‘Joseph’ Musical Removes ‘Israel’ From Its Lyrics

From The Daily Wire:

Most of us are familiar with the Biblical story of Joseph and his multicolored coat, which his father, Jacob, made for him as a sign of his favor. Joseph’s brothers became jealous, threw him into a pit, and then sold him as a slave, and Joseph ended up in Egypt, eventually becoming second-in-command to Pharaoh himself. When the brothers eventually traveled to Egypt to look for food, Joseph as the viceroy, who was unbeknownst to them, revealed himself to them.

This major biblical event was the precursor to the Israelites becoming slaves in Egypt until God, with the help of Moses, took them out, an event which Jews commemorate on Passover.

The story of Joseph is a major catalyst, if not the main precursor, to most of the Torah (Five books of Moses). The entire story of the Exodus is based on it. And no one would deny that it was the children of Israel who went to Egypt and later left based on this event

A children’s production of the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, originally written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, scheduled to play in September at the Artsplash Festival in New Zealand, was criticized by the original musical’s lyricist Tim Rice for replacing the phrase “Children of Israel” with “Children of Kindness” without his permission.

The change in lyrics was noticed when song sheets were handed out to the participants. One astute woman saw the change and questioned on Twitter why they changed the lyrics and if they had permission to do this.

The Wellington City Council, which partially funds the festival, promised Rice it will force the production company to put the original lyrics back in. But as reported by Christian Today, Artsplash coordinator Mary Prichard and her team made the changes in order to “keep life simple” for the schoolchildren. Prichard added that she wanted the music to cover kids from all countries and backgrounds. She then apologized on Facebook, saying how she “would never consider doing anything racist or anti any religion.”

However, according to New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman, it was a clear case of unnecessary political correctness. Additionally, Jewish academic Dr. Irene Lancaster said that the move is clearly part of an anti-Semitic agenda that is plaguing the West.

It is sad to say that this story is not surprising in the least. This incident comes from the same mentality that leads to the failed and naïve notion that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can be achieved and that giving away half of Israel would do that. It is the same worldview that thinks that both Muslims and Jews have equal claim to Jerusalem and that it is not the capital of Israel. And it is truly egregious that most world leaders believe that even the Western Wall, the one remnant of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. (600 years before the rise of Islam) and currently the holiest site in Judaism, does not belong to the Jews.

This is what happens when a worldview is based in feelings and not in facts. As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro has stated, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” But when feelings take over, facts fall by the wayside, and these types of stunts, such as the one of the Artsplash festival’s blatant whitewash of history, are the fruit that is borne.

REPORT: Abbas ready to suspend settlement freeze and restart peace talks

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From Jewish Telegraph Agency:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to suspend his demand that Israel freeze West Bank settlement construction as a condition for restarting peace talks, a top adviser said.

Abbas is also willing to mute his campaign to single Israel out for condemnation at the United Nations and prosecute Israeli officials for war crimes, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

“We have not made the settlements an up-front issue this time,” Mohammad Mustafa, a senior economic adviser to Abbas and a former PA deputy prime minister, told Bloomberg in an interview Monday at his office in Ramallah. “We think it’s better for all of us right now to focus on giving this new administration a chance to deliver.”

Mustafa, chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, told Bloomberg that high levels of unemployment and international donors’ failure to provide promised aid are among the reasons Abbas is willing to sit at the negotiating table.

President Donald Trump has stated that he would like to broker the “ultimate deal” approved by the Arab world to bring peace to Israel and the Palestinians. Last week, he signed a waiver to delay shifting the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for six more months.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a member of the Central Committee in Abbas’ ruling Fatah party, told Bloomberg that Trump earned the confidence of the Palestinians by signing the waiver.

“With this administration, the White House is engaged and that’s a huge difference,” Shtayyeh said.

“That doesn’t mean that I am optimistic,” he added.

GAZA: U.S. Pressure Behind Decision To Stop Terrorist Stipends

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From Hayom Israel:

Hamas leader in Gaza Yihya Sinwar is among the officials whose payments have been suspended – 47 Hamas lawmakers also lose payments – PA official says move part of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ punitive measure against Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority’s decision to suspend payments to freed Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip stemmed largely from American pressure, a Palestinian source said Monday, shortly after Ramallah announced the move.

