PJTN IN THE NEWS: Zionist Evangelicals Release Film Revealing “Truth Behind BDS”


The Christian Zionist organization Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) is responding to recent efforts by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel toward making inroads within the Evangelical Christian community. Last week, the organization screened its film, “Hating Israel: In Search of the Truth Behind BDS,” in Jerusalem launching the organization’s newest project aimed at delegitimizing the BDS agenda.

“The goal is to expose the BDS movement as the latest platform for delivering anti-Semitism,” Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president and founder of PJTN, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Several Members of Knesset, clergy, and business leaders, attended the exclusive screening of the satirical documentary that details the journey of American comedian Brad Stine in his efforts to find the ‘truth’ behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“(Stine) was raised in a typical Evangelical home,” Cardoza-Moore explained to TPS. “He always knew that we were supposed to support Israel. But he was listening to what the media around the world was saying, accusing Israel of being an apartheid state, persecuting the Palestinians and occupying Palestinian land, and he wanted to know if there was any truth to these accusations.”

“So he decided to go on a journey to find out if there was truth behind what he was hearing,” she said.

The documentary, produced in a satirical faction, depicts Stine’s discoveries during his journey, speaking with experts as well as Israelis and Palestinians on the ground. It begins with a scene in which Stine absorbs all of the content critical of Israel on social media and prominent anti-Israel activists. Before Stine is able to conclude that “maybe the Jews are the problem,” however, a cartoonish “Facts Man” figure shows up on his screen encouraging Stine to view the facts on the ground for himself instead of listening to the press.

“Most of the millennial Christians have bought into the whole social media narrative and we’re finding that a lot of the millennial Evangelical Christians are not following the faith or keeping the traditional faith of their parents,” Cardoza-Moore said to TPS. “They look at the Palestinians as a persecuted people while Evangelical Christians have historically understood and known that Israel is fighting terrorists who are trying to destroy them and wipe them off the map.”

“The unfortunate reality is that many of these kids have already been propagandized through textbooks in US schools,” she continued. “When they get to university, they’ve already been propagandized for this narrative beforehand in the secondary school textbooks.”

Ultimately, Stine concluded that the BDS case against Israel was rife with inaccuracies. Much of the satire in the film directly ridicules many of the claims made by BDS, such as the charge that Israel is an apartheid state.

Despite the film’s humorous presentation, Cardoza-Moore argues that BDS is a serious concern facing the Evangelical Christian community.

“Unfortunately, the Evangelical Christians are now being targeted by the propagandists and anti-Semites who are accusing Israel of violating Palestinian rights,” she claimed. “And the narrative coming out of the Palestinian Authority as well as from Palestinian Christians like ‘Christ at the Checkpoint,’ or the Bethlehem Bible College, is that Jesus had more in common with the Palestinians. Some go as far as to say that Jesus was a Palestinian and that he was not Jewish.”

Christ at the Checkpoint, an annual anti-Israel conference held over the last few years at Bethlehem Bible College, has attempted to make inroads within the Evangelical community by inviting a number of international Evangelical Christians. The aim is, according to the group’s website, to “challenge Evangelicals to take responsibility to help resolve the (Israeli-Palestinian conflict)” and to “create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism and an open forum for ongoing dialogue between all positions within the Evangelical theological spectrum.”

“We’re trying to combat their narrative because they are targeting the Evangelical Christian community saying, ‘You should be standing with your Christian Palestinian brethren and supporting us because we’re being persecuted,’” Cardoza-Moore explained. “So it’s very important that we communicate the true narrative to the Evangelical community.”

Meanwhile, members of Knesset met with diplomats, journalists, and organizational leaders at the Knesset on Monday to discuss strategizing the best ways to combat BDS. Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister tasked with leading Israel’s anti-BDS strategy, called for Israel to go on the offense.

Cardoza-Moore emphasized her intentions to start her own initiative against BDS in Israel.

“We wanted to make sure Israelis know what we’re doing and we wanted to get the blessing and nod from Israelis themselves,” she said.

Original Article: Breaking Israel News

NYU Graduate Student Union repeals pro-BDS resolution

NYU reject
Two months after the Graduate Student Union at New York University voted to join the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement against Israel, the decision was repealed this week by the group’s parent union, the United Auto Workers (UAW). The decision came after some members of the student union (GSOC) had filed an official appeal asking to reverse the resolution for violating the UWA constitution’s own bylaws.

The text of the appeal, signed by member of GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine, Ilana Ben-Ezra and addressed to the Executive Board of UAW Local 2110, had pointed out the resolution is illicit because it violates the UAW’s pledge “to maintain free relations with other organizations” ; goes against the University’s official position, which puts the union at odds with the institution ; and “vilifies” and hurts companies that are members of the parent union.

The UWA decision to approve this appeal states that no subordinate body of the parent union can endorse BDS, thus affecting not just NYU but also graduate student unions at over 15 universities, including other unions in the United States who have also passed similar pro-BDS resolutions.

