Daily Briefing: Christian Survival in Sri Lanka, and the German Government Stands Up for Israel

Former United States Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, with Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, followed by Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, 2017. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
After the Sri Lanka Bombings: Why Does the West Keep on Ignoring Christianophobia?:  Jacques Chitayat, Isranet, May 2019 
 
It seems that religious violence will not be a thing of the past anytime soon. These last few months, stories of atrocities committed with religious motivations have made headlines across the world, the most notable example being the attacks on various churches and a hotel in Sri Lanka over Easter weekend, the attacks on two synagogues in the US and on a mosque in New Zealand. The images were appalling, and so were the results of the attacks.In Sri Lanka, 321 people were killed in a single day. ISIS, despite its considerable loss of territory, remains a serious threat. The entity claimed responsibility for these attacks through their news agency, Amaq, using the app Telegram. The group said that the bombings had been intended to target Christians, as well as citizens of countries belonging to the coalition fighting the Islamic State.But should this come as a surprise? ISIS may claim to have carried out this attack as a “retaliation” for the Christchurch mosque attack, but their violent hatred of non-Muslims, especially Christians and Jews, has been well-known for years. One only has to scroll for a few minutes through some pages of their propaganda magazine, Dabiq, to find explicit calls for violence and terrorism against Christians all over the world: “Likewise, we renew our call to the muwahhidīn [everyone engaged in jihad] in Europe and the disbelieving West and everywhere else, to target the Crusaders in their own lands and wherever they are found” (Dabiq, issue 7, 2015), “So I say to the Muslims, be wary very wary of allying with the Jews and Christians, and whoever has slipped by a word, then let him fear Allah, renew his faith, and repent from his deed (…) Every Muslim should get out of his house, find a crusader, and kill him.” (Dabiq, issue 4, 2014). … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]
Barbara Kay: Germany Takes a Startling New Pro-Israel Line:  Barbara Kay, National Post, May 14, 2019 — On May 11, 1949, the United Nations adopted the motion that admitted Israel as a member state.

‘The Fight Of Your Life’: In A Postmedia Exclusive, Mark Norman Tells His Side Of The Story:  David Pugliese, National Post, May 17, 2019 — Bev Norman was watching television in her home in the east-end Ottawa suburb of Orleans around 5 p.m. when the screen flashed images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 

WATCH: Why Did Obama Give Iran $400 Million Cash in a Suitcase?:  United With Israel, May 26, 2019 — Former Iranian MP Alireza Zakani recently discussed the events surrounding the Obama administration’s decision to hand over a total of $1.7 billion to Iran to push through 2016 nuclear, $400 million of which were reportedly delivered in cash.

WEEKLY QUOTES

“Anyone who looks at reality understands that we must act responsibly and set up a government immediately.  In recent days, I have been making tremendous efforts to implement the will of the people, to establish a rightwing government and prevent unnecessary and wasteful elections. There is no reason in the world to paralyze the country for another half a year and spend billions when the solution lies in front of us. The solution I proposed recruits the Haredim exactly according to the demands of the IDF. The debate here is over cosmetics, and you don’t go to new elections over cosmetics.” – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a public announcement at the Knesset, calling on Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman to join him in a rightwing coalition government, which the voters elected.  (Jewish Press, May 27, 2019)

“The statement of the German government’s antisemitism commissioner, that it would be preferable for Jews not wear a kippa in Germany out of fear for their safety, shocked me deeply. Responsibility for the welfare, the freedom, and the right to religious belief of every member of the German Jewish community is in the hands of the government of Germany and its law enforcement agencies. We acknowledge and appreciate the moral position of the government of Germany and its commitment to the Jewish community that lives there, but fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to antisemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil. We will never submit, will never lower our gaze, and will never react to anti-Semitism with defeatism — and we expect and demand our allies act in the same way.” — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement after Germany’s top official on fighting antisemitism suggested that Jewish men should limit the wearing of skullcaps in public. (United With Israel, May 26, 2019)

“This completes the destruction of the spurious prosecution of me.  It’s a complete final decision of not guilty. That is finally a fully just verdict.” – columnist and author Conrad Black wrote following U.S. President Donald Trump’s pardon of his 2007 convictions on obstruction of justice and fraud for which he spent more than three years in a federal prison in Florida. The convictions related to what prosecutors called his scheme to siphon off millions of dollars from the sale of newspapers owned by Hollinger Inc., where he was chief executive and chairman. (National Observer, May 21, 2019)