The Palestinian Authority has been spending millions of dollars annually paying stipends to the families of terrorists who are either jailed in Israel or were killed while carrying out terrorist attacks against Israelis, a practice Israel has repeatedly condemned.

According to a senior official in Ramallah, 47 Hamas parliament members freed in 2011 as part of the Schalit deal, along with some 270 ex-prisoners, are affected by the move to suspend the stipends. Among those affected is Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar.

Although most Hamas parliament members do not receive payments from the Palestinian Authority — as those ceased when Hamas violently seized control of the enclave in 2007 — hundreds of the 1,027 prisoners released as part of the Schalit deal who continued to receive salaries ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of shekels each month from a special fund operated by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Senior Hamas figures also continued to receive salaries from the Palestinian Authority, but not through the same fund. Instead, the PA carried out a bureaucratic maneuver, ostensibly adding them to the Palestinian security apparatuses’ payroll, thus effectively “laundering” the payments.

A senior official in Abbas’ office told Israel Hayom that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas carried out the move after his May 23 meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Bethlehem. During that meeting, which was reportedly very tense, Trump rebuked Abbas over Palestinian incitement.

Another Palestinian official, however, insisted the move was part of recent measures taken by Abbas against Hamas over its breach of the two factions’ 2014 reconciliation agreement.

UNRWA APOLOGIZES FOR USING SYRIA PHOTO IN GAZA CAMPAIGN

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From Jerusalem Post:

The image was used by UNRWA in its 2015 Syria fundraising campaign and then recycled for its 2017 Gaza campaign.

UNRWA has apologized for twice using a photo of a Palestinian child living in Syria, this time in its fund-raising campaign for Gaza.

The double use of the photograph was brought to light by the Geneva- based group UN Watch, whose executive director Hillel Neuer posted both pictures on Twitter with the caption: “Left: UNRWA photo, Jan.27, 2015, of girl in Syria. Right: Same UNRWA photo, May 29, 2017, but now she’s ‘Aya from Gaza’ oppressed by Israel.”

Next to the photo that it posted on social media last month, UNRWA wrote: “Imagine being cut off from the world – for your whole life. That’s reality for children like Aya. The blockade of Gaza began when she was a girl, the occupation in the Judea-Samaria before her parents were born. Now she is 11 and the blockade goes on.

“Aya’s childhood memories are of conflict and hardship, walls she cannot escape, and the fear that the only home she knows, however tiny, could be gone when she returns from school.

This Ramadan, please help support children like Aya, who have known nothing but conflict and hardship.”

After UN Watch publicized the matter, UNRWA said that the double posting of the photo was a mistake.

“As soon as issues relating to a photograph in our Ramadan campaign were brought to our attention, we looked into the matter. We had mistakenly posted an image from our archive of a child in Syria and had said that the child was in Gaza.

“The image has been replaced.Palestine refugee children we serve, whether in Syria or Gaza, are in urgent need of assistance and we hope people will continue to give generously to this important Ramadan campaign,” UNRWA said.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency serves more than 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants living in the Middle East, including the Judea-Samaria, Gaza, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

UNITED NATIONS: CHIEF DENOUNCES ’50 YEARS OF ISRAELI OCCUPATION’ ON SIX DAY WAR ANNIVERSARY

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From Then Jerusalem Post:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres did not mince words in his critique of Israel as it marks fifty years since it reunified Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the five-decades-long Israeli occupation has imposed a “heavy humanitarian and development burden on the Palestinian people” and “fueled recurring cycles of violence and retribution.”

The UN chief expressed his concerns regarding the prospects for regional peace in the Middle East in a statement released Monday, as Israel marks 50 years since it won the Six Day War in which it reunited Jerusalem.

According to Guterres, the perpetuation of the occupation is also sending “an unmistakable message to generations of Palestinians that their dream of statehood is destined to remain just that, a dream; and to Israelis that their desire for peace, security and regional recognition remains unattainable.”

Ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome, is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace, the secretary-general stressed.

“It’s the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he added. “Generation after generation of Palestinians who have been compelled to grow-up and live in ever more crowded refugee camps, many in abject poverty, and with little or no prospect of a better life for their children.”

Now is not the time to give up on this goal,” he said. “Now is the time to return to direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law.”

“Continued settlement construction and expansion; violence and incitement; and the illicit arms build-up and militant activity in Gaza risk creating a one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both peoples,” Guterres added.

