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European Antisemitism

Italy’s Salvini says Muslim Immigration is ‘Main Cause’ of Anti-Semitism in Europe

January 21st 2020

European Anti-Semitism

These are tumultuous days for Matteo Salvini, head of Italy’s right-wing Lega (League) Party. Recent polls have projected that were elections to be held in Italy today, he would be elected prime minister, but his political opponents are trying to strip him of his immunity so they can bring charges against him for alleged misconduct while he was interior minister.

Since arriving on the political scene six years ago, Salvini has transformed Lega Nord per l’Indipendenza della Padania, better known as Lega, from a fringe movement into Italy’s largest right-wing party.

Dubbed by Italian media as “the face of anti-immigration politics,” Salvini entered the government in 2018, only to resign abruptly in the summer of 2019 after clashing with his coalition partner, the Five Star Movement. Named deputy prime minister and interior minister, Salvini worked to stop mass illegal immigration from Africa to Italy but was hindered by the constant sandbagging of his efforts. Read more ..


The Race for Flying Cars

Toyota Soars in Air Taxi Business

January 20th 2020

Traffic Jam

The company has developed a quiet, all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which it says will be instrumental in the commercial launch of the emerging on-demand urban air taxi market. Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality, and cost controls to support the development and production of the aircraft.

This support, says the company, along with the capital investment, will accelerate the certification and deployment of this new mode of local transportation.

"We are building a new system for transportation to transform your daily life, at greater safety and, in time, at a similar cost to driving," says Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. "This collaboration with Toyota represents an unprecedented commitment of money and resources for us and this new industry from one of the world's leading automakers. I am excited to harness Toyota's engineering and manufacturing prowess helping to drive us to achieve our dream of saving a billion people an hour a day."

Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Behind Rouhani’s Uranium Enrichment Claim

January 19th 2020

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

On January 16, in live remarks broadcast on Iranian state television, President Hassan Rouhani stated that his country was enriching more uranium today than before the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. If true, this represents an extraordinary ramp-up in its monthly enriched uranium production since the International Atomic Energy Agency’s last accounting visit on November 3. Such high production levels were the main impetus for brokering the nuclear agreement in the first place, since Iran’s breakout time—that is, how long it would need to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon—had become frighteningly short as a result.

A closer look at pre-JCPOA data can provide a baseline for Rouhani’s assertion. From May 2012 to May 2014, Iran was producing enriched uranium at an average rate of 232 kg per month (this figure applies to material enriched to less than 5%; for an explanation of enrichment percentages and their relation to potential weaponization, see The Washington Institute’s glossary of essential nuclear terminology). Read more ..


The Edge of Nature

Almond Milk And The Destruction of Bees

January 15th 2020

Honeybee

Bees are dying in huge numbers to supply your supermarket with almond milk. Last winter (2018-2019) saw a catastrophic 50 billion bees die off for a variety of reasons familiar to the eco-conscious public, including mites and loss of habitat. Even deadlier to bees is the mono-culture methods of the American almond industry, which rely heavily on pesticides and removes the orchards’ natural undergrowth.

California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds. In 2019, that amounted to 2.5 billion pounds of the nuts. And the demand rises, with companies especially eyeing the growing Chinese market. California farmers have ripped out citrus trees and planted almond groves that cover over 1000,000 acres – an area comparable to the size of Delaware.

While Americans eat plenty of almonds – an estimated 900 grams every year – it’s the demand for almond milk that’s driving the industry.  At sales of $1.2 billion yearly, hugely topping other non-dairy milks, it’s easy to see why. Read more ..


The Race for Natural Gas

Israel Becomes an Energy Powerhouse

January 8th 2020

Gas Well Israel

The start of natural-gas flow from the Leviathan rig is a momentous achievement for the State of Israel.

For the first time, a resource-poor country can become an energy superpower. The export of natural gas to immediate neighbors Jordan and Egypt—and later exported via Cyprus and Greece—strengthens Israel’s geopolitical status both in the Middle East as well as the West.

In addition to formal peace alliances and security cooperation, Jordan and Egypt are turning to Israel to provide for their energy needs. In the past, Egypt exported gas to Israel. Israel already supplies Jordan with water. The cooperation is likely to lead further towards normalized ties with other Sunni Gulf states. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

New Signs Iran Is Creeping Closer To Making A Nuclear Bomb

November 13th 2019

Iranian missile

Iran's regime likes anniversaries. This month it celebrated 40 years since the U.S. embassy hostage crisis by unveiling new nuclear centrifuges and redoing anti-American murals at the site of the former embassy. In May, it marked one year since the United States left the 2015 nuclear deal by beginning its own steady departure from the agreement.
But the past week's anniversary surprise is much more momentous. On Nov. 5, Tehran announced it would reactivate its Fordow enrichment facility, almost exactly a decade after United Nations inspectors demanded Iran close the recently discovered, illegally constructed site. Just as Fordow rang alarm bells back then, this latest news must spur more concerted efforts to address Iran's accelerating approach to nuclear weapons.
Read more ..

