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Gaza, Syria, Iran – Is Israel Controlling The Narrative?

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — May 9, 2018 … Somewhere in the United States, Europe and Asia, Mr. and Mrs. John Doe are waking up. They crawl slowly out of their beds, make their way to the bathroom, then to the kitchen to boil some coffee or tea. As they sip their Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts they glance down with eyes half open at the Sunday paper.

The front page has something to do with Trump, a volcano in Hawaii, North Korea then some local news about their school board and the opiate crisis. Minutes later they will reach the bottom of page 12 where a buried headline reads: “Dozens of Palestinians wounded in 6th weekly Gaza protest”.

Most will read the headline, few will read the story.

But that same headline, seen week after week on page 10 or page 12 or page 14 remains deep in their conscience. It’s a headline that cries out that once again Israel is brutally attacking the poor, victimized Palestinians.

There is no context. There is no editorial balance.

The story comes directly from the Associated Press which feeds thousands of global print, broadcast and digital media. AP reporter Fares Akram writes from Gaza City that black smoke from burning tires mixed with streaks of tear gas hover over the Palestinians, 70 of whom have been wounded by Israel fire.

There is no mention of Hamas until the last paragraph and that only comes with a brief description that Hamas is an “Islamic militant group”.

In reality, Israel once again is being forced to defend her civilian population on the southern border with Gaza and on her northern border with Syria and Lebanon against Iran and her US designated terror organizations Hamas and Hezbollah. But that totally escapes the reader. That reader could be a carpenter, a car salesman, health care worker, taxi driver, waitress, an officer in the Pentagon, a congressman or Senator.

Bottom line, Israel is once again losing the PR war.
The battle for souls and minds lost to a professional propaganda machine based in Tehran and outsourced to “peace organizations” in the UK and US.

Jews from London, Paris and Rome to New York, Toronto and Melbourne are again tragically on the defensive as they attempt to speak out proudly about Israel. Many truly don’t know what to say and some are even ashamed of Israel’s basic right to defend herself.

Any Jew who ventures to visit #GreatReturnMarch or #GolanHeights on Twitter will be greeted with a barrage of anti-Israel, anti-semitic comments, videos and photographs which depict suffering Palestinians. Much of the content is professionally staged.
It’s called Pallywood. But Mr. and Mrs. John Doe do not know that.

Yes, we have a few, strong, articulate online Jewish advocates coming from the IDF, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the World Jewish Congress and even the Mossad – but it is not enough. It is not effective. We are heavily outnumbered on social media by fifty to one!

 


Today it starts with the AP reporting from Gaza City. One cannot file an objective news story from Gaza City that is in any degree critical of the Hamas ruled government.
Do that and you will get a bullet to the head.

AP, which should have another correspondent reporting from the Israeli side – for editorial balance, is missing in action.
Is AP to blame?
Partly.

Can professional Jewish advocates i.e. – HonestReporting.com, Stand With Us or the Israel Project fix this?
No.

Mostly it is Israel’s negligence not to provide professional, basic media resources in a comfortable, air conditioned, computerized environment in Jerusalem and on the Gaza and Syrian borders. All it takes are a few IDF army tents with tables, chairs, electricity, Internet and coffee.

In the many years that I have worked as a journalist and or as a senior media consultant in Israel – we have always had a professional media center in operation to provide real time, 24/7 information to the global media during military operations.

When public opinion has a direct impact with lives on the ground there is no debate. The Prime Minister’s Office needs to immediately coordinate a media center(s) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Government Press Office to provide access to both the Gaza and Syrian border, photographs, news releases and spokespeople to answer questions.

This is crisis communications, reputation management 101.

In some minds in Jerusalem, controlling the narrative is solely defined as opening fire to defend your civilian population.

With others it takes the shape of educating your fellow Jews, Western democracies, the UN and the International Criminal Court in The Hague of the defensive action Israel is taking to preserve her existence.

Without this critical, real time flow of accurate information coming from our public affairs experts in Jerusalem, that AP story will slowly transcend into cancerous anti-semitism.

Israelis are Jews and Jews are shooting at “innocent Palestinians”.
Jews are once again creating suffering in the world. Forget that Israel was in Haiti, Nepal, Japan and on the Syrian border with field hospitals. Forget every medical, tech and humanitarian achievement Israel has created in saving thousands upon thousands of lives.

Twitter and Facebook cannot and will not replace an active, government sponsored media centers with computer terminals, coffee and live interviews with articulate, professional spokespeople who speak English, French and Spanish.

That the Giro D’Italia bicycle race warrants a media center in Jerusalem and thousands of Iranian paid, Hamas inspired rioters attacking our southern border does not – truly boggles the mind.

AntiSemitism – From Gaza, Germany To France, Durham

Israel has one of the most diverse,
inclusive police forces in the world.

An Open Letter To Durham, NC Mayor Steve Schewel:                    April 25, 2018

Dear Mayor Schewel,

I just finished watching the Durham City Council meeting of April 16, 2018 which implemented a ban on working with Israeli security forces. The first and only US city to create a ban working with Israel.

If you had not stated that you were a Jew and Zionist, that your father had worked for the ADL, I would not be writing this letter.

You appear to be a good man, but lacking knowledge on several historical facts.

As the ADL states: “The charge that American police exchange programs play a role in political militarization and oppression is malicious and false. This effort was orchestrated by one of the most vocal anti-Israel hate groups in America without any attempt to gain the facts from other mainstream organizations and law enforcement leaders themselves who can attest to the value of these exchange programs.”

