(One of the severed pig’s heads placed by anti-Israel activists in the kosher food section of a Woolworths store)
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1. Anti-Israel activists in South Africa place severed pig’s head near Jewish products
2. Iran hangs woman, ignoring widespread calls for clemency
3. Cartoon: Iran continues to claim that Israel and the U.S. are behind ISIS
4. India spurns U.S. offer and purchases guided missiles from Israel for $525m
5. China’s submarines ‘add nuclear-strike capability’
6. John Kerry’s wife’s foundation criticized for funding “Anti-Israel” cafe
7. French Jewish leader indicted for calling Dieudonne an anti-Semite
8. “Horror before the beheadings: What Isis hostages endured”
9. Victims of Isis: non-western journalists who don’t make the headlines
10. AP criticized for headline over murder of 3-month-old baby
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVISTS IN SOUTH AFRICA PLACE SEVERED PIG’S HEAD NEAR JEWISH PRODUCTS
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign – some of whose proponents openly call for the destruction of Israel – has again become embroiled in accusations of outright anti-Semitic hatred against Jews, after its supporters in South Africa placed a pig’s head in the Kosher food section of the Cape Town branch of the Woolworths shopping chain.
Jewish leaders in South Africa expressed dismay that the Congress of South African Students, which is a part of the ruling African National Congress, said they helped organize the placement of the pig’s head, claiming they ware doing so “in solidarity with the Palestinians”.
Woolworths director of operations Paula Disberry said: “Placing a pig’s head in our store is unacceptable and offensive to our employees and customers, including Jewish and Muslim employees and customers. We will consider our options to prevent such distasteful protests in our stores.”
IRAN HANGS WOMAN, IGNORING WIDESPREAD CALLS FOR CLEMENCY
Iran yesterday executed 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari despite international pleas for her release. The official IRNA news agency said she was hanged at dawn on Saturday.
Jabbari, an interior designer, was executed for stabbing Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, in what Amnesty International described as an act of self-defense as he was trying to sexually assault and possibly rape her.
Iranian actors and other prominent figures in and outside Iran had appealed for a stay of execution.
The UN says more than 250 people have been executed in Iran so far this year. As I have noted in past dispatches, the number of people executed in Iran has sharply increased under the “moderate” President Rouhani compared to his Holocaust-denying predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The New York Times international edition continues to provide a regular platform to Roger Cohen (one of the most anti-Israeli of the former foreign editors of the New York Times) to write columns about how the Iranian regime is misunderstood and the West should be drawing closer to it. Cohen is a subscriber to this email list.
Feminists, such as Naomi Wolf (who last week again compared Israel to Nazi Germany), don’t appear to have much to say about Jabbari’s case.
* A reader writes: No doubt the New York Met is planning an opera praising and “understanding” the man who tried to rape her, as well as the hangman who pulled the noose yesterday.
CARTOON: IRAN CONTINUES TO CLAIM THAT ISRAEL AND THE U.S. ARE BEHIND ISIS
Some in Iran continue to claim that Israel and the U.S. are behind the Islamic State.
Here is an English language cartoon doing the rounds in pro-government Iranian media circles:
INDIA SPURNS U.S. OFFER AND PURCHASES GUIDED MISSILES FROM ISRAEL FOR $525M
Reuters New Delhi bureau reported yesterday that “India has opted to buy Israel’s Spike anti-tank guided missile, a defense ministry source said on Saturday, rejecting a rival US offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win.”
“India will buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth 32bn rupees ($525m), the source said after a meeting of India’s Defense Acquisition Council.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ignored intense lobbying by the U.S. including by defense secretary Chuck Hagel during Modi’s visit to Washington last month. He chose a system produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, rather than those by American groups Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co.
India is the world’s largest arms buyer. It is attempting to close the gap on its strategic rival China, which spends three times as much a year on defense. Analysts point out that China has territorial claims on India just like it does on many of its other neighbors.