“It is a sad fact that many Canadians revile Conrad Black: They loathe him for his politics and his peerage and his publications (including this one). But even so they ought to give him credit for the sheer strength of will required to push back against the onslaught of the last decade and a half. His ordeal ended with a Trump pardon I confess I had minimal hopes of, because, as the president was doubtless advised, there’s nothing in it for him.”  — Columnist and Conrad Black friend Mark Steyn wrote following Black’s exoneration.  (National Post, May 17, 2019)

“Iran is still a very limited military power if things [the conflict] escalate … [the consequences] would be higher prices and limited flows, not a prolonged closing of the Gulf.”—said Anthony H. Cordesman, a Gulf defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He spoke on the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran after a drone strike claimed by Houthi rebels forced the Saudis to temporarily halt the flow of a crucial oil artery to the west side of the country. The assault came a day after mysterious incidents damaged two Saudi tankers and two other ships in a key port in the United Arab Emirates. (New York Times, May 17, 2019)

“I’ve been trying to get answers to the questions, and I’ve found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together. In a sense I have more questions today than when I first started … people have to find out what the government was doing during that period … if we’re worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale. I’m not saying that happened but it’s something we have to look at.” — Attorney General William Barr in an interview, speaking in regard to his investigation of the genesis of the Trump Russia collusion probe. (Fox News, May 17, 2019)

SHORT TAKES

MORAL COURAGE AWARD FOR STEPHEN HARPER, 22ND PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA (Geneva) – UNWatch the NGO that oversees the UN Human Rights Council and its inherent bias against Israel will award former Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper its 2019 Moral Courage Award on June 13th, 2019.  The award acknowledges the efforts of world leaders who defend the equal rights of Israelis and Jews on the international stage. (UNWatch, May 2019)

ROBERT L. BERNSTEIN, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FOUNDER WHO LATER CRITICIZED ITS ANTI-ISRAEL BIAS, DIES AT 96 (New York) — The founder of the influential NGO Human Rights Watch, who later took the organization to task for its bias against Israel, has died at age 96. Bernstein, born in New York City in 1923, had a sterling career in the publishing industry at Random House while founding several human rights NGOs in the late 1970s that ultimately merged into Human Rights Watch (HRW). The group is now among the most well-known and significant NGOs in the world. (Algemeiner,May 28, 2019)

FIRE DEPARTMENT: MASS BLAZES CAUSED BY ARSON (Mevo Modi’im, Kibbutz Harel) — The mass blazes in the center of Israel that caused the displacement of thousands and the destruction of dozens of homes is suspected to be an act of arson. Teams investigating the scene at Mevo Modi’im and Kibbutz Harel have discovered that the fires were ignited at several locations, lending credence to the suspicion that the fire was ignited by arsonists. (United With Israel, May 26, 2019)

ABBAS INAUGURATES ‘MARTYR ABU JIHAD FACULTY FOR ADMINISTRATION AND MILITARY SCIENCES’ AT PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY UNIVERSITY (Jericho) — PA leader Abbas inaugurated the “Martyr Khalil Al-Wazir ‘Abu Jihad’ Faculty for Administration and Military Sciences” at the Al-Istiqlal University, as part of the annual events marking the April 16 anniversary of Al-Wazir’s death. Al-Wazir was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terrorist organization’s military wing and also planned many deadly terrorist attacks from the 1960s to the 1980s. (Jewish Press, May 27, 2019)

DIPLOMATS SWAP MESSAGES TO HELP DEFUSE U.S.-IRAN TENSIONS (Tehran) — Iran has signaled through European diplomats that it wants U.S. sanctions loosened on its oil exports as a condition for talks about defusing tensions. The Trump administration gave no indication it would let up on oil sanctions that some officials say have effectively pressured Iran’s economy. (WSJ, May 24, 2019)

GERMANY’S BEST-SELLING NEWSPAPER SAYS ‘THE KIPPAH BELONGS TO GERMANY!’ (Berlin) — Germany’s Bild newspaper posted online a cut-out version of a yarmulka – a kippah – to be worn by German men in a sign of solidarity against the rising tide of antisemitism in the country. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grennell also called on German citizens via Twitter to “Wear your Kippah. Wear your friend’s Kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors.” (Jewish Press, May 27, 2019)

BRITISH JEWISH GROUPS HAIL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION’S DECISION TO OPEN LABOUR PARTY ANTISEMITISM PROBE (London) — Since far-left anti-Israel MP Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the party’s leader in 2015, Labour has been wracked with antisemitism scandals, some of them touching Corbyn himself. The overwhelming majority of British Jews consider him to be personally antisemitic. In opening an investigation, the Commission will now be able to compel Labour to be transparent about its handling of antisemitic incidents. It can also enforce a plan to deal with antisemitism on the party. (Algemeiner, May 28, 2019)