The secretary-general also said he believes that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will “remove a driver of violent extremism and terrorism in the Middle East and open the doors to cooperation, security, prosperity and human rights for all.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon is expected to react to the statement later on Monday.

UNITED NATIONS: Funds pulled for Palestinian women’s center being named after terrorist

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From Israel Hayom:

“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstance,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises the U.N. for its decision.

The U.N. has stopped supporting a Palestinian community center in the West Bank that was named after a female terrorist who took part in a 1978 terrorist attack that killed 37 Israelis.

The women’s center in Burka, northwest of Nablus, was named for Dalal Mughrabi, a Fatah operative who died participating in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which a group of 11 Palestinian terrorists hijacked a civilian bus carrying Israeli families on an outing. Thirteen children were among those killed.

“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstance,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “The U.N. has repeatedly called for an end to incitement to violence and hatred as they present one of the obstacles to peace.”

Norway, which also participated in the center’s funding, demanded on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority reimburse it for the funds, saying the “glorification of terrorist attacks is completely unacceptable.”

Sorida Hussein, head of the organization behind the women’s center that received the funds, said she was “happily surprised that the U.N. secretary general has the time to mention a small Palestinian village under Israeli occupation.”

She stressed “how good this center has been for the community regardless of its name,” saying its members chose the name after the U.N. completed the project last year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Norway and the U.N. for their actions.

CALIFORNIA: Noura Erakat Is Bashing Israel While At UC-Berkeley

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From Algemeiner:

While Brooklyn-based “feminist” and Palestinian apologist Linda Sarsour is the progressive Left’s flavor of the month, George Mason University international law professor Noura Erakat is a more intellectually significant, and quickly rising, player in the anti-Jewish, Israel-hating business.

Approximately 50 people attended Erakat’s keynote address at the recent UC-Berkeley conference on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War — “6 Days, 50 Years: 1967 and the Politics of Time.” The conference was part of a larger University of California project.

The young, bright Erakat — a practitioner of “lawfare” against Israel, and the niece of Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat — seeks to undermine and destroy the Jewish state with a smile.

In her talk, Erakat raised such leading questions as, “How has an exorbitant register of death and destruction as experienced in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s most recent military offensives become tolerable in the language of law?” and, “How has the Palestinian use of force been delegitimized to the point of extinguishing armed resistance by criminalizing all of it?”

The loaded nature of Erakat’s questions are obvious to anyone with a passing grip on the history of the region, the modern state of Israel and the lives of the Jewish people under Arab-Muslim imperial rule. And given the lack of human rights for Muslims and non-Muslims in the current Middle East, it is laughable that she could ask them with a straight face.

Erakat asserted that the 1967 Israeli victory in the Six-Day War established “the machinery of occupation,” whereby villages were established by the indigenous Jewish population in Judea and Samaria, allegedly in direct contravention of international law.

Her principle argument was that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria represents a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, which prohibits states from moving people into territories occupied through war. As a skilled attorney and professional harasser of anything connected to Israel, Erakat acted as though her interpretation of international law is self-evident when, in fact, it is highly dubious.

Whatever the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention in terms of Jewish people building housing for themselves on Jewish land, Erakat rightly noted that Israel has faced major international push-back for these actions.

Naturally, Erakat also dragged out the whiskered canard that Israel has used national security as a mere “cover for further colonization.”

But if the 1967 war was a war of national self-defense, which it was, then Israel is not merely an occupier. But, according to Erakat, the Six-Day War was not defensive — despite the fact that Israel only launched military operations after it was evident that it was about to face an overwhelming Arab invasion. Despite this undisputed history, however, Erakat claims that the war was one of Israeli-Jewish aggression against its largely innocent Muslim neighbors.

Another fatal flaw in Erakat’s approach, if not from a legal perspective then certainly from an ethical one, is that Arab and Muslim peoples oppressed “their” Jews as second and third-class non-citizens from the rise of Muhammad until the demise of the Ottoman Empire in World War I.

The Jews of the Middle East are the only people in human history to regain sovereignty after millennia of ethnic cleansing from their homeland. If the Palestinians wish to be viewed as victims of Jewish aggression, then it might be helpful if they would condemn, and try to stop, the genocide of Christians in the region. It would also be helpful if their leaders would stop teaching their children that killing Jews is beloved in the sight of Allah.

