Above: Israeli medics provide emergency treatment to a victim of a terror attack in central Tel Aviv on New Year’s day; and memorial candles at the scene of the attack, where victims were celebrating a friend’s birthday.
* 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. Media ignore the fact that an Arab judge sentenced ex-Israeli PM Olmert
2. Finally reported: Palestinian Bar grants honorary degree to Al-Quds murderer
3. Spanish court lifts war criminal charges against Netanyahu
4. BBC peddles fantasy that Tel Aviv terror attack might have been homophobic crime
5. BBC radio criticized for allowing 13 minute anti-Semitic on air rant
6. Israeli party leaders argue in Knesset on which party is most pro-gay. Likud wins.
7. Rumors in Lebanon: Son of slain Hizbullah commander was U.S. and Israeli mole
8. Hizbullah allows 40,000 civilians to starve to death; media looks the other way
9. World Sailing: We will investigate Malaysia for refusing Israeli competitors
10. Mohammed now the most popular baby name in Israel
11. First kosher marijuana to go on sale. Rabbi: “It’s a mitzvah”
12. Amazing! NY Times publishes something nice about Israel
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
MEDIA IGNORE THE FACT THAT AN ARAB JUDGE SENTENCED EX-ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER OLMERT
When international media reported at some length last week on the sentencing of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to 18 months in prison by Israel’s Supreme Court, almost no foreign journalist mentioned that the judge who announced the verdict, Justice Salim Joubran, from Haifa, is an Israeli-Arab member of Israel’s Supreme Court.
To mention this would, of course, draw attention to the fact that the “Israeli Apartheid” myth that many of their colleagues in the media promote, is just that – a myth.
Olmert is the first Israeli prime minister to be convicted of a crime. A lower Israeli court had sentenced him to six years in jail for two counts of bribery, but the Supreme Court overturned one of the convictions on appeal last week. (Olmert was found guilty of accepting a relatively small sum in bribes – certainly small compared to the bribery and corruption rife throughout much of the world, and even in some EU countries.)
A correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz wrote “Israel is the only country in the world where a president and a prime minister have both been sent to prison by a court, without a coup or revolution.”
You may want to read previous dispatches referring to the sentencing of ex-Israeli President Katsav, among them:
FINALLY REPORTED: PALESTINIAN BAR ASSOCIATION GRANTS HONORARY DEGREE TO AL-QUDS UNIVERSITY MURDERER
Last week, the Washington Post became the first major media outlet to report (in an online article only) on the story I ran in October: that on October 10, the Palestinian Bar Association (which I am told is partially funded by European Union sources) granted an honorary degree to the Al-Quds University terrorist who murdered two Israelis in Jerusalem a week earlier.
On October 3, Palestinian Islamist terrorist Muhannad Halabi (a law student at Al-Quds University) stabbed to death Israeli Aharon Bennet and wounded Bennet’s wife and their 2-year-old son. He also murdered Nehamia Lavi, who attempted to aid Bennet’s wife and child.
The council of the Palestinian Bar Association unanimously voted posthumously to award him an honorary LL.D, and also decided that the next swearing-in ceremony of Palestinian lawyers would be named in his honor. Council members paid a condolence call on the Halabi family, and praised his “Martyrdom operation” in attacking an innocent Israeli couple and their baby in Jerusalem.
The question is why news outlets such as the New York Times, that devote an extraordinary amount of coverage to picking over details on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, haven’t bothered to report this.
If one of the many journalists subscribing to this list does want to report this, they are welcome, if they like, to quote me as saying: “It is hard to think of a greater contrast between the open and independent Israeli legal system in which an Arab judge sentences a former Israeli Prime Minister to prison, and a Palestinian legal system that worships and glorifies murderers.”
Among previous dispatches on Halabi: Postscript: Murder.
SPANISH COURT LIFTS WAR CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST NETANYAHU
The Spanish legal system has also been showing its bias, singling out Israel from all the world’s democracies, in what has become known as “lawfare”.