The ADL statement which appears in Durham’s Herald Sun newspaper continues: “The Durham City Council is empowered to act on a variety of topics, but it should never do so based on maliciously erroneous assertions. Here the Council failed to do its due diligence in separating truth from propaganda.”

There is no occupation of “Palestinian land”.
There was a war in 1967 and Israel won that war.

Under international law, there is no occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank or what we in Israel refer to as Judea and Samaria.

As for Gaza – there is no occupation – not one Israeli civilian or solder is there.

In 2005 Israel unilaterally left Gaza in a peace move which resulted in Hamas rockets being fired at Jewish civilian communities in Israel.
It was never about land. It is Jihad, the same Jihad that brought us 9/11.

Gaza is ruled by Hamas – defined as a Foreign Terror Organization by the United States Department of State.

The term “occupation” came into being by Yasser Arafat in 1967 and has been used as a propaganda tool for Israel’s destruction ever since.

But even given that legally there is no occupation – Israel continues to reach out for peace. A Palestinian state has been rejected by the Arabs 5 times since 1948.

There truly is no Israeli – Palestinian issue. It is an Israeli – Iranian issue as Iran directly funds Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

As one of the leading facilitators of police exchanges between America and Israel, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) works closely with law enforcement in the U.S., training thousands of law enforcement officials to identify and investigate hate crimes, as well as extremist and terrorist threats against all vulnerable groups in our society. The ADL also trains thousands of federal, state and local police each year on managing implicit bias, and the role of police as protectors the people – all people – and of the Constitution and individual rights.

ADL’s law enforcement programs are well-respected and recognized by the nation’s leading law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are designed to equip officers with the knowledge, understanding, and sense of accountability necessary to help safeguard all communities and ensure that everyone’s civil rights and liberties are rigorously protected. And ADL submitted testimony for the Obama Administration’s forward-looking Task Force on 21st Century Policing on how to address police misconduct and how to advance police-community relations.

Lastly, I served as a humanitarian officer in the IDF for over 16 years.

We are not a perfect army but we do provide basic respect with all we come into contact with. We do not indiscriminately shoot civilians. In fact we risk our lives at security check points and on our borders not to injure and or shoot civilians as Hamas and Hezbollah use civilians as human shields. We provide tons of humanitarian aid on a daily basis to Gaza.

I implore you to rethink the resolution that you and the Durham city council just passed.

I can assure you that if the ADL and several other Jewish organizations are in complete agreement (something they never are) that singling out Israel constitutes anti-semitism – please listen to them. It demonizes Israel and plays right into the BDS playbook. Never mind that it was used only as a quote in your Council’s statement or you were just referring to Israel’s police and IDF.

Mayor Schewel, you had anti-semitism thrown in your face at that council meeting. You didn’t tolerate it. I kindly ask you to remove Israel’s name in a resolution that singles out Israel in regards to police training – unless of course you care to add a few dozen nations that also provide security training to the US to that list.

As a Jew, as a Zionist, as a human – I and many others are prepared to find the resources to create an economic and cultural boycott of Durham.

Hate can start with Durham and spread like a cancer.

When Israeli Arabs chant: “From the River to the Sea” – they are not referring to from the Mississippi to the Atlantic.

When Jews chant the words never again, we mean, never again.

Hate must not find an anchor in Durham, North Carolina.

Sincerely,

Joel Leyden
Publisher
Israel News Agency

Israel Warns Hamas – Do Not Attack Our Border

Members of the Hamas terror organization who were
killed
trying to breach Israel’s border with Gaza.

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — April 5, 2018 … The Israel Defense Forces is warning the international terror group Hamas, its supporters and all who cooperate with Hamas not to approach Israel’s border with Gaza.

“We will protect our borders from being breached and protect our civilians in the face of terror,” said IDF Major Keren Hajioff.

“The IDF will not allow any breach of the security fence, which protects Israeli civilians, and will continue to operate in order to prevent terrorists who are involved in these acts of terror. The IDF wishes to emphasize that approaching the security fence is a dangerous act.”

Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated: “Anyone who comes close to the fence will endanger their lives.” Liberman made these comments during a visit to the Israel Gaza border in which he tried to discourage participants in the “Great March of the Return” from trying to cross into Israel.

“I think the other side [the Palestinians] understand that it is not worth it to continue, and I warn those who do continue against any additional provocation,” the Defense Minister said.

“Most of those who were killed trying to breach the border last Friday are well-known terrorists who are active in Hamas’s military wing or in Islamic Jihad,” said Liberman. “These are not innocent civilians who came to peacefully protest.

“We are not provoking the people in Gaza. We are protecting our citizens,” he said.

“We have set very clear rules [of engagement] and we have no intention of changing them,” Liberman said. “We are determined to protect the security of Israeli citizens, of course, first and foremost, in the area of Gaza, and there will be no compromise on this issue, no flexibility.”

Hamas, which is designated as an international terror organization by Israel, the United States and several other nations, is actively recruiting new members.  Hamas which has a long history of killing civilians through blowing up buses, planting bombs in restaurants and hotels and launching rockets into Israel is now paying Palestinians who are critically or moderately wounded in the protests $500 and for  the families of Palestinians killed $3000, Hamas spokesman Hazim Qassim is quoted as saying.

