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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘2016’

Top 20 UN Watch Moments in 2016

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

{Originally posted to the UN Watch website}

1. U.S. Congress Adopts Law Targeting U.N. Anti-Israel Bias: When the U.S. Congress wanted to evaluate the UN Human Right Council’s dismal record, the first group they called was UN Watch. Executive Director Hillel Neuer testified at the hearing, along with senior officials of the State Department. Subsequently, the Congress adopted new legislation requiring the administration to report on steps taken to remove the UNHRC’s permanent agenda item targeting Israel.

2. Global truth-telling impact: In the past year, UN Watch delivered 65 speeches to the UN on 26 different country situations; gave 33 lectures before campus and other audiences; brought 34 guest speakers to testify at the UN and before other influential assemblies; achieved 579 media hits in leading newspapers with op-eds, quotes, and TV interviews; surpassed 5.5 million YouTube views; produced 200 videos; and reached 86,000 Facebook fans, 38,000 Twitter followers, and 45,000 email subscribers, including lawmakers, diplomats, and journalists.

3. Dictatorships Fail
 to Silence UN Watch: Executive Director Hillel Neuer, in the March 2016 session of the UN Human Rights Council, openly challenged the qualifications of dictatorships who sit as members. In reaction, delegates from Cuba, China, Russia, Pakistan, and Venezuela urged the president to stop Mr. Neuer. However, UN Watch’s right to speak was defended by the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, and Canada. With only three seconds left on the clock, Neuer’s reply—“You can censor at home, but not at the United Nations”—drew applause from human rights activists in the chamber. Watch video

4. Combating North Korean Atrocities: UN Watch was a leading voice for victims of atrocities committed by the regime in North Korea—one of the worst human right abusers on the planet. In March, we brought defectors to speak at the UN. In September, UN Watch launched a global campaign urging members of the UN Security Council to send the North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong-un, to the International Criminal Court. UN Watch rallied over 10,000 individuals to sign a petition demanding UN action, creating headlines in top Korean newspapers.

5. Training Interns From Around the World: UN Watch prepared the next generation by hosting and training 20 dynamic university student interns from diverse countries. Each intern was given the opportunity to research, write and deliver their own UN speech—the opportunity of a lifetime.

6. Turned Spotlight on Worst Abusers: UN Watch led a coalition of 25 NGOs in organizing the 8th annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights, featuring prominent activists and victims who turned a rare spotlight on the world’s most urgent human rights situations: Iran, North Korea, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Venezuela, and ISIS. The conference drew an audience of 700 human rights activists, diplomats, journalists and students. Worldwide media coverage exceeded 85 separate stories in TV, radio, and newspapers.

7. PLO Outraged After UN Watch Blocks Biased Candidate: Despite her unanimous top ranking by a UN vetting committee, and backing from the PLO, extremist London professor Penny Green was rejected for the post of UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine—as a result of UN Watch’s protest campaign, supported by thousands of followers. Outraged, Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraishi took the floor in the Human Rights Council to lash out at UN Watch, accusing the group of “allegiance to Israeli secret service.” In a 15-page report entitled “Mandate to Discriminate,” UN Watch showed how—despite the job’s required criteria of objectivity and impartiality—Ms. Green had previously compared Israel to ISIS, and referred to the Jewish state as “Apartheid Israel” and a “criminal government.”

8. Canada Slams UN’s Biased Palestine Investigator: When the UN Human Rights Council appointed biased Canadian law professor Michael Lynk to be the UN investigator of “Israel’s violations,” UN Watch exposed his true colors. As a result, Canadian Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion called on the UN to review Lynk’s appointment, saying that UN Special Rapporteurs needed to have “a track record that can advance peace in the region,” and to be “credible, impartial and objective.” Dion’s office expressed concerns about Lynk’s “suitability and impartiality.” This was a result of material uncovered by UN Watch.

9. Exposing W.H.O.’s Anti-Israel Vote: When the UK, France, Germany, along with other EU states, voted in favor of a UN resolution singling out Israel as the only violator of “mental, physical and environmental health” at the 2016 World Health Assembly, UN Watch was the one who exposed the absurdity, sparking outrage worldwide, including editorials in the Wall Street Journal and Canada’s National Post.

10. Hate Israel Day: Turning the Tables on the Bigots: At the UN Human Rights Council, Arab and Islamic states attacked the Jewish state in a special anti-Israel agenda item. UN Watch was the first to take the floor, exposing the fact that Western countries had boycotted the biased debate.

11. UN Renews Iran Monitoring After UN Watch Victims Testify: As the Human Rights Council was deciding on whether to renew its monitoring of the human rights situation in Iran, UN Watch helped tip the scales by organizing a UN side event featuring testimony by Iranian human rights activists Darya Safai and Maryam Faghihimani. This was covered by major media including the L.A. Times, and contributed to the successful vote for renewal.

12. Exposing UN Election of Syrian Regime: When the UN elected the mass murdering Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to a leadership posts on its Special Committee on Decolonization, UN Watch sounded the alarm, sparking a New York Post editorial, “The United Nations’ sick honoring of Syria’s butchers.”

