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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘UK’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan ‘Davens’ While on Whirlwind North America Interfaith Tour

Monday, September 19th, 2016

London’s first Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan knows a thing or two about diversity: he dropped in to ‘daven’ (pray, in Yiddish) while he was in town in the Windy City, Chicago over the Sabbath.

Khan has spent the past few days on a whirlwind interfaith tour that started in Montreal and has now led him to New York City, but had him in at least two synagogues over the Sabbath during a very brief visit to the North side of Chicago.

The London mayor attended services with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the modern Orthodox Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel synagogue, the Evening Standard reported, and on the same day he also made a brief stop at Temple Sholom, a Reform synagogue. Both are in the same area.

“London is an incredibly diverse and tolerant city,” he said, “but improving social integration is still one of the big challenges we face. That’s why I’m keen to hear from people of many different faiths here in the U.S. to learn from their experiences and to share ideas on how we can bring communities together and strengthen the social fabric that underpins any successful city.

“I want to tell everyone around the world, loud and clear, that London is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds,” he said.

But earlier in the week, he told a group, “We play straight into the hands of those who seek to divide us, of extremists and terrorists around the world, when we imply that it is not possible to hold Western values and to be a Muslim.”

Khan made the comment Thursday while speaking before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He added that what is needed is to build “bridges, rather than walls,” in what appeared to be a response to the proposal by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico.

On Sunday night, Khan tweeted a photo of himself speaking on a panel with New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio at La Guardia Community College, “discussing social integration & how faith communities can help bring people together.”

In addition to an especially warm welcome from the congregation at St. Alban’s Church in Queens on Sunday morning, Khan was given the honor of throwing the first pitch at Sunday’s Mets game. (#LetsGoMets, he tweeted.)

This just proves that the British really envy the American sport of baseball after all: it beats cricket.

This just proves that the British really envy the American sport of baseball after all: it beats cricket.

But not everything was humor and light: Khan was also smart enough to acknowledge the attempted multi-site terror attack that succeeded at least in one location Saturday night, in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood, where 29 people were wounded by shrapnel from a pressure cooker bomb. As a resident of London, the mayor is no stranger to terror: “My thoughts are with all those injured in last night’s explosion in New York and all New Yorkers,” he tweeted. “This is a great city, and a resilient one.”

Hana Levi Julian

UK, Iran Exchange Ambassadors After 5-Year Hiatus

Monday, September 5th, 2016

The United Kingdom has exchanged ambassadors with Iran for the first time in five years.

The last British ambassador fled Tehran in 2011 when a mob stormed the British embassy in the Iranian capital and tore it apart.

The ISNA Iranian state news agency announced the appointment of Hamid Baeidinejad, 53, as the new Iranian envoy to London.

At the same time, the British charges d’affairs in the Iranian capital, Nicholas Hopton, was promoted to the post of UK Ambassador to Tehran.

Britain was one of the first nations to send diplomats to Iran after the July 2015 signing of the nuclear deal with Iran by six world powers in Vienna.

Hana Levi Julian

10 United Flight Passengers Hurt Due to ‘Severe, Unexpected Turbulence’

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Severe and unexpected turbulence on United Airlines Flight #880 from Houston to London’s Heathrow Airport left 10 passengers and two crew members so badly injured they required hospitalization in Ireland.

The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing early Wednesday morning at Shannon Airport in Ireland, where the injured were taken to University Hospital in Limerick for treatment, officials said.

The Boeing 767, carrying 207 passengers, landed safely at 5:55 a.m. local time, with ambulances on hand to meet the flight on the tarmac. “All have since been discharged, except for one of our flight attendants,” the airline said in a statement.

A Colorado business passenger told NBC News, “Things flew all over the cabin and kitchen area. One attendant [cracked] the side of her head and was bleeding.” He added that his own shoulders were “really really hurting from grabbing on to the arm rest during those altitude declines.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: 11% increase in UK Anti-Semitism in 2016

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The first six months of 2016 saw an 11% increase in anti-Semitic hate incidents recorded in the UK compared with the same period in 2015, according to the Community Security Trust (CST) Anti-Semitic Incident Report January-June 2016, published Thursday.