Financing the Flames

The Missing Palestinian Authority Billions

November 5th 2019

Hamas head

Since its creation, the Palestinian Authority has received tens of billions of dollars of international aid. Just since 2011, the European Union, the United States, and other countries have provided the PA with hundreds of millions of dollars and euros of aid.

While the PA has constantly complained about its financial difficulties, scrutiny of the PA's own financial records for the years 2011 - 2018, shows that the PA transferred from its coffers over 7 billion shekels to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), some of which was then given to terrorist organizations. In that same period, the PA also spent over 440 million shekels to fund its non-functioning institutions. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

After Baghdadi: How the Islamic State Rebounds

October 28th 2019

ISIS Army

The Islamic State (IS) suffered a crushing blow over an event-filled weekend with the death of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in Syria’s Idlib governorate. The next day, October 27, IS spokesman—and possible Baghdadi successor—Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir was allegedly killed as well. U.S. Special Forces raided a compound in northwest Syria close to the Turkish border, in the course of which Baghdadi reportedly detonated a suicide-bomb vest, killing himself and several children. Thereafter, Muhajir was reportedly killed when the oil tanker in which he was being smuggled across northern Syria was hit in an airstrike. One possible replacement for Baghdadi is his deputy, Abu Abdullah al-Hassani (Haji Abdullah). He is rumored to be of Quraysh lineage, which would provide religious cover as a new potential caliph. There were also rumors that Abdullah Qardash, a former Iraqi officer, would succeed Baghdadi. However, the evidence is based on a fake IS statement that was never actually released by the group. Read more ..


The Edge of Medicine

Death Reconsidered

October 15th 2019

Eye biometrics

An experiment that partially revived slaughterhouse pig brains raises questions about the precise end point of life

Death has had a changing definition over the millennia. Originally, it meant cessation of breathing and a heart that had stopped. The advent of mechanical ventilators shifted the locus of death to the brain—dying became loss of brain function, an irreversible coma. Partial revival of pig brains hours after decapitation, which was demonstrated in a recent experiment, could again upend definitions of mortality.

You will die, sooner or later. We all will. For everything that has a beginning has an end, an ineluctable consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. Read more ..


Financing the Flames

Who’s Funding Illegal Palestinian Settlements in Area C—Terrorist Links

August 22nd 2019

Edwin Black

Hundreds of millions of euros flow annually from European nations to fund illegal Palestinian settlements in Area C. Under the Oslo Accords, only Israel can issue construction permits. The current rapid expansion plan dispenses with any coordination with Israel.

According to Israeli activist watchdog groups, such as Regavim, during the last five years, illegal Palestinian settlements and infrastructure have sprawled across more than 9,000 dunams (9 square km) in more than 250 Area C locations, supported by more than 600 kilometers of illegally constructed access roads and more than 112,000 meters of retaining walls and terracing. This massive works project is being conducted in broad daylight. Palestinians no longer apply for permits in Area C; they deny Israel’s right to issue them. Now, they just start building, powered by millions of annual euros in joint projects with the EU.

How is the money routed? Among the many NGO recipients, one name keeps appearing: Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

A 2012 French Foreign Ministry report listing a €354,489 multi-year water development project states: "The first action proposed under this Action Plan is being carried out by the Union of Agriculture Work Committees," adding, "UAWC … is responsible for project management." Agence Francaise de Dévelopment (AFD) committed €130,000 to the UAWC, also in 2012, according to a 2012 Ernst and Young audit of the NGO Development Center. In February 2019, AFD also announced, "Union of Agricultural Workers Committees and relevant stakeholders … [would be] granted by AFD amounts up to 232,000 euros out of a budget of 650,000 euros."

Read more ..

Financing the Flames

Who’s Funding Illegal Palestinian Settlements in Area C— Confronting the History

August 14th 2019

Edwin Black

"Area C," which comprises some 60 percent of the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria, is making news these days. This time, the hot button issue is illegal Palestinian settlements sprouting across the region, shredding the last vestige of the Oslo Accords, which, for a generation, propelled the "two-state solution."

Most observers of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis are accustomed to hearing talk of "illegal Jewish settlements" on slivers of land comprising one to two percent of the West Bank, mostly near the green line of Israel proper. But, attention now focuses on an explosion of thousands of illegal Palestinian constructions: village clusters, agricultural tracts, water networks, roads, and general infrastructure crisscrossing Area C of the West Bank. All of this violates the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, which specify full Israeli administrative control in Area C. Under the international agreement, only the Israeli Civil Administration can authorize new construction in the zone—for Israeli and Arab alike. However, continuous waves of recent Palestinian settlements are being established without permits—often without even bothering to apply. One senior official of the Israeli security apparatus called it "the wild west."