According to UAW’s response to Ben-Ezra, the student group’s BDS resolution is indeed “contrary to the position of the International Union” and is void of “force or effect.” GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine said it “applauds and thanks” UAW for “being the first international labor union to take a strong moral stand against BDS, openly denouncing the movement’s discriminatory practices.”

The organization “Informed Grads” based at the University of California, where UAW also overturned a pro-BDS decision, thanked the parent union for “tolerating academic and cultural discrimination against union members based on national origin and religion, and vilification against Israelis and UAW members who are of Jewish lineage.”

“This significant ruling shines light on what the BDS Movement is truly about, as BDS undermines academic freedom and efforts toward peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians,” they said. Back in April, when the NYU student union had conducted the pro-BDS vote, the University’s President Andrew Hamilton himself had expressed opposition to the decision as well. “A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas, and at odds with the University’s position on this matter, as well as the position of GSOC’s parent union,” he said in a statement at the time.

“NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration. And to be clear: whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott.”
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Caroline Glick: Explaining the Israeli Left


To the dismay of the Left, the public won’t go along for another ride with them, no matter how much hysteria they promote.

Over the past few days, two incidents occurred which together, tell us the story of the Israeli Left.

Monday night, Channel 10 revealed that the Labor Party has no regard for Israel’s national interests.

Channel 10 disclosed that ahead of the 2015 Knesset elections, Labor – and now Zionist Union – leader MK Yitzhak Herzog engaged in private negotiations with PLO chief and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. During the course of their meetings, Herzog signed a letter, which he sent to Abbas.

Among other things, in the letter Herzog pledged that a government under his leadership will withdraw from all of Judea and Samaria, partition Jerusalem, surrender Israel’s security control over the Jordan Valley, permit the immigration of Palestinian “refugees” into the post-withdrawal rump Jewish state, and place Israel’s counterterror operations under the control of a joint Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian security committee.

Abbas for his part, agreed to a “symbolic” Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley.

Whether Abbas agreed to Herzog’s offer is unclear.

But it is also unimportant.

Herzog, as opposition leader, has no authority to negotiate on behalf of Israel. And Abbas knows it. So even if he did agree to Herzog’s terms, his agreement is meaningless.

Abbas can agree to whatever he wants in the framework of pretend negotiations with pretend Israeli leaders. None of his statements bind him.

Herzog didn’t deny the report. Rather he said he held his private talks with the PLO chief in an effort to prevent a new Palestinian terror wave. In other words, Herzog surrendered Jerusalem, and signed the eviction notices of hundreds of thousands of law abiding Israeli citizens to appease Abbas, lest he set off a new terror war against Israel.

Herzog added ruefully, that his efforts failed.

Again, translated into normal language, Herzog admitted that Abbas went ahead and issued the kill orders against Israelis, despite Herzog’s efforts to forestall them by making an unauthorized offer to give Jerusalem to a murderer.

Abbas hasn’t survived as the unelected leader of a terrorist group and of the PA for the past 12 years because he’s stupid. Abbas knows what he is doing when he “negotiates” with the likes of Herzog. He’s been running so-called “Track 2” negotiations with Herzog and his colleagues and predecessors on the Left for more than twenty years.

Abbas has repeatedly engaged in phony negotiations with Herzog and his ilk because it serves his interest to do so.

Israeli leftists are critical partners in the PLO’s political war against Israel.

The goal of the PLO’s political war is to criminalize the Jewish state by castigating it as the “occupier” and “settlement builder” that blocks all efforts to achieve peace.

By agreeing that the elected government is recalcitrant, the Israeli Left proves Abbas’s point.

By reaching phony deals with Abbas, these leaders absolve him of all responsibility for the absence of peace.

The most obvious reason that Herzog and his colleagues engage in these operations is because they believe that weakening the elected government strengthens them. They see Israel’s national interests not as something common to all the country’s citizens, but as chips to be gambled away in their bid for political power.

Joining the PLO’s political war against Israel, they believe, improves their chances of beating Likud and the other right-wing parties at the ballot box.

But there is another – equally, if not more powerful — reason that Herzog and his fellow leftists openly subvert the government and carry out unauthorized and arguably illegal phony peace talks with the PLO.

They are motivated by hatred.

The Israeli Left doesn’t merely view itself as the political rival of the Right. They view themselves as engaged in a life and death struggle with right wingers – and particularly the national religious camp. And this death struggle is not based on political calculations. It is based on pure, irrational and uncontrollable hatred.

Which brings us to the second big story about the Israeli Left.

Saturday night, Ofer Newman, who serves both as Herzog’s personal spokesman and as spokesman for the Zionist Union, published a post on Facebook that most Nazis would be comfortable signing on to.

Newman called Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, “lowly murderers.”

He said that Israelis living beyond the 1949 armistice lines, “are destroying our future.”

Arguing for the mass imprisonment of the Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines Newman wrote in a manner that echoes medieval blood libels, they “built houses at the expense of our friends’ blood. They built swimming pools on the blood of murdered children.