Hamas, whose stated mission is to destroy the State of Israel through Jihad (Holy War against Jews and Christians) rules over Gaza. There are no Israeli civilians or military in Gaza which shares a border with Egypt.

The IDF has described the protests as “violent riots,” illustrating through photos and video that many protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at its soldiers, opened fire on them, attempted to infiltrate Israel’s borders and has set tires on fire.

Hamas acknowledges that at least five of its men were killed by IDF snipers during last Friday’s riot adjacent to the border with Israel. Israel has identified at least 10 members of Hamas and other terror groups were among those killed, and says the terrorists tried to used the chaos to plant bombs on the border or carry out terror attacks.

Hamas leaders  have threatened renewed violence on Friday, with Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh saying Sunday that protests might not stop at the border next time around.

Hamas, which is controlled and funded by Iran, is coordinating its efforts with international, anti-semitic organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, Students For Justice in Palestine and The International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

The ADL has made the following statement: “Hamas is once again cynically exploiting its civilian population to draw attention away from its own flawed leadership and once again with tragically deadly consequences. Their call for ‘return’ is a call for the end of the State of Israel.”

Americans who are supporting and or cooperating with Hamas in protests in Europe, Gaza and the United States are being identified with their names being forwarded to the US State Department and the FBI.

United States law is very clear:

“It is unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to a designated FTO. (The term “material support or resources” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2339A as “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who maybe or include oneself), and transportation.”

Remembering The Passover Massacre

Passover Massacre 2002: The Victims

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem—Updated from April 2004 – March 27, 2018 …. It was 16 years ago and the days before Passover in Israel were no different than today.

With only three differences. Iran is closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon. US President Barack Obama, who has not missed an opportunity to attack Israel and it’s Prime Minister, was allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Today, President Trump says he is moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

An Israeli child struggles for his life.
There would be no Passover questions, no hidden matzah. Photo: Reuters

Obama was also demanding that Israel withdraw to suicidal 1967 borders. To make peace with Palestinians (Hamas) who have turned down every peace offer made to them.
To make peace with those who gave us the Passover Massacre.

Sixteen years ago, Israel was under cloudless skies, sun drenched streets, birds chirping as the Spring weather began to smile. The summer’s intense sauna was ahead of us, and the winter’s steady, freezing rain has just passed.  Israeli shopping centers and Internet chat rooms were abuzz with Israelis discussing Passover recipes, cleaning tips
vacations up north.

My new born daughter Amanda and I had just arrived at my in-law’s home for Passover dinner in Netanya.

As we stood around the carpeted living room sharing compliments and jokes as last minute Passover table preparations were being made, we heard a crack of thunder.

This was not unusual. There was a slight drizzle coming down as we parked the car minutes earlier.

Thunder storms are still generous in Israel’s March before we enter the seven months of endless days of sun.  Then we heard an ambulance siren. Again nothing usual about that either, there are an abundance of nursing homes mixed in with the hotels marking Netanya’s tranquil seafront. A second and third siren screamed passed our building.
The TV was turned on and we heard the first reports of what is known today as the Passover Massacre.

In one of the most brutal terror attacks sustained by Israel, an Islamic suicide terror bomber from the Hamas terrorist organization walked into Netanya’s Park Hotel on March 27, 2002. He strode passed the reception desk and calmly walked into the main dining hall. As elderly Jews and children were sitting over matza and chicken soup, the terrorist detonated a lethal charge, murdering 30, and wounding 140.The dead included babies, grandmothers and six married couples.

It was 7:30 p.m. and I had to make a judgment call, leave my family at the start of this festive family meal or cover another terror attack in Israel. I struggled with the decision, my family kept saying don’t go. But I really had no choice.

When I arrived on the scene, which was two blocks away, there were about a dozen ambulances caring for the wounded.

Five dismembered and blood soaked bodies lay covered with blue and grey blankets outside on the hotel’s sidewalk. Many of the guests who had survived the terror attack and were being rushed to nearby hospitals were still dressed in their holiday best; the women in festive dresses, the men in white shirts and dark pants.

Shreds of glass were sprinkled throughout the ground. The hotel lobby and the second floor of the hotel had all of its windows blown out. The only thing moving were the torn, white window curtains twisting in the cool wind.

A large pool of water created by the hotel’s safety sprinkler system and broken water pipes filled the reception area.

But this was not ground zero – broken glass and water were only a prelude to the horror which was about 50 feet passed the front desk, the burned and blood stained remains of a festive Passover dining room. White tables and chairs were thrown several feet into the air, landing against the hotel wall.

Unopened bottles of Passover wine and colorful flowers now littered the floor.

An eerie, death filled quiet had settled in where moments before there was laughter, life and hope.

People were slowly walking out of the hotel in a silent daze, all frozen in shock.
One elderly man walked slowly down the street with no apparent direction wearing a blue dress suit with blood spilling out of his grey hair.

“I saw little children, bodies. And I want to say something to the Arab leaders in Beirut. This is not resistance. This is murder. This is terrorism it’s most purest form,” Netanya Mayor Miriam Feyerberg told the TV cameras.

Among the dead and wounded in the bombing were entire families, Israelis and foreign Jews visiting from abroad for the holiday. The force of the blast devastated the dining hall, knocked down the facade of the hotel lobby, shredded the paneled ceiling inside and crumpled cars parked on the street outside.

