Tuesday, September 19, 2017

19-Sep-17: An Iranian drone dispatched in Israel's direction from Syria is intercepted en route

An IDF Patriot battery ready for action [Image Source]
All the ominous recent talk about Iran's massively increased financial capacity - thanks to its JCPOA deal with the Obama administration
- to feed its voracious appetite for military adventurism in our part of the world just became significantly more worrisome this afternoon.
The Israeli Air Force intercepted what it believes to be an Iranian-built drone, sent by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, with a Patriot missile after it attempted to cross into Israeli airspace on Tuesday, the army said. The military also scrambled fighter jets to the area, but ultimately did not need to use them as the interceptor missile was able to destroy the target. [According to an IDF spokesperson] the air force monitored the unmanned aerial vehicle from its take-off from Damascus airport to the demilitarized zone that separates the Israeli and Syrian Golan Heights. [When it crossed] the Syrian border and entered the demilitarized zone — but not Israeli airspace — the IDF “decided to intercept it,” [the spokesperson] said. ["IDF Patriot intercepts apparent Hezbollah drone from Syria", Times of Israel, September 19, 2017]
The report says the Patriot interceptor missile was fired from a military site near the city of Safed.

Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi under watchful gaze of his
ideological masters [Image Source]
Iran has not been shy for decades about its genocidal (understand the word literally) intentions when it comes to the Jewish state:
Iran’s newly appointed army chief warned Monday that the Islamic Republic would raze the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if the “Zionist regime” makes “any wrong move.” In remarks delivered at an event in the city of Qom, General Abdolrahim Mousavi also echoed previous warnings that Israel will not exist in 25 years. Mousavi, who issued a nearly identical threat last month, was appointed in August as the commander of the Iranian army, an entity separate from the country’s Revolutionary Guards Corps... [Source]
The sabre-rattling of Iran's entire power structure is generally taken seriously around here. An Associated Press report reminds us that Israeli leaders across the military and political spectrum are
worried that as the Syrian civil war appears to be winding down, Iranian and Hezbollah forces will maintain a permanent presence in the neighboring country. Netanyahu was to address the U.N. General Assembly later on Tuesday, with Iran at the top of his agenda... [Netanyahu] has repeatedly warned that Israel will not accept a military presence by Iran or any of its Shiite allies in the Syrian border area near Israel. Israel has largely stayed out of the fighting in Syria. But it has carried out dozens of airstrikes on alleged arms shipments bound for Hezbollah. It fears the group will gain sophisticated weapons and smuggle them from Syria into Lebanon.
From a 2014 report on the IDF's blog:
The Patriot surface-to-air missile system, officially known as the MIM-104, is an important part of Israel’s aerial defense. Designed by the American company Raytheon, this ground-to-air, long-range missile is able to intercept and shoot down all types of aircraft. Drones, helicopters and fighter jets can all be targeted from a distance of 160 km.

19-Sep-17: The UK has more consumers of jihadi web content than anywhere else in Europe

Today's British report, online here
While thoughtful parts of Western society ponder the need to find the right balance between personal security and personal liberty, and how and whether governments should interfere with the flow of information and ideas on the Internet, reality keeps intruding.

Like for instance the attempted bombing of an underground train in London in the last few days ["Bucket Bomb’ Strikes London’s Vulnerable Underground", New York Times, September 15, 2017] and the sheer good luck that explains why it did not end up as a massacre of innocents.

Not so surprisingly, public opinion gets impacted by encounters with the lethal bigotry that forms a core part of such barbaric assaults.

So - a brief update here on one of the rootest of root causes of jihadist terror in Europe and especially the United Kingdom:
Online jihadist propaganda attracts more clicks in the UK than any other country in Europe, a report has found | Britain is the fifth-biggest audience in the world for extremist content after Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Policy Exchange's study said. The think tank suggested the UK public would support new laws criminalising reading content that glorifies terror. The government has told internet companies like Facebook and Google to do more to to remove jihadist material. Former US military chief General David Petraeus, who wrote a foreword to the report, said efforts to combat online extremism were "inadequate". He said the bombing of a London Tube train last week "merely underscored once again the ever-present nature of this threat." "There is no doubting the urgency of this matter," he said. "The status quo clearly is unacceptable."
...Under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, it is currently an offence to possess information that could assist a would-be terrorist, but not material which glorifies terrorism... [BBC, September 19, 2017]
The Policy Exchange report itself [here], published today, is considerably more revealing than the BBC summary and worth delving into.

More than 130 pages long, it challenges the idea that the impact of ISIS as an online force is in decline. It notes that the "the death of key figures, loss of territory and ongoing fighting" have not prevented its production and dissemination from churning on and influencing the audiences it addresses:
The spate of terrorist attacks in the first half of 2017 confirmed that jihadist radicalisation is a real and present danger to the national security of the UK and its allies... ISIS is producing extremist content online at a consistent rate and this is spread across a vast information ecosystem: it is disseminated to core followers via Telegram, before being pumped out into the mainstream social media space (via Twitter, Facebook and other leading platforms). For this reason, we argue that more must be done to force jihadist content out of the mainstream. It is clear that the status quo is not working; it is time for a new approach... [W]e argue that society as a whole must act to overcome this serious threat to the security, vitality and prosperity of western societies. ["The New Netwar: Countering Extremism Online" (PDF), Policy Exchange, September 19, 2017
And this not exactly unrelated news snippet from a July 26, 2017 article in Independent UK:
A record number of anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded in the UK as monitors warn of “unprecedented” reports of attacks, abuse and harassment. The Community Security Trust (CST) recorded 80 violent assaults targeting Jews in the first six months of this year, as well as verbal abuse, graffiti, vandalism, hate mail and abuse via social media and the internet. A total of 767 incidents were reported between January and June – a rise of almost a third on the same period in 2016 and the highest since the CST’s records began in 1984... Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said the CST’s report corroborates its own research, indicating that 2017 was “likely to be the worst year on record for anti-Semitic crime” and the fourth record-breaking year in a row. “The reason for this rise appears to be a failure to enforce the law,” he argued. “Over the past several years, anti-Semitic crime has been rising dramatically whilst there have only been a paltry number of prosecutions. This emboldens anti-Semites who increasingly fear no consequences for their actions.”
["Anti-Semitic attacks hit record high in UK amid warnings over rise of 'hatred and anger'", Independent UK, July 26, 2017]
As for current British attitudes towards Jews, a new report on anti-Semitism in the UK
caps the ‘hardcore’ anti-Semite population at five percent [but] detects a further 25 per cent who feel negatively about Jews and hold one or two viewpoints that most Jews would consider anti-Semitic. These include traditional Judeophobic tropes of undue influence, divided loyalty, and ill-gotten wealth... The study, a joint enterprise by the Community Security Trust and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, is an in-depth exploration of anti-Jewish attitudes, the role of animus towards Israel, and the prevalence of prejudice in 2017... It is a sober analysis and the researchers tend towards restraint – sometimes a little too much restraint – in drawing conclusions from their data. It is this very interpretive modesty that makes the findings all the more concerning. The far-right remains the most anti-Semitic demographic but the far-left, by the force of numbers and its new-found influence over British politics, is roughly on an even keel with reactionaries when it comes to hating Jews... ["Britain has an anti-Semitism problem. Here are the numbers that prove it", Stephen Daisley, The Spectator, September 13, 2017]
And finally two related sound-bytes about how Britain's Jews view the political landscape. One:
The vast majority (83%) of British Jews believe the Labour Party is too tolerant of anti-Semitism among its MPs, members and supporters, a poll suggests. This compared with 19% for the Conservatives and 36% for the Liberal Democrats, according to the YouGov survey for Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA). [Jewish News UK, August 20, 2017]
and two: how they are translating this into personal life-changing decisions:
Almost one in three British Jews has considered moving abroad in the past two years, a survey [of] nearly 4,000 members of the community during 2016 and 2017 [has found.] One in six British Jews (17%) reported feeling unwelcome in Britain and over a third (37%) said they had felt the need to conceal their Judaism in public... 31% of British Jews had considered moving abroad, a rise from 28% during their last survey two years ago. ["More British Jews considering move abroad as anti-Semitism fears grow - poll", SKY News, August 20, 2017]