According to Israeli activist watchdog groups, such as Regavim, in the past half-decade, illegal Palestinian settlements and infrastructure have sprawled across more than 9,000 dunams in more than 250 Area C locations, supported by more than 600 kilometers of illegally constructed access roads and more than 112,000 meters of retaining walls and terracing. This massive works project is being conducted in broad daylight, often heralded by tall announcement placards and proud press releases.

When questioned, various Israeli government officials did not dispute the Regavim numbers. In exasperation, one military spokesman close to the Area C files located at Bet El estimated "close to 10,000" illegal construction efforts are now underway—adding they felt "powerless to stop them." The rapid build-up is funded by hundreds of millions of euros annually, funneled by the European Union and individual European nations into scores of building and infrastructure projects.

Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Iranian Oil Flowing Past Malaysia on Way to Asian customers

July 14th 2019

Iranian oil tanker

Iran's efforts to sustain its oil exports to Asia in the face of tightened U.S. sanctions appear to be getting some assistance from Malaysia, according to analysis of data on ship movements.

"Iranian oil typically arrives in the Straits of Malacca and is handed over using ship-to-ship oil transfer to Chinese very large crude carriers," Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.com, a company in Sweden which monitors the shipping and storage of oil via analysis of ship transmission data, commercial satellite imagery and other information, told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Under the U.S. sanctions revived last November to pressure Iran into negotiations over its foreign policy and missile programs, any company involved with sales of Iranian oil can be fined and cut off from the U.S. financial system. Until May 2, the U.S. granted waivers for China, India, South Korea, Japan and others to continue buying Iranian oil with the expectation they would phase down their purchases. Read more ..


Media on Edge

Watchdog Group Canary Mission Uncovers Longstanding ‘Disdain’ for Jews and Israel among Al Jazeera Staff

May 24th 2019

al-Jazeera

Amid the fallout over a video that denied the Holocaust, the anti-Semitism watchdog group Canary Mission has revealed that several members of Al Jazeera’s staff have held longstanding “disdain for Jews and Israel” that predate the video release.

The seven-minute video, which was published last week on the network’s online channel, AJ+, stated that Israel was the “greatest beneficiary,” and that the Holocaust happened, but “it’s different from how the Jews tell it.”

After international outrage, Al Jazeera retracted the video and announced that the makers of the video were to be suspended, and that staff were to undergo sensitivity and bias training.

Read more ..

Destination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part IV of IV: The Lure Below

May 16th 2019

Edwin Black

When the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement [BDS] mounted a campaign against Israel, it targeted more than Israel’s economy, including tourism—which has nonetheless flourished beyond any expectation. The "D" in BDS stands for delegitimize. So the anti-Israel movement also targeted the country’s very identity and legacy. A people’s future cannot be stolen unless first their history is abducted. BDS not only attacked Israel’s tourism industry, but also the country’s single greatest and most meaningful attraction—its multi-faith religious roots.

Yes, Israel features excitement and awesome beauty in its museums and architectonic urban spaces, stem to stern coastline, as well as the country’s deserts, caves, hill treks, river trips, zip lines, and jeep excursions, not to mention its nightlife. Then again, many nations offer outstanding museums, mountains, and wilderness. However, there is one unique tourist attraction that Israel possesses that no other nation can offer, and which the people of all nations crave—its unrivaled religious heritage. This heritage is inextricably woven into the country’s national identity.

All three major Abrahamic religions are anchored in Israel.

Christians constitute the majority of tourists visiting Israel—many on religious quests. Generally speaking, Christian pilgrims are completely detached from Palestinian and Israeli political dynamics. Christian tourists can be seen on any day. On April 27, 2019, Holy Saturday before Orthodox Easter Sunday, some 10,000 Christian pilgrims from across the world tried to squeeze into the hopelessly overcrowded Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem’s Old City for the 1,200-year old "Holy Fire" rite. On Ramadan, Muslims crowd into Jerusalem. In 2019, on the first Friday of Ramadan, 180,000 peacefully attended prayers—a 50 percent increase over 2018. In 2018, on the last day of Ramadan, some 200,000 Muslims gathered at the Al Aqsa Mosque for their prayers.  The faithful generally include hundreds from Arab and Islamic countries lacking diplomatic relations with Israel. For example, until a recent bilateral spat, Indonesians were regularly issued visas to tour Jerusalem.

Read more ..

The Tragedy of FGM

Female Genital Mutilation in the United States: Estimating the Number of Girls at Risk

May 15th 2019

Rwanda child victim

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not at all like male circumcision. Despite the politically correct preference for calling it "genital cutting," FGM is usually far more than a mere cut.

It is a procedure that involves removing part or all of the external female genitalia (or any other injury to the female genitals) for non-medical reasons.

There are four types of FGM that have been identified. Type 1 is a clitoridectomy, which removes part or all of the clitoris. Type 2, excision, removes part or all of the clitoris and inner labia, with or without removal of the labia majora. Type 3, infibulation, is a narrowing of the vaginal opening by creating a seal, which is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia, and type 4 involves any other non-medical procedures to the genitals, such as pricking, piercing, incising, scraping, stretching, and cauterizing the genital areas (National Health Service, 2016).

