Man faces year in jail for Abbas Facebook joke (& Arrested at the Western Wall)

February 12, 2013

Hallel Silverman, Susan Silverman and Ellen Nemhauser praying in traditional male shawls at the Western Wall


* European-funded Ma’an news agency: “There is no basis for [claims about] what happened to the Jews in Germany and that they were cremated in gas chambers”

* The rabbi sister of American comic Sarah Silverman and her teenage niece arrested at Jerusalem’s Western Wall

* Hamas daily paper says women spread disease; Western media fail to report on latest Hamas claims

This dispatch is slightly shorter than usual because of my carpal tunnel problems.


* You can comment on this dispatch here: Please also press “Like” on that page.



1. Man faces year in jail for Abbas Facebook joke
2. Israeli strike in Syria might be first in series
3. European-funded Ma’an news agency publishes Holocaust denial
4. Israeli anger over Obama administration-funded school study
5. Comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister and niece arrested for praying at Western Wall
6. Hamas daily paper says women spread disease
7. U.N. agency removes anti-Israel tweeter from job

[Notes below by Tom Gross]


A Palestinian court has sentenced a man from a village near Nablus to a year in prison for insulting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook, Palestinian officials said.

The Nablus magistrates’ court sentenced Anas Saad Awwad, 26, of Awarta village, to a year in prison after convicting him on charges of criticizing Abbas, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports.

The defendant had been detained previously on similar charges, but was released after paying a fine, according to his father.

“My son only commented on Facebook. You know how young people comment,” he said. “He didn’t mean to insult the president. I ask the president to intervene personally to cancel the court’s decision.”

Awwad’s lawyer, Rima al-Sayyed, said her client was accused of photo-shopping Abbas wearing a Real Madrid shirt with the caption: “A new striker.”

Last year, as reported on this dispatch list, Palestinian security forces jailed several people accused in separate incidents for criticizing the government on social networking websites.



The Washington Post reports that Israel’s recent airstrike in Syria, which according to Western officials targeted advanced weapons destined for the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah, could mark the start of a more aggressive campaign by Israel to prevent arms transfers to terrorists as conditions in Syria deteriorate.

Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence who directs the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, told the Washington Post that while future Israeli action could be expected, it would depend on specific calculations of the advantages and risks of such strikes.

Israel, he said, has defined four types of weapons whose transfer to terrorist groups would not be tolerated: advanced air defense systems, ballistic missiles, sophisticated shore-to-sea missiles and chemical weapons.

According to Israeli assessments, Hizbullah has amassed about 60,000 rockets and missiles since their 2006 war with Israel. Israeli officials say these include Scud-D ballistic missiles, with a range of more than 400 miles, supplied by Syria. Along with other shorter-range missiles from Syria and Iran, Hizbullah’s arsenal can reach anywhere in Israel, the officials say.

Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, including bombs and rockets tipped with chemical warheads, remains for now under government control, according to Israeli assessments.



In the latest in a series of outrageous articles, the European-funded Ma’an news agency has published an article saying “There is no basis for [claims about] what happened to the Jews in Germany and that they were cremated in gas chambers.”

The writer, Ghassan Mustafa Al-Shami, goes on to state that “revisionist writers have explained how a few hundred thousand Jews died in World War II, just like others, died during the war.”

“Research into the Jews’ claims and lies regarding the ‘Holocaust’ has cost the lives of many historians, and they paid a heavy price for publishing the facts. Many historians who researched the subject were assassinated, were fired from their jobs at their research centers and universities, [were made to] pay unfair fines, and were subject to smear campaigns, social boycott, and political persecution. One of Britain’s greatest contemporary historians, David Irving, was prosecuted because of his book Hitler’s War, and he was arrested for having denied the existence of the gas chambers that German forces used in a detention camp. Similarly, he denied that there were acts of slaughter aimed at the Jews.”

This article was posted on Ma’an’s Arabic website and not on its English site, according to Palestinian Media Watch.

Ma’an is funded by The European Commission, UNDP, UNESCO, and the governments of Denmark, the Netherlands and Britain.


After several websites, including this dispatch list, drew attention to a previous anti-Semitic article on Ma’an which Palestinian Media Watch spotted, Ma’an removed it.