Sunday, September 17, 2017

17-Sep-17: Stopping terror?: Questions for Jordan's heir apparent

Jordan's crown prince and his parents [Image Source]
The Jordan Times, published in Amman and owned by a kingdom-controlled foundation,
reported this morning the not-entirely-stunning news that
His Majesty King Abdullah, accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Rania, on Friday left the Kingdom, heading to New York, where he will be leading the Jordanian delegation to the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly... Deputising for the King, HRH Crown Prince Hussein is scheduled to deliver Jordan’s speech before the General Assembly... In 2015, the Crown Prince became the youngest person ever to chair a Security Council meeting, when he called for measures to prevent the world’s youth from being lured into the dark world of extremism...  ["King to take part in UN meeting", September 16, 2017]
If you're a news reporter or editor, wouldn't you want to take the opportunity to get Jordan's ruler to clarify his view of terrorism in light of the free-pass and ongoing protection he has given to a mass-murdering Jordanian woman who was named to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list on March 14, 2017?

No mainstream media has tackled him on this. In view of his repeated public condemnations of terror, that's strange, disturbing and something that ought to be corrected.

If King Abdullah is out of reach, can we suggest putting a similar question to HRH Crown Prince Hussein who is going to deliver Jordan's speech to the UN General Assembly? There's much he could explain, but frankly it's the reference in the Jordan Times piece above that has us intrigued.

After all, a public official and next-in-line-to-the-Hashemite-throne who speaks publicly about "measures to prevent the world’s youth from being lured into the dark world of extremism" might be fair game for some timely questions about how to stop terror. He's young (now 23) and perhaps a little naive (just our impression). But editors ought to note he's already two years older than that other Jordanian, Ahlam Tamimi, was when she masterminded the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. And he has attracted some extravagant praise:
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Hussein's attendance at the session saying, "He is not yet 21 years old – but he is already a leader in the 21st century." [Source]
Young Hussein has already shown he is ready to address some especially pertinent questions. As of a year ago, more than 2,500 Jordanians were reported to have joined the ranks of foreign jihadist fighters in Syria. Three sons of sitting members of its parliament had been killed fighting "with ISIS or the al Qaeda affiliate Jebhat al Nusra, in Syria" [source]. It makes sense that terror should be be occupying the thoughts of decision-making Jordanians, i.e. the king and the crown prince.

But since he is evidently on the side of those seeking a solution, HRH might explain how Tamimi, a woman terrorist who happily confesses (time and time and time again) to the murders by bombing of fifteen innocent people and the maiming and wounding of 130 more, can be treated so well by the Hashemite royal house that she and her family publicly thanked them.

Tapping into widespread support among Jordan's majority-Palestinian-Arab population, the Tamimi clan also called on King Abdullah II "along with his government to provide protection and stability" for the proud jihadist murderer and her convicted-murderer husband. From watching closely, we are convinced the "protection and stability" are indeed being delivered. Is this really how you prevent the world’s youth - or even Jordan's - from being lured into the dark world of extremism and murderous, cruel terrorism?

There's nothing especially shocking in any of this except for how the brazen hypocrisy on terror against Israelis gets repeatedly air-brushed out of all mainstream media coverage of King Abdullah's court.

UPDATE September 18, 2017:  In case reporters, journalists, editors or bloggers care to press the young prince on some terror-related matters, allow us to give a hand by pointing you to some questions - ignored of course and unanswered - that we posed to Jordan's current foreign minister who once not so long ago served as the editor of the same Jordan Times that we quoted at  the top. (No one ought to be surprised at the echo-chamber nature of Jordan's power elite.) They're here: "26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan's foreign minister and we have 10 questions".

Friday, September 15, 2017

15-Sep-17: What's rarely discussed about silencing Palestinian Arab voices

dealing with dissenting voices in the Palestinian Arab capital,
Ramallah [Image Source]
Over on the often-outstanding website of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), there's a fresh (posted yesterday) and well-written survey of some of the more Kafka-esque dimensions of Palestinian Arab life. It's entitled "The crackdown on Palestinian freedom of speech – and why you probably haven’t heard about it".