In addition, a lifelong post-traumatic stress disorder routinely accompanies the experience of having been subjected to such pain and long-term suffering—by your own mother or grandmother, and traditionally, at the hands of a female butcher, or today, perhaps, at the hands of someone more expert.

The World Health Organization confirmed that this hellish procedure renders absolutely no health benefit and, on the contrary, harms its victims beyond measure and violates their human rights (World Health Organization, 2018). This practice is common in Africa, the Muslim Middle East, and increasingly in the Muslim Far East (Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, 2019; Kine, 2016). Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Could There Be Life on Mars Today?

May 9th 2019

Red Planet

The search for life on Mars shouldn't focus exclusively on the distant past, some researchers say.

Four billion years ago, the Martian surface was apparently quite habitable, featuring rivers, lakes and even a deep ocean. Indeed, some astrobiologists view ancient Mars as an even better cradle for life than Earth was, and they suspect that life on our planet may have come here long ago aboard Mars rocks blasted into space by a powerful impact.

Things changed when Mars lost its global magnetic field. Charged particles streaming from the sun were then free to strip away the once-thick Martian atmosphere, and strip it they did. This process had transformed Mars into the cold, dry world we know today by about 3.7 billion years ago, observations by NASA's MAVEN orbiter suggest. (Earth still has its global magnetic field, explaining how our planet remains so livable.) Read more ..


Campus Hate

U.S. Blocks BDS Co-Founder Barghouti from Entering the Country

April 12th 2019

boycott Israel t-shirt

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the movement to boycott and sanction Israel, a movement which many backers hope will lead to Israel's elimination, was supposed to arrive in Washington, D.C. yesterday to give two lectures and to meet with members of Congress.

Instead, he's back at his home in Israel.

The Arab American Institute, one of Barghouti's hosts, announced Thursday morning that Barghouti, "prominent Palestinian human rights activist, was denied entry into the United States at Ben Gurion Airport despite having valid travel documents. We at AAI invited him to DC to participate in a number of speaking engagements and educational programs."

The announcement came less than a half an hour before the first of those engagements started. Read more ..


Destination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part II of IV: Luxury Hotels Beckon

April 5th 2019

Edwin Black

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement [BDS] has taken particular aim at Israel’s tourism industry. Tourism accounts for about 11 percent of global GDP and 350 million jobs worldwide—more than ten percent of employment on the planet. In Israel, tourism is more than just sun, seashore, and spirituality; it infused Israel’s economy with $6 billion in 2018. Tourism is also the geopolitical inhalant that allows Israel to sustain its diplomatic and sovereign niche in the world.

For all its efforts to isolate Israel—including convincing Airbnb to remove Jewish listings in Judea and Samaria—BDS has failed to even dent Israel’s triumphant tourism growth. In 2018, a record 4.1 million visitors streamed into Israel from all over the world. Massive tourist influxes are now seen from the Chinese and Indian travel markets as well as America’s Christian community.

The escalating global demand has created an increasingly acute hotel room shortage. Year-round occupancy—with many seasonal and situational carve outs—now averages some 70 percent nationally for the country’s approximately 55,000 rooms. But on many days, Nazareth achieves 85 percent, Jerusalem hits 83 percent, Tel Aviv tops 79 percent, Haifa reaches 75 percent, and Eilat scores 72 percent. About half those rooms are taken by overseas visitors, not domestic tourists. An estimated 20 percent of all foreign visitors aren’t even using hotels, opting to stay with friends and family, rent apartments, or utilize alternative short-term boarding.

At times, the sheer volume can overwhelm capacity. One tourism insider indicates that a single American company, not of Jewish ownership, will be bringing 6,000 individuals to Israel in fall 2019 as part of a corporate incentive program. That one program is so large that no single city can host it. The company’s travelers are being split between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Project Midan: Developing and Building an Underground Nuclear Test Site in Iran

April 4th 2019

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

Iran’s Amad Plan called for it to develop and build five nuclear weapons in the first part of the 2000s. 1 It also created an extensive program to construct an underground test site so that Iran would be prepared to test a nuclear explosive by the end of 2003. A portion of the Nuclear Archives seized by Israel in early 2018 contains a variety of information on Iran’s development and implementation of plans for underground nuclear testing, some of which was known before to the IAEA. 2

These findings add more weight to the side of a figurative balance or scale that represents evidence of Iran’s violations of its commitments under the NPT. Under Article II of the NPT, Iran is committed “not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” Moreover, although Iran has not ratified the CTBT, it did sign the treaty in 1996. Thus, it has an obligation to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the primary objective of the CTBT, namely the provision, “Each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion, and to prohibit and prevent any such nuclear explosion at any place under its jurisdiction or control.” 3 Read more ..