CST recorded 557 anti-Semitic incidents nationwide during the first half of 2016, compared with 500 anti-Semitic incidents during the first six months of 2015. This total of 557 incidents is the second-highest CST has ever recorded in the January-June period of any year. The highest total for the first half of any year was in 2009, when 629 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in reaction to the Gaza war of January 2009.

The long-term trend shows that the number of anti-Semitic incidents has remained at a relatively high level since the summer of 2014, when the UK saw a large spike in anti-Semitic incidents following that year’s Gaza war. Since then, average monthly anti-Semitic incident totals have ranged between 80 and 100 anti-Semitic incidents per month, whereas in the two years before they had ranged between 40 and 60 incidents per month.

CST has been recording anti-Semitic incidents in the UK since 1984.

Antisemitic graffiti, London, January 2016 / Photo credit: CST

Antisemitic graffiti, London, January 2016 / Photo credit: CST

CST discarded 364 reports it received between January and June 2016, which were not deemed to be anti-Semitic and are not included in this total.

The report shows no clear single cause for the increase in recorded anti-Semitic incidents—most of which took place in April, May and June: 99, 125 and 112 incidents respectively. The 125 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in May were the fourth-highest monthly total ever recorded by CST, and the 112 incidents recorded in June were the sixth-highest monthly total ever recorded.

CST recorded 133 anti-Semitic incidents that took place on social media, comprising 24% of the total of 557 incidents for the first half of 2016. Social media are now being used as tools for coordinated campaigns of anti-Semitic harassment, threats and abuse directed at Jewish public figures and other individuals.

79% of the 557 anti-Semitic incidents recorded by CST in the first six months of 2016 took place in the main Jewish centers of Greater London and Greater Manchester. However, the two cities saw very different trends: CST recorded 379 anti-Semitic incidents in Greater London, a rise of 62% from the same period in 2015, but in Greater Manchester, CST recorded 62 anti-Semitic incidents, a 54% drop.

CST recorded 41 violent anti-Semitic assaults in the first six months of 2016, a 13 per cent fall from the 47 violent assaults recorded in the first half of 2015. None of the 41 violent assaults recorded in the first six months of 2016 were serious enough to be classified as Extreme Violence, which would involve an incident that constituted grievous bodily harm or posed a threat to life. The 41 violent incidents comprised 7% of the overall total, compared with 9% in the first half of 2015 and 7% in the first six months of 2014.

There were 32 incidents of damage and desecration of Jewish property recorded by CST in the first six months of 2016, a decrease of 11% from the 36 incidents of this type recorded in the first half of 2015.

CST recorded 43 direct anti-Semitic threats during the first half of 2016, a 10% increase from the 39 incidents in the first six months of 2015. There were 431 incidents of anti-Semitic Abusive Behavior, a 16% increase. These incidents included anti-Semitic graffiti on non-Jewish property, hate mail, anti-Semitic verbal abuse and social media incidents that do not involve direct threats.

JNi.Media

Latest gimmick: Abbas to sue UK over 1917 Balfour Declaration. Sign my petition!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Elder of Ziyon}

TOI reports:

The Palestinian Authority is preparing a lawsuit against the British government over the issuing of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel.

The PA’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told Arab League leaders gathered in Mauritania Monday that London is responsible for all “Israeli crimes” committed since the end of the British mandate in 1948.

Signed by British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour in 1917, the declaration was seen as giving the Zionist movement official recognition and backing on the part of a major power, on the eve of the British conquest of the then-Ottoman territory of Palestine.

The decision, al-Malki said, “gave people who don’t belong there something that wasn’t theirs.”

Interestingly, Hamas had called for Great Britain to apologize for Balfour back in 2010.