Nichama Donenhirsch, a guest at the hotel, said that as she and her family fled, they saw a little girl, about 10 to 12 years old, lying dead on the ground, her eyes wide open as if in surprise.

Some of the wounded staggered out of the lobby, which was plunged into darkness by the explosion. Others were taken to ambulances in stretchers, including a young boy who had an oxygen mask pressed to the face. One elderly man was covered by a blue blanket, blood dripping from his face. An elderly woman, her face covered with blood, sat on the sidewalk, attended to by several people.

The Park Hotel is located directly opposite the city square and on a hill overlooking the beach. There are several other hotels in this residential area of Netanya.

The mutilated bodies of murdered Israel men, women and children, who minutes earlier were celebrating a Passover meal, lay lined up outside the Park Hotel in Netanya.

As police arrived they started to create a perimeter, a safety area as police sappers began searching for additional explosives. About one hour after the attack took place, Israeli security forces discovered that explosives had been placed inside one of the many ambulances at the scene.

Immediately all of the ambulances and rescue workers were evacuated.
Mayor Miriam Feyerberg spoke with me and stated that Israelis must remain strong. That we all must continue with our lives, go to work, continue shopping, visit restaurants, otherwise the terrorists would win.
“In recent days, these terrorist groups have begun describing their actions as acts of
resistance’, but resistance is not blowing up children and babies,” Feyerberg said.

“As the Arab leaders are talking peace in Beirut, their associates are committing some of the worst acts of barbarism ever witnessed in present history. The Israeli government will not swallow this. The same people who destroyed New York’s World Trade Center are the same one’s responsible for tonight’s atrocity.”

When the bomb exploded tonight, the Mayor had been attending a Seder – with mothers of the victims of last summer’s (2001) terror bombing in Tel Aviv.

Over 62 people were rushed to Laniado Hospital, 15 in serious condition among them a 45-year-old man and a 5-year-old boy, both with head injuries, who were later moved from Laniado to Beilinson Hospital in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva.

Hospitals were overwhelmed, setting up triage in their synagogues and shuffling the less seriously wounded to their cafeterias. As is usually the case, the bomb contained nails and other metal pieces to enhance its lethal effect.

Another 33 of the injured were taken to Meir Hospital in Kava Sava, two of them in serious condition.

Israel accused Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat of doing nothing

to rein in terrorists. Raanan Gissin, a Sharon adviser, said the attack in Netanya “will require us to reevaluate our overall policy. We are still working to achieve a cease-fire to which we are fully committed, but if the Palestinians have decided to choose the road of terrorism … then we have to decide what measures we will take,” Gissin said.

Secretary of State Colin Powell had urged Arafat to go on television and demand an end to terror attacks against Israelis. The attacks endanger any negotiations toward a Palestinian state, Powell said.

“This sort of activity and the tolerance of this sort of activity will destroy the very vision the Palestinian Authority stands for and Chairman Arafat says he’s committed to,” Powell said in Washington.

The 2002 massacre in Netanya came just hours after Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah presented a new peace initiative at the Arab summit in Beirut, offering Israel normal relations with the Arab world in exchange for a complete withdrawal from the territories it occupied in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israeli police had been on high alert for possible attacks during the Passover holiday, with more than 10,000 officers deployed in potential trouble spots.

The country’s police commissioner, Shlomo Aharonishki, said it was impossible to prevent all attacks. “Even with more policemen and a broader deployment, we cannot block the centers of the cities,” he said. “This attack is more evidence of that.”

Police and IDF roadblocks had been set up throughout the country with increased patrols within both commercial and residential areas after the Passover Massacre.

The mood in Israel had turned from festive Passover joy to depression and anger.

Many Israelis who once held out hopes that a breakthrough peace agreement might still be within reach, were eating matzah in March 2002 with salt in a more realistic and pragmatic environment.

It takes two willing parties to negotiate a peace agreement and Israelis have no plans to make a second Exodus here in the Middle-East.

After the Passover Massacre bombing, President Bush called on Arafat once again to do all in his power to stop the escalating cycle of bloodshed.

 “This callous, this cold-blooded killing must stop. I condemn it in the strongest terms. I call upon Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to do everything in their power to stop the terrorist killing because there are people in the Middle East who would rather kill than have peace,” Bush said during a stop in Atlanta.

In Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Colin Powell formally labeled an Arafat-linked militia a terrorist organization yesterday. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a branch of Arafat’s Fatah organization, has claimed responsibility the week before for a suicide

bombing at a Jerusalem shopping mall that killed two and injured more than 60.

If Hamas, Hezbolah, Islamic Jihad and Fatah believe that they can wear down the Israeli people – then don’t know the Israeli Sabra and his resolve. As Americans became stronger after September 11th, Israelis have also closed political and religious ranks and prepared for measures which will prevent future terror attacks. Those measures in the Spring of 2002 took the form of the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield.

Today, Israeli Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz announced during the government

cabinet session that the closure imposed on Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip will last until after Independence Day. Mofaz added that security authorities have decided on a series of preventative measures to thwart terror attacks, including increased pressure on terror hubs, particularly in Nablus.

The army and security services have once again gone on high alert in anticipation of the Passover holidays. Defense sources report 50 warnings of possible terrorist attacks, some in revenge for the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin two weeks ago.