Some highlights (all bullet points are verbatim quotes):
  • [T]he Palestinian Authority has introduced a new "ban on websites". Like all laws passed since 2007, the new Electronic Crimes Law was passed in July 2017 by presidential decree without consultations with Palestinian civil society or the public.
  • According to a comprehensive report from Amnesty International, (an organisation that has been accused of anti-Israel bias in the past), the law imposes prison sentences and fines which "could seemingly be applied to anyone who shares, likes or retweets news deemed illegal, and could be used against journalists further infringing on their ability to work freely".
  • [A]t least six individuals have been arrested and charged under the new laws. In addition, "at least ten journalists working in print, radio, TV and online media were summoned by Preventative Security Forces for interrogation in Ramallah...
  • [Quoting a shameless senior editor at the Hamas-controlled Al-Quds, Mahmoud Abbas' PA is] "increasingly authoritarian. They want to control all media outlets to block any voices exposing their crimes and violations". 
  • [A lawyer] "Muhannad Karajah, who represents many of the journalists, said the situation in the past months has been the worst in years. ‘There is no space for freedoms anymore, the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank are becoming a police state, and they are silencing the people,' he told Amnesty International."
  • Amnesty International [says] the new West Bank law curtailing freedom of speech is being used as a tool to silence dissenting voices in the ongoing conflict between Fatah and Hamas. 
  • [Last week, the Palestinian Authority] arrested Mohammed Saber Jabbar, after he hosted right-wing Israeli lawmaker Yehudah Glick for Eid al-Adha celebrations. According to Glick, he "went to wish [Jabbar] a happy holiday on eid al-Adha..."
The AIJAC article goes on to give several examples of how critical voices are being silenced by the Abbas regime:
  • Jihad Barakat, a reporter for the Palestine Today satellite channel, was arrested for "taking a picture of the Palestinian Prime Minister's motorcade being stopped at an Israeli checkpoint". Absurdly, Barakat was charged "with a crime that is usually used to harass beggars" for the unlawful use of public spaces.
  • Ayman Qawasmeh, the director of a private radio station in Hebron, was arrested "shortly after he criticized Abbas and called on him and his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, to resign". 
  • Issa Amro, a Palestinian activist in Hebron, published a Facebook post criticising Qawasmeh's arrest... was taken into custody for speaking out...[and] also charged with "‘causing strife' and 'insulting the higher authorities' under the 1960 Jordanian Penal code which is still enforced in the West Bank".
Of course, Fatah/PA/PLO/Abbas are far from alone in their penchant for petty and not-so-minor thuggish tyranny:
  • [The] Hamas leadership in Gaza has also been busy during the last few months. In June, Hamas "arrested at least two journalists,... blocked journalists from reporting in some areas, and restricted the work of a foreign journalist". 
  • [In July] "twelve Palestinians were questioned and detained... for comments they made on Facebook", and at least three of the journalists reported ill-treatment and one alleged torture by the Hamas authorities.
  • [Amnesty says two Palestinian Arab critics of Hamas claimed] "they were kidnapped, beaten and threatened by Hamas security forces with the use of violence against them and their families". Their crime? Criticising Hamas' handling of the ongoing electricity crisis...
  • [Last month] Hamas released Palestine TV's correspondent Fouad Jaradeh after more than two months in detention - but only after the Palestinian Authority arrested five journalists working with Hamas-affiliated news outlets. The five Hamas journalist were then released in what was widely viewed as a tit-for-tat situation.
AIJAC's analysis ends with some on-the-money comments from Khaled Abu Toameh, a Palestinian Arab commentator whom we quote here fairly often. On these matters, he says with considerable justice 
that the mainstream press prefers to cover "the Palestinians whose stories are often linked, directly and indirectly, to Israel". But in cases like these, where the Palestinians are victims at the hands of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, "their tale remains buried - along with their freedom".
Now think of all the working reporters, photographers, commentators, analysts, editors and media representatives based in this specific corner of the world - perhaps the most intensively covered of any of the world's news hotspots - and ask yourself when any of these instances of gross muzzling of dissenting voices were last (or ever!) reported in any of the sources of news that provide you with what you know.

Is it possible to make sense of the failing search for peace in this part of the world without paying attention to the police billy-clubs and draconian laws over on the other side of the fence?

15-Sep-17: Women, children, parliamentarians, editors and terror

Busy members of the Palestinian Legislative Council [the image is
from 2007 - Source]
The Palestinian Arab terrorist enterprise occasionally drops its guard and allows some of its semi-concealed lethal malevolence to be exposed to the light of day.

Here's an extract from a media report of a heavily-promoted publicity release issued yesterday (Thursday) by several NGOs that agitate for the rights of Palestinian Arab prisoners:
Throughout the month of August, Israeli forces arrested 522 Palestinians, including 130 children, according to a Palestinian human rights organization reported on Thursday. The scores of minors, as well as 16 women, were arrested across the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, a report jointly issued by the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs (CDA) said. Since the beginning of 2017, nearly 3,800 Palestinians have been arrested and 6,400 Palestinian prisoners are currently being held in Israeli jails. This number includes MPs, women and children. [Daily Sabah, published in Turkey, September 14, 2017]
(Wikipedia says Daily Sabah - the word means morning - is regarded as a propaganda outlet for Turkey's media-tough government and Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In March 2017, after investigating complaints that the paper had an editorial agenda of "spreading hate", the president of the European Parliament banned its distribution there.)

Video grab from a Pal Arab source
The focus of the report and the message of its promoters in obviously concerned with arousing outrage at the notion that barbaric Israelis would consider imprisoning children, women and (gasp) members of parliament.

Do they want readers to know the background? Evidently not.
  • Members of Parliament? Goodness, how do those busy MPs manage to tear themselves away from the daily gruel of parliamentary law-making and oversight for the benefit of those who elected them? Terrorism can be so time-consuming. But they do! We may never know how since the Palestinian Authority parliament has been inactive for more than decade after being formed in 1996. (For some valuable insight from an Arab perspective, see "How Palestine's parliament is squandering millions of dollars", Ahmad Melhem - Al Monitor, February 10, 2016). An announcement was made this past December ["Palestinian parliament to hold first session in a decade"] that those overworked, publicly-funded officials were going to take part in the Palestinian Legislative Council's "first session in a decade". As far as we know, it never happened. It has been more than a decade since its last session. MP's salaries, of course, continue to be paid. None of this, obviously, is mentioned in the Daily Sabah article.
  • Women prisoners? As people who pay more than the usual degree of attention to Palestinian Arab terror, it's evident to us that some of the most vicious sociopaths to have been detained and accommodated inside Israel's security prisons are females. Can't think of a more egregious example than the woman - aged only 21 when she embarked on a life of homicide and terror - who murdered our daughter Malki and the other fourteen humans whose lives were stolen in the bombing attack on Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. Ahlam Tamimi, who now lives in total freedom in Amman, Jordan, with her husband and toddler son, masterminded that massacre and has never stopped boasting publicly about it. It's propelled her to the status of celebrity jihadist and a figure of wide Jordanian admiration. If and when the FBI eventually catches up with her (she features on its Most Wanted Terrorists list), will those Turkish editors try again to arouse anguish at the way woman terrorists are treated? And what do they say about women victims like our Malki, who was murdered at the age of 15?
  • Child prisoners? The active incitement to kill and be killed that emanates from the highest echelons of the Palestinian Arab power pyramid has long been channeled in the specific direction of children [Palestinian Media Watch offers an exhaustive and ongoing overview.] And if we're already addressing this most shameful of inexcusable offences by the rich and manipulative geriatrics who run the Palestinian Authority, let's clarify that very young children, even toddlers, are a major target of the PA propaganda machine: see for instance "On PA televison, young kids incite to violence against Israelis", Times of Israel, February 1, 2017. Daily Sabah could have focused, but didn't, on the unique enabling role in this disgrace that's taken by one man: PA president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas ["Abbas: ‘We Welcome Every Drop of Blood Spilled in Jerusalem’", Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2015]
The pain of the imprisonment of MPs, women and children falls much more heavily on the Palestinian Arab side than on ours. But then so does the responsibility for trivializing the awful deeds that create a society-wide culture of terrorism. Do the editors at Daily Sabah understand the small enabling role they play in that? Are they bothered?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

14-Sep-17: Hebron area: Fourth thwarted Arab-on-Israeli knifing incident in a week

Elias Junction near Kiryat Arba - yesterday's stabbing attack [Image Source]
In a report headlined "Attempted stabbing thwarted near Hebron, attacker shot", Times of Israel says (September 13, 2017)
A Palestinian man tried to carry out a stabbing attack on Wednesday at a bus stop at the entrance to the Kiryat Arba settlement before being shot and wounded, the IDF said. The military said the man ran toward a bus stop at the Elias Junction brandishing a knife. He was spotted by troops who opened fire, injuring him. No Israeli civilians or soldiers were injured, the army said, adding that he was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Hebrew media reports said he was in a serious condition. Kiryat Arba is adjacent to the divided West Bank city of Hebron.
The would-be knifer is "seriously wounded" as a result of being shot, says Israel National News.