Please see the second item here: New Muslim Brotherhood Knesset member can’t decide which wife to bring

Representatives of several European governments subscribe to this website elist.



Both the Israeli government and Israeli opposition politicians have reacted with considerable anger to a U.S. State Department-funded study that cleared Palestinian textbooks of inciting children against Israel and found that they rarely dehumanize Israelis.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad expressed “satisfaction” at the report’s main finding, saying that it “confirms that Palestinian textbooks do not contain any form of blatant incitement”.

But Israel’s Ministry of Education said: “The conclusions of this ‘study’ were known in advance, before any professional work was done, and certainly do not accurately reflect reality.”

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs added that the report, written by Israeli, Palestinian and American scholars, “omits important examples of incitement and delegitimization found in official Palestinian Authority textbooks.”

Appearing on Israeli TV, Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Yossi Kuperwasser, who monitors Palestinian incitement against Israel for the Israeli government, said the goal of the research “is to weaken the State of Israel.”

Dr. Arnon Groiss, author of a separate study on Middle Eastern textbooks, said that he has severe reservations about the methodology and that some 40 important items, which show incitement on the part of Palestinians, were not included.

The study was financed by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. State Department.

In 2007, two years before she became Secretary of State, then Senator Hilary Clinton, after reviewing a Palestinian Media Watch report on Palestinian high school textbooks that contained numerous examples of demonization and denying Israel’s right to exist, told a press conference:

“These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they give them an indoctrination… It is disturbing on a human level, it is disturbing to me as a mother, it is disturbing to me as a United States Senator, because it basically, profoundly poisons the minds of these children.”



The rabbi sister of American comic Sarah Silverman and her teenage niece have been arrested at a political demonstration at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest site.

Rabbi Susan Silverman, Hallel Silverman, 17, and eight others were detained for several hours two days ago after being charged with violating an Israeli court ruling that bans women from wearing traditional male prayer-shawls or praying too loudly at the holy site.

“I was proud to take a stand for something I believe in. There is inequality at the Western Wall,” Hallel Silverman told Matthew Kalman of the New York Daily News. “The space allowed for women is becoming smaller and smaller. If the law is changed, I will be proud to have played a small part. The rules are outdated. It’s 2013 and we’ve moved on. It’s time the law moved on too.”

Also proud was Sarah Silverman, who tweeted:

“SO proud of my amazing sister & niece for their balls out civil disobedience. Ur the tits!”

Susan Silverman, the comedian’s older sister, lives in Israel with her family.



An article by columnist Issam Shawer in the Hamas daily Falastin, says: “I believe that women are the most numerous and fastest transmitters of viral diseases and epidemics such as swine flu... [For example, when there is need] to make a condolence call, women emerge from every corner and flock from every direction, even from afar, and then congregate in one place. They comfort [the family] and also trade stories – this is very important to them – and spread news and rumors, but also viruses that waft through the stuffy air.”

“Some of them take the necessary precautions and wear face masks when they are alone, yet, when they meet, they remove the masks in order to chat and to do what they are best at: exchanging news. But viruses also find their way to new victims in this manner.”

“They [the men] can also take a greater part in fighting disease by imposing stricter constraints on the movement and gatherings of the womenfolk.”

(Translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI.)

Tom Gross adds: Predictably, the international media have completely ignored this article. One can’t imagine them ignoring it if an Israeli media outlet or politician had written something similar. Indeed racist chants by Israeli soccer fans were deemed to be front page news by the New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune last weekend.



A U.N. agency employee based in Jerusalem who tweeted an incendiary anti-Israel photo nearly a year ago has finally been removed from her position.

Khulood Badawi, the information and media coordinator for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Jerusalem, had been put on an extended vacation, after several commentators, including myself, pointed out that she was sending false anti-Israel information on her twitter account.

Her tweet last March 10 linked to what she said was a dead, blood-covered Palestinian girl in the arms of her father who Badawi said had been killed by an Israeli airstrike on Gaza. It was in fact a 2006 photo of a girl who had died in a car accident.

Badawi has still neither retracted nor apologized for her inaccurate tweet, according to The Jerusalem Post.

[Notes above by Tom Gross]

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.