The IDF has imposed a closure on the Gaza Strip for the duration of the holiday. The Israeli border passes at Karni and Erez have closed down to workers, but will enable the passage of merchandise. The Erez industrial park will continue operating during the holiday. Authorities repeat that all humanitarian aid will continue to flow into the West Bank and Gaza.

Thousands of policemen, border police, IDF troops and civil guard volunteers will safeguard the borders, entertainment places and recreation sites over the holiday. Security in synagogues, hotels and West Bank settlements will also be beefed up with troops and technological auxiliaries.

Israeli police are beefing up security in shopping malls, market places and other crowded places. Police also intend to set up more road barriers and intensify its search for illegal Palestinian workers.

As Israel readies for this 2004 Passover, the news headlines are filled with “Russia Condemns Israel’s Threat Against Arafat” and “US Tells Israel Not to Harm Arafat.”
The Passover Massacre did not take place in Washington or Moscow.
Israel in it’s war against terrorism, killed Hamas master terrorist Achmed Yassin.

Yassin was responsible for the murders of 377 Israelis in at least 425 terrorist attacks over the past three-and-a-half years of the Palestinian Authority’s war against Israel. Among the most devastating attacks Hamas claimed responsibility for the Park Hotel Passover Massacre in Netanya on March 27, 2002; 29 killed, a suicide bombing of the number 2 bus coming from Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Aug. 19, 2003; 23 killed, including three children and two babies; a suicide bombing at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001; 22 killed, mostly teens; a suicide bombing of Sbarro’s in Jerusalem on Aug. 9, 2001; 15 killed, including five members of the same family – three children and their parents; a suicide bombing of the Matza restaurant in Haifa on March 31, 2002; 15 killed, including two fathers each with his two children and the list goes on.

On Passover night we traditionally ask at the Passover dining table:
“Why is this night different from any other night?”
We must now remember – it’s not.

AIPAC Policy Conference 2018 To Take Place March 4-6


By Joel Leyden

Israel News Agency

Washington — February 23, 2018 … The AIPAC Policy Conference, the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community, will take place in Washington, D.C. March 4-6.

The mission of AIPAC is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.

AIPAC’s staff and citizen activists educate decision makers about the bonds that unite the United States and Israel and how it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state is safe, strong and secure.

AIPAC illustrates Israeli innovations, embraces keynote speeches by American and Israeli leaders and coordinates educational sessions over three days.
Attending the conference will be over 18,000 pro-Israel Americans, more than two-thirds of Congress, over  3,600 students from more than 630 campuses, 283 Student Government presidents from all 50 states and 275 Jewish synagogue delegations.

Among the confirmed speakers are Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Vice President of the United States of America Mike Pence, Ambassador Nikki Haley, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, Former Israeli Amb. to the United States, Israeli Minister of Education and Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, Ambassador John Bolton, Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Irwin Cotler, Founder and Chairman of Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Founder and Director Shurat HaDin – Israeli Law Center and United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Executive Director Institute for Policy and Strategy Chair, Annual Herzliya Conference Series Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilead, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Nikki R. Haley, Editor-in-Chief of the The Jerusalem Post Yaakov Katz, Editor of The Times of Israel David Horovitz, Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked and Congressman Lee Zeldin.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee was founded in 1951 by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen who had worked at Israel’s Office of Information at the United Nations. AIPAC’S current CEO, Howard Kohr, has been with the organization since 1996.

Following the September 11th attacks in 2001, AIPAC stepped up its agenda to make sure that the United States continued to ensure Israel’s security by working with Congress to isolate and financially constrict such terror groups as Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Today, AIPAC has over 100,000 people involved with their pro Israel activities.

Iran Attacks Israel With Drone, Syria Shoots Down F-16

Pieces of an Israeli F-16 that crashed in northern Israel on Saturday after coming under anti-aircraft fire. The pilot ejected, according to a military spokesman.
PhotoJack Guez/AFP

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 10, 2018 … Iran attacked Israel with an armed drone as it entered the skies over Northern Israel. The Israel Defense Forces responded by shooting the drone down and targeting the Iranian drone control station in Syria. Israeli civilians then came under fire by Syrian and Iranian rockets which resulted in Israel dispatching several fighter jets to destroy the missile and anti-aircraft stations. One Israeli F-16 was shot down over Israel with both pilots ejecting.

The IDF said that the jet had crashed after the formation it was flying in was targeted by Syrian ground antiaircraft fire.

IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the two pilots had bailed from the downed aircraft “as per procedure.” One pilot was severely injured as a result of “an emergency evacuation,” he said.

“Iran is responsible for this severe violation of Israeli sovereignty,” said Conricus.
“We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation.”

IAF aircraft targeted the Syrian Aerial Defense System and Iranian targets in Syria. At least 12 targets, including 3 aerial defense batteries and four Iranian military bases were destroyed.

Following the attack of an Iranian drone into Israeli territory, President Reuven Rivlin was briefed on the operational situation and spoke with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin.

Rivlin commended Israel’s security forces for their firm and resolute defense measures in the face of further proof of the danger of Iranian consolidation in the region, which the State of Israel would not allow.

The President asked them to convey the appreciation and thanks of the entire nation to the commanders and soldiers, and to all the forces working to defend Israel, for their full control over the operational events, and for the greatly valued return to calm for all the residents of the north and the many travelers who visited the area.

In the last hour, the President spoke with the pilot who was lightly injured. The President thanked him and heard from him about his recovery.