13. UN Watch Protests UNESCO Bid to Deny Jewish Ties to Western Wall:   When an inflammatory Jordanian-Palestinian draft resolution on the Old City of Jerusalem was submitted to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in July, UN Watch sounded the alarm, publishing influential reports and updates on Twitter and Facebook followed by a global audience. Thanks to UN Watch, UNESCO’s absurdity was reported by Newsweek, the Miami Herald, and in i24 News TV interviews with UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, as well in many other media outlets.

14. Exposing UN General Assembly’s Anti-Israel Bias: As the UN General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions against Israel in November and December — while adopting only 4 against the entire rest of the world combined — UN Watch sprang into action, publishing reports, releasing videos on social media, and circulating petitions to urge world leaders to end the bias. Thanks to UN Watch, the hypocrisy was exposed by a major New York Post editorial among numerous other media.

15. British House of Lords Hosts UN Watch Testimony on UN’s Anti-Israel Bias:  In July, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer spoke at event in the House of Lords of the British Parliament. On the following day, Baroness Ruth Deech, host of the event, submitted a parliamentary question challenging the UK government on their apparent support for Saudi Arabia’s re-election to the UN Human Rights Council.

16. Turkish Journalist Freed from Prison Thanks UN Watch for Campaign: When Turkish human rights advocate Orhan Kemal Cengiz was arrested at Istanbul airport as part of President Erdogan’s purge, UN Watch launched an intensive four-day campaign demanding his immediate release. “By arresting a prominent journalist, lawyer and human rights defender, the Turkish government has seriously compromised its claim to be defending democracy and the rule of law,” said Neuer. UN Watch’s social media appeals went viral. Upon his release a week later, Cengiz publicly expressed his gratitude: “Dear @UNWatch I am very moved by your passionate struggle to get me free,” he tweeted.

17. CNN Covers UN Watch Campaign to Fight UN Election of Dictators: When dictatorships including Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and Russia ran for re-election to the UN’s highest human rights body in October, UN Watch led the global opposition. A series of high profile events featuring dissidents, victims and experts were held, including a Canadian Parliament press conference with MPs representing all of Canada’s leading political parties; a United Nations press conference in New York; and a panel at New York University. UN Watch and its partners urged democracies to oppose the re-election of abusers to the UN Human Rights Council, and released a report evaluating the candidate countries. UN Watch was quoted by CNN, Reuters, Wall Street Journal TV, USA Today, CTV, and the Globe and Mail. Although China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia won seats, Russia — for the first time in the body’s 70-year history — did not.

18. UN Watch Launches Viral Saudi VideoAfter Saudi Arabia was re-elected to the UNHRC, UN Watch launched a video as part of its campaign to expel the medieval monarchy from the world’s highest human rights body. The video went viral: to date, it has been viewed more than 800,000 times, reaching more than 2 million, making it the most widely-viewed and shared UN Watch video of the year. UN Watch’s campaign on Saudi Arabia was reported by the Wall Street Journal and Euronews.

19. Venezuela’s Cheating of Human Rights Review Exposed by UN WatchIn November, UN Watch exposed how Venezuela cheated the UN system for reviewing its human rights record by getting 500 fake groups to make non-governmental submissions praising Venezuela. UN Watch’s report revealed that the so-called expert groups included the “Bolivian Baseball Association,” the “Cuban Federation of Canine Sports,” and the “Association for Obvious Things,” a group in Slovenia that hailed Venezuela’s record on combating hunger. UN Watch’s report was picked up on social media, and reported by Spanish-speaking news outlets including La Vanguardia, Miami Diario, and El Nacional.

20. City of Chicago Recognizes UN Watch, Declares “Hillel Neuer Day”: In honor of the visit by the executive director of UN Watch, the Chicago City Council adopted a resolution declaring September 15, 2016, to be Hillel Neuer Day, in recognition of Neuer’s “contributions to promote peace, justice and human rights around the world.” Before an audience of 1,300 delegates, including diplomats and elected officials, Neuer delivered the keynote address for the Chicago Jewish Federation’s annual meeting.

Hillel Neuer

Seven Fascinating Discoveries Israeli Archaeologists Made in 2016

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

{Originally posted to the Tower Magazine website}

Palestinians, pushing their claims for statehood, have regularly denied the Jewish historical connections to Israel. In fact, the 20th article of the Palestinian National Charter states, “Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history.”

Following this counterfactual ideology, the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, passed two resolutions in October denying the historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

Writing in The Tower, Eylon Aslan-Levy described the aim of the resolutions as “a bid by dictatorships (with the acquiescence of democracies) to render Israeli sovereignty over the Old City utterly illegitimate, do[ing] the most damage by prejudging how the international community should approach the question of the holy sites in any future accord.”

As it so happens, this year saw several significant archaeological finds that established the facts of the historical Jewish connection to Israel and Jerusalem and contradicted campaigns to delegitimize Jewish history.

• It was announced this week that a coin from the time of the Maccabean revolt had been discovered in Jerusalem. The coin depicted King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, under whose rule Jews were barred from practicing their religion, which led to the uprising. The Maccabees’ victory is commemorated annually with the holiday of Chanukah, which will be observed this year beginning Saturday night.