In November, Spanish National Court judge Justice Jose de la Mata named Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and six other Israeli government officials (Ehud Barak, Avigdor Lieberman, Moshe Ya’alon, Eli Yishai, Benny Begin and Eliezer Marom) as war crime suspects in connection with the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010. Their war crime? Israeli troops prevented members of the Turkish militant group IHH from smuggling weapons to Hamas in Gaza, intended for use to murder Israeli civilians.
Under the de la Mata ruling, if Netanyahu or the other Israeli politicians came to Spain, they could be detained, arrested or charged.
Last week, the Spanish paper El Diario reported that two judges from the same court have now taken the Israelis off the war crimes list, saying the previous judge had made a jurisdictional error in naming Netanyahu and the other Israeli officials.
For videos of the Turkish militants on the Mavi Marmara boat attacking the Israelis (and throwing one off the deck), please scroll down here.
The Spanish court didn’t issue any “war crimes” arrest warrants against the Turkish political leaders even though the IHH has received financial aid from the Turkish government.
By contrast a French judge named IHH as the organization that assisted in the 1999 al-Qaeda plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, a plot ordered by Osama bin Laden.
France’s former top anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere told The Associated Press that IHH, had “clear, long-standing ties to terrorism and Jihad.”
BBC PEDDLES FANTASY THAT TEL AVIV TERROR ATTACK MIGHT HAVE BEEN HOMOPHOBIC HATE CRIME CARRIED OUT BY ISRAELI
For hour after hour last Friday (New Year’s Day), while Tel Aviv was in partial lockdown as police looked for the Arab gunman who had shot and wounded Israelis sitting at a café in mid-afternoon, celebrating a friend’s birthday, BBC Tel Aviv correspondent Kevin Connolly continued to promote the fantasy that it might have been an attack on a gay bar, when it was not a gay bar.
(Indeed the previous time the BBC suggested there was a homophobic attack on a Tel Aviv gay bar, it turned out that it was one gay man shooting his ex-lover in a grudge attack, not some homophobic hate crime, but the BBC never made this clear.)
France 24, CNN, Sky, all reported that a Koran was found in the gunman’s abandoned backpack last Friday, but not the BBC.
Even after the father of the terrorist (an Israeli Arab from the north of the country) called Israeli police to offer his assistance in locating his son (who is still on the run), the BBC were still speculating the next day that the attack might not have been carried out by an Arab.
Other international media (but not the BBC) reported that this is likely to be Israel’s first ISIS-inspired mass shooting.
As writer Nidra Poller pointed out “The father of the terrorist had the courage to report his son yet the BBC -- and also CNN -- don’t have the courage to say who did it.”
The father of the terrorist said “my son needs to be arrested before he murders again.”
Police believe Milhem also killed a taxi driver before he attacked the café-bar. Tel Aviv residents are on high alert as he is still armed with the submachine gun he used to carry out the attack.
A number of ISIS supporters are known to live in Wadi Ara, the town where the terrorist Nashat Milhem is from, and several have already gone to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.
The terrorist’s father Muhammad, told reporters (but not the BBC) that “I am an Israeli citizen, a law-abiding citizen. I am sorry for what my son has done. I did not educate him to act in that way. I went to the police and helped the security forces. I did not expect that my son would do such a thing. I express my sorrow to the families of the victims, and hope those who were injured will make full recoveries.”
His words contrast with the mother of the Palestinian terrorist Raid Halil bin Mahmoud who stabbed five Israelis in south Tel Aviv on November 19 (killing two of them). She told Palestinian media she was “proud” of her son’s actions.
An attempt by two Israeli Arab citizens from Jerusalem to bomb the Be Center hotel in the Israeli southern resort city of Eilat last week, was thwarted by the Shin Bet, who were tipped off thanks to the vigilance of hotel employees. Eilat’s Be Center was believed to have been targeted because it is a relatively small hotel with a low level of security.
BBC RADIO ALSO BEING CRITICIZED FOR ALLOWING 13 MINUTE ANTI-SEMITIC ON AIR RANT
The BBC is also being urged to act after a BBC radio presenter allowed a caller to one of its radio stations last Tuesday to deliver a 13-minute, barely challenged anti-Semitic rant about how “Jews” “rule” the British.
