Today’s Top Stories
1. German tabloids: Netanyahu one of world’s seven most “insane dictators.” The Hamburger Morgenpost and Berliner Kurier, part of the same publishing house, published a litany of misleading or outright untrue accusations against the Israeli PM, while repeatedly referring to him as “Führer.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry slammed the articles as “anti-Semitic,” pointing out that Netanyahu is the elected leader of a democratic country that is constantly under attack.
2. According to the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights: on Sunday, Palestinian riot police beat demonstrators and journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah during a rally against Abbas’ continued security coordination with Israel. Assuming that the NGO’s accusation are true, it’s hard to determine which is more disturbing: that the “moderate” Palestinian government responds quite so harshly to demonstrations and journalists, or that the demonstrations themselves are in opposition to security cooperation with Israel.
3. Students at a Palestinian school funded by British foreign aid performed a mock execution of an Israeli soldier, according to an investigation in the Daily Mail, UK. The Al-Sura school, as well as the 23 others covered by the investigation, are all named after terrorists, and are all funded by UK foreign aid.
4. Are you going to be near Boca Raton, FL this week? You may want to catch HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams as he addresses JNF and Chabad on the latest developments in combating media bias against Israel. The event will take place this Wednesday March 15: free admission with RSVP or $180 for VIP tickets.
Israel and the Palestinians
• According to Revital Yakin-Karkovsky, a senior Israeli ministry official, prominent British activist Hugh Lanning of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was prohibited from entering Israel on Monday. Yakin-Karkovsky says Lanning’s organization had close ties to the Hamas terror group and was one of the leading forces seeking to delegitimize Israel. The Israeli Knesset is considering a law denying BDS activists entry to Israel, however, this particular action was taken under other, already existing, laws.
• The official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reports that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and American President Donald Trump held a phone call on Sunday. According to Abbas, Trump is committed to Mideast peace, thus allaying Palestinian concerns over Trump’s apparent suggestion last month that the two-state solution was optional. Abbas expects to be invited to the White House in the near future.
• In anticipation of a visit by Trump’s envoy, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman suggested that any peace deal should include population transfers: specifically, transferring certain Arab-Israeli towns to be a part of the Palestinian state, and its residents to become Palestinian, rather than Israeli, citizens. Says Liberman:
It can’t be that there will be a Palestinian state without any Jews — 100 percent Palestinian — and alongside that Israel will be a binational state with 22% Palestinians.
Around the World
• American envoy Jason Greenblatt is headed to the Middle East this week. On Greenblatt’s agenda will be whether the U.S. and Israeli governments should raise the pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop paying the families of Palestinians imprisoned or killed after attacking Israeli or American civilians, a practice both governments believe incentivizes violence. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin asks whether Trump can successfully pursue a peace process and also pressure Palestinians on terror and incitement at the same time.
• Will the British Royal family finally visit Israel for the first time in 70 years? Several days ago a spokesperson for the royal family told The Independent that they could not confirm whether the prince would be visiting Israel, but unnamed sources indicated that the visit is likely. The reported announcement came shortly after Israeli President Reuven Rivlin extended an invitation to the British royal family through UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson earlier in the week. Today, former Israeli Ambassador to the UK Ron Prossor weighed in on the topic, saying the time has come to end the “unspoken ban” on Israel by the Royal family, particularly in light of the upcoming anniversary of the historic British Balfour Declaration, which was instrumental in helping to bring about the modern State of Israel.
• The unlikely success of the Israeli national baseball team continues at the World Baseball Classic. Unlike basketball and soccer, which are already highly popular in Israel, baseball is less well known to Israelis: making Israel’s success especially surprising and exciting for baseball fans around the world. Israel has already upset teams considered more talented: such as Cuba and South Korea, and is positioned to make its way into the semifinals if the winning streak continues.
• To anyone who follows the topic, it is no surprise that much anti-Semitism is couched as being “anti-Israel,” in order to provide a veneer of legitimacy. However, a new study of thousands of letters and emails sent from European countries to Israeli embassies, conducted by authors Monika Schwarz-Friesel and Jehuda Reinharz, has finally given a statistical basis to the phenomenon, and a sense of just how widespread it really is.
• The diplomacy between Netanyahu and Putin is a frequent subject of current headlines. Yet less well known is the unique and historic relationship between Israel and Russia: stemming from a number of complex phenomena. One is Israel’s significant population of Russian immigrants (both recent and also from the days of Israel’s founding). Another is Israel’s roots in the philosophies of socialism, which impacts Israeli thought to this day, notwithstanding Israel’s more recent metamorphosis into a primarily capitalist society.
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
Featured image: CC0 stevepb;
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