They built cemeteries because they don’t care.”

“What kind of distorted moral foundation enabled these people to march forward towards the deaths of thousands of Israelis with no one there to say, ‘That’s enough. You are despicable murderers. You belong in jail!’” After Newman’s remarks were publicized, Herzog said he yelled at him and Newman said he didn’t mean it.

But of course he did.

So did Channel 10s news anchor Oshrat Cotler, when she said last week that the so-called settlers “are crazy.”

When her remarks caused an uproar, she corrected herself, noting that not all so-called settlers are crazy, some are sane. Which was nice.

The Left’s boundless, unhinged hatred for the religious Right, along with its continuous subversion of the national interest in order to advance its bid for power has caused Israel enormous, strategic damage.

The entire initiative to withdraw from Gaza, and destroy the Israeli towns and villages in the area while expelling their predominantly religious Zionist residents was predicated on a desire not to advance national security, but to destroy the religious Right.

Haaretz and other leading leftist voices admitted openly that endangering the country by surrendering Gaza, along with Gaza’s border with Egypt, to terrorists was a small price to pay for destroying the religious Zionist movement.

A month before the August 2005 expulsions, Haaretz published an editorial, which explained that it really didn’t matter whether Israel’s security was damaged by the withdrawal.

The real question,” the paper argued, “is not how many mortar shells will fall, or who will guard the Philadelphi Route [between Gaza and Egypt], or whether the Palestinians will dance on the roofs of [the destroyed communities].

“The real question is who sets the national agenda. The disengagement of Israeli policy from its religious fuel is the real disengagement currently on the agenda. On the day after the disengagement, religious Zionism’s status will be different.”

Israel has fought three wars with the Palestinians and one with Hezbollah since that withdrawal. Hundreds of soldiers and civilians have been killed. Thousands have been wounded.

Whereas 25,000 Israelis lived within range of Palestinian mortars and rockets from Gaza in July 2005, today Hamas’s missiles have a range covering nearly all of Israel.

Today we are subjected to daily claims by Leftist politicians, activists and their media partners that Israelis are tired of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. His days in power are over. The “public” now sees that the Left is the only side that brings hope so it behooves the government to listen to the “public” and let the Left rule for a change.

But to the dismay of the Left, the public won’t go along for another ride with them, no matter how much hysteria they promote.

Despite the best efforts of Herzog, Newman, and their allies in the media echo chamber, the public has taken their measure. The public is not interested in electing parties that subvert the national interest to advance their political fortunes. The public is not interested in being led by men and women driven by an irrational and dangerous hatred of their fellow Israelis.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

United States And Israel Reportedly Close to Finalizing Military Aid Package

us isra aid

The United States and Israel are close to finalizing a new 10-year military aid package, a senior Israeli official said amid a visit to the U.S. by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, according to reports.

According to the unnamed official, Israel wants to reach the deal as soon as possible, but an announcement will not be coming in the next few days because there are a number of outstanding issues to resolve. Additionally, the official denied claims that Israel is slowing down the talks and considering not reaching the agreement until the next U.S. president takes office in 2017.

The U.S. and Israel have been negotiating a new military aid package to replace the existing package of $3.1 billion in annual aid that is set to expire in 2018. Israel has reportedly asked for up to $4 billion per year in the new package.

Lieberman, meanwhile, met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter during the Israeli minister’s first visit to America since becoming defense minister in late May. Lieberman’s spokesperson said the defense ministers discussed “global terror, developments in various arenas in the Middle East, and a series of issues related to relations between the two countries.”
Original Article: JNS.ORG

Anti-Semitic Incidents on US college campuses doubled in 2015

campus asa

New data released by the Anti-Defamation League shows that anti-Semitic incidents at US college and university campuses nearly doubled in 2015.

A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014. Campus anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 10 percent of the total incidents reported in the in 2015.

The report showed a general increase in violent anti-Semitic assaults in the United States in 2015 compared with the 2014. According to the annual audit there were 941 incidents in the US in 2015, an increase of about 3 percent from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014.

Fifty-six incidents were assaults, the most violent category – representing a more than 50 percent rise from the 36 assaults reported in 2014, the report says.

“We are disturbed that violent anti-Semitic incidents are rising,” says Jonathan A. Greenblatt, head of ADL. “And we know that for every incident reported, there’s likely another that goes unreported. So even as the total incidents have remained statistically steady from year to year, the trend toward anti-Semitic violence is very concerning.”
Original Article: The Times Of Israel

A Match Made In anti-Zionist Hell: Roger Waters and Rula Jebreal

waters Jebreal

Notorious anti-Israel hater and Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters is making headlines once again following revelations that, after divorcing his fourth wife and an ensuing affair, he is dating Palestinian activist Rula Jebreal, Page Six reported on Wednesday.

