News Digest — 7/24/20

US House Votes To Maintain Security Aid To Israel

The US House of Representatives passed a $740.5 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2021 on Tuesday (21st) that includes the continuation of American assistance to Israel for missile defense programs and other initiatives.

The Pentagon blueprint for the upcoming year allocates $500 million towards missile defense systems in Israel such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3 in accordance with the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between the United States and Israel worth $38 billion over a decade.

The NDAA would continue the grant program on post-traumatic stress disorder research between the US and Israel.

There are no conditions on US military assistance to Israel, despite a number of Democrats and organizations that have called for conditioning US assistance to the Jewish state in response to its plans to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.

The measure also expresses backing for the continuation of US support and participation in the Multinational Force and Observers in Egypt, which was established in 1981 to enforce the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Differences exist between the House NDAA and that of the US Senate, which is also worth $740.5 billion and has yet to be passed by the full upper chamber.



The ICC Considers Inventing “Palestine”  – Lt.-Col Maurice Hirsch

For the last few months, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber has been weighing whether to invent a “State of Palestine” and set its borders.  In order to invent a state that does not exist, and has never existed, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has to negate or ignore critical documents that designated for Israel all the areas she now claims are part of the “State of Palestine.”

These documents include the Balfour Declaration, the decisions made by the Allied Forces in San Remo, Italy, following the First World War, and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.  All these documents reaffirmed the historic connection of the Jewish people to the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and granted that area to the Jewish people for its future state.

She also has to discount the Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan; turn the 1948-49 Armistice Lines – which the Arabs demanded never be seen as borders – into borders; and negate clear provisions of the Oslo Accords that specifically deny the Palestinian Authority state-status.  

These acrobatics are possible because the proceedings against Israel are entirely “politically motivated.”

(The writer, head of legal strategies for Palestinian Media Watch, served for 19 years in the IDF Military Advocate General Corps, including as Director of the Military Prosecution in Judea and Samaria) 



Israel Reveals Massive Undertaking With India To Revolutionize Coronavirus Testing

India and Israel unveiled Thursday (23rd) a major collaborative effort to counter the coronavirus pandemic redefining the global response.  Later the Israeli ministries of defense, health, and foreign affairs provided details of the plan

Dozens of Israeli scientists are poised to leave on an El Al plane this week for New Delhi, taking with them sophisticated supplies, and will meet with 100 of their Indian counterparts over the following days.

The two teams will conduct wide-scale testing using advanced technology, including techniques that are expected to allow the diagnosis of the coronavirus within a minute.  The joint venture was the end result of three phone calls held between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Some of the tests will be conducted in large-scale facilities on thousands of people, using a range of devices, including a nebulizer and a voice-recognition diagnostic tool.  The various methods are designed to detect the virus instantaneously using bodily indicators that don’t require blood tests or a Serological analysis, which take much more time to analyze.

Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka, who will be on the plane to Delhi, also said the project was in part meant as a thank you to India for sending vital medical equipment to Israel during the first wave of the pandemic.  He said Israel will be sharing four of its latest tech systems, developed during the past few months.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said there was “tremendous importance” in cooperating with India in the fight to stem the pandemic.

“This operation conveys a message of friendship and solidarity and is an opportunity for unique scientific and technological cooperation that can help Israel, India and the entire world deal with the epidemic and the economic crisis that accompanies it,” he said.



Neo-Nazi Group Member Pleads Guilty To Vandalizing Wisconsin Synagogue

A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty to federal charges that he vandalized a synagogue as part of his involvement in a white supremacist and neo-Nazi group.

Yousef Barasneh was 22 when he was arrested in January as part of a nationwide investigation into The Base, which planned to carry out coordinated vandalism of synagogues across the country in an effort the hate group called Operation Kristallnacht, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. 

Six other men involved in the group were arrested at the same time.

Barasneh spray-painted a swastika and other Nazi imagery, as well as the word “Jude,” German for Jew, on the building of the Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine in September.  Racine is about 12 miles from his suburban Milwaukee home.

According to the plea agreement approved Friday (17th), Barasneh admitted that he had online conversations with other members of The Base about “acts of violence against Jewish Americans and non-white Americans, Base military training camps, and ways to make improvised explosive devices,” the Journal-Sentinel reported.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

NOTE – Kristallnacht was a pogrom carried out against Jews on November 9-10, 1938, known as the ‘Night of broken Glass,’ in which Jewish businesses and synagogues were destroyed and Jews were killed, carried out by Nazis throughout Germany, leading to the Holocaust.



Florida University Passes Resolution To Combat Anti-Semitism

The student senate at Florida State University has passed a resolution that would help combat anti-Semitism on campus, JTA  reported on Thursday (23rd).

The resolution, which passed last week in a 26-14 vote, also adopted the definition of anti-Semitism laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, according to the FSU News.

The definition includes hatred of and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial, and certain criticisms of Israel.  It has been adopted by a host of countries around the world, including Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Canada, Argentina and Cyprus.

The resolution passed as FSU committed the senate to “immediately appoint a senate liaison for Hillel FSU to increase Jewish communication and representation within Student Government.”

It also “holds all members of the Student Government Association to being educated on Jewish culture and anti-Semitism through communication with the Jewish community on campus.”

Groups such as the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine campaigned heavily against the resolution.

The passage of the resolution comes a month after the student senate’s president, Ahmad Daraldik, survived a vote of no-confidence over social media posts described as anti-Semitic.  Daraldik avoided being ousted from his position.

In 2013, Daraldik wrote on social media that “stupid Jew thinks he is cool” in response to a photo of what looked like an Israeli soldier with his foot on a Palestinian Arab child –  discovered to be fake and deliberately staged.  An Instagram post from 2019 compared Israel to Nazi Germany.

The posts reportedly have been removed.

Last month, more than 8,000 students at Florida State University signed an online petition to remove Daraldik.