There have been many previous dispatches on this list drawing attention to Indian-Israeli relations, the most recent being Note 9 here:
CHINA’S SUBMARINES ‘ADD NUCLEAR-STRIKE CAPABILITY’
Quoting unnamed intelligence sources, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that China now has nuclear-powered submarine capability and that Chinese submarines have recently surfaced as far away as off the Sri Lankan coast and the Persian Gulf.
The Journal writes: “The message was clear: China had fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas.”
Tom Gross adds: Israel is believed to belong to that unique club. But unlike China, which has plenty of territory, the terroritory of Israel is so small, that it feels it needs its enemies to know that is has second strike capabilities so even were the whole of Israel to be wiped out, it could respond – the idea being to deter would be attackers from doing so.
Analysts say China’s nuclear attack subs are part of an emerging strategy to prevent the U.S. from intervening in potential conflicts over Taiwan, or with Japan and the Philippines – both U.S. allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.
China has used diesel subs since the 1950s, but they have proved easy to find because they must surface every few hours. Nuclear subs are faster and can stay submerged for months. China launched its first nuclear sub on Mao’s birthday in 1970 and test-fired its first missile from underwater in 1988, but until recently were not able to patrol carrying battle-ready nuclear missiles.
The U.S. reportedly has at least 55 nuclear attack subs.
You may wish to read this article of mine concerning Israel’s non-nuclear armed subs.
JOHN KERRY’S WIFE’S FOUNDATION CRITICIZED FOR FUNDING “ANTI-ISRAEL” CAFE
A foundation, which is chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is being criticized for funding what is being descried as “a radical anti-Israel, anti-American snack bar near the Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh campuses.”
The “Conflict Kitchen” restaurant received a $50,000 grant from the Heinz Endowment in April.
It has now begun serving sandwiches in wrappers that include quotes from Palestinians opposing the existence of Israel and others appearing to sympathize with violent attacks on Israeli civilians.
A spokesman for Heinz said in response to the furor, “The opinions of Conflict Kitchen do not represent those of the Heinz Endowment.”
Conflict Kitchen is run by art professor Jon Rubin and his former student Dawn Weleski.
Here is some info from the restaurant website:
“Conflict Kitchen also serves foods from Afghanistan, North Korea, Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.
Among its other funders are the Benter Foundation, which is one of the biggest funders of the left-wing American lobby group J Street.
FRENCH JEWISH LEADER INDICTED FOR CALLING DIEUDONNE AN ANTI-SEMITE
Roger Cukierman, a Holocaust survivor and president of France’s largest Jewish group, the CRIF, has reportedly been indicted for denouncing the “comedian” Dieudonne M’bala M’bala as a “professional anti-Semite.”
This is despite the fact that Dieudonne, who created the neo-Nazi “quenelle” gesture and has repeatedly poured scorn on Holocaust victims, has been convicted in France on ten occasions for inciting anti-Semitism and for Holocaust denial.
Dieudonne has a large following: his fans have even travelled as far as Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial to photograph themselves making the “quenelle” salute.
Dieudonne’s latest comedy show is called “The Anti-Semite.” He has also recently started making jokes about Ilan Halimi, the young Parisian Jewish phone salesman who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a group of self-confessed anti-Semites. (You may wish to read my article on Halimi in the National Post.)
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has denounced the “quenelle,” saying that “all those who perform it … are performing an anti-Semitic gesture.”
Indictments are “quasi-automatic” in France when police receive complaints of defamation, according to L’Express.
Dieudonne and the far-right Holocaust denier Alain Soral last week announced they were going to form a political party. Record numbers of French Jews are emigrating to Israel and some to Canada and the U.S.) following a wave of anti-Semitic attacks.
In a video posted on the CRIF website Cukierman said: “So I am being indicted for having stated on Europe 1 that Dieudonne is a professional anti-Semite. Isn’t that funny? For once, Dieudonne is actually comical.”
Cukierman survived the Holocaust at the age of nine, hidden in a convent by two nuns, while his entire family was gassed in Auschwitz.
Paris-based writer Nidra Poller adds for readers of these dispatches: The English language media sometimes mistranslates these matters. Cukierman may be “mise en examen.” It’s a subtle difference, but it’s a difference. It’s closer to being “sued” than being “indicted.” Dieudonne accuses him, and the court agrees to hear the case. The chance that Cukierman will lose this case are minimal.