The pair — he is 72 and she is 42 — were introduced some five years ago by Waters’ then wife, Laurie Durning, who was friends with Jebreal’s now estranged husband, biotech entrepreneur Arthur Altschul Jr. According to a source who spoke with Page Six, Jebreal asked to meet Waters because of his anti-Israel activism, including his support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The couples became fast friends and would dine together many times.

However, after Waters split from his fourth wife, the source said “he began an affair with Rula. Arthur found out, and their marriage ended. Roger and Rula have been together around three months and they discuss Palestine all the time, they are both so very passionate about it.”

“It is the talk of the Hamptons, and some people are calling them the ‘Palestinian power couple.’ But it is very weird for their former spouses, who introduced them,” the source added.

In March 2011, Waters came out in support of BDS and a cultural boycott of Israel after visiting the security barrier that separates Israel from the West Bank, becoming one of the anti-Israel movement’s most high-profile advocates. He has since accused Israel of a host of crimes — including the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, apartheid and illegally occupying and annexing Palestinian land — and has launched a crusade against artists — such as Jon Bon Jovi, the Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams and Neil Young — who announce performances in Israel or in support of Israel-related causes.

In March 2013, Waters took credit for the decision by famed musician Stevie Wonder to cancel his performance at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event. In an interview with the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada, Waters said, “I wrote a letter to him saying that this would be like playing a police ball in Johannesburg the day after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.”

“I think that the kind of boycott that was implemented against the apartheid regime in South Africa back in the day is probably the most effective way to go because the situation is that the Israeli government runs an apartheid regime in Israel, the occupied territories and everywhere else it decides,” he added.

Jebreal, for her part, is also actively engaged in promoting the demonization of Israel and spreading Palestinian propaganda. The journalist and author has in the past been critical of the US’s support for Israel, which she has said leads to “enabling discriminatory laws and segregation and subjugation of millions of people.”

In January 2015, during a CNN discussion regarding radical Islam alongside pro-Israel activist Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Jebreal bemoaned what she called Israel’s ethnocratic policies in favor of Jews and its subjugation of Palestinians. Boteach quickly rejected Jebreal’s accusations, stating:

With all due respect…When you start bringing up that Israel’s policy, it’s terrible that [Palestinians] are being targeted, Israel has to stop the segregation. Let’s stop the nonsense. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. You are a Palestinian woman who has Israeli citizenship. You are allowed freedom of expression. No one tells you who to fall in love with, you don’t get shot by your uncle or by your brother because you fall in love with somebody your father doesn’t approve of. You live a Western life. You live with the kind of human rights that Israel protects. Israel has 1.5 million Arab citizens, there is no segregation and we all know that. So let’s not excuse terrorism with some Israeli policy.

Jebreal is the author of three books, one of which, Miral — largely an autobiographical account of her childhood in the West Bank — was adapted into a film by her then-boyfriend, Julian Schnabel. The film premiered at the UN General Assembly and was opposed by the Israeli government and the American Jewish Committee, which said the movie painted Israel in a “highly negative light.”

Original Article: Algemeiner

MK Issac Herzog met with PA to make pre-1967 concessions, Zionist Union confirms

herzog pa

Opposition leader offers east Jerusalem, West Bank in unsigned agreement with Abbas prior to election.

Knesset opposition leader and head of the Zionist Union, Isaac Herzog, held extensive talks with high-ranking PA officials prior to last year’s election to concede 100% of pre-1967 territories, and declare east Jerusalem the capital of Palestine, his spokesman confirmed on Monday.

A paper outlining the agreement, exposed by Channel 10 Sunday night, which was never formally agreed upon, included Herzog’s proposal to relinquish the West Bank and reach a deal to allow the right of return to Arab refugees in Jerusalem based on UN Resolution 194.

Herzog also reportedly agreed to allow 4% of Israeli settlements to remain in place in exchange for comparable pre-1967 land allowances for Palestinians, divide municipal responsibilities between east and west Jerusalem, and have the Temple Mount overseen by an international third party.

Moreover, the proposal offered financial compensation to Palestinian refugees, while insisting that Israel retain the Western Wall and maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley with Jordanian and Palestinians soldiers.

Former minister Efraim Sneh negotiated on Herzog’s behalf with an unnamed PA counterpart, using the Arab Peace Initiative proposed in 2002 as a blueprint for the talks, the report stated.

While Zionist Union spokesman Ofer Newman conceded on Monday that the negotiations took place, and confirmed the substance of the report, he claimed that Herzog ceased all negotiations with the PA immediately before running for the premiership.

“There were talks and a lot of understandings, and they made significant progress, but after the election was declared, Herzog stopped it all and said he would only resume talks after the election when he became prime minister.”

Newman added that Herzog was satisfied by the talks that meaningful peace negotiations were possible, and planned to immediately resume discussions before losing the election in a close race against Benjamin Netanyahu in March of last year.

According to Newman, the negotiations took place through much of 2014, until the election was announced, although he noted that Herzog and PA chairman Muhmoud Abbas did not meet in person.

“He met with senior advisors and contacts through the year,” Newman said.