“My heart is with you and your comrades, and I hope that I will meet you soon. You and the entire squadron have proven that you do not come back until your mission is fulfilled, and I thank God together with the entire nation that you have returned.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the following statement:

“I have been warning for some time about the dangers of Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel. This morning Iran brazenly violated Israel’s sovereignty. They dispatched an Iranian drone from Syrian territory into Israel. And this demonstrates that our warnings were 100 percent correct. Israel holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security.”

Israeli security sources have confirmed that IDF reserves have been placed on high alert and are reinforcing both the Lebanese and Syrian borders.

Jeremy Issacharoff: Israel Thanks Germany For Taking Responsibility For Holocaust – Other Nations Must Follow

Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff 

Edited by Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

The following is the text of a speech by Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff to the German Foreign Ministry in honor of the opening of the Yad Vashem exhibit, Beyond Duty. Beyond Duty highlights diplomats who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Germany — January 2018 … His Excellency Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Distinguished Friends and Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:

As we commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I must confess that I feel a certain weight of history on my shoulders as the Ambassador of Israel to Germany at this time and to be here today in this place with the Foreign Minister of Germany.

In our respective ways we represent two peoples that have such a complicated past and today is heavier than most.

Even several decades after first learning about the Holocaust and then living in Berlin and travelling around Germany – I still cannot fully grasp or comprehend the meaning and impact of the systematic extermination of six million men, women and children of the Jewish people.

In some ways living now in Germany for several months and seeing firsthand the present vibrant relations between the two peoples, makes it even more difficult to understand and
contend with our common history. Clearly I am not alone in struggling with this sense of bewilderment.

In the years after the war, when the true extent of the Holocaust became apparent, each Jew internalized his own lessons and conclusions regarding the immensity of the tragedy. Both of my parents’ families lived in Israel in Jerusalem before and during
World War II and neither family was touched directly by the tragedy of the Shoah.

For me it became a lot more personal when I married my wife Laura who is with me today, whose mother’s family was from Dortmund Germany. Her great grandfather was killed in
Theresienstadt and her great grandmother died in the Dortmund ghetto.

Laura’s grandfather took his wife and two daughters to Brussels and they survived by remaining in hiding. Subsequently her grandfather was betrayed to the Gestapo, captured in Brussels and deported to Auschwitz where he was gassed a short time after
his arrival. Now my children have this horrific legacy that my wife has always lived with, and also share this sense of bewilderment and consternation.

During these last months in Germany, I have met and spoken to many Germans from many walks of life in several cities. In these conversations my interlocutors mostly initiate reference to the Holocaust and I have been moved by how Germans have not shied
away from their historic responsibility with regard to the Shoah, unlike some other countries.

In one such conversation, a person did not hesitate to tell me openly that his grandfather was a Nazi war criminal in one of the more notorious concentration camps and was killed in 1945. My interlocutor clearly rejected his grandfather’s crimes. I was really
taken back by this blunt admission. It was then I realized that on the one hand, I see my wife and her family still trying to cope with the senseless death of her grandparents and on the other hand it made me wonder how does one contend with a grandparent that actually
carried out these murders?

I do not have the answers to these questions but I have come to realize the following:

First: Germany accepted responsibility for the Holocaust and the more the two peoples continue to share their respective experiences, the greater the chance that our complex relationship can give way to a new paradigm of deeper mutual understanding, reconciliation and cooperation.

Second: We can never understand the true impact of the Holocaust or even begin to grasp what the six million who died could have contributed to humanity had they lived.  How many great scientists, scholars, artists, athletes musicians, philosophers and masters in all
areas of human activity were lost?

Third: The more we remember and try and understand what transpired, the greater the chance that the relations between the Jewish people as a whole and the German people and maybe others will never go down this path of antisemitism, intolerance, notions of
racial superiority and genocide.

And finally: My most important objective as Ambassador to Germany will be to help ensure that the burden of our history can actually be transformed into a unique bond that strengthens our bilateral ties.

Israeli Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff with Sigmar Gabriel reviewing
the exhibition Beyond Duty at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tomorrow, Minister Gabriel will embark on a brief but meaningful visit to Israel that I am sure will contribute to that end.

In this spirit, I think the opening of this exhibition today regarding Diplomats recognized as Righteous Among Nations conceived by the Israeli Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, fulfills a vital role. If there are elements of the Holocaust that can never be truly fathomed, these stories of courageous diplomats who saved many thousands of Jews can be
understood, admired and must never be forgotten.

These are stories of great personal courage, integrity and heroism that should be engraved on our collective consciousness and remind us that where there has been a great evil there can always be a greater good. These are diplomats from Great Britain, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Portugal, Germany, Peru, Spain, Turkey and Sweden.

These are indeed inspiring stories – Aristides de Sousa Mendes from
Portugal said that “I would rather stand with G-d against man – than with man against G-d’. Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden who saved thousands of Jews in Hungary said “I will never be able to return to Stockholm without knowing that I had done all a man could do to save as many Jews as possible”.

Sadly Raoul Wallenberg fulfilled his mission but never returned home and tragically
perished in a Soviet prison after the war.

These are all stories of how one dedicated human being could make a difference and tip the scales between disaster and salvation. In the final analysis we cannot change history but history can change us. The dreadful images of the Shoah can never be deleted
from our memory nor should they be. But now we can also see other images in addition to the inspiring images in this exhibition.