One cannot, after all, claim to be a victim of secular racist oppression while ruining millions of lives with religious racist oppression. From an ethical or moral perspective, it simply does not work that way.

Erakat’s myopic hostility to Israel is all too common in Middle East studies, an academic field grinding a political axe against both the West and the indigenous Jewish population in the region. In Erakat, the discipline has found a dangerously engaging ideologue to fill its ranks.

Michael Lumish is an analyst on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the proprietor of Israel Thrives. He holds a Ph.D. in American History from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at Penn State, San Francisco State University, and City College of San Francisco.

NORTH CAROLINA: AN ANTI-ISRAEL HILLEL GROWS

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From FrontPageMag:

In November of last year, members of the University of North Carolina’s Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel voted on an “official” pro-Israel position document. The document, though it was meant to set out a “united declaration of principles”, is almost impossible to find online.

And with good reason. It was as pro-Israel as Kentucky Fried Chicken is pro-chicken.

Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel don’t represent any kind of pro-Israel position.

J Street is an anti-Israel hate group. Brooke Davies, the president of J-Street UNC-CH, has a social media feed brimming with support for other anti-Israel groups, including T’ruah and B’Tselem, and hatred for the Jewish State and her supporters. Davies even spitefully accused comedian Elon Gold of being a “hasbara mouthpiece”.

Hillel’s “Senior Jewish Educator”, Jenny Solomon is active in T’ruah. Her husband, Eric Solomon, is on T’ruah’s board. The North Carolina Hillel hired Jenny Solomon in June of last year. Next month, the anti-Israel couple led a T’ruah trip linked to BDS.

And Heels for Israel? It describes itself as “Working to collaborate with organizations like UNC Hillel and JStreetU”. J Street U defines itself as fighting against the “Occupation” by Jews of their own homeland.

If you collaborate with a group fighting Israel and Jews, what does that make you?

The unified policy insisted on confining Israel behind the ’48 Auschwitz borders, it demanded a PLO capital in East Jerusalem and condemned Jews living in “Settlements” in ’67 Israel. Its glossary described BDS in terms both negative and positive. And linked to a site supportive of BDS. It blasted Jews living in areas claimed by the PLO and Hamas as “a threat to the viability of the two-state solution.”

The signatories included the J Street leadership, the two Heels for Israel Campus co-liaisons, and Hillel’s leadership, Noa Havivi, Hillel co-president, Shira Chandler, the other co-president and Daniel Barondes, the Hillel Israel Chair.

The policy was pure J Street U. Its argument that the best way to fight BDS was to create distance from Israel by being critical of her policies embodied the divide and conquer attack that the anti-Israel hate group had launched to further eat away at support for the Jewish State.

Hillel’s Executive Director Ari Gauss disavowed the policy. But its existence was the symptom of a deeper rot.

That’s usually the way it goes at Hillel.

Hillel had co-sponsored an appearance by Yavilah McCoy with the Black Student Movement. At UNC, as at so many other colleges, the list of Black Nationalist demands had included BDS against the Jewish State. McCoy, a diversity consultant, had been unsympathetic when the racist hate group Black Lives Matter had added an attack on the Jewish State to their platform.

Yavilah McCoy is associated with the radical left-wing group Bend the Arc. Bend the Arc’s CEO Stosh Cotler, a former sex club dancer turned anti-Israel activist, had called for prosecuting Israeli soldiers for war crimes. Despite that Hillel International provided Cotler with a platform. When Black Lives Matter took its hateful position, Cotler’s statement appeared to curiously echo McCoy’s language.

Cotler blamed the Black Lives Matter attack in part on, “the invisibilization of Jews of Color within the Jewish community and progressive movement”. McCoy in the past had said, “When Jews accepted a white identity in America, they participated in sustaining white supremacy.”

Hillel had brought Yavillah McCoy to college campuses to preach her gospel of intersectionality. But UNC’s Black Student Movement had attempted to co-sponsor an appearance by Rania Khalek with Students for Justice in Palestine. Khalek has a long history of hating Jews and attacking Israel.

While students come and go, UNC Hillel has maintained a policy of collaborating with hate groups such as the Muslim Students’ Association and J Street.