Jonathan Sacerdoti, director of communication at the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, told British print media that the incident was “shocking even for the BBC. The radio presenter simply allowed an ignorant racist to speak for nearly a quarter of an hour while offering no counter-argument, correction or condemnation of his views that Jews control money, banks, commerce and the media. We expect the BBC to now hand the caller’s telephone number to the police.”
The BBC has repeatedly been criticized for its frequent anti-Israel and occasionally anti-Jewish bias, but the head of BBC News and Current Affairs (who is Jewish, and a subscriber to this list), seems not to care.
Last October (as reported in these dispatches), the BBC’s former chairman, Lord Michael Grade, took the unusual step of publically criticizing the BBC for its “inexcusable” anti-Israel bias.
There has been a significant increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the UK last year and some have blamed the BBC and other media for stirring up an anti-Jewish atmosphere, especially by their invective against Israel.
Anti-Semitic attacks in London rose by 60 per cent in 2015. The London borough of Lambeth saw a 200 per cent rise, Westminster saw a 178 per cent increase and in Tower Hamlets there was an increase of 100 per cent, The Jewish News reports.
ISRAELI PARTY LEADERS ARGUE IN KNESSET ON WHICH PARTY IS MOST PRO-GAY. LIKUD WINS.
Israeli lawyer Amir Ohana became a member of the Knesset last week. He replaces fellow Likud politician Silvan Shalom, who resigned recently.
Ohana, the chair of Likud’s “Pride Caucus”, is the party’s first openly gay parliamentarian. (The right-wing Likud has many openly gay members and voters but because of the small size of the Knesset, Ohana is the first to become an MK.)
In his inaugural Knesset speech he named his partner and their children. He said: “I am here as the son of Meir and Esther Ohana, who immigrated from Morocco to build a country. I am here with my other half, Alon, my true love. I am here as the father of our children Ella and David... I am here with all of who I am and I am proud of it all: Jewish, Israeli, Mizrahi, gay, Likudnik.”
Then Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a speech, saying he took great pride that Ohana had been voted into office in an open primary, by thousands of Likud members, while all the time saying he was proud to be gay – whereas openly gay Knesset members for centrist and left-wing Israeli parties such as Nitzan Horowitz, Itzik Shmuly and Professor Uzi Even had been selected by their party committees.
International gay organizations say Israel is probably the most gay-friendly country in the world (in spite of BBC correspondents attempt to claim otherwise this weekend).
I recommend watching this short clip of Ohana’s and Netanyahu’s speeches here, with English subtitles.
* Among previous related dispatches: Tel Aviv voted world’s best gay city.
RUMORS IN LEBANON: SON OF SLAIN HIZBULLAH COMMANDER WAS U.S. AND ISRAELI MOLE
Rumors have spread in Lebanon in recent days that the Iranian-controlled Lebanese Shia terror group Hizbullah is investigating whether Mustafa Mughniyeh, the youngest son of the group’s former operations commander Imad Mughniyeh, worked as a mole for both Israeli and American intelligence. According to reports, Mustafa Mughniyeh has been arrested and is being interrogated by Hizbullah. The revelation, if true, would prove a major embarrassment for Hizbullah.
Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in Damascus in 2008. His other son, Jihad, was assassinated in January 2015.
Among previous dispatches on Imad Mughniyeh:
If true, it could be as big a setback for the terrorists, as the revelation that Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Ahmed Yousef, a founding member of Hamas, worked for the Israeli security service the Shin Bet for a decade while running his father’s Hamas headquarters in the West Bank.
Mosab Hassan Yousef saved hundreds of Israeli lives by warning Israeli authorities of imminent Hamas terror plots.
With Israel’s help he now lives in exile in the U.S. where he campaigns against radical Islamic terrorism, and has written a memoir, “Son of Hamas”.
HIZBULLAH ALLOWING 40,000 CIVILIANS TO STARVE TO DEATH IN MADAYA; MEDIA LOOKS THE OTHER WAY
Meanwhile the (reliable organization) The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reports that 40,000 besieged Syrian civilians are being starved to death in Madaya, penned in by Hizbullah forces aided by those of the Assad regime.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says hundreds of landmines have been planted by Hizbullah and Assad’s forces around Madaya, along with barbed wire fences to prevent civilians being able to escape, while no food or medicine is being allowed in.