It's a tough neighbourhood. Almost exactly a year ago, at the same Elias Junction location, a pair of Palestinian Arabs armed with knives rammed a truck into a cluster of civilians at the bus stop, causing injuries and shock. The male attacker was shot dead. Palestinian Arab media named him as Firas al-Birawi Khadour. His female accomplice, named by the same sources as Raghad Khadour from the nearby village of Bani Na’im, also suffered shooting injuries and recovered ["2 Palestinians ram truck into West Bank bus stop, one of them killed", Times of Israel a year ago]. Last year's two assailants were reported by Arabic-language media to be related to a woman "who rammed her car into the same Kiryat Arba bus stop in June [2016]". Here's what we wrote at the time: "16-Sep-16: Vehicle ramming attack on Israelis near Kiryat Arba"

For some more recent context, see "12-Sep-17: Knives and boys".

Wondering where the news coverage is? Wondering why?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

12-Sep-17: Knives and boys

Outside the ancient Tomb of the Patriarchs, Hebron [Image Source]
Israel National News reports this afternoon (Tuesday) that
"an Arab resident of Hevron in Judea was arrested Tuesday morning after he attempted to sneak a knife into the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Maarat Hamachpela). Border Police officers arrested the teen, roughly 15 years of age, after they discovered the weapon at a checkpoint outside of the tomb, a Border Police spokesperson said. The suspect approached the checkpoint at one of the entrances to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, but before he could enter the site the suspect was asked to lift his shirt after he aroused the suspicions of the officers operating the checkpoint. Officers spotted the handle of a knife the suspect had concealed, and ordered him to surrender. The suspect drew the knife, but was arrested after officers drew their weapons and repeated their demand that he surrender. No shots were fired and no injuries reported."
Maa'an says this is the knife
used by the child in today's
thwarted attack
[Image Source]
Another child, another knife, another bloodless intercept by fast-thinking security personnel of the IDF even as the child prepared to slash and stab.

The version pushed today by the notorious Ma'an News Agency has a very different feel to it. It starts with a quotation from an Israel Police source:
A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was detained Tuesday morning at a military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, alleging that the child had a knife hidden under his clothes. Luba al-Samri wrote in a statement that the boy was taken for interrogation and added that "no human casualties were reported." She claimed the incident marked the third time in six days that Israeli forces arrested Palestinian minors attempting to pass through Israeli checkpoints with knives in their possession.
(We are surprised by the mention of two other such thwarted attacks. If we can find more information about them, we will add it to this post.)

For all the genocidal intentions routinely attributed to Israel's military, the indisputable fact is the child armed with a knife concealed under his shirt today is alive. This could have easily ended up with an entirely different outcome for him and his family.

Naturally the manipulative, European-funded editors at Ma'an don't allow that to get in the way of another blood libel:
Rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases, also denouncing what they have termed as a "shoot-to-kill" policy against alleged attackers who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death, or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner -- amid a backdrop of impunity for Israeli forces who have committed the killings... [Ma'an, today]
Naturally, being in the all-propaganda-all-the-time business, the Ma'an people fail to mention the open incitement to stabbings that have become a prominent feature of the Palestinian Arab establishment's messaging to its public throughout the past two years.

Widely circulated posters like these, putting stabbers on a pedestal and encouraging lethal knifings of ordinary Israelis, set the tone that enables the ongoing weaponization of their badly educated, intensively indoctrinated children:







These are merely sample images from a vast, growing catalogue of malevolence intended to incite and inspire young Arabs to murder Israelis. It's a campaign that owes much of its lethality and destructive power to a deeply-felt sense of victimhood, self-pity and grievance that plays a central role in the Palestinian Arab narrative and consciousness.

Deeply-felt it may be. But it's also false and contrived - and cynically leveraged by an unpopular PA leadership vainly clinging to power and relevance. 

Writing in The Atlantic two years ago, at about the point when the current and ongoing knifing/stabbing/vehicle-ramming/shooting campaign against Israelis was gathering steam, Jeffrey Goldberg observed ["The Paranoid, Supremacist Roots of the Stabbing Intifada", The Atlantic, October 16, 2015]:
When violence against Jews occurs inside Israel, or on the West Bank, a consensus tends to be reached quickly by outside analysts and political leaders, one that holds that such violence represents the inevitable consequence of Israel’s occupation and settlement of Palestinian territory. John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, said in an appearance earlier this week at Harvard that, “What’s happening is that unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody. And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years.” He went on to say, “Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing, and a frustration among Israelis who don’t see any movement.”
The violence... encouraged by purveyors of rumors who now have both Israeli and Palestinian blood on their hands, is rooted not in Israeli settlement policy, but in a worldview that dismisses the national and religious rights of Jews. There will not be peace between Israelis and Palestinians so long as parties on both sides of the conflict continue to deny the national and religious rights of the other. [Goldberg in The Atlantic]
He might have added that violence of the kind we saw today - children equipped with knives and blood lust - is part of a wide, ugly and almost entirely unreported (outside of Israeli channels) program of child weaponization that is encouraged and guided from the highest levels of the Palestinian Arab power pyramid. 

And megaphoned by the likes of Ma'an, enabled - it has to be said - by their European and American funders (Denmark, Sweden, the United States, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and others as well as major NGOs including UNESCO, UNDP, Arab Human Rights Fund, Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children) without whose cash infusions they simply could not engage in their vile practices.

UPDATE Thursday September 14, 2017: Here's something we have learned about the claim made in the Ma'an report above that this was "the third time in six days that Israeli forces arrested Palestinian minors attempting to pass through Israeli checkpoints with knives in their possession." The following appears in "Attempted stabbing thwarted near Hebron, attacker shot", published by Times of Israel yesterday (13-Sep-17): 
"On Friday, a Palestinian man in his twenties was arrested in Hebron when he was discovered to be hiding a knife on his person, while last Wednesday Border Police officers arrested a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank city after finding a knife in his possession. Both of those incidents also took place at checkpoints near the Tomb of the Patriarchs."
So one attacker in his twenties, a second who is a teen.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

10-Sep-17: Chasing the killer of my child

Mishpacha originally published this interview
in Hebrew
An interview of Frimet Roth by the Israeli journalist Michal Ish Shalom originally appeared in the Hebrew weekly Mishpacha, August 24, 2017. An English translation, the work of Rochel Sylvetsky whose contribution we are pleased to acknowledge, was published today on the Israel National News website under the title "The non-extradition of our daughter's murderer". Our thanks go to Mishpacha for their permission to use their Hebrew article in this way. (The cross-post that follows has some minor editing changes and we have inserted hyperlinks.)

Malki Roth was murdered in what is called the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing 16 years ago. 

Her parents hope that her terrorist murderer, against whom the US has issued an extradition request, will be brought to justice. The family hopes the US presses for extradition, is disappointed that Jordan does not honor its legal obligations to the US, and blames Netanyahu for not caring about families of terror victims.