Destination Israel

Israel’s Tourism Triumph—Part I of IV: The Air Bridge

March 28th 2019

Edwin Black

The virulently anti-Israel movement known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions—BDS—is roiling through campuses, overflowing into city councils, encroaching into corporate boardrooms, and now chomping at the essence of Israel’s special niche in the world: its travel and tourism industry. Everywhere, the boycotters have been asking to isolate Israel. BDS even convinced Airbnb to stop listing Jewish locations in Judea and Samaria—also known as the West Bank (a term invented after Jordan invaded in 1948, when the UN’s partition suggestion failed to create two states). In Ireland, a bill advancing through Parliament may criminalize visiting the old city and even purchasing lunch or a keepsake.

Whereas similar boycotts against other countries have inflicted withering effects on national economies, in Israel—it simply hasn’t worked. The opposite is true. Yes, boycotters are busy demonizing Israel, but, despite this, Israel’s tourism industry has rocketed to a singular triumph and now employs tens of thousands. Flights are packed and new non-stops are being added across the globe. Even though new luxury hotels are going up as fast as the Mideast sun will dry concrete, rooms remain under high demand and are thus scarce and expensive. Israel has become world famous for creative cuisine and trendy eateries, so if you want to get a table at the most popular restaurants, you’ll need to book weeks in advance.

Travel and tourism to Israel has dramatically changed. It’s not just synagogue sisterhoods and Jewish organizations. Swelling up from Israel’s "Start Up Nation," world famous top chef culture, and hard-won penetration of markets beyond America and West Europe, as well as its sophisticated travel industry burnishing, the Jewish State is now a destination for the entire world. Traditional Jewish-American travelers from Miami to Seattle must now compete with Silicon Valley techies, Chinese students, Indian tourists, East European Christian pilgrims, and diverse businessmen from across the planet. The numbers are multiplying. Read more ..


Democratic Party and Israel

Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Refuse to Attend AIPAC

March 22nd 2019

Washington K Street NW

On Wednesday, the radically left wing MoveOn political organization released the results of a member survey which found that more than 74% of MoveOn members who responded agree or strongly agree with the statement that “any progressive vying to be the Democratic nominee for President should skip the AIPAC conference.”

According to Iram Ali, campaign director at MoveOn: “The influx of progressive candidates confirming they will not attend––even those who have gone in years past––shows how the momentum is shifting. AIPAC is clearly a partisan lobbying group that has undermined diplomatic efforts and progressives want no part in it.” Read more ..


After the Holocaust

Ballad in the Key of 4G

March 4th 2019

Edwin Black

This is deeply personal. But what I have experienced should resonate with the entire Jewish community—the one we know and the one to come. In the whirlwind that seizes me and all who are communally aware, I have reached a new and stunning personal location, wedged between the searing past and the uncertain future.

See the Edyka video
Buy the CD Single

My story begins before I was born, when my grandmother Fanya seized her slender teen-aged daughter—my mother-to-be— Edyka, and pushed her out of the small vent at the top of a suffocating boxcar rumbling inexorably from Bialystok, Poland toward the Treblinka deathcamp. Together, they made the split-second decision that at least one person should escape. My mother became a "jumper." That day, she jumped into a hostile and dangerous Polish forest, was shot by local forces, and then buried in a hastily-arranged mass grave in the snow. Buried, yet one nearly lifeless limb protruded.

Teen-aged Herschel, an audacious forest fighter, came upon the area. Spying Edyka’s leg moving. He pulled her out of the pile. For two years, under cloak of night and by raw courage, they lived in the woods as brave partisans. They survived. After the war, believing millions of Jews had been killed, they decided to continue living as Jews, precisely because so many tried to kill our people. After two years in a displaced persons camp, they found their US home in Chicago. Their courage and determination allowed me to be born.

Growing up, I eagerly inhaled my Jewish heritage and love of Israel. With imbued purpose, I devoted my life to unmasking and addressing the hidden players and hidden hands behind the darkest evils and injustices. I adopted the identity of a Second Generation author long before the larger Second Generation movement developed its own national identity. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Police Arrest Suspect In Campus Attack On Conservative Activist

March 2nd 2019

Campus crime

University of California-Berkeley officials on Friday arrested a suspect who allegedly assaulted a conservative activist on campus last month.

Zachary Greenberg, 28, was arrested by university police about 1 p.m., after a judge issued an arrest warrant in the Feb. 19 attack on Hayden Williams, the school’s public affairs department said in a statement.

Arrest records from the sheriff’s office say Greenberg was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and attempting to cause great bodily injury. Williams, 26, who is not a student but is a field representative for the conservative group The Leadership Institute, was approached by two men who, he said, reacted with antagonism to the signs. One of them is said to have punched Williams several times. Read more ..


