensive civilizational block that Islam permanently severed, thereby altering the course of “Western” history.   And, once Muslims overran Africa and the Middle East, most of its Christian subjects, to evade fiscal and social oppression and join the winning team, converted to Islam, thereby perpetuating the cycle, as they became the new standard bearers of jihad against their former coreligionists north and west of the Mediterranean.

Such are the rarely noted ironies of history.

Returning to Hilaire Belloc, one can also see how an accurate understanding of true history—as opposed to an indoctrination in mainstream pseudo-histories—leads to an accurate prognosis of the future.   For Belloc was not only correct about the past but the future as well:

It [Islam] is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past….  The whole spiritual strength of Islam is still present in the masses of Syria and Anatolia, of the East Asian mountains, of Arabia, Egypt and North Africa. The final fruit of this tenacity, the second period of Islamic power, may be delayed —but I doubt whether it can be permanently postponed (emphasis added).

Note: The historical portion of this article follows the outline of my recent book, Sword and Scimitar, which, in 352 pages copiously documents—including from little known or previously untranslated primary sources—the long and bloody history between Islam and the West, in the context of their eight most landmark battles.  American Thinker reviews of the book can be read here and here.

Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim

Former Pentagon Spokeswoman Visits Ancient Shiloh

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:10

Dana White, former chief Pentagon spokeswoman recently visited Ancient Shiloh. It was Israel’s capital and the site of the Tabernacle for more than 400 years.