The lack of reporting on this by major international media is, in my opinion, one of the (media) crimes of our era, perhaps comparable to the New York Times’ cover-up of the Holocaust in the 1940s.
Western apologists for Hizbullah include the current leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.
WORLD SAILING PRESIDENT: WE WILL INVESTIGATE MALAYSIA FOR REFUSING ISRAELI COMPETITORS
The president of “World Sailing” (formerly called the International Sailing Federation), Carlo Croce, says his organization “will not accept a situation in which one nation (Israel) is unable to compete on equal terms.”
The Malaysian hosts of the World Youth Sailing Championships last week refused the Israeli competitors and current world champions, Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan, the chance to compete under the Israeli flag, thus denying the Israelis the opportunity to defend their titles at the championships.
Croce said: “World Sailing is committed to ensuring participation in our sport by competitors from all nations. We expect the organizing authority of our events to allow sailors from all nations to compete on an equal basis. This expectation is made clear in the bid process and is set out in the contractual documentation governing our events.”
Omer won gold medal in the Boys Under-19 competition in the previous championships in Poland last year, and Drihan won the Girls U17 and U19 events.
Malaysia is now also refusing to grant visas to Israel’s table tennis team. The World Championships are to be held next month in Kuala Lumpur.
MOHAMMED NOW THE MOST POPULAR BABY NAME IN ISRAEL
Israel’s Population Authority last week released its list of most popular baby names, and Mohammed how heads the list.
In 2014 (the 2015 list will only appear in some months), there were 2,650 Mohammeds, 650 more than Noam, the most popular name among Jews. (400 of the roughly 2000 children named Noam were girls.)
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics said in an aside to their report: “The most common name among those born in 2014 was Mohammed. This name was very common among the population because it is given to one out of every seven Muslim boys. In comparison, the most common names among Jews and Muslim girls were given to one out of 40 children.”
Mohammed, a very popular name among Muslims who wish to name their sons after the Muslim prophet, is also the No. 1 baby boy name in Britain, according to some reports.
The most popular name in Israel for Jewish baby girls remained Noa for the 15th consecutive year. It was followed by Tamar, Shira, Maya, Yael, Adel, Talia, Avigail, Ayala and Sarah.
Among specifically religious Jews, Yosef (Joseph) was the most popular boys’ name.
The second most popular boys’ name for Israeli Muslims was Ahmed. Among Muslim girls, the most popular name was Maryam.
FIRST KOSHER MARIJUANA TO GO ON SALE. RABBI: “IT’S A MITZVAH”
The Orthodox Union (OU) of rabbis agreed last Wednesday to certify as kosher, medical marijuana produced by Vireo Health, one of the five companies permitted to market their medical marijuana in the State of New York.
This is the first time medical cannabis has been grown and produced according to the laws of kashrut. For example, it is entirely free of insects.
“Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States, but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis among wider society,” Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung said in a press release.
“Today’s announcement sends an important message to New Yorkers of all faiths and backgrounds that using medical cannabis to alleviate pain and suffering does not in any way represent an embrace of ‘pot’ culture,” he added.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of the Orthodox Union, said that “using medical cannabis products recommended by a physician should be regarded as a mitzvah, an imperative, a commandment.”
The product will be on the shelves in New York in about a month, available with a doctor’s prescription.
In Israel there are several manufacturers who market medical cannabis, but so far the Chief Rabbinate has not certified the product as kosher.
Among previous related dispatches:
AMAZING! NY TIMES PUBLISHES SOMETHING NICE ABOUT ISRAEL
This weekend’s New York Times travel section published an article generally free of anti-Israel bias. Here:
* 36 Hours in Tel Aviv. Young, modern Tel Aviv and ancient Jaffa pulse with energy and combine to offer bustling markets, night clubs and a beachside promenade just right for two wheels.
[Notes above by Tom Gross]