Arnold and Frimet Roth, the parents of Malki Hy"D, murdered in the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing attack 16 years ago, were carefully optimistic on the day after the Purim holiday this year.

A delegation from the US Department of Justice came to Jerusalem to inform them that the United States was about to make an announcement later that day: a request for extradition had been presented to the Jordanian government. Jordan, which signed an extradition treaty with the United States in 1995, was being requested to extradite Ahlam al-Tamimi, the terrorist who planned and executed the suicide bombing in which their daughter was murdered. Tamimi was being added that day to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list.

The Roths had initiated this process by meeting with US officials in Washington five years earlier – in February 2012. The Jordanians had been served with the extradition request months earlier, right before the High Holidays, and Interpol was involved. But now in mid-March 2017, the US were going to publicize the extradition request, leading the Roths to believe that justice was going to be done at last.

Frimet with our daughter Malki, April 2001
Malki, born in Melbourne Australia, came to Israel as a young child. Her mother is an American citizen, and as such, could obtain American citizenship for her daughter. That was not a significant part of Malki's too-short life, all of it lived in Israel. She grew up in Jerusalem, a happy, kindhearted teen, especially attuned to special needs chidren – her youngest sister Haya Elisheva suffered serious neurological impairment when she was a year old, a fact which caused Malki to volunteer with such children unstintingly.

On that unforgettable, bitter day, the 20th of Av (August 9, 2001), Malki went over to a friend's house.

"See you later, have a good time," said her mother Frimet, whose eyes were shut due to a severe migraine; she couldn’t even open them before her daughter left the house. "How I regret not looking at her that morning because the last time I saw her was the day before it happened," she says painfully. The loss of her daughter is palpable throughout our conversation; it gets harder to bear as the years pass.

Malki called from her friend's house to say that she was going to a get-together in the Talpiyot neighborhood and received her mother's permission to go. "I love you," the conversation ended - three words fated to become the last ones Frimet and her beloved daughter would exchange with one another.

And then – suddenly the terrible news - a major terrorist suicide bombing in the middle of downtown Jerusalem. Frimet’s thoughts were instantly with locating her children.

"I worried about them, because they left without taking a mobile phone. Malki had one with her, so I was less worried, " recalls Frimet. "Besides, she said she was going to Talpiyot and I knew that she would only be in town for as long as it took to switch buses."

Malki's siblings were located quickly – they were safe. Malki did not answer her mobile phone.

Anyone who remembers the chilling "routine" of the period in which suicide bomber attacks took place with horrendous frequency, knows that the cellular phone connections were always down, for security reasons, in an area in which an attack occurred. Since everyone had become used to that happening, they urged Frimet not to worry.

But a good deal of time passed, and then it turned out that Malki had never reached the get–together she planned to attend, nor did her friend Michal – who also could not be found.

"I still didn't get it. She was not even supposed to be in Sbarro," says Frimet. She and Michal's mother, along with Frimet's soldier son, a newly-enlisted hesdernik (in the 5 year yeshiva-army program) who had returned home to help, decided to go to Shaarei Zedek Hospital to look for their daughters.

On the way there, corroboration came in: Malki had been at Sbarro, she had sent a text message to someone to meet her there - a meeting that never took place.

"I began to scream," recalls Frimet. "I realized it was all over. At the hospital, we separated and each one of us searched for her own daughter. Michal's mother found her daughter still alive, but we did not find our Malki. In the office into which I was taken, they had me speak to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute so I could describe her, and for some reason they said there was no one who fitted my description."

This unbearable day continued, with family and friends searching other hospitals. Much later that night, on the advice of social workers in another of Jerusalem’s hospitals, two of Malki’s older brothers went there with a national insurance social worker.

"At 2 a.m. they called to tell us they had identified her."

Malki and her friend Michal were
always inseparable. Now they are
buried side by side.
Her friend Michal had been found barely alive, but she didn't make it and those were her last moments in this world. 

Malki and Michal, "beloved and pleasant during their lifetimes”, (as King David said of King Saul and his son) were buried side by side in Jerusalem's Har Hamenuchot cemetery.

That day marked the start of the Roth family's struggle. To memorialize Malki, they soon created the Malki Foundation which helps fund treatments for seriously disabled children who live at home and are cared for by their parents. Parents can choose among occupational therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, speech therapy, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy with 85% of the costs covered by the fund. It also lends special equipment to those children via a partnership with the Yad Sarah organization.

But along with the generous deeds associated with Malki's memory, the Roth family is engaged in fighting to have the terrorists brought to justice. This struggle is focused on Tamimi, the daughter of an infamous riot-inciting Arab family ["11-Sep-15: How devoted to non-violence are the villagers of Nabi Saleh really?"]. Tamimi was a communications student at Bir Zeit University who was born and raised in Jordan and had come to Israel to do her post-high school studies. She became Hamas’ first female terrorist.

Some days before the Sbarro attack, Tamimi tried to carry out an attack on a smaller scale, which failed because there were not enough explosives in the bomb she used. That made her prepare the Sbarro attack more carefully. Her press card (she did part-time work for a TV station in Ramallah) gave her free and easy access to Jerusalem ["5-May-13: Self-confessed jihadist murderer: "With my media card, I was able to enter back and forth, undetected..."].

In recent years she has described with chilling lack of emotion how she looked for a place where she could murder as many… women and children as possible. She found it in one of the fast food places at one of the most congested intersections in Jerusalem.

Malki, the talented classical flautist
Tamimi hid the bomb inside a guitar case, passing right through the IDF checkpoint on Jerusalem’s northern edge and along Jaffa Road with her lethal weapon – the suicide bomber. The two were dressed like ordinary English-speaking tourists and succeeded in looking completely harmless. She brought the suicide bomber to the Sbarro entrance and told him to wait until she got far enough away. She wanted to live.

"My daughter played guitar and flute. She played the classical flute beautifully and was in Jerusalem’s youth orchestra," Frimet said sadly. Malki was right next to the terrorist when he blew himself up. She probably stood near him, thinking: “Here is another music lover like me with a guitar on his back.”

Tamimi worked as a TV news-reader and in that evening’s bulletin impassively reported the terrorist attack - the attack she herself had just perpetrated.

There seems to be no limit to the evil with which the Roth family has to deal. Ahlam Tamimi, who continues to this day to boast of her crimes, was arrested about a month after the bombing and sentenced to 16 life sentences. Officially, 15 human beings were murdered in the attack, but in reality, there are 16 dead, Frimet emphasizes. One critically wounded victim, a young mother, has never came out of a coma.

Those 16 life sentences came to an end very quickly: Tamimi was freed six years ago as part of the Shalit deal ["19-Oct-11: Haaretz: Shalit prisoner swap marks 'colossal failure' for mother of Israeli bombing victim"].

"Even after Tamimi was freed, we did not get a response from anyone in the government, certainly not from the prime minister or his office," Frimet says, visibly upset. "Binyamin Netanyahu said publicly when announcing the Shalit deal: 'I sent letters to the families who were hit by terror'. That never happened. It is an utter lie. After his declaration, we took the initiative and called his office multiple times to ask which letters he meant, since we had never received one and neither had any of the many victim families we asked. The officials lied to us, making up stories about how the PM’s letters were in the mail. When I asked them how many letters were sent, and how come none of the terror stricken families I knew had received one, I heard someone in the background saying 'Tell her there were hundreds.' They simply fabricated an answer. No bereft family ever received a letter."