“All that is written in the paper substance-wise is true, but it was before the election and no agreement was signed,” he emphasized. “Those were the understandings they got to… but all talks stopped around October.”

In a formal statement, Herzog’s office said the opposition leader “made an effort to reach understandings that would have prevented the wave of terror, which I predicted.”

“After the rounds of the almost annual wars and funerals of the past decade, I am no longer prepared to listen to the mantra that says we can defeat every threat with only military force,” the statement continued.

In response to the revelation, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid issued brief statement deeming the negotiations “dangerous” and “wrong,” adding that Jerusalem must not be divided.

“The Left can’t negotiate as long as there’s a government in Jerusalem,” he added.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett echoed Lapid’s sentiments, stating that Herzog cannot negotiate what is not his, and compared the negotiations with the PA as akin to attempting to sell the Brooklyn Bridge.

“No Jew or Jewish body has the authority – or even the whole Jewish people – to give up any part of the land,” he said in a statement. “It is a right of the Jewish people… our right to the land exists forever.”

Bennett added that the Labor party has strayed far too far from former leader David Ben-Gurion’s leadership.

“What a distance between Labor then and now,” he said.

“Go back to your roots, Labor, we can be proud of our nation. You don’t have to try to divide our land all the time.”
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

UNITED STATES: House approves defense aid to Israel despite veto threat

house approve aid to isra

House of Representatives passes defense spending bill which includes $635.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.

The United States House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $576 billion defense spending bill which includes $635.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs, despite a threat by the Obama administration to veto the bill, The Jewish Insider reports.

The fiscal 2017 defense appropriations bill includes $268.7 million in research and development funding for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile and rocket defense programs; $25 million in research and development funding for U.S.-Israel directed energy activities, such as laser technologies, to combat missiles and rockets; $72 million for procurement of the Iron Dome rocket defense system; $150 million for procurement of the David’s Sling missile defense system; and $120 million for procurement of the Arrow-3 missile defense system.

It passed by a majority of 282-138, noted the report.

In addition, the House included $42.7 million for U.S.-Israel anti-tunnel cooperation to continue developing technologies for dealing with the challenge of locating, mapping and destroying terrorist tunnel networks from Gaza.

The passing of the bill comes despite the fact that earlier this week, the White House announced its objection to the Congressional proposal to increase funding for Israeli missile defense in 2017.

White House officials on Wednesday night played down the statement objecting to the proposal, explaining that the administration believes any additional aid to Israel should be part of the 10-year military aid agreement the two countries are now negotiating, and not in the 2017 defense budget, as Congress proposed.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby defended the administration’s opposition to the funding increase on Wednesday, calling it “the largest such non-emergency increase ever.” Kirby added that the increase “would consume a growing share of a shrinking U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s budget”, according to The Jewish Insider.

The current defense agreement between Israel and the United States remains in force until 2018, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been urged to accept President Barack Obama’s 10-year military aid package which reportedly includes a total of $145.8 million for Israeli missile defense programs, a sharp drop in financial support.

A total of $3 billion in defense aid is given annually, but Netanyahu has asked for an increase to $5 billion annually, in light of the greater need for security due to the growing Iranian threat after the nuclear deal.

In a statement released following Thursday’s vote, AIPAC commended the GOP-controlled House “for significantly bolstering its support of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation,” which will “help Israel defend its citizens against rocket and missile threats, and contribute to America’s missile defense programs.”

“As Israel faces dramatically rising security challenges, AIPAC urges inclusion of these vital funds in the final versions of the Fiscal Year 2017 defense authorization and appropriations bills,” AIPAC added, according to The Jewish Insider.

Original Article: Arutz Sheva

Arab States Voted For Israel to Lead UN Legal Committee

arab un for isra

Amid reports about a number of Arab countries secretly voting in favor of Israel’s chairmanship of a prestigious United Nations committee, Israel’s ambassador to the UN told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that he “recognizes the importance of the 109 countries that voted for us.”

Ambassador Danny Danon was responding to a report in the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, according to which at least four unnamed Arab states did not join efforts on the part of a coalition of Arab and Muslim countries to thwart Israel’s candidacy to lead the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee — also known as the UN Legal Committee — and in fact voted in support of Israel.

Danon was elected on Monday to chair the committee — a move that is being hailed as historic, as he will be the first Israeli representative to lead a permanent UN committee since Israel joined the international body in 1949.

According to a translation of the Arabic Al-Quds Al-Arabi report provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “diplomatic sources” told the newspaper that “at least four Arab countries supported the Israeli candidate.” Further proof cited by the Qatari daily was that “Danon’s statement [following the vote] included no criticism of the Arab group” which attempted to thwart Israel’s nomination.

While Danon was unable to comment on the number of Arab countries that supported Israel — since, as he pointed out, voting took place through secret ballot — he did tell The Algemeiner, “This victory sends the message that Israel intends to play a significant role in the international arena for years to come.”