Financing the Flames

Terror Stipends Cost Palestinians $138M in Withheld Tax Revenues

February 18th 2019

Money Bands=Happiness

The Israeli government’s security cabinet announced Sunday that it was implementing a law passed last year allowing the Jewish state to withhold funds that the Palestinian Authority (PA) uses to pay stipends to attackers and their families from taxes Israel collects on the PA’s behalf, according to a World Israel News report.

Get Financing the Flames and read the original Edwin Black investigation on the topic

The PA uses the payments to financially incentivize the murder and maiming of Israeli civilians. Palestinian leaders, including PA President Mahmoud Abbas, have refused to discontinue the practice, notwithstanding laws in Israel and the U.S. that penalize the PA to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars each year for continuing the practice.

Read more ..

The Race for Solar

Putting Solar Panels on Water Is a Great Idea—but Will It Float?

February 8th 2019

Hikers on Garfield Peak Trail, Crater Lake

Winemaker Greg Allen had a problem. As president of Far Niente Winery in Napa Valley, California, he had done the math on how much land the vineyard could possibly dedicate to solar panels, to offset energy costs. The figure—about two acres—“really hurt,” Allen says. So he compromised: Far Niente completed an array of 2,296 solar panels, 994 of which float on pontoons tethered to the bottom of the winery’s pond. The installation was the world’s first nonexperimental floating solar array.

That was in 2008. Since then floating photovoltaics have proliferated in Asia—yet not so much in the U.S. Japan has more than 60 installations, the most of any country in the world. China, a bourgeoning giant in renewable energy, claims the world’s largest array. Read more ..


The War Against IsraeL

Judge Lets Arkansas Law Against Israeli Boycotts Stand

January 24th 2019

antiIsrael BDS demonstration

A federal judge on Wednesday let stand an Arkansas law requiring state contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel, ruling that such a boycott is not protected by the First Amendment.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller dismissed the lawsuit the Arkansas Times had filed challenging the 2017 law. The newspaper had asked the judge to block the law, which requires contractors with the state to reduce their fees by 20 percent if they don't sign the pledge.

The Times' lawsuit said the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College refused to contract for advertising with the newspaper unless the Arkansas Times signed the pledge. The paper isn't engaged in a boycott against Israel. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Mixed Reactions After Prosecution Efforts at UCLA and UCI

January 17th 2019

Edwin Black

Organized disruptors–both students and non-students--who shut down a pro-Israel gathering at University of California Los Angeles in May 2018 might not be prosecuted, according to information from LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office. Instead, they will be called to a confidential but mandatory proceeding called a “City Attorney Hearing,” an alternative to prosecution which can be described as a “warning” not to repeat the conduct. One legal expert compared it to a “deferred prosecution,” but stressed a full trial could still result. Victims generally do not appear at such a hearing, the City Attorney’s office explained, and generally no criminal record attaches. Still, the prosecutor retains the right to issue charges later if he feels the illegal conduct has recurred or may recur. Los Angeles conducts hundreds of such closed-door hearings each year to dispose of minor misdemeanors arising from, for example, neighbor disputes, domestic disharmony, or curfew violations.

To the south of Los Angeles, newly-installed Orange County Prosecutor Todd Spitzer is still undecided about prosecuting rambunctious disruptors of a pro-Israel event at University of California Irvine which also took place last May, according to official university sources. Spitzer’s office has asked for additional police investigation to develop more facts.

With or without actual prosecution, the two incidents and the Jewish community’s response have potentially changed the landscape for belligerent disruption of pro-Israel events on California campuses, which last year arguably yielded some of the most pernicious in the nation. Those involved in the two California events—the affected students and the Jewish communal groups who rose to invoke prosecutions—expressed a range of reactions as to whether justice has been minimally obtained or seriously delayed. Read more ..


Media on Edge

NBC News Uses Old Photo to 'Prove' Obama's New Home has No Wall--But it Does Today

January 9th 2019

Obama with baseball bat

When President Donald Trump compared Barack and Michelle Obama's new security wall around their new home in Washington, DC to a border wall, the media ran fact-check after fact-check with claims that President Trump is wrong.

In his tweet on December 30, Trump wrote "President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!"

Left-wing media such as Snopes and NBC News rebutted the President and wrote fact-checks to tell their readers and viewers that there is no wall or fencing around the Obama home. A neighbor of the Obamas told The Washington Post on December 31 that there is tasteful fencing along the front of the house while the back of the house is protected by a chain-link fence. Former presidents and their immediate family are afforded life-long protection by the Secret Service according to the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012.

Read more ..

Jewry on Edge

How Historians Will See Canary Mission Years From Now

December 17th 2018

Edwin Black

On a recent Thursday, at about 8 am, on a desk illuminated by light from a nearby window, a paper cup of steaming coffee laden with cream and sugar was nudged near an open laptop, thus beginning a ten-to-twelve-hour day of mind-numbing monitoring by a Canary Mission [CM] staffer at one of the organization’s several locations. In endless social media searches, refreshes, clicks, video reviews, forwards and saves, the Canary Mission staffer will capture the worst of the openly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions agitation and hate speech erupting all across America’s campuses. Their work also encompasses white nationalism.