SEEKING TO CHALLENGE RISING ANTISEMITISM IN UK, CHURCH OF SCOTLAND ADOPTS IHRA DEFINITION OF JEW-HATRED (Scotland) — The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism. The move was initiated by Reverend Dr. Richard Frazer — the convener of the Church and Society Council — who pointed out that antisemitic incidents in the UK were “at a record high for the third year in a row.” The adoption of the IHRA definition, he added, would “aid the Church in challenging antisemitism.” (Algemeiner, May 24, 2019)

SWEDISH PM TO MEET HIS PARTY’S YOUTH WING OVER ‘CRUSH ZIONISM’ CHANT(Stockholm) — Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven will meet with leaders of the ruling Social Democratic Party’s youth movement over allegations of antisemitism in its ranks. Members of the SSU youth league in the southern city of Malmo were recorded chanting the slogan, “Long live Palestine, crush Zionism!” at an international workers day rally on May 1. The chant is based on a socialist song by a Swedish-Arabic musical group called Kofia. (Algemeiner, May 23, 2019)

SWEDEN ANNOUNCES OCTOBER 2020 WORLD LEADERS CONFERENCE TO COMBAT ANTISEMITISM (Malmo) — Speaking at a press conference in the southern city of Malmo, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven declared that “wherever antisemitism exists, it should be combated.” Next year’s heads of state conference — scheduled for Oct. 27-28 — will coincide with two significant dates: the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe from Nazi rule and the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration, the founding document of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which assists with the commemoration and study of the Holocaust around the world. (Algemeiner, May 24, 2019)

ICELANDIC ANTI-ISRAEL BAND GOT COLD SHOULDER FLYING HOME ON EL AL (Tel Aviv) — The three members of the anti-Israeli hate band ‘Hatari’ from Iceland reportedly apparently got a pretty cold shoulder from El Al Airlines on their flight back from Tel Aviv to London.  Facebook user, Daher Dahli, wrote: “EL AL‘s ground crew bragging about assigning the worst seats (middle seats and separated) on the aircraft to the Icelandic band Hatari, stating that ‘this is what they get’ for protesting against the Israeli occupation and violation of human rights. #eurovision2019” according to SimplyFlying, which posted the story. (Jewish Press, May 27, 2019)

EUROPEAN UNION INVADES GUSH ETZION WITH FAKE HISTORIC VILLAGE(Jerusalem – Hebron) — The Palestinian Authority, with the support of the European Union, is expanding its program of illegal land-seizure, taking control of a strategic area in the heart of the Etzion Bloc, between Route 60 and Neveh Daniel, the Regavim movement reported.  Over the past two years, the PA has created, out of thin air, an “historic” village – which just happens to be located on a strategic point adjacent to the Jerusalem-Hebron highway. The name given to this new “ancient” village: Shoshahleh. (Jewish Press, May 26, 2019)

NORTHWESTERN AFFIRMS ‘UNEQUIVOCAL’ REJECTION OF BDS AFTER INCOMING PROFESSOR ENDORSES ANTI-ZIONIST CAMPAIGN (Illinois) — The president and provost of Northwestern University in Illinois affirmed that the school “unequivocally rejects” the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, which an incoming professor at the school endorsed while giving a commencement address at New York University. Steven Thrasher — a graduate of NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis (SCA), which recently pledged non-cooperation with NYU’s Tel Aviv campus — used a portion of his speech at the doctoral convocation ceremony to applaud NYU anti-Zionist groups and his SCA colleagues for supporting BDS “against the apartheid state government in Israel.” (Algemeiner, May 27, 2019)

CONVICTED AUSTRALIAN TERRORIST PLANNED TO KILL JEWISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN ‘REVENGE FOR PALESTINE’ (Australia) — An Australian man who stabbed his neighbor in 2016 said he originally planned to attack Jewish students at the University of Sydney. Ihsas Khan was found guilty earlier this month of carrying out a terrorist act with his machete attack on 57-year-old Wayne Greenhalgh in the Sydney suburb of Minto. (Algemeiner, May 27, 2019)

FRENCH POLICE ARREST FOUR OVER LYON PACKAGE BOMB BLAST (Lyon) — French police arrested four people Monday over a package bomb explosion in the heart of the southeastern city of Lyon last week which injured 13 people, authorities said. A police raid was under way in a building in the Oullins suburb just south of the city, a few hours after the arrest of the suspected bomber, a 24-year-old Algerian IT student. (AFP, May 27, 2019)