Under Ari Gauss, Hillel brought in Ari Shavit. Gauss hosted Shavit’s appearance. Shavit, a leftist critic of Israel, was not being sponsored by J Street by then because of allegations of sexual harassment. But what wasn’t even good enough for J Street was still acceptable at Hillel.

UNC Hillel “proudly” hosted the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF). Despite its misleading name and branding, PCCF is an anti-Israel group. Parents of Israeli terror victims have accused PCCF of stigmatizing them and using grief to push anti-Israel propaganda. The group has even been linked to BDS movements.

When Muslim terrorism broke out in Israel, J Street used Hillel to host Lara Friedman of Peace Now, an anti-Israel group, which blamed the violence on the “settlements”. Friedman violently hates Israel. A typical article is headlined, “Israeli Occupation Is Poisoning America’s Democracy”. She and Peace Now have been fighting against legislation that would prevent BDS.

Lara Friedman has attacked Israel everywhere from the UN to UNC. We don’t expect much from the UN. Jewish parents of Hillel students expect more from UNC Hillel. UNC Hillel promoted Tea With Tagouri which was hosted by the UNC Muslim Students Association. Hillel did not seem concerned by Noor Tagouri’s hostility to Israel. And that is sadly typical.

Like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that did not bark, what is just as apparent at Hillel as the anti-Israel speakers is the lack of pro-Israel speakers. It’s not hard to see where the policy position came from.

And it’s not just Hillel in North Carolina.

When the Hillel International General Assembly invites Stosh Cotler, T’ruah’s Jill Jacobs and Eboo Patel, the situation at the local Hillel becomes all too inevitable. Hillel is more concerned with social justice than Jewish civil rights, with intersectionality rather than anti-Semitism and with progressive politics not Israel. That is why it is eager to collaborate with the Black Student Movement and the Muslim Students Association.

It is becoming increasingly impossible for Jews to reconcile their religion and their peoplehood with the politics of the left. That tension can be seen throughout the secular Jewish world. Intersectionality is inherently anti-Semitic. Its inevitable conclusion is that Jews have no right to exist.

In Israel, Jews are occupying colonists. In America they, in Yavillah McCoy’s words, “accepted a white identity” and so can be accused of being white supremacists. Everywhere Jews are the oppressors.

This is the old genocidal anti-Semitism of the left rearing its ugly head again. And Jewish leftists are eager to host it and sponsor it. They act as human shields against accusations of anti-Semitism. They put on a minstrel show Jewishness that is heavy on mock stereotypical expressions of “Oy” by leftists whose knowledge of Yiddish and Jewish identity begins and ends with an uncomfortable noise.

Hillel, like so much of the Jewish organizational infrastructure, has its head devoutly inclined not toward Jerusalem, but to the mecca of the left. Its tainted agenda taints the students it comes into contact with. That is true in North Carolina. But it’s also tragically true across the United States of America.

UNITED NATIONS: UNESCO Draft Resolution Declaring Israeli Sovereignty Over Jerusalem ‘Illegal’

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From Algemeiner:

The United Nations’ cultural organization UNESCO is to vote next Tuesday, May 2, on a resolution introduced by the Palestinians and several Arab states rejecting Israeli sovereignty over the entire city of Jerusalem, including its majority Jewish western half.

The draft resolution, submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan on behalf of the Palestinians, with input from European Union countries as well, states that “any action taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the City of Jerusalem, are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.”

Both the Israeli government and the Trump Administration, which has frequently hinted that it will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, are reported to be pressuring UNESCO officials and the organization’s 58 member states to postpone or oppose the vote. The struggle is an uphill one, as the Arab states have an automatic majority at UNESCO, and the resolution is expected to go through.

Israel responded angrily to the wording of the draft, saying that UNESCO had exceeded its mandate by intervening on the issue.

“UNESCO’s executive board refuses to stop the politicization that has been undermining the organization’s status,” an unnamed Israeli diplomatic official told Ynet News. “Against the recommendation of UNESCO’s director and the promises and declarations made by different leaders over the past year, UNESCO is repeating the ritual of passing political, anti-Israeli resolutions that undermine any action Israel takes in Jerusalem, adopting past resolutions that denied Jewish ties to the city, and recycling political condemnations against Israel on Gaza.”

