Palestinian businessman Mohamed Abdel-Hadi’s West Bank home, one of a number of such luxury villas the Western press prefer not to report on.
I attach a few items from recent days. This dispatch can also be viewed here.
-- Tom Gross
* Please “like” these dispatches on Facebook here www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia, where you can also find other items that are not in these dispatches.
1. “A Photo Album of Palestinian Luxury in the West Bank”
2. Widespread condemnation of Zoabi’s Kristallnacht comparison of Israel, Nazis
3. Jews not invited to Swedish Kristallnacht commemoration
4. “Name of shop is Hitler and I like him”: window displays encourage knifing of Jews
5. Israel asks UN to condemn organ-harvesting “blood libel”
6. Orthodox Jew stabbed multiple times in organized attack in Milan
7. Lashed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi wins EU’s Sakharov rights prize
8. Forbes magazine: Khamenei more powerful than Netanyahu
9. Sean Penn to visit Israel for 1st time; Seinfeld to play Tel Aviv
10. Helen Mirren: “I love Israel”; Robert Winston, Boris Johnson condemn BDS
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
“A PHOTO ALBUM OF PALESTINIAN LUXURY IN THE WEST BANK”
Over the last few years, I have occasionally published photos of the more luxurious side of life in the West Bank and Gaza – territories which some European politicians, academics and journalists continue to liken to a concentration camp.
In addition to publishing photo essays (for example, Fancy restaurants and Olympic-size swim pools: what the media won’t report about Gaza , May 25, 2010), I have also added photos to various dispatches.
Among them: “When we talked about ‘Starvation’ we Meant Plasma TVs and Café Latte” (October 19, 2010).
Now the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has made a wider compilation of such photos, including photos I have published in past dispatches and various new ones, here:
Their research also draws on an article I wrote for the Wall Street Journal:
Building Peace Without Obama's Interference: A promising, independent Palestine is quietly being developed, with Israeli assistance. (Dec. 2, 2009) (Of course, Obama did then interfere, and things are now worse.)
WIDESPREAD CONDEMNATION OF ZOABI’S ‘DESPICABLE KRISTALLNACHT COMPARISON’ OF ISRAEL, NAZIS
Politicians across the Israeli political spectrum have condemned Israeli-Arab Member of the Knesset Hanin Zoabi, for comparing contemporary Israel to Nazi Germany during Kristallnacht, when Jews in Germany and Austria were killed and thousands were sent to concentration camps. Many historians regard the so-called “Night of Broken Glass” on November 9, 1938, as marking the start of the Holocaust.
Zoabi was making a 1400 word speech at a Kristallnacht commemoration event in Amsterdam organized by “Platform Stop Racism and Exclusion” – a group widely condemned for its racism against Jews.
ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt said “To compare Israel with dictatorial Nazi Germany, which was driven by the most extreme ideology of hate, is not only factually and historically incorrect, it is an affront to those who are dedicated to learning the lessons of Kristallnacht to ensure that such hate and discrimination have no place in modern society.”
Others asked why this Dutch “charity” would choose to fly over Zoabi, who is well-known for her anti-Semitic remarks, to be its main speaker at its Kristallnacht commemoration.
Zoabi made her speech in front of the former site of a centuries-old Jewish orphanage whose children were murdered during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Leading up to Zoabi’s keynote speech, several others (including some extreme left-wing Jews) delivered remarks comparing Israel to the Nazis. At least half a dozen pro-Israel protesters were escorted from the gathering by security personnel and the Amsterdam police. One elderly protester who was shoved away by security personnel shouted, “This is a Jewish monument, how dare you!”
For its 2009 Kristallnacht commemoration, the same Dutch “anti-racism” charity hosted an imam who had accused Jews of using blood to make matzah in Damascus.
JEWS NOT INVITED TO SWEDISH KRISTALLNACHT COMMEMORATION
The organizers of a Kristallnacht commemoration event in Sweden have been criticized after declining to invite the Jewish community to participate, claiming the presence of Jews would be a “security risk”.
“Umea against Nazism” took place in the Swedish city of Umea on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The organizers claim that inviting the Jewish community would present a security risk, Swedish media reported, citing anti-Semitic and anti-Israel protests at past events.
The organizers were also criticized for downplaying the anti-Semitic centrality of the Holocaust at the event, and “conveying a generalized, vanilla message of tolerance – not opposition to anti-Semitism.”
In protest, one local municipal worker Anders Agren, organized a separate ceremony to which he invited the town’s small Jewish community, where memorial candles were lit and a moment of silence held.
Elsewhere in Sweden, the university town of Uppsala was criticized for holding a Kristallnacht gathering using promotional materials that did not include the words Jews or synagogues. (Many synagogues were looted and burned down on Kristallnacht.)
“NAME OF SHOP IS HITLER AND I LIKE HIM” – AS SHOP MANNEQUINS ENCOURAGE KNIFING OF JEWS
This is an important story by Reuters. The question is why, when almost all the world’s major news outlets subscribe to Reuters, so few of them have chosen to run this?
Reuters reports that a clothing store in Gaza City named “Hitler 2” is displaying mannequins with knives strapped to their hands as an encouragement to Palestinians to continue to murder Jews.
Hijaz Abu Shanab, a 20-year-old shopper, said: “The name of the shop is ‘Hitler’ and I like him... I like the clothes and the name, it is fantastic.”
The mannequins are also wearing balaclavas, masks and can be seen holding Palestinian flags. The photo of the storefront has gone viral, with pictures being shared widely on Facebook.
Here is the Reuters article.
Only a very few non-Israeli news outlets have run a version of this story, for example, here.