IDF HITS SYRIAN ANTI-AIRCRAFT BATTERY AFTER FIGHTER JET COMES UNDER FIRE OVER NORTHERN ISRAEL (Quneitra) — The Israeli military hit an anti-aircraft battery in Syria’s Quneitra region after an IAF fighter jet was fired on from the position earlier in the day. The plane was targeted while on a routine mission inside northern Israeli airspace. It later returned safely to base and no one was injured in the incident. According to the Syrian state news agency SANA, one soldier was killed, and another was wounded in the retaliatory IDF strike. (Algemeiner, May 27, 2019)

‘FAKE ORTHODOX’ COUPLE ACCUSED OF TRYING TO CONVERT JEWS TO CHRISTIANITY (Brooklyn) — David Costello and Rivkah Weber look every bit a young Orthodox Jewish couple. They keep kosher and never miss Sabbath at the synagogue. But they do share one little oddity: They believe Jesus is the Messiah. And they are not shy about spreading their gospel, according to angry members of the Jewish community who say the couple are really Christian infiltrators fishing for converts. Their presence has rocked synagogues in Brooklyn, and earlier this month in Chicago, after a visitor from New York recognized Costello from a Williamsburg shul and “outed” him.  (New York Post, May 25, 2019)

RETHINKING RESTITUTION: A CASE FOR JEWISH DIGNITY (Poland) — Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently asserted that his government would never agree to pay restitution for properties stolen from Jews during the Holocaust.  According to Gideon Taylor, chair of operations, World Jewish Restitution Organization, Prime Minister Morawiecki’s statement is “deeply insensitive to Holocaust survivors and their families[.] … We call on Poland to meet its commitment to non-Jewish and Jewish property owners who have waited many years for Poland to provide them with a measure of justice.” (United With Israel, May 26, 2019)

ISRAEL’S ‘SAVE A CHILD’S HEART’ TREATS 5,000TH CHILD FROM AROUND THE WORLD (Israel) — Save a Child’s Heart was on one of its overseas missions at the Zanzibar hospital at the time, screening some 400 local kids for heart problems. Upon examining one-year-old Fatma and realizing that her mother was a previous patient of theirs, SACH doctors decided to fly her over to Israel for surgery. She is the 5,000th child to be treated through the organization. (United With Israel, May 26, 2019)

ISRAEL’S SODASTREAM HOSTS THOUSANDS FOR RAMADAN FEAST (Rahat) – SodaStream, a manufacturer of fizzy drink-machines and other bubbly products, that shut its West Bank factory in 2015 amid boycott calls and opened a new facility in the predominantly Bedouin town of Rahat, hosted nearly 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians for a Ramadan fast-ending meal at its factory in the southern Israel town of Rahat. Bedouins and Jewish Israelis and some Palestinians attended the feast on Monday along with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. Friedman writes on Twitter that he had “the pure joy” to attend, and touts SodaStream as a paragon of peace: “Muslims, Druze, Christians, and Jews working together, each making the other better, happier and more prosperous.” (Idaho Statesman, May 27, 2019)

CHINA’S SICHUAN PROVINCE SIGNS 18 COOPERATION AGREEMENTS, MOUS WITH ISRAEL (China) — A total of 18 cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed between China’s southwestern province of Sichuan and Israel in the Israeli central city of Tel Aviv. Delegates from the Sichuan provincial government, research and education institutions and companies signed these agreements and MoUs with Israeli partners at the China (Sichuan)-Israel Science, Technology and Trade Conference. The value of the agreements signed in the sectors of economy, trade, and investment surpassed 350 million U.S. dollars. (En. People, May 28, 2019)

GOOGLE FAVORS LEFT-LEANING OUTLETS CNN, NEW YORK TIMES IN ITS TOP STORIES ALGORITHM, STUDY SAYS (Evanston, Ill.) — Google’s Top Stories box provides users with articles from left-leaning news organizations such as CNN 62.4 percent of the time — with only 11.3 percent coming from outlets that are considered conservative, according to a study by Northwestern University researchers. (Fox News, May 13, 2019)

CHRISTOPHER STEELE WON’T COOPERATE WITH JOHN DURHAM REVIEW OF RUSSIA INVESTIGATION (Washington) — Christopher Steele, author (or distributor) of the dossier that played a key role in the Trump-Russia inquiry, will not assist Attorney General William Barr’s investigation. A source close to Orbis Business Intelligence, which is Steele’s investigative firm, told Reuters that the British ex-spy “would not cooperate” with nor answer questions from U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr has tasked with reviewing the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s presidential campaign and the way that the Justice Department and FBI conducted the inquiry. (Washington Examiner), May 28, 2019)