“Israel is a full member of the UN and will not be treated as a second-class citizen in the parliament of nations. We will not allow dictatorships and anti-Israel countries to harm our standing in the international community,” he said. “Those who tried to block our appointment would be well advised to take note of the jurisdiction of this committee, as they have much to learn about international law.”

The Sixth Committee is the UN’s primary forum focusing on issues of international law and combating terrorism. Nominating the chairmanship for the legal forum is based on a rotation system among the various geographic zones. This year, the 28 member states of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) voting bloc — which includes almost all western European countries, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand and the US as an observer — were responsible for nominating the next leader of the committee.

Danon received 109 votes out of a possible 193, with Arab and Muslim oppositionists writing in their own candidate.
Original Article: Algemeiner

GERMANY: Second largest bank shuts anti-Israel BDS account


Security Minister Erdan urges European banks to follow suit.

In the latest of a series of similar account closures by international banks, German bank Commerzbank has shut down a boycott Israel account, the first action of its kind in that country, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The account has been “dealt with” and the bank notified the account holder more than a month ago, a source told the Post.

The closure of the anti-Israel account because of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activity is believed to be the first instance of a German bank taking action to halt the movement.

“I welcome and commend the decision by Commerzbank and other European banks to close the accounts of BDS organizations. This is the right thing to do from both a legal, financial and moral perspective.

The BDS campaign, which seeks the destruction of Israel, is discriminatory, anti-Semitic and anti-peace, and often has connections to extremist and terrorist groups,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the Post on Tuesday.

Erdan, who is tasked with combating BDS for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration, added: “I call on other banks to follow Commerzbank’s example, particularly those with connections to official state bodies that claim to oppose BDS. I will continue to work to expose the true face of the BDS extremists and their supporters, and to ensure that they face the full consequences of their actions.”

The closed account allegedly belongs to the anti-Israel and pro-BDS website Der Semit, which lists its account in a small town in the state of Hesse, in which Frankfurt, which is the home to Commerzbank’s headquarters, also is located.

“We cannot, because of data protection and bank secrecy laws answer questions regarding existing account relationships,” Commerzbank spokesman Michael Machauer told the Post. “Commerzbank adheres to all compliance standards and regulations governing accounts.”

The Commerzbank account holder for the pro-BDS website in Hesse declined to comment.

The anti-Israel activist, who owns the BDS website, lost a court case to the prominent German Jewish journalist Henryk M. Broder in 2007. Broder termed the owner of the website “expert[s] in applied Jew-phobia.”

The closure of the account may have ramifications that will ripple across Germany, where there are scores of anti-Israel groups that promote BDS and maintain bank accounts within the Federal Republic.

According to German banking law, financial institutions can summarily terminate accounts without providing a reason. As a general rule, the account holder has a grace period of 90 days to wind down financial transactions before the closure.

Commerzbank has offices and branches in more than 50 countries, according to its website.

In February, the Post reported that the French bank BNP Paribas shut the account of the BDS Campaign in Germany that was held by the bank’s subsidiary DAB in Munich.

German banks that provide accounts to anti-Israel groups range from Sparkasse to Deutsche PostBank to the Stuttgart- based BW Bank in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. Erdan’s comment urging banks with “connections to official state bodies” is an apparent reference to the BW bank’s governmental ties.

The city of Stuttgart owns nearly 20 percent of BW bank, and the state government roughly 25%.

BW provides an account to one of Germany’s most active BDS groups – Palestine Committee Stuttgart and also holds the account of the local neo-Nazi party (NPD) in Stuttgart. Both the neo-Nazi organization and Palestine Committee Stuttgart share the same anti-Israel goals.

The “bank does not support calls to boycott Israel,” Rüdiger Schoss, a spokesman for BW, wrote the Post in an email. “A refusal to provide an account is only possible when, according to German law, objective impediments are present, such as violations of sanctions guidelines, calls to violence or a documented denial of the Holocaust.”

Rudi Hoogvliet, a spokesman for Winfried Kretschmann, the Green Party governor of Baden-Württemberg, declined to comment, saying the state does not have anything new to add to the BW comment.

Eva Muszar, a spokeswoman for the Green Party in Stuttgart, told the Post: “We Greens reject a boycott of Israel, as well as BDS. The BDS campaign aggressively calls for a boycott of Israeli goods and organizations, and is collectively directed against Jewish Israelis and uses anti-Semitic prejudices.”

A spokesman for Stuttgart Mayor Fritz Kuhn said: “The bank’s operational business is a matter for the bank to explain,” adding that Kuhn rejects BDS.

Thomas Oeben, a spokesman for the Christian Democratic Union – the coalition partner of the Greens in the state government – declined to answer queries about the movement and the role of BW.

BW, like Commerzbank, has an office in Manhattan.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order last week punishing companies in the state that engage in BDS activity. For Cuomo to sanction the companies, they are required to have business with the state government.

“It’s very simple. If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you,” Cuomo said at the time.

Meanwhile, US Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), in April, issued a tough comment on the row over the German bank and BDS activity.