Similarly, the “Palestine Return Center” started a petition to the UK Parliament to apologize for Balfour and compensate all Arabs of Palestinian descent. It compared the “nakba” with the Holocaust. It received 1,278 signatures in six months, far short of the 10,000 required for the UK Parliament to respond and the 100,000 required for Parliament to debate the issue.

This is Abbas’ latest gimmick. He wants to make it appear to his people as if he is actually doing something but everything he does is symbolic.

For an honor/shame society, where appearances are more important than facts, this can play well. But the rest of the world is more and more impatient with Abbas’ adamant refusal to do anything positive for the peace process or for his people.

Of course, two can play at this game.

I started an online petition demanding that the PLO and PA apologize for over a century of terror attacks aimed at Jews.

The Palestinian Authority, as the self-appointed leader of the Palestinian Arab people, must assume responsibility for the historic crimes done against Jews in the region known as Palestine in the 1800s and 1900s.
These include attacks in Rishon LeTzion in the 1880s, the Nebi Musa riots in 1920, the Jaffa and Jerusalem attacks in 1921, the massacres of 1929, the violent riots between 1936-39, the many attacks in 1947 and 1948, as well as the terror attacks that have occurred nearly continuously since 1948 including the Munich massacre that was financed by Mahmoud Abbas and the wave of suicide bombings in the 21st century. Constant antisemitic incitement from Palestinian leaders and official media since the 1920s must be apologized for as well.
Only by the Palestinians accepting responsibility for its part of the conflict can the conflict be solved.

Sign it and show that both sides can do useless gimmicks as PR stunts.

Elder of Ziyon

Mahmoud Abbas Hopes to Sue UK Over 100-yr-old Balfour Declaration

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Barely a year before the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to force the United Kingdom to withdraw, renounce or rewrite the document that called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

As he watches the rapid, vibrant growth of the Jewish State and the soaring corruption and failures of the PA government – despite billions of dollars pumped in by foreign governments – Abbas has now decided to sue the British government over the Balfour Declaration.

According to Daoud Kuttab, a former Ferris professor at Princeton University, Abbas is “said to have requested in Nawqshod Arab League to help sue britain’s (sic) for Balfour’s declaration.”

Abbas is no novice to rewriting history. He is a longtime Holocaust denier who cleverly acknowledges the “unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation,” as he told Haaretz in 2003,” but whose doctoral dissertation simply blames the Zionist Jews for the demise of their European brethren.

Entitled “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” Abbas wrote a conspiracy theory about the Holocaust, opining that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in order to inspire more immigration to Palestine.

“The Zionist movement led a broad campaign of incitement against the Jews living under Nazi rule in order to around the government’s hatred of them, to fuel vengeance against them, and to expand the mass extermination.” Abbas contends in the book that the Zionists were the Nazis’ “basic partner in crime.”

On November 17, 1917, the British government published a letter written by Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour, addressed to Lord Rothschild, endorsing the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish People in Palestine. The text of the letter read as follows:

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Hana Levi Julian

UK: It Wasn’t a Gaffe

Monday, July 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

The naming of Boris Johnson as Britain’s Foreign Minister set off in his home country a storm of name-calling and hand-wringing that approximates the Democrat reaction to Donald Trump. Without wading into British politics, there is one specific incident that the Daily Mail called an impolitic “gaffe” that should be assessed at greater length — and from a different angle:

Last November local [Palestinian] officials called off a visit to Palestine on safety grounds after the then-London mayor told an audience in Tel Aviv that a trade boycott of Israeli goods was “completely crazy” and supported by “corduroy- jacketed, snaggletoothed, lefty academics in the UK.”

Palestinian officials accused him of adopting a “misinformed and disrespectful” pro-Israel stance and said he risked creating protests if he visited the West Bank.