“HORROR BEFORE THE BEHEADINGS: WHAT ISIS HOSTAGES ENDURED”
The New York Times runs an important story today on Page 1 of its Sunday print edition. In a promotional email the Times stated:
When James Foley was forced to his knees on a bald hill somewhere in Syria and executed on camera, it was a very public end to a hidden ordeal.
The story of what happened in an underground ISIS prison in Syria, which is now being told for the first time, is one of excruciating suffering. Mr. Foley was one of at least 23 Western hostages from 12 countries who were routinely beaten and subjected to waterboarding. They were starved and threatened with execution by one group of fighters, only to be handed off to members of another group who brought them chocolates and spoke as if they were contemplating freeing them. In their darkest hours, the hostages turned on one another. And they sought comfort in the faith of their kidnappers — embracing Islam and taking Muslim names.
The fates of the 23 diverged once their captors decided to trade them for ransom. Mr. Foley and his American and British cellmates watched as, one by one, 15 of their cellmates, all but one of them European, were freed for cash while they remained chained inside.
Their struggle for survival was pieced together through interviews with former hostages, locals who witnessed their treatment, family members and colleagues of the captives, and a tight circle of advisers who made trips to the region to try to win their release. Crucial details were confirmed by a former member of the Islamic State — the militant Sunni group also known as ISIS — who was initially stationed in the prison where Mr. Foley was held, and who provided previously unknown details of his captivity.
You can read the whole article here.
Tom Gross adds: it is not quite, as the Times claims, “being told for the first time”. Various details have appeared in the French press and other newspapers, and also in these dispatches. Nevertheless the Times does an important job in their thorough examination of the issue.
Among related dispatches:
* The abandoned freelance journalists trying to report the world’s worst war, Syria (including a tribute to Steven Sotloff)
VICTIMS OF ISIS: NON-WESTERN JOURNALISTS WHO DON’T MAKE THE HEADLINES
Jon Henley of The Guardian points out that “In the past 10 months, at least 17 Iraqi journalists have been executed by Isis – and many others have been kidnapped, their fate unknown” – and these journalists do not attract the media attention that Western ones killed by Isis attract.
Among those killed in recent days:
On October 13, Isis shot and killed Mohanad al-Aqidi, the Mosul correspondent of Iraq’s Sada news agency.
On October 10, they publicly beheaded Raad Mohamed al-Azaoui, an Iraqi cameraman and photographer for Sama Salah Aldeen TV. Azaoui, a 37-year-old father of three, was killed with his brother after Isis finished celebrating Friday prayers.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says more than 80 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria since 2011, and that about 20 (mostly Syrian) journalists are still being held by Isis.
The “Islamic State has more support in Britain than in Arab nations,” according to this article.
Paul Cantlie, the father of one of the Islamic State’s British hostages, has died. Cantlie recorded a video message from his hospital bed earlier this month, urging those holding his son, John, to release him.
At least 23 British jihadis have been killed in Syria and Iraq this year, some as a result of American airstrikes, according to London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR). In addition to the 23 verified and named cases, there are likely to be several more unknown cases. At least four of the dead are from the town of Portsmouth. ICSR’s Shiraz Maher said many of the British dead were “well-educated and relatively affluent”.
AP WIDELY CRITICIZED FOR HEADLINE OVER MURDER OF 3-MONTH OLD BABY
The Associated Press is being criticized for its highly misleading headline last week “Israeli police shoot man in east Jerusalem”.
The headline refers to a Hamas terrorist who was shot after he attacked passengers waiting to use the light railway in Jerusalem last week. Several Israelis were injured and a three-month-old Israeli-American girl was killed in the attack. He was attempting to kill more people when an Israeli security guard shot him.
Hamas admitted responsibility for the attack and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh praised the killing of the 3-month-old baby girl only days after his own daughter had been treated in an Israeli hospital.
The AP headline was later changed, but not until it had already been repeated by news outlets throughout the world.