"We also never heard a word from the Shalit family telling us that they understand our sorrow and pain," she adds.

This, however, does not end the inexcusable behavior of the Netanyahu government towards terror-stricken families. After Tamimi was expelled to Jordan as part of the conditions for her release, she announced that she had become engaged to her cousin, another Shalit deal freed murderer-terrorist, another Tamimi. The conditions under which he was freed stipulated his remaining on the "West Bank" and not leaving the region. The conditions of her release were that she could never go there. The terrorist couple had the nerve to declare that the "cruel Israeli government" is the only factor preventing their marriage.

"We began to hear rumors that the government was about to allow him to cross into Jordan and we hired a lawyer to stop the government via an injunction. Wait a bit, the prime minister's office told us, don't take it in front of a High Court judge yet. We had the fleeting thought that the government was actually going to do something. While we were politely waiting, someone ensured the groom quickly crossed over the Allenby Bridge into Jordan. That's Netanyahu," she says. "They could not have allowed him to cross into Jordan without Netanyahu's authorization.”

Tamimi's wedding took place the following week ["22-Jun-12: A wedding and what came before it"]. They flaunted it. It was a highly-publicized victory for them, covered live via several Jordanian TV stations and the social media.

And what about us? How do we look? Victory after victory. Netanyahu will never do anything about our ludicrous justice system.

Perhaps the next prime minister will be able to do something, she says with faint hopes. "I hope he is coming close to the end of his stint as prime minister, because the things he did are unbelievable."

Chilling. Ahlam Tamimi, the murderer, recounts with heated enthusiasm
the circumstances of her ride from the scene of the bombing to her
work place, a TV studio in Ramallah
“Now that the terrorist who murdered our daughter is a married woman and evidently the mother of a young child - although that has never been publicized - she continues to make fun of us. She is a popular speaker, tells the story of her atrocity with obvious pride, is a broadcaster and used her own globally-broadcast TV show ["27-Apr-17: Satellite TV and other basic rights of terrorist life behind Israeli bars"] to allow incarcerated terrorists to make contact with their families. Officially, terrorists in Israeli prisons are not permitted to view the Hamas channel that broadcasts her program, but we learned via our own sources that mobile phones have been smuggled into their cells enabling them to watch the programs.”

Giving up hope on Israeli justice, the family turned to the US government.

Malki Hy"d was not the first American terror victim. Another young American woman, her parents' only child and pregnant with her first baby, was also murdered in Sbarro. The woman in a coma since the Sbarro massacre is also an American citizen. The Roth family turned to the American Department of Justice in the name of the three US terror victims, requesting that Tamimi be charged under US Federal law and brought to the US to stand trial for her crimes. American law expressly permits this.

Roth says that since they initiated this in 2012, various Justice Department lawyers, investigators and FBI agents have met with them several times.

There are people who really care there, she says, in contrast to the way we were treated by Israeli officialdom.

Meanwhile the Roths have won several battles against Tamimi, small but significant ones. Twitter shut down her account twice so she was prevented from tweeting her evil thoughts to the world ["12-Apr-17: A modest step toward justice: Twitter today suspended the account of our daughter's murderer" and "25-Jun-17: A voice of lethal, bigoted hatred is silenced... for a while"].

Last Purim's joy at having the request for extradition in Jordan's hands lasted just two days, after which it became clear that Jordan does not intend to extradite Tamimi for various evidently-bogus reasons despite an extradition treaty dating from 1995 which was used several times in order to extradite terrorists to the US ["20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"]. The Roths feel that Tamimi is being used as a propaganda tool vis a vis the Palestinian Arab majority in Jordan, who consider her a heroine.

Political interests that have no connection with justice at all, such as the gas deal, are what the Israeli government worries about. They need King Abdullah as a regional power and will not pressure him to make the decision to extradite, one which only he can make. No pressure and she is still free.

March 21, 2017: Lead story in Al Jazeera [here]
The ball is now in the hands of the US State Department, says Roth. "The State Department has a great deal of power, more than the president does in certain areas. There are things they could do, things they should not have done and we are still awaiting answers about certain actions that we can still not talk about. However, it is clear they are not trying to extradite at this point.”

"Until Tamimi is extradited," Frimet declares, "we will not stop what we are doing. It is of utmost importance to us. The present situation only exacerbates our endless pain."

The pain, it must be said, along with the feeling of helplessness in the face of the Israeli government's behavior, the long wait for justice from the US – all have taken their toll. Frimet suffered a heart attack a few months ago at a relatively young age.

Question: If the extradition does take place, will Tamimi spend the rest of her life in an American prison? What will that accomplish?

Frimet: That will not erase the pain of losing our daughter, of missing her constantly. But it will take away the outer layer of that pain caused by the injustice done to us. Malki is so lacking in our home, our pure and sweet natured talented daughter would be 32 today. I see her with a husband and children, spending her free time doing good deeds. She used to help people and come home with her face shining with joy, and she was really close to Haya Elisheva, her sister, and with the girls in the mainstreaming class at school. In fact, the very summer in which she was murdered, she worked as a counselor in a summer camp called Etgarim, Challenges, for disabled youngsters.

She has left such an empty hole in our hearts.

10-Sep-17: Someone turned on the lights in Gaza. Will news editors see?

Gaza's Nusseirat power station, June 2017 [Image Source: AP]
If the news reporting industry had more integrity, there would be blaring headlines this morning focused on a simple decision taken by the thuggish Hamas terrorist regime who rule the Gaza Strip.
Hamas ponies up for fuel from Egypt, seeking to boost power in GazaSources says terror group has recently purchased $25 million worth of diesel, giving enclave six hours of electricity between blackouts and possibly staving off protests
By AVI ISSACHAROFF
September 10, 2017, 9:43 am | Times of Israel 
Hamas has recently bought large volumes of diesel fuel from Egypt in an effort to increase the output of the Gaza Strip’s only power station, after months of refusing to shell out money to provide electricity to the Strip’s residents. 
Already limited power supplies in the Palestinian coastal enclave have been further squeezed amid a spat between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas over who should pay for the fuel. The purchase of some 30 million liters of diesel from Egypt, at a cost of NIS 90 million ($25 million), indicates a change in attitude on the part of Gaza’s rulers, likely indicating a bid to stave off a repeat of street protests that roiled the enclave last winter. 
Most Gazans — aside from some areas in the north of the Strip — now get six hours of electricity instead of the previous four, but still must wait through the periodic 12 hour blackouts. 
Hamas, a terror group that is the de facto ruler of the Strip, has refused to pay for the Israeli electricity, claiming the PA is responsible for the funding. Earlier this year the PA reduced the amount of electricity it was pay for and as a result electricity supplies in Gaza were reduced from six hours to four hours followed by a 12-hour blackout. 
In June, former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan struck a deal between Egypt and Hamas by which Cairo would begin trucking in fuel, paid for by the UAE. In a shift, Hamas will now begin paying the fuel and bring more of it in, sources told the Times of Israel...
Until now, Hamas had refused to pay for the fuel, insisting it was the responsibility of the PA, while spending millions of dollars of military infrastructure...
The cynicism of the two rival Palestinian Arab regimes - the one ruled by president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas and the one run by Hamas - is almost unfathomable.