“I am alarmed by reports that Commerzbank, a German bank headquartered in Frankfurt with branches in Illinois and New York, may be one of several German banks facilitating accounts used by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic BDS groups, and I urge the Illinois Investment Policy Board to investigate these reports under our state’s first-in-thenation anti-BDS law.”

Kirk added: ”Recent reports of pro-BDS German banks further underscore the need for Congress to pass the Combating BDS Act of 2016, a bipartisan bill to authorize state and local governments to follow Illinois’s lead and divest public taxpayer money from companies engaged in anti-Semitic BDS conduct.”

Kirk’s comment followed Erdan’s statement in April that European banks involved in BDS activity face “potential legal, reputational and ethical consequences.”

Such remarks may have played a critical role in the closure of the Commerzbank BDS account, as well as other closures in April, May and June.

The Post’s investigative series on BDS accounts in Europe has led to the closure of six accounts of pro-BDS organizations. The network of BDS accounts occasionally overlaps with the shadowy world of Palestinian and Iranian terrorism and unfettered movement in the EU.

Last week, the Austrian bank Bawag shut down the account of the Austria-Arab Culture Center, which had hosted convicted Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, who participated in the 1969 hijacking of a TWA jet. A year later, she hijacked EL AL flight 219. Khaled was in Europe as part of a speaking tour.

In May, PayPal and Credit Mutuel pulled the plug on their accounts with BDS France. The Austrian financial company Erste Group terminated BDS Austria’s account in April.
Original Article: The Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu: Israel will help NATO anti-terror fight with intel

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Battle against Islamic terrorism ‘must know no bounds’ Netanyahu tells NATO ambassadors, says Israel opening NATO mission very soon.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel was ready to share intelligence with NATO to help fight Islamist terrorism, as he met with ambassadors from alliance nations ahead of a summit.

Netanyahu condemned the weekend massacre in Orlando in the United States, last week’s assault by Palestinian terrorists in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and a list of other attacks as resulting from “the same evil.”

“Two days ago, a terrorist walked into a nightclub in Orlando and murdered nearly 50 innocent people, men and women,” Netanyahu said in an address to the ambassadors before a closed-door meeting. “These people were doing nothing wrong. They were dancing with friends and enjoying music with loved ones. The terrorist murdered them because he was driven by intolerance to the LGBT community and driven by hatred for freedom and diversity.”

“Now, days before that, a terrorist walked into a café in Tel Aviv and murdered four civilians,” he continued. “They too did nothing wrong. They were drinking coffee and enjoying the celebration of birthdays.

“Paris, Brussels, London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bali, Mumbai, New York, San Bernardino and now Orlando and so many other cities have been struck by the same evil. Terror knows no bounds, and that is why our cooperation in the battle against terrorism must know no bounds as well,” Netanyahu added.

“One day ISIS kills gays, the next day Yazidis, and then Jews, Muslims and Christians,” he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State jihadist group.

Netanyahu said “we stand ready to help NATO in this collective struggle. We are prepared to share our intelligence and our experience to help in this common effort.”

Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr, who was at the meeting, echoed Netanyahu’s sentiment, saying there was never any justification for terrorism.

Condemning the “scourge of terrorism, Vahr added: “Again last week it showed its ugly head in Israel robbing four innocent people of their lives and injuring many more. Allow me, Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of the whole NATO family to again condemn in the strongest terms these acts of terrorism.

“There is no justification for terrorism. Period. And that is true whether it happens in Paris, which again last night was the scene of a despicable act of terror, in Tel Aviv or in Orlando. And if I may address our US colleague for a moment, we all share your grief and your outrage at the horrific massacre in Orlando.”

Vahr also conveyed a message to Israel from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who praised Israel as “a very important partner for NATO.”

“Like the nations of the alliance, Israel is an open democratic society,” Stoltenberg added. “Today our nations face greater, more complex threats than for many years. It is right that those countries that share common values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law work together for the good of us all.

“Israel has for many years been an active member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue. The only security forum that brings together NATO allies with Israel and Arab countries.

“And last month, NATO and Israel went further, agreeing to establish an Israeli mission at NATO. Having a mission will help us to take our political and practical cooperation to a higher level. NATO and Israel are natural partners, and I, the Secretary General, very much hope and look forward to an even closer relationship in the years ahead.”

NATO will hold a summit in Warsaw on July 8-9 and Tuesday’s meeting in Jerusalem was meant to discuss issues related to the meeting.

Israel said last month it would upgrade its ties with the 28-member military alliance by opening a permanent mission to its Brussels headquarters.

Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel was working to open the office as soon as possible.

Israel already participates in military exercises with NATO members other than Turkey, notably the United States.

US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told journalists on the sidelines of Tuesday’s meeting that ongoing joint training and intelligence sharing from Israel was “certainly relevant to the threats that come out of this region.”

“We’re quite encouraged by what’s possible between Israel and NATO in the months ahead,” Shapiro said.