 

BDS advocates often spew some of the most venomous hate speech visible on the Internet, hate speech that Canary Mission captures and re-publishes in personal profiles. For example, the tweet by a Chicago activist with Students for Justice in Palestine who tweeted this joke: “Why did Hitler commit suicide?........ He saw the gas bill. Pahhahaha.” Or the UCLA protestor whose Twitter account was captured with this remark: “Mmmaaaannnnnnnnnnn what's with all this peaceful approaches!?? F**k that. I want terrorism and another intifada.” The same UCLA student reportedly added a photo close-up of a gun and bullets.

 

After the massacre at Pittsburgh, calls went out broadly to monitor, spotlight, and report hate speech, especially since hateful acts of violence are often preceded by hate speech. That is precisely what Canary Mission does. Canary Mission tracks social media and videos, capturing BDS, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic expressions, triangulating them into individual profiles that expose and create permanent highly-visible records of the words and images BDS and SJP leaders actually use. The profiles are almost always incontestable since CM links to actual videos, tweets and other open documentation. Canary Mission’s intent is to shine an indelible light on students, faculty, and others, thus creating a negative incentive or at least a consequence for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate speech. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Jihadis Plotting Massive Chemical Attack in London Underground

December 12th 2018

Armed British police 10 Downing Street

Terror chiefs believe a devastating chemical weapons attack in Britain is now ‘more likely than not’, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The chilling assessment follows the interception of ‘chatter’ between senior figures in Islamic State (IS). The terror group has been inspired by the poisoning of former KGB agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, by Russian agents in March.

Before the novichok attack in Salisbury, the Government’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) put the risk of a chemical weapons strike by jihadis at 25 per cent.

Security sources say that has now surged to more than 50 per cent. There are particular fears over the potential for a chlorine bomb to be detonated on the London Underground. The threat is considered so severe that terror chiefs secretly met with emergency services bosses a fortnight ago to ‘war game’ their response to such an atrocity. Read more ..


The Digital Age

UK Parliament Obtains Documents that Facebook Fought to Be Kept Private

November 25th 2018

Hacker keyboard

The British Parliament has used their legal powers to obtain a set of internal Facebook documents the social media giant has fought for months to stop from being made public, according to Facebook and a lawyer involved in a suit against the company, as was reported by CNN.

The Guardian of London has reported that the move by the UK legislative body was an attempt to hold Facebook accountable after its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly declined to provide response to questions posed to him by members of parliament.

The paper reported that the cache of documents may contain evidence about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It is claimed they include confidential emails between senior executives, and correspondence with Zuckerberg.

Read more ..

The Edge of Trerrosim

Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rocket Assault a Reminder of Iran’s Long Reach

November 13th 2018

Hamas terrorist with toy Kalashnikov

rocket assault on southern Israel by an Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorist faction in the Gaza Strip is the latest reminder of the Islamic Republic’s long reach, and the ability of Iran’s armed proxies to destabilize multiple parts of the Middle East.

The rocket attack, which targeted southern Israeli villages at the end of October, sent civilians fleeing for cover, and was conducted by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the second largest armed organization in Gaza. PIJ receives funding from Tehran, and pledges full ideological allegiance to Iran’s radical Shi’ite regime – the only Sunni Palestinian organization to do so.

The Israeli air force struck nearly 100 targets in Gaza in retaliation. The attack was something both Iran and the PIJ leadership at its Damascus, Syria, headquarters wanted, Israeli officials said. Read more ..


Israel and the Arabs

Oman is Israel’s link to the Middle East

October 31st 2018

Caribe Crucero

Analysis: Israel and Oman have been keeping a secret channel of communications since the 1970s, but it’s only now that Sultan Qaboos is willing to reveal those ties to the world. Netanyahu’s public visit to the sultanate serves both countries: For Israel, Oman can open a door to normalizing ties with other Arab countries, while Oman gets to present itself to the West as a more moderate and liberal nation.
 
In the fall of 1979, two Israelis carrying foreign passports arrived on a flight to Muscat, the capital of Oman. One of them was Reuven Merhav, a senior Mossad official dealing with matters concerning the Middle East, who will later become the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The other was a member of the IDF's General Staff, Maj. Gen. Menachem (Mendy) Maron. After landing, the two were transferred to a luxurious villa in Muscat and from there flown on a royal jet to meet with Sultan Qaboos at an encampment outside the capital. They were amused by the fact the bathroom on the plane, including the toilet itself, was made of gold.
Read more ..