 In October, archaeologists found the site where Roman troops breached the walls of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, shortly before they destroyed the second Jewish Temple. The researchers discovered the remains of a tower surrounded by dozens of stones and boulders fired by Roman catapults at the Jewish forces guarding the wall. This matched the description given by the historian Flavius Josephus, who documented the revolt in his first-century work The Jewish War. The anniversary of the breach of Jerusalem’s walls is commemorated by the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, which takes place during the summer.

• A week later, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a papyrus with the oldest known Hebrew-language mention of Jerusalem. The papyrus documents a commercial transaction. Carbon dating determined the scroll to be around 2,700 years old, around the time of the first Jewish Temple.

 Shortly thereafter, archaeologists announced that they had discovered relics on the Temple Mount dating to the first Temple Period, including pottery fragments and animal bones. The excavations, which were carried out with the cooperation of the Muslim Waqf, marked the first time archaeologists had found artifacts from the first Temple on the Temple Mount itself.

• Proof of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem also came from an unexpected source. A previously-ignored inscription on an ancient Hebron-area mosque contained a reference to the Jewish Temple. The inscription declared that the surrounding area was “an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque.” The term “Bayt al-Maqdis” is a verbatim Arabic translation of “Beit Hamikdash,” the Hebrew name for the Jewish Temple.

 In September, scientists announced that they had reconstructed a burnt 2,000-year-old biblical text, which made it the oldest known copy of biblical scriptures as they are canonized today. According to National Geographic, which announced the results, the scroll “bridges a centuries-wide gap in the history of biblical text.”

• It wasn’t only Jewish history that was confirmed through archaeology. Evidence of the Christian history of Jerusalem also emerged in late October when workers restoring the Church of the Holy Sepulchre uncovered the historic tomb of Jesus, which was buried under layers of marble for centuries.

David Gerstman

2016 FirstOneThrough Summary

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

{Originally posted to the FirstOneThrough website}

2016 was dominated by the US presidential election, additional terrorism in Europe, and a United Nations that continued to attack the Jewish State. Readership interest in FirstOneThrough continued to grow.

FirstOneThrough published 133 articles in 2016, down from the 2015 total of 151 articles. Despite the fewer posts, the number of visitors jumped by 35% year-over-year.


Israel and the United States continued to lead the readership, accounting for 70% of the views overall, down from 73% in 2015. The drop was due to the readership in Israel being flat, while readership around the world grew. Visitor growth from English-speaking countries was significant: Canada (+49%); United Kingdom (+46%); Australia (+14%) and South Africa (+125%). Overall, readership from those countries jumped to 18% of the total, up from 15% in 2015. Other countries that also saw an increase in viewership included: Netherlands; France; Germany; Sweden; Norway; and Brazil. Brazil saw the greatest increase year-over-year, jumping 167%.


The most popular stories of 2016 were:

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Jared Kushner’s Parents Donate $20 million to the First Hospital Likely to Win the Nobel Peace Prize

UN Media Centre Ignores Murdered Israelis

The Countries that Acknowledge the Jewish Temple May Surprise You

Sanders Accuses Israel of Deliberately Killing Palestinians

New York Times Grants Nobel Prize-in Waiting to Palestinian Arab Terrorist

The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

The New York Times Thinks that the Jews from Arab Countries Simply “Immigrated”

Al Jazeera (Qatar) Evicts Jews and Judaism from Jerusalem. Time to Return the Favor


In 2016, Facebook became an even more important source of viewers, jumping to 60% of referrers from 46% in 2015.  Search, The Jewish Press and Twitter continued to be the next important sources, but Facebook did not take share from any of those categories, as much as other referral sites.

Some of the global sites that have linked to the FirstOneThrough blog include:

Jewish Issues Watchdog
Jews Down Under



Audiatur Online




Rights.no has taken information without properly sourcing the information and link to FirstOneThrough

Document.no also used information with properly sourcing FirstOneThrough



Shiloh Musings
Anne’s Opinions

Black Kettle

Jewish Press
American Thinker
CAMERA (not used properly as not sourced to FirstOneThrough)
The Israel Forever Foundation
Legal Insurrection
The Truth About Guns
Watching Over Zion
DusIzNies (not used properly as not sourced to FirstOneThrough)
TeaParty Community
Exposing Modern Mugwumps
UN Trendolizer
Jewish Refugees 

Please continue to encourage others to join the blog.

Wishing you a wonderful 2017.

Paul Gherkin

Hamas: 21 Died in Tunnels in 2016

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Hamas announced officially on Sunday that 21 of its men had died “in the bowls of the earth,” most likely in the terror tunnels which continue to be dug relentlessly by Hamas as part of its ongoing war effort against Israel, Kol Israel’s Gal Berger tweeted.

David Israel

Building Blocks – December 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

e-Edition: December 30, 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Click the image below to read the paper. The new issue will appear every Friday morning. It may take up to one minute for the print edition below to appear.

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Jewish Press Staff

South Florida – December 30, 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Shelley Benveniste

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/south-florida-december-30-2016/2016/12/29/

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