American Jewish groups also appealed to UNESCO to reconsider. A letter sent to UNESCO’s Executive Board by a trio of high-level officials of B’nai B’rith International, including CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, declared: “Passage of the draft in question would further critically undermine the standing of UNESCO in those areas that are within the organization’s competency, and your government must reject complicity in an outrageously ahistorical affront not only to Israel but to Jews as well as Christians around the world.”

UNESCO member states, Bna’i Brith said, “have an especially profound moral duty to oppose attempts to deny, question or obscure Jews’ ties, historic and contemporary, to their most sacred of sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Holy Land, including Rachel’s Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Western Wall and above all the Temple Mount.”

The row over the draft resolution comes just three days after UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova emphasized the links to Jerusalem of Judaism, Christianity and Islam alike.

“The Al Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of the Muslims, is also the Har Habayit – or Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism, whose Western Wall is revered by millions across the world, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulchre and the Mount of Olives holy to the Christians,” Bokova said, in an address to the World Jewish Congress’ 15th Plenary Assembly in New York.

President Trump planning to visit Israel on May 22-23

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From The Times Of Israel:

President’s first official trip to take place immediately before Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks 50 years of city’s reunification.

US President Donald Trump is to arrive in Israel for a whirlwind visit on the morning of May 22, and will leave in the early afternoon a day later, official sources in Jerusalem told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

The timing of his visit is significant, as it will be immediately before Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day, which begins on the evening of May 23.

Trump will only remain in Israel for a single night, and it is not yet known whether he will also visit the Palestinian Authority.

No previous US president has visited Israel in the first months of his term.

On Thursday a delegation of some 25 US officials landed in Israel to start planning what will be a key stop on Trump’s first trip overseas as president.

The officials held meetings at the Foreign Ministry, the President’s Residence and the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. On Friday, the delegation is scheduled to visit Jerusalem’s Old City, including the Western Wall, Masada and the Allenby border crossing with Jordan. However, members of the US delegation pointed out, in private conversations, that their destinations this week should not be viewed as a final indication that the president will also visit them next month.

By coming to Israel, Trump will be fulfilling a promise he made in December, before the elections, when he postponed a visit to the Jewish state.

Trump will reportedly be accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, both among his closest advisers. His wife, Melania, is expected to remain in the US.

Trump will reportedly announce during the trip that he is to reverse longstanding US policy by officially recognizing the entire city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but will not implement his election campaign pledge to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper claimed in its front-page top story Thursday. There was no confirmation of this report.

This year’s Jerusalem Day marks the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the city, when Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. While Israel regards the parts of Jerusalem captured in that conflict as part of Israel proper, the land is widely seen internationally as occupied.

Since Israel declared independence in 1948, US policy has been to not recognize any party as sovereign in any part of Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state.

The president will likely combine the trip with visits to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, key players in any moves to establish regional peace, Yedioth Ahronoth said.

Next week, Trump will host Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House, as a prelude to a possible summit involving Abbas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders of the Sunni Arab world.

Trump’s visit will reportedly be followed by trips to the region by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations. The latter is reportedly set to come in June.

Trump’s visit so early in his presidency stands in marked contrast to his predecessor Barack Obama’s first trip to the Jewish state, which only took place during his second presidential term.

The new US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is due to arrive in Jerusalem on May 15 and to present his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in June.

PJTN IN THE NEWS: BOYCOTT THIS!

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From The Jerusalem Post:

The documentary puts BDS in its place: If you don’t know what it stands for, remove the ‘D’.

The three most popular letters of the Latin alphabet over the past decade have been “B,” “D” and “S.”

Go to any college campus across the United States and ask students what it means when those three letters are combined and most won’t know the answer. But it doesn’t stop them from taking it up as a cause.

“If you don’t know what BDS stands for, remove the ‘D,’” conservative Christian comedian Brad Stine says in the new film Boycott THIS! which had its initial theatrical release at the end of March.

In the Proclaiming Justice to The Nations “docu-tainment,” Stine and the animated “Facts Man” travel around Israel and the rest of the world speaking to those on the front lines of those targeted by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Colored with clips from comedic films and popular songs, Stine takes his act to Palestinians working in Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria, students on American college campuses and Israeli rescue teams such as ISRAID, speaking to a wide array of leading figures who help make sense of this anti-Jewish crusade.