The Trump Era

Deep State Bureaucrat Charged With Leaking Trump Campaign Manager's Data To The Media

October 18th 2018

Prison bars

A Treasury Department employee has been arrested for leaking thousands of bank records related to President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business partner Rick Gates, the Russian Embassy, and accused Russian agent Maria Butina.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, senior adviser at the Treasury’ Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), has been accused by the Department of Justice of leaking Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) to an as yet unidentified reporter at the Buzzfeed news outlet. Buzzfeed carried a story on October 15 that used information from the leak.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

Kavanaugh Confirmed To Supreme Court After Bitter Fight, Securing Rightward Shift

October 6th 2018

US Capitol through trees

The Senate voted Saturday to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, marking the end to one of the most rancorous confirmation fights in modern times and securing a rightward shift on the nation’s highest court. The chamber voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh, mostly along party lines, after a weeklong FBI probe helped settle concerns among most wavering senators about the sexual assault allegations that nearly derailed his nomination and led to a dramatic second hearing. Saturday’s roll call marked the tightest successful Supreme Court confirmation vote in over 100 years, closer than even that of Clarence Thomas who similarly faced sexual misconduct allegations.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the sole Democrat to vote “yes.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was a “no,” but voted “present” as a courtesy to Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who was attending his daughter’s wedding in Montana. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Deep State Operative Arrested for Doxing Senators

October 4th 2018

jail door closeup

On Wednesday evening, U.S. Capitol Police arrested Jackson Cosko -- a Democratic congressional staffer and party operative who is alleged to have doxxed several Republican senators and posted their posted their personal information online. The 27-year-old Cosko stands charged with publicizing restricted personal information, witness tampering, threats in interstate communication, unauthorized access of a government computer, identity theft, second-degree burglary and unlawful entry. He may face further charges. 

Most recently, Cosko worked for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). He has also worked for Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Lee sit on the House Judiciary Committee. A person who was employed by Hassan was suspended for shouting “F**k you!” at President Trump recently. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Kavanaugh: 'I know I am telling the truth'

September 25th 2018

Capitol Building at night

In an interview on Fox News, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh not only denied any sexual misconduct but also affirmed that he never had sexual intercourse with any one until many years after graduating from Yale University. With his wife Ashley at his side, Kavanaugh responded to accusations of sexual misconduct being leveled by two women. He said, "What I know is the truth, and the truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone."

Ever since Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of a sexual assault that allegedly occured sometime in the 1980s, the ensuing controversy and Democrats’ demands for further investigation have threatened to derail a confirmation that had been thought to be a foregone conclusion. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of covering her mouth and trying to strip her during a drunken party in the early 1980s, when both were in high school. Kavanaugh and Ford are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Kavanaugh and his family have been subjected to death threats ever since Ford's accusations were made public.

Read more ..

Campus Hate

UCI Preparing to Refer Anti-Israel Disrupters to Prosecution

September 21st 2018

Edwin Black

Campus police at University of California, Irvine will in the near future refer anti-Israeli event disruptors of a May 3, 2018 pro-Israel event to Orange County prosecutors, according to a UCI spokesperson. Referral will occur, says the spokesperson, as soon as the campus police investigation concludes.

If so, UCI will be the second UC campus, after UCLA, to refer loud and raucous anti-Israel disruptors to prosecutors for violation of California’s statutes prohibiting disruption of public meetings, disturbing the peace, and conspiracy to do either.

After the police referral, it will be up to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to decide whether actual prosecution should ensue. Rackauckas previously made history with the 2011 prosecution and conviction of the famous “Irvine 11,” who disrupted Israeli  Ambassador Michael Oren in 2010 when he spoke at UCI. Rackauckas is considered one the state’s most seasoned, no-nonsense DAs. Read more ..


The Digital Age

Are Digital Devices Altering Our Brains?

September 12th 2018

Baby Boomer

Ten years ago technology writer Nicholas Carr published an article in the Atlantic entitled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He strongly suspected the answer was “yes.” Himself less and less able to focus, remember things or absorb more than a few pages of text, he accused the Internet of radically changing people’s brains. And that is just one of the grievances leveled against the Internet and at the various devices we use to access it–including cell phones, tablets, game consoles and laptops. Often the complaints target video games that involve fighting or war, arguing that they cause players to become violent.

But digital devices also have fervent defenders—in particular the promoters of brain-training games, who claim that their offerings can help improve attention, memory and reflexes. Who, if anyone, is right?

Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

Secret Oil Shipments Could Help Iran Cushion U.S. Sanctions Blow

September 4th 2018

Oil Barrels 400px

Discounts, bartering and smuggling are among the tactics Iran may lean on to keep almost 800,000 barrels a day of its oil exports flowing after U.S. sanctions resume in November.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh alluded to this toolbox, which was used in the past, when he said Iran will find “other ways” to keep its crude in the market. The measures won’t be enough to blunt the full impact of sanctions on oil exports, which have already slumped to the lowest level since March 2016.

In the last era of oil industry sanctions, the OPEC nation disabled tracking systems on its fleet of tankers, concealing destinations and volumes of oil exports. Millions of barrels of Iranian oil were unaccounted without the trackers. Read more ..



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