The lives of the Gazan population - since 2006 following the savage blood-letting between fighters of the two that enabled Hamas to expel the Palestinian Authority and take control - have been held hostage to their aggressive ambitions and couldn't-care-less approach to the consequent suffering.

Indispensable to the whole unconscionable process has been the willingness of reporters, photographers and editors from almost all parts of the global news media to play along. There's nothing new in that. See for instance two of our posts from 2008, replete with photographs: "26-Jan-08: Humanitarian crises and dark manipulation" and "10-Feb-08: The lies that pictures can tell" and especially the photos embedded in each of them.

In the latter, we noted how
AFP photographer Mahmoud Hams and the Agence France Press newsagency concocted this piece of nonsense on January 22, 2008. His evidently-staged picture, published throughout the world the following day, shows Gaza "law-makers" meeting to do their vital legislative business in the Israeli-created dark... while bright daylight is blocked out by the drawn curtains. Hams obviously knew he was taking a snapshot in the full light of day. It's evident to anyone with eyes that he is a willing participant in a dangerous charade, a deliberate distortion of reality, a lie. And so are are his AFP masters.
And much more recently this from AFP 11 days ago: "When electricity comes on, life in Gaza begins" in which Hamas is mentioned but in effect exonerated of substantive responsibility. Today's developments make clear how materially misleading that view is.

Now let's sit back and wait as the news sites and blogs that have systematically concealed the manipulative cruelty of the Hamas jihadists against their own people own up to how Hamas could have solved Gaza's problems a decade ago and at every moment since then by making the decision to do what normal governments are expected to do for their people. They have the cash, they have the ability, they could have bought diesel fuel, they could have repaired the power station, they could have provided electricity at any and every point along the way.

But it made more sense for them to showcase a population suffering for the lack of enough electrical power. And to feed those news outlets that are predisposed to present a twisted reality, no questions asked. Literally.

Of course, reporting this would be to throw into the garbage the bogus convention by which the rocket-infested Gaza Strip is depicted as Israel's victim. That's not going to happen soon.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

07-Sep-17: A deplorable Swedish reaction when terror intersects with antisemitism

Over at Israel National News, they currently feature a powerful op ed penned by Marianne Ahrne, a notable figure in Scandinavia's film and television industry as well as a successful writer.

The angry views this cultured person shares with her audience about where her country, Sweden, is heading are framed by reference to a film she helped bring into existence. (We played a small role in it too.)

In a passionate expose ["Television, terror and Swedish funding | ", Israel National News, September 6, 2017], Marianne shares views that stem from both personal experience and a sense of betrayal of her country's heritage and values. It's the kind of anguish we hear more and more from European friends.

Here's a lengthy extract:
Funding terrorism is illegal in Sweden. But Sweden’s government is doing just that. 
Of the $100 million contributed annually by Sweden to the Palestinian Authority, an uncontrollable percentage goes towards salaries for convicted terrorists and allowances to the families of suicide bombers. The more people the terrorist kills, the more money the PA pays to him or her. In this way, many terrorists earn far more while locked up in Israeli prison cells than the average Palestinian worker does. 
Some $355 million of the PA´s budget is currently used for this purpose. 
Swedes like to pretend that their foreign aid money is ear-marked for humanitarian purposes only and gladly go on about it. But this is nothing more than words - and they are ”blowing in the wind”. 
If the government of Sweden does not halt its funding to the PA until they stop rewarding their terrorists, then nothing will change. Mahmoud Abbas, the PA’s president, will continue saying ”yes, yes” in English and ”no, no” in Arabic - while continuing to cash in. Our government is of course aware of Abbas’ double-talk and knows where at least part of  the Swedish foreign aid money ends up. So either it accepts that it is sponsoring terrorism or it is in denial about the facts. I don´t know which is worse. 
But I do know “Palestine” has become the darling pet of our government. And Israel its black sheep.
How would Swedes react, I wonder, if a school in Stockholm were to be named after Rakhmat Akilov, the terrorist who drove a lorry into the crowd on Stockholm’s Drottninggatan in April. Not even Margot Wallström, our country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, would view that as a clever move.
But the Palestinians are constantly naming schools, arenas, streets and squares after their terrorists, while stubbornly terming them ‘martyrs’. And those who plan terror attacks while preferring not to be blown up themselves can go on to become TV stars. 
Not long ago there was a celebration (yes, a celebration!) of the suicide bombing of Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria where fifteen Israelis, eight of them children, were murdered and 130 injured. In Gaza and Lebanon, crowds went out onto the streets, cheering and handing out candies in honor of the massacre. The PA later honoured the suicide bomber with a military funeral...
The Sbarro suicide bomber was blown to pieces in the explosion. But Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who planned the attack and brought him to the site, is alive and, until recently, had a TV show of her own where she encouraged viewers on to more acts of terrorism.
Tamimi was one of the 1,027 terrorists liberated in exchange for a captive IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, in 2011. Following her release, Palestinian TV broadcast an interview recorded with her while she was still in an Israeli prison. It shows her [YouTube] expressing delight on learning that more children had been murdered in Sbarro than she knew about at the time.
It turns my stomach to think that, indirectly at least, the Swedish government and Swedish funding from ordinary Swedish taxpayers sponsor her and the likes of her.
The reason I have been looking into the case of Tamimi a little more closely is that Arnold Roth, the father of Malki, one of those children murdered in the pizzeria, takes part in a documentary film “Watching the Moon at Night” made by the noted Swedish film-makers Bo Persson and Joanna Helander. I approved the funding of their film while working as a commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute.
Since then, I have followed its destiny, seeing it praised at festivals and by several of the foremost global experts in the fields that it tackles - terrorism and anti-Semitism. But Sveriges Television (SVT), our country’s national public TV broadcaster, has, for some obscure reason and despite the fact it originally signed on to co-produce it, refused to screen it. And continues to refuse.
More than 1,300 people have signed a petition demanding the film be broadcast by SVT. But no... with the passage of time and after having followed all the ups and downs, I have come to believe that SVT’s refusal to show the film is,  sadly, connected to the fact that among the Spanish, British, Irish, Swedish and Algerian victims of terrorism sympathetically interviewed in the film, there are also a couple of Israelis. 
Such is the depth of Swedish hatred and prejudice against Israel.  And let it be noted that this is no longer a rare response from those on Sweden’s left. 
That the left is over-represented on the documentary board at Swedish Television is an open secret. It probably explains why the management at SVT has no problem showing Oliver Stone´s uncritical portrait of Putin but will not countenance the screening of “Watching the Moon at Night” in which critics of the Russian regime speak up. Men and women, please note, like Anna Politkovskaja who put their lives at risk by their civil courage.
Well, Oliver Stone might be a side-track. But everything is connected.
Feeding the Palestinian Authority with large servings of Swedish funding without demanding a total stop to the unconscionable paying of salaries to terrorists while at the same time refusing to acknowledge Israeli victims of terror – these are two sides of the same coin.
There is a name for this. The name is anti-Semitism.
Marianne Ahrne, who published this, is a serious observer of Swedish affairs. A distinguished figure - writer, director, film-maker - in Sweden's cultural life, she was honored in 1980 with the Esselte Prize for Literature and with numerous additional prizes for her film work. And, which is relevant to what has happened, she served as a film commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute.