“I have no agenda. I’m a truth-seeker – no matter where that leads, because remember, the moment I can say there is no truth I can control you. I can create a fantasy world and I can demand that you live in it,” he was quick to point out in the first minutes of the 44-minute version of the film released to The Jerusalem Post – Christian Edition.

The humorous film doesn’t shy away from contentious issues or any sides in the conflict. He visits Palestinians living in the West Bank who all their lives have had an anti-Israel position, speaks with everyday Jews, Christians and Muslims in Israel to see if there is any legalized discrimination in hospitals, schools and other public institutions, and finds out the truth about the history of the land of Israel, touching on the biblical period, the Roman renaming of the area to Syria Palaestina, the era of the Palestinian Jews and the 1947 Partition Plan.

“I really don’t know a lot about Israel, but I have a connection to it based on my faith… I feel I have a biblical obligation to understand, and even an obligation to defend her,” Stine said in the beginning of his stand-up routine, which, in a Seinfeld-esque manner, fed off of the interviews he conducted over the course of the film.

For example, while trying to discover if Israel really is an apartheid state, the comedian finds out that the 1999 Miss Israel was Arab, there has been an Arab Supreme Court judge and more than 75 Arabs have been members of Israel’s national legislature, the Knesset. Then, Palestinian human rights activist Bassam Eid confirms that Israel is not an apartheid state, and Kenneth Meshoe, a leading South African politician, implores the world that by calling Israel an apartheid stated “you are destroying the memory of the real apartheid.”

Back on the stage, Stine jokes, “When it comes to apartheid, Israel sucks. For people who ‘rule the world’ you’d think they’d do a better job.”

The general conclusion is straightforward. He finds out that Israel, like any other country in the world, isn’t perfect. But Stine can’t help but highlight Israeli innovations and projects that have positively impacted, and sometimes completely changed, the lives of millions of people around the world, including Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians.

By being a true “BDS-er,” one would have to give up cellphones, laptops, life-saving drugs, and essentially go back to the Stone Age. In other words, as Stine pointedly quips, “They have the audacity to be in the Middle East and be a democracy – that has got to stop.”

Laurie Cardoza-Moore, founder and president of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations, told the Post that the goal is to take the documentary to churches, synagogues, university and college campuses and community centers, and to encourage people to spread the word about the truth behind the BDS movement.

“The goal is to present a narrative to show that the Jewish people are not a people who have hatred in their DNA,” Cardoza-Moore says. “These are a people who are constantly creating to make the world a better place, to actually fulfill what it says in the Scriptures, that they would be a light to the nations. And to present that story to Christians.”

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What the NY Times didn’t say about Barghouti

Barghouti

From The Times Of Israel:

Op-Ed: Publishing an opinion piece full of invented horror stories, the Times neglected to tell its readers that the author is a murderer, convicted on multiple counts in a civilian court.

The thing which stands out most – and is most infuriating – about the opinion piece published by Marwan Barghouti in the New York Times is the single sentence below the article identifying the author. “Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” it says dryly. That isn’t an error, that is an intentional deception.

Nothing is further from the truth. The missing part of the previous reports is that Marwan Barghouti is a murderer. He was convicted in a civilian (not military) court on five separate counts of murder of innocent civilians. He was involved in dozens of attempted terror attacks. He caused people to lose their families and led to people being maimed. He destroyed lives.

Barghouti doesn’t only believe in violence, he also believes that its permissible to lie. He believes in the approach, which typifies terror organizations, that the West is weak and naïve and so our media and good intentions should be cynically abused to attack us from within.

The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth.

So Barghouti tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws.

The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.

The peak of Barghouti’s violent ‘career’ came during the Second Intifada. It’s worth remembering that it broke out immediately after Israel’s prime minister at the time, Ehud Barak, made the Palestinians an offer that the whole world, including president Clinton, thought was impossible to refuse: a withdrawal to 1967 lines, a division of Jerusalem, a humanitarian solution to the refugee issue. Yasser Arafat said “no” and sent Barghouti and his people to murder Israelis in suicide attacks on buses and in shopping malls.

That’s why Barghouti is in prison. Not for his views, not for his desire for a Palestinian state, not for his right to freedom of expression. He could have – along with the prisoners who are with him – been a free citizen of an independent Palestinian state long ago. He chose the path of terror, murder and violence.

But the New York Times neglected to tell its readers that.