With ISIS and other jihadist organizations operating in neighboring Syria, the fight against Islamic terrorism represents a key area of cooperation for Israel and Western nations.
Original Article: Arutz Sheva

UN GENEVA: Israel gets singular focus at UN rights body

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Wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have killed hundreds of thousands of people. Enforced disappearances, torture and extremist attacks infringe on human rights worldwide. Tyrannical, autocratic leaders and their allies from Belarus to Burundi repel dissent with an iron fist.

But while human rights abuses are legion in these troubled times, only one country has its record inspected at every single session of the United Nations Human Rights Council: Israel, over its policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel, which trumpets its bona fides as a democracy in a difficult neighborhood full of enemies, is crying foul. And it is not entirely alone: Other critics, notably the United States, also decry what they see as an entrenched bias in United Nations institutions and an obsession with the Palestinian issue at the expense of other crises around the globe.

As the council convened Monday in Geneva for its second, weeks-long session this year, “Item 7” considers the human rights implications of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. The standing item at the 10-year-old council has come to exemplify the spotlight on Israel in a number of U.N. bodies.

“I don’t know whether it’s fair or unfair, but it’s obvious that the majority of members want to continue to focus on the situation of Israel and Palestine,” council president Choi Kyong-lim told The Associated Press.

Of 233 country-specific HRC resolutions in the last decade, more than a quarter — 65 — focus on Israel. About half of those are “condemnatory.” Israel easily tops the second-place country in the infamous rankings: Syria, where since 2011 at least 250,000 have been killed, over 10 million displaced, and swaths of cities destroyed, was the subject of 19 resolutions.

“The U.N. continues to single out Israel, the one liberal democracy in the Middle East,” said David Keyes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman. “Imagine that. A country with free speech, free elections and minority rights is condemned more than mass murdering dictatorships like North Korea, Iran and Syria. That speaks for itself.”

Shortly after taking office in 2007, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized the standing item on Israel, saying he was “disappointed at the council’s decision to single out only one specific regional item, given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world.”

It hasn’t budged since.

Over the years, the council has variously criticized Israel’s presence in the Golan Heights and its detention of Syrian suspects without trial, a lack of cooperation with U.N. human rights investigators, its expansion of settlements in the West Bank, and its muscular and at times deadly response to militants’ rocket attacks from Gaza that have killed Israeli civilians.

This session, no resolutions are planned on Israel, but it still gets automatic billing.

Israel’s expansion of West Bank settlements in recent years has garnered sharp criticism, even of allies.

The criticism of Israel spans many U.N. bodies. Take some other recent examples:

—Israeli officials bristled after the U.N.’s cultural agency, UNESCO, passed a resolution in April that put the Western Wall in Jerusalem — Judaism’s holiest site — in quotation marks and described other Jewish sites as “so-called.”

—An HRC resolution in March called on U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein to set up a database of businesses operating in settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights. U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper said that move “only serves to reinforce the council’s one-sided actions against Israel.”

—On Friday, Zeid condemned Wednesday’s gun attack in Tel Aviv that killed four people. But he quickly expressed concern about the response, saying that Israeli authorities could be engaging in “collective punishment” with some measures against Palestinians like canceling 83,000 travel permits granted to West Bank and Gaza residents during Ramadan. Israel’s mission in Geneva accused his office of “using the murder of innocent Israelis to attack Israel.”

Palestinians accuse Israel of intransigence in applying U.N. resolutions.

“Israel tries to say that the U.N. is not the place to solve problems,” said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki. “Israel tries hard to single out the Palestinians by saying the conflict will be solved by the two sides and in the same time it continues confiscating lands and building settlements. Israel … doesn’t listen to anybody.”

The Palestinians, who have been gaining a greater presence in U.N. institutions in recent years, have allies like the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, which has often led the push for resolutions critical of Israel. An OIC official did not respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment, saying only that its ambassador to the council had recently left.

John Fisher, Geneva director for Human Rights Watch, said that while his group believes Israel’s record deserves attention, it also has been calling for “attention to situations that are not on the council’s agenda at all, but should be.”

The more economic and political heft that a country has, the more it can block intense scrutiny. Uber-rich Saudi Arabia thwarted efforts to create an international probe of rights abuses in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led military coalition has led a campaign including air strikes that have left hundreds of civilians dead.

On the side of those less influential, there’s Eritrea: a small, poor country on the Red Sea whose African neighbors want to highlight in this session with a resolution critical of its rights record.

Nearly from its inception, the HRC has drawn criticism for its make-up. This year, China, Cuba, Russia, Venezuela and Burundi are among its 47 members. Diplomats insist the HRC reflects the world, and cannot only include peaceful Western democracies. They say no country is fully above reproach.

The HRC has had achievements in places like post-genocide Sri Lanka, whose new government has been generally receptive to scrutiny and has cooperated with the council. Some Latin American countries are expected to lead an effort in this session to support protections for people based on their gender identities and sexual orientation.
Original Article: The Washington Post