The sight of Israeli and German students working together on joint research projects – the sight of German and Israeli start-ups energetically pursuing joint ventures – the sight of both our fighter pilots conducting joint maneuvers in the eastern Med – the sight of
discreet and intimate cooperation between both our Governments to save German and Israeli lives – the sight of German car companies seeking out new Israeli advanced mobility technologies and more.

The future does not wait for anyone and all these images are fast becoming reality. Together they begin to forge a profound complementary partnership freer of anger and guilt and one inspired more by hope and common cause.

This event and exhibition today is another modest step that amplifies the essence of humanity in this tragic story. May the memories of these righteous diplomats be blessed.
Thank you.

 

For more information on the Holocaust, please go to HolocaustRemembranceDay.org 

 

© 2018 Israel News Agency, All rights reserved

Israel President Rivlin Addresses Poland, Anti-Semitism At Holocaust Remembrance

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Athens, Greece — January 29, 2018 … Israeli President Rivlin commented on Poland’s denial of its role in the Holocaust.

Rivlin, who is visiting Greece, stated that in relation to the new Polish legislation that Poland’s  decision to place in prison those who speak of Poland’s complicity with Nazi Germany is a reminder that it is still beholden upon Israel, all Jews and Christians to fight for the memory of the Holocaust, as it happened. Research into the Holocaust must be free, open, and sincere. The duty to remember is a duty to recognize, to know, to try and understand what happened. With the aim to ensure, Never Again.”

“We are witnessing the return of anti-Semitic, racist and neo-Nazi outlooks, many manifestations of anti-Semitism are once again reverberating around the world, radical movements are gaining strength, the new right-wing parties are winning electoral achievements – Jews feel less secure in their countries – these are phenomena that should be denounced. We must not give in to anti-Semitism or xenophobia, we must fight anti-Semitism, racism and hatred of every kind.”

“We must firmly oppose those who conceal anti-Semitism under the guise of delegitimizing Israel – as well as extreme right-wing parties which do not hide their anti-Semitic background, but declare that they love Israel. There is no such thing as loving Israelis and hating Jews, or loving Jews but hating Israelis.”

President Reuven Rivlin this evening, addressed a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, held by the Jewish community in Athens.

In attendance were Holocaust survivors from the Greek Jewish community, among them; Itzik Mizen, 90, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau; Frances Hogo, 90, who survived Bergen Belsen; Fortunita Hananel Gani, 91, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau; and David Moshe, 95, who survived Mauthausen. Also attending was Greece’s Education and Religious Affairs Minister, and the Speaker of the Greek Parliament.

“Seventy-three years have passed since the flames of the Auschwitz crematoria were put out” began the President and continued, “Auschwitz has become a symbol of the whole Jewish Holocaust. The United Nations decided that 27th January – the day that soldiers of the Red Army entered Auschwitz and freed the inmates – should be an international day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. And yet, on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the lower house of the Polish Parliament passed a law to criminalize talk of “crimes of the Polish nation”, threatening custodial sentences those who use different expressions.

This decision is a reminder that it is still beholden upon us to fight for the memory of the Holocaust, as it happened. Research into the Holocaust must be free, open, and sincere. Just as was said by the former Polish President, “One cannot fake history, nor rewrite it, nor hide the truth. Every crime, every offence must be condemned, denounced, must be examined and exposed.” So he said.”

“The Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the entire world must ensure that the Holocaust is recognized for its horrors and atrocities. Also among the Polish nation there were those who aided the Nazis in their crimes. We will not forget that. There were also others among them who struggled to save the lives of Jews and were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations. Our obligation as children of the Jewish nation, to the memory of our brothers and sisters who were murdered will always be above all other considerations. The duty to remember is a duty to recognize, to know, to try and understand what happened. To understand how the most terrible destruction in history was made possible. With the aim to ensure, Never Again.”

“In recent years there has been increased interest in the Holocaust of Greek Jewry, and I want to thank the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, and the Government of Greece for their efforts to deepen the knowledge and remembrance in this field,” said the President. He continued, “Tomorrow I will participate in the corner stone laying ceremony for the Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki. Last year, an agreement was signed between the Greek Education Ministry and Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, to train teachers on educating about the Holocaust. Around two decades ago the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a book on Greeks who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and just a week ago another book by Gerorge Pilichos, the most comprehensive documentation of Greek Jews and Christians sent to Auschwitz. And yet, we still do not know enough about the Holocaust of Greek Jews.”

Rivlin added: “We are witnessing the return of anti-Semitic, racist and neo-Nazi outlooks, many manifestations of anti-Semitism are once again reverberating around the world, radical movements are gaining strength, the new right-wing parties are winning electoral achievements with the use of anti-Semitic slogans. These things are happening not centuries after Auschwitz, and not in distant lands. They are happening now on European soil, and elsewhere. Jews feel less secure in their countries, there are those who are forced to hide their Jewishness – these are phenomena that should be denounced. We must not give in to anti-Semitism or xenophobia, we must fight anti-Semitism, racism and hatred of every kind. This is the time for public diplomacy and education! Against xenophobia, against racism, and against anti-Semitism.”

“Those who enter into an alliance with anti-Semites and anti-Semitism, those who adopt their language, have no part in the family of nations. We must firmly oppose those who hide their anti-Semitism under the guise of delegitimizing the State of Israel. As well as extreme right-wing parties that do not hide their anti-Semitic background, but repeatedly declare that they love the State of Israel. There is no such thing as loving Israelis and hating Jews, or loving Jews, but hating Israelis.”