Johnson was right on the merits: The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is largely a function of university campuses and has little to do with Israel-UK trade, which is robust and growing. But the incident should be understood as a window into Palestinian strategy, and as such should not be overlooked.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas did not use the opportunity presented by Mr. Johnson’s visit to offer his view, to explain why Johnson was wrong, to promote UK-Palestinian trade, or even to argue for BDS. He reflexively threatened a prominent European guest with violence. It surely would have erupted on schedule if Johnson had continued his visit. The Palestinians are no longer interested in discussing their interests/demands/wishes. They have entered a period of ultimatum: one-hundred percent or nothing; my way or violence even with their friends.

It was in the atmosphere of “no criticism/no negotiation” that Abbas went to a European Parliament meeting in Brussels in June, following an inconclusive French-sponsored “peace process” meeting that included neither Israelis nor Palestinians — a mechanism Abbas assumed would result in French demands on Israel. It did not — putting Abbas in a foul mood for the European Parliament meeting that was prelude to the release of the Middle East Quartet report on prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Again, Abbas expected to hear only criticism of Israel.

Then, European Parliament President Martin Shulz tried to arrange a meeting between Abbas and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin agreed, Abbas declined — and it was later revealed that Abbas even changed hotels when he discovered he and Rivlin were sharing a roof. It was in Brussels where Abbas claimed that some Israeli rabbis were calling for Israel to poison Palestinian water — an echo of Suha Arafat’s claim in 1999 that Israelis were poisoning Palestinian air and water. Abbas received a standing ovation at the end of his remarks; Suha received a kiss from then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Under pressure from people who recognized a centuries-old debunked piece of anti-Semitism, Abbas recanted and admitted that his claim had been false. But such was the desire of the European parliamentarians to protect him that his blood libel was erased from all official documents. Which makes his next move even less understandable.

After much wrangling, the Middle East Quartet report on the future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and the “two state solution” was released on 1 July. Before the release, leaks to the press strongly suggested that

“The focus on Israel will be its most contentious aspect.” [Ha’aretz] quoted a senior Israeli government official as stating: “The main question is how harsh criticism of the settlements will be. All the members of the Quartet can rally around this issue without a problem.”

Calling it an “eagerly awaited report,” Reuters said it would demand that “Israel should stop building settlements, denying Palestinian development and designating land for exclusive Israeli use that Palestinians seek for a future state.”

And it did, as reported here, here, here, and even here. The Quartet said that Israeli building policies raise

“legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state… Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion…”

But that wasn’t enough for Abbas, because even Quartet members found it impossible to ignore the seven-month-long so-called “stabbing intifada” and the drumbeat of incitement from the Palestinian Authority that encourages and honors the murderers of Israeli civilians. Nor could members ignore definitive evidence of Hamas rebuilding the Gaza tunnel infrastructure to attack Israel. In a relatively mild section, the Quartet criticized Palestinian leaders for “not consistently and clearly” condemning terrorist attacks and, for the first time, said the arms buildup and military activities in Gaza must stop.

Nabil Abu Rudainah, spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, was furious, saying:

“Any report that does not include the full withdrawal to the 1967 borders, including occupied Jerusalem, and does not include a recognition of the illegality of settlement will not lead to real and lasting peace and will lead to more tension and more instability in the region.”

In other words, more Palestinian-incited violence.

The fit of pique continued as Abbas announced that the PA would boycott the Quartet — its best friends in Europe plus Russia and the U.S. — and attempt to block consideration of the report in the UN.

Unable to countenance even mild criticism, and unwilling or unable to engage in serious conversation even with European interlocutors, much less with Israel, Abbas may finally have made the Palestinian cause too difficult for the Europeans, bring the circle back around to Boris Johnson. Not only did he criticize BDS (in which he clearly criticized British academics more than Palestinians), he continued, “I cannot think of anything more foolish” than to boycott “a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view, a pluralist, open society.”

If there was a gaffe, it wasn’t by Johnson.

Shoshana Bryen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/uk-it-wasnt-a-gaffe/2016/07/18/

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