Today’s Top Stories
1. A new UN report smearing Israel is raising a stink. This one’s from the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and authored by Professor Richard Falk, a former UN human rights official (with his own history of Israel-bashing, anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories). US Ambassador Nikki Haley demands the report be retracted.
The report, titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” says that “available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.”
The New York Times notes that the Beirut-based ESCWA is “composed entirely of Arab member states; most do not recognize Israel,” adding:
It appeared to be the first time in a United Nations report that the term apartheid had been used as a central description of Israeli policies toward Palestinians.
Meanwhile, AP quoted BDS leader Omar Barghouti as hoping the report will be a springboard for sanctions against Israel.
HonestReporting expanded on the report and what to watch for in your local coverage. UN Body Promotes Apartheid Libel
2. Kuwait Airways faces legal action over its discriminatory policy of refusing to fly Israeli passengers. The complaint seeks to “shut down the carrier’s layover flights that link Europe with non-Arab League countries, such as India and Thailand.”
The plaintiff in the latest case booked a ticket on Kuwait Airways to fly from Frankfurt to Bangkok, with a layover at Kuwait International Airport. Just before the first flight, according to the Lawfare Project, the airline — Kuwait’s flag carrier — cancelled the ticket after learning the plaintiff held Israeli citizenship.
3. Jordan rejected a US demand to extradite Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi, who was convicted of masterminding a deadly 2001 suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Fifteen people, including two Americans citizens were killed in the attack.
After being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, Tamimi, a journalist by training, returned to Jordan. Over the years, Tamimi has proudly boasted about her involvement in what Israelis refer to as the Sbarro massacre.
— FBI Most Wanted (@FBIMostWanted) March 14, 2017
4. Tired of seeing Israel portrayed as a brutal occupier in the media? Here’s an exclusive opportunity to travel with HonestReporting and see the reality for yourself. Join us for an exclusive day of military and security briefings on Wednesday, April 19 with IDF Col. (Res.) Grisha Yakubovich. Our day will focus on the policy, economics, infrastructure, society and security, both from a historical perspective, the present, and what to expect for the future.
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Israel and the Palestinians
• If you want a sense of how much the Arab world ranks the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among the Mideast’s other problems, look no further to the White House, where President Donald Trump hosted Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman. While the US is trying to draw the Saudis into a greater involvement in the peace process, the Times of Israel writes:
A statement by a senior adviser to Salman on the meeting carried by Bloomberg News made no mention of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, beyond accusing Iran of “obstructing of any deal to settle the Palestinian issue.”
The adviser also said the two had discussed problems with the Iran nuclear deal.
More at Haaretz.
• A Palestinian rammed her car into a group of Israelis at a bus stop in Gush Etziyon yesterday. This is what a car-ramming looks like. The Jerusalem Post reports that, incredibly, no Israelis were actually injured.
Car-ramming attack by a Palestinian terrorist, today. pic.twitter.com/sVqvDwxhtm
— Shlomi Ben Meir (@shlomikliab) March 15, 2017
• In response to Wednesday night rocket fire, the Israeli Air Force hit two Gaza targets on Thursday morning. Ynet reports one of the targets was a Hamas training facility. The Palestinian rockets landed in an open area, causing no damage.
• Visiting Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano reaffirmed a commitment to stand up against UNESCO resolutions denying Israeli ties to the Temple Mount.
• During a visit to Israel, Canadian YouTube personality Gavin McInnes — one of the original founders of Vice News and Rebel Media — had one hell of a social media meltdown. More on the story at the Times of Israel and Haaretz and National Observer.
“In one video posted Saturday, McInnes, sitting in what appears to be his hotel room, says he thinks his trip was funded by the Israeli government and private Israeli donors “that assume we’re going to listen to all this shit we get fed.” But, he added, “That’s having the reverse effect on me: I’m becoming anti-Semitic.”
In a separate video titled 10 Things I Hate About Israel (originally titled 10 Things I Hate About Jews) features an apparently drunk McInnes ranting on a Tel Aviv street clad in an undershirt.
On returning to Canada, McInnes posted this video explaining that his trip was funded by contributors to Rebel Media and not the Israeli government, that his comments were taken out of context, and that he doesn’t like Nazis. Draw your own conclusions.
Around the World
• You know BDS has a problem when a German mayor compares its language to Nazi propaganda.
• Police in Detroit are investigating after Walk for Israel website hacked and anti-Semitic messages were posted. According to local reports, the FBI may join the investigation.
• A London artist apologized for a “beware of Jews” sign near a synagogue in London’s Stamford Hill. Franck Allais said it was part of an art project involving other signs and didn’t intend to cause any offense.
French photographer behind 'Beware of the Jews' sign apologises, insisting it was a project about 'many identities' https://t.co/2bLAbHD2pG
— Shomrim N.E. London (@Shomrim) March 15, 2017
• Administrators at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology said they’re investigating a Facebook post calling Jews “rodents” ahead of an anti-Israel event on campus. It’s related to an incident in which protesters at a diversity festival covered an Israeli flag with an Algerian one. More at the Toronto Sun and The Algemeiner.
• Britain’s Sussex U. investigating ‘Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Jews’ graffiti found on campus.
• Worth reading: Writing in the Fathom Journal, Einat Wilf argues that as long as the Arab world views Israel as a temporary aberration to be conquered, Israel will stand fast
A simple counting of 50 years of military occupation might lead reasonable people to believe that it can no longer be considered temporary. But that fails to take account of an alternative time frame: the Arab and Muslim countdown until the end of Zionism and the State of Israel. That countdown reflects the prevailing Muslim, Arab and Palestinian view that Zionism is a historical aberration that will not – and must not – last . . .
It is necessary to demonstrate to the Muslim-Arab world that their view of history is wrong, and that rather than constituting a second crusader state, Israel is the sovereign state of an indigenous people who have come home. This can only be achieved through Jewish power and persistence over time. And given the vast numerical imbalance between Jews and Arabs, it can only be achieved if those who truly seek peace support the Jewish people in sending the message to the Arab world that the Jewish people are here to stay.
Maybe it just takes a neuroscientist with an Emmy nomination to explain why being a Zionist feminist shouldn't be controversial https://t.co/9kBCyab4i8
— Emily Shire (@eshire) March 16, 2017
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Ben Lynfield: Like Israel, Saudis pinning hopes on Trump
– Aaron David Miller: The wildest Middle East peace process yet
– Alan Dershowitz: Why must women choose between feminism and Zionism, but not other “Isms”?
– Dennis Ross: US should warn Russia to keep Iran and Hezbollah away from Syria-Israel border
– Gil Troy: ‘Team Jew’ World Baseball success celebrates Jewish nationhood and power
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