Earlier, the President met with leaders of the Jewish community, including the President of the Jewish Communities of Greece and Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, David Saltiel, and President of the Athens Jewish Community, Minos Moissis, along with representatives from Jewish communities in Volos, Chalcis, Larissa, Corfu, Kavala, and Trikala.

“All the children of Israel are responsible one for another,” the President said, “This is true today more than ever”. He said, “The Holocaust harmed the Jewish people, but it also damaged humanity. This harm can only be healed through education in an uncompromising struggle against all hatred or racism”. He praised the community and its leaders for its success in playing an important role in this, and for preserving the community.

Earlier in the day, the President and First Lady participated in the “7 in 70” event, during which a medal of recognition was awarded by the Israeli Ambassador to Greece, to Greek citizens who have made significant contributions to the relationship between Greece and Israel over the seven decades of Israel’s independence. Seven recipients were awarded the honor for their contributions in the fields of politics, culture, economy, sport, music, Jewish communal relations, and literature.

“Our two peoples are brother nations. And there were those who once said, ‘twin souls’,” said the President, “Today, in this joint event, we cherish the men and women who built and build the connection between Greece and Israel”.

“You, the men and the women at the heart of this event, you are our muses in building the bonds and laying the bridges between the nations, between our peoples. Connections built under the guidance of successive Greek prime ministers, presidents, foreign ministers of the Hellenic Republic, members of parliament.” The President also said, “Today, as Israel celebrates 70 years of its independence, we are pleased to recognize each and every one of you for your contribution to the ties between Israel and Greece.”

Holocaust Remembrance Day Honored Online

By Israel News Agency Staff

Jerusalem, Israel — January 26, 2018 … A valuable online resource which honors the memory of the 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust can be found at:

www.HolocaustRemembranceDay.org

The domain directs to an interactive Facebook page which integrates the most valuable and respected Holocaust resources including Yad Vashem, World Jewish Congress, the US Holocaust Museum, the Anne Frank Center, the Israel Defense Forces and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.

Holocaust is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

Nazi Dr. Fritz Klein, center, who selected prisoners to be sent to the gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, was forced to move bodies to a mass grave after the camp was liberated by the British in April, 1945. Klein was later tried and hanged.

In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators murdered two out of every three European Jews as part of the “Final Solution,” the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe.

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

Israel Bans Entry Of Jewish Voice for Peace, Code Pink, 18 Other Terror Groups

Several of the BDS groups now being banned entry to Israel
directly support Islamic terror organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.


By Herb Brandon

Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — January 8, 2018 … Members of 20 international organizations that promote terrorism, violence and a boycott campaign against Israel, will be banned from entering the Jewish state.

The Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs decided that repeated acts of incitement designed to destroy Israel were no longer going to hide under the cover of so-called freedom of speech.

The leaders of several worldwide Jewish organizations applauded the Israeli action saying that it was time to call out blatant anti-semitism posing as human rights.

The list was created after Israel’s Knesset (parliament) in March passed legislation that would deny entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly back or call for BDS – any form of boycott – economic, cultural or academic – of Israel.

BDS stands for ”boycott, divestment and sanctions.”  The movement discourages the purchase of Israeli goods, pressures international companies not to conduct business in Israel and urges celebrities to avoid Israel.

The Israeli government states that the boycott campaign actively promotes the country’s demise and denies Israel’s basic right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan, appointed to confront BDS and other such movements, said Sunday that the blacklisting was “another step in our work to thwart anti-Israel boycott organizations which promote both a physical and economic Jihad against Jews and Christians.”

“The state of Israel will actively prevent such groups from spreading their lies and support for violence and terrorism from within the country,” he said.

Among those highlighted on the list are six U.S. organizations, including the Jewish Voice for Peace which is anything but Jewish and Code Pink, a feminist antiwar organization with headquarters in Washington.

The ban will include members who are responsible for senior positions in the listed organizations.

The ministry stated that there was no intention of barring entry to individuals who express political criticism of Israel and that it would not apply to those who hold Israeli citizenship.

On Twitter, Jewish Voice for Peace was ironically surprised as it did not understand that the Jewish nation that they were boycotting was now boycotting them.

Here is a full list of the organizations set to be banned entry into Israel:

Europe

  • AFPS (France-Palestine Solidarity Association)
  • BDS France
  • BDS Italy
  • ECCP (The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine)
  • FOA (Friends of al-Aqsa)
  • IPSC (Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • Norge Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway)
  • Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS-Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden)
  • PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • War on Want
  • BDS Kampagne

United States

  • AFSC (American Friends Service Committee)
  • AMP (American Muslims for Palestine)
  • Code Pink
  • JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace)
  • NSJP (National Students for Justice in Palestine)
  • USCPR (U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights)

Other groups

  • BDS Chile
  • BDS South Africa
  • BDS National Committee

 

The World Jewish Congress applauded the Israeli ban saying that anti-Semitism and anti-Semites had to be confronted forcefully wherever and whenever they manifested themselves.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder stated: “The Jewish people are not going to disappear. We are small in number – there a just 15 million of us around the world – but we are a brilliant and innovative people.”

The WJC considers the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, and all other attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel, to be “manifestations of anti-Semitic discrimination against the only truly democratic country in the Middle East, and damaging to any genuine efforts for peace in the region.”

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