Marianne Ahrne [Image Source]
It doesn't take much effort for people with a deep respect for the open sharing and discussion of important ideas to share her fury. What's at work here is a brazen betrayal of principles. Sveriges Television, Sweden's dominant television network, is thwarting - silencing is a better word - the screening of an important, thoughtful film that happens to have been created by some of the most admirable minds at work in that country.

The scandal is hardly a secret but it has gotten scant media attention. We exposed it in several earlier posts of our own: "13-Jan-15: Terrorism: watching its victims, trying to understand their experiences"; "28-Mar-16: Upcoming premiere screenings (NYC, Washington) of an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism"; and "22-Jul-16: Heavy-handed Swedish efforts to silence an important documentary on terrorism and antisemitism".

Creative camerawork and the poetry of Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska are part of this exquisitely rendered cinematic essay. Filmed in six countries, "Watching the Moon at Night" focuses on the victims' experiences and juxtaposes them against the views of world experts in this field. The late French writer and philosopher André Glucksmann, the late historian of the Holocaust, Robert S. Wistrich, and the eminent historian Walter Laqueur are among its featured expert voices.

Sweden-based Kino Koszyk produced the film, which was directed and written by Joanna Helander and Bo Persson. Among its other voices are those of Dan Alon, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril, Lars Bergander, Juliette and Bronek Bergman, Vladimir Bukovsky, Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc, Michael Gallagher, Konstanty Gebert, André Glucksmann, Ramin Jahanbegloo, Zuhdi Jasser, Anthony Julius, Cherifa Kheddar, Sergei Kovalev, Rapahel Mafouta, Arnold Roth, Clara Rojas, Hannah Rosenthal, Esther Saez-Gonzales, Anne Serner, Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Robert S. Wistrich, Lidia Yusopova. Wisława Szymborska, the Polish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996 makes a very moving appearance.

You can see the film's trailer here. There is additional info and several reviews at the film's official website.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

27-Aug-17: On British and Belgian streets - terrorist attacks, religious declarations, fast responses

The child is Palestinian Arab, and so is the incitement. But the message
has reached Europe and European targets and it's not directed just at Jews or Israelis
Everyone in this incident is of course innocent until determined by law to be guilty, and there's no terrorism involved until the police say there is, and no one should draw inferences about the role that this or that or any religious doctrine played in the events of this past Friday.
A terror suspect drove at police outside Buckingham Palace and yelled 'Allahu akbar' while reaching for a 4ft sword before he was arrested by three unarmed officers. The 26-year-old from Luton was wrestled to the ground and incapacitated with CS gas by the officers, two of which suffered injuries, at about 8.30 pm... Metropolitan Police said the suspect had been arrested under the Terrorism Act and was currently in custody in a central London police station... As three unarmed PCs exited the van and approached the blue Toyota Prius, the suspect reached for a 4ft sword in the footwell. [Daily Mail, August 26, 2017]
A lone wolf? Of course:
Commander Dean Haydon, the head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: 'I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and professionalism of these officers who quickly brought this incident under control... Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command are now investigating and searches are being carried out in the Luton area today.
'We believe the man was acting alone and we are not looking for other suspects at this stage. 'While we cannot speculate on what the man was intending to do - this will be determined during the course of the investigation - it is only right that we investigate this as a terrorist incident at this time. [Daily Mail, August 26, 2017]
That was then. Today it looks different:
A second man has been arrested over a suspected terrorist attack outside Buckingham Palace, during which police were attacked by a man armed with a sword. A 30-year-old man was apprehended by officers at an address in west London on Sunday morning, Scotland Yard said. Police are carrying out a search in the area...  The second man was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism and was taken into custody. The arrest was carried out by officers from the Met’s counter-terrorism command... Police initially believed the 26-year-old man acted alone and said their investigation would look into the first arrested man’s mental health. Some other incidents thought to have been terror attacks have later turned out to have been driven by mental health problems.["Second man held after sword attack at Buckingham Palace", The Guardian, August 27, 2017]
It's been a busy weekend:
The assault in London came just two hours after a knifeman attacked patrolling soldiers in Brussels in what authorities said was an "attempted terrorist murder". Belgian prosecutors said the attacker yelled "Allahu akbar" when he rushed at the soldiers from behind and struck them with a knife, prompting one of them to open fire. The assailant -- a Belgian national of Somali origin born in 1987 -- was shot and died shortly afterwards in hospital, a prosecutors' statement said. Granted Belgian nationality in 2015 after arriving in the country in 2004, he was not known for any terror-related activities, although he had an assault and battery charge from February on his record, authorities confirmed. Police later raided his home in Bruges, in northwest Belgium. One of the soldiers was slightly hurt in the attack which Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said had been carried out by a "lone individual"... [AFP (France), August 27, 2017]
The Independent UK on Saturday adds that the Brussels stabber
"was in the possession of a firearm replica and two Quran books... The federal prosecutor’s office has handed the investigation to a specialist anti-terrorist judge and the case has been classed as “attempted terrorist murder”.
From Gaza, a religious leader who preaches the kind of attack
Europeans are now experiencing [Image Source]
The same article goes on to speculate on root causes:
Isis has been intensifying calls for terror attacks on the countries bombing it as part of the US-led coalition, issuing detailed advice on carrying out stabbings, vehicle rammings and making explosives.
Officials, including [British] security minister Ben Wallace, have warned that the threat is increasing as Isis loses territory in Iraq and Syria, with the group turning to attacks as a means of maintaining momentum and publicity. “I think the threat is still increasing, partly driven by the fact Isis is collapsing in Syria and people are either unable to get out there to fight for Isis and so they look to do something at home, or also because people have come back and tried to inspire people with their stories and tales of the caliphate,” Mr Wallace said last week, echoing concerns raised by analysts across Europe.
Brussels was the location of the first Isis-linked attack in Europe, where a militant killed four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May 2014. [Independent UK]
A handful of tentative conclusions.
  • Lone wolf attacks, it's increasingly clear, often turn out to be anything but. 
  • And attacks of the kind which began with massive incitement among Palestinian Arabs - in their schools, in their mosques and in the chambers of their political leaders - against Jews in Israel over the past 3 years more and more appear to be replicated on the streets of Europe. The range of their targets has greatly widened.
  • For Israelis, it's hard not to notice how quick-witted, fast moving security officials on those European streets are being (entirely correctly) praised while the equivalent actions done in Israel by Israeli security officials have come in for withering criticism in previous years... from Europe.