ISRAEL ASKS UN TO CONDEMN ORGAN-HARVESTING “BLOOD LIBEL”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon has called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the recent Palestinian accusations that Israel harvested the organs of Palestinians killed last month while they were in the act of stabbing Jews.
Palestinian representative at the UN Riyad Mansour wrote a letter to British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the current president of the Security Council, in which he alleged that “after returning the seized bodies of Palestinians killed by the occupying forces through October, and following medical examinations, it has been reported that the bodies were returned with missing corneas and other organs, further confirming past reports of organ harvesting by the occupying power.”
Danon urged Ban to repudiate Mansur’s organ-harvesting accusations and “condemn the ongoing incitement by Palestinian leaders.”
“This blood libel by the Palestinian representative exposes his anti-Semitic motives and his true colors,” Danon said. “Anti-Semitism has no place in the halls of the United Nations and must be denounced.”
The secretary-general and the Security Council have not commented on the accusations.
Tom Gross adds: As has been noted in Israeli media, Mansour has a long history of accusing Jews of organ-harvesting and of promoting other lies about Israel – but none of this was mentioned when he was given free rein to make (largely fabricated) charges against Israel in both the New York Times and the Washington Post, and during past appearances on NBC’s Meet the Press and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
ORTHODOX JEW STABBED IN ORGANIZED ATTACK AT KOSHER PIZZERIA IN MILAN; JEWS MURDERED IN HEBRON
I pointed out in other recent dispatches that internet companies including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are continuing to allow anti-Semitic hate videos by Muslims that encourage the stabbing of Jews in Islamic State-style attacks.
Following recent such stabbings in Marseilles, New York and elsewhere, an orthodox Jewish man has been stabbed up to ten times at a kosher pizzeria in the Jewish Quarter of Milan. A brave passerby intervened to help the Jewish man. The attacker, who witnesses say appeared to be of Arab descent, fled to a car in which two accomplices were waiting. They sped away, according to police.
More here in Italian, with photos:
Two more Israeli civilians (including a teenager) were also murdered today and five others injured by Palestinian gunmen in Hebron, Judaism’s second most Holy city.
LASHED SAUDI BLOGGER RAIF BADAWI WINS EU’S SAKHAROV RIGHTS PRIZE
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for supposedly insulting Islam, has been awarded the European Union’s Sakharov prize for human rights and freedom of thought. Badawi received the first 50 lashes in January.
British Conservative MEP Syed Kamall, who nominated Badawi for the EU prize, said “Saudi Arabia can lock up the man and they can lash him, but they will only strengthen amongst his countrymen the yearning for free speech and debate that he stands for.”
In a new law, Saudi Arabia deemed atheism to be a “terrorist offence”.
The prize is named in honor of Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
For related dispatches, please see:
* “Je suis Raif Badawi” (January 16, 2015)
* Video appeal from Raif Badawi’s wife: item 3 here (February 27, 2015)
FORBES MAGAZINE: KHAMENEI MORE POWERFUL THAN NETANYAHU
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s most powerful people. Khamenei was 20th on the list, Netanyahu 21st.
The ranking is still high for the prime minister of Israel, a small country of 8 million people. Only eight other heads of state or prime ministers were above Netanyahu on the list.
Forbes placed Russian President Vladimir Putin first on its list, German Chancellor Angela Merkel second, U.S. President Barack Obama third, and Pope Francis fourth.
Netanyahu was also behind Google CEO Larry Page, who was ranked No. 10. and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was No. 19.
SEAN PENN TO VISIT ISRAEL FOR 1ST TIME; SEINFELD TO PLAY TEL AVIV
Defying the boycott-Israel movement, actor Sean Penn (who has been highly critical of Israel in the past) is to visit Israel for first time later this month.
Penn, who has twice won an Oscar for Best Actor, will be the guest of the Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID, and will participate in a conference on the reconstruction of Haiti, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2010.
Penn has repeatedly been to Haiti, assisted in relief efforts there and worked side by side with Israeli volunteers. Penn, who was previously married to Madonna, has a Jewish father. (There were press reports this week in the Daily Mail and other papers asking whether Sean Penn and Madonna might be back together, 26 years after they divorced. They have been spotted having what are described as “intimate dinners” together in recent weeks.)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld will also visit Israel next month, where he will perform to sold-out audiences in a Tel Aviv stadium.
HELEN MIRREN: “I LOVE ISRAEL”; ROBERT WINSTON, BORIS JOHNSON CONDEMN BDS
The Oscar-winning British actress Helen Mirren has also spoken out on behalf of Israel and against boycotts.
She said that “the people who are the most inspiring in Israel tend to be from the cultural community… To cut them off is the craziest idea, I don’t agree with it at all.”
She also praised the Israeli film industry and said she agreed with British cultural figures who signed an open letter, published in The Guardian, that endorsed cultural engagement with Israel rather than a cultural boycott, as a way to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
She also said she had worked in Israel and also been on holiday there twice: “I love Israel, I think it is a great, great country. I think that through all the difficulties, and all the pain that Israel has suffered in the past and will in the future, the great thing that Israel has is Israelis, and they will guide it through.”
Two short videos of Helen Mirren here:
Lord (Robert) Winston, the British-Jewish scientist who pioneered IVF treatment for women, also criticized the BDS movement in a speech he made in Israel this week. When asked about the hundreds of British academics who called, in The Guardian, for a boycott of Israel last month, he told Haaretz “They are not exactly at the cutting edge of British intellectual thought.”
And London Mayor Boris Johnson, who also visited Israel this week (and who is a subscriber to this email list), made a speech in Tel Aviv strongly criticizing BDS.