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Trump says his Middle East visit prompted Qatar crisis: Zio-Watch, June 6, 2017

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Michael Oren rejects report of Israeli nuclear ‘doomsday’ plan for Six-Day War

Michael Oren, shown speaking at the Holocaust Day of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in 2010, caused a stir with accusations against President Obama in an Op-Ed. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli government minister Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the United States, rejected a report that Israel was prepared to detonate a nuclear bomb in the Sinai Peninsula if necessary to win the Six-Day War with its Arab neighbors.

The New York Times published a report Saturday about the existence of the “doomsday” plan, based on an interview by leading Israeli nuclear scholar Avner Cohen with retired IDF Brig.-Gen. Itzhak Yaakov, who claims to have created the plan for the Jewish state.

Yaakov, who oversaw weapons development for the Israeli military, detailed the plan to Cohen in interviews in 1999 and 2000; he died in 2013 at the age of 87.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Alan Dershowitz: Harvard was wrong to rescind student admissions over Facebook messages

Harvard University (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said the university was wrong to rescind the admissions of several students who posted offensive messages on a private Facebook group.

The messages reportedly mocked the Holocaust, sexual assault and domestic terrorism, among other topics.

“Punishing students academically for their political views or their personal values is a serious mistake,” Dershowitz, who had not seen the messages before he was interviewed, told the Boston Globe.  “These actions are not consistent with the spirit of the First Amendment.”
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From The Times of Israel

Trump says his Middle East visit prompted Qatar crisis

US president claims that in response to his call to cut off funding for extremism, Arab rulers pinned blame on Doha

June 6, 2017, 4:58 pm

US President Donald Trump, right, holds a bilateral meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

US President Donald Trump, right, holds a bilateral meeting with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Middle Eastern leaders complained about the Gulf state of Qatar when he demanded an end to support for radical ideology that encourages terrorism.

In a tweet, Trump did not take a position on the decision by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar but appeared to suggest it was understandable.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!” he tweeted.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with Qatar over its alleged support for extremists. All of the countries are friendly with the US, putting Trump in a potentially awkward position.

Trump met with Qatar’s emir during the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia last month.
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From The Times of Israel

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gestures prior to address a session of United Nations Human Rights Council on June 6, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley gestures prior to address a session of United Nations Human Rights Council on June 6, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI)

 

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday the UN Human Rights Council must “address its chronic anti-Israel bias” if it wants to maintain its credibility.

Nikki Haley delivered her highly-anticipated remarks to the council as it opens its three-week summer session in Geneva.

“It is essential that this council address its chronic anti-Israel bias if it is to have any credibility,” she said.

Reiterating concerns voiced by officials of President Donald Trump’s administration about the effectiveness of the 47-member body, Haley said the US was “looking carefully at this council and our participation in it.”’

She decried the “rapidly deteriorating human rights situation” in Venezuela, and said it was “hard to accept that this Council has never considered a resolution on Venezuela, and yet it adopted five biased resolutions in March against a single country, Israel.”
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From PressTV

Sun Jun 4, 2017 6:49AM
This file photo by AFP taken on June 5, 1967 shows Israeli armored forces in action in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
This file photo by AFP taken on June 5, 1967 shows Israeli armored forces in action in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Israel developed a secret contingency plan to move an atomic device atop a mountain in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and detonate it in a display of force during the Six-Day War in 1967, says a key organizer of the project.

Retired Israeli Brigadier General Itzhak Yaakov detailed the initiative to Israeli nuclear scholar Avner Cohen in interviews back in 1999 and 2000, whose extracts were published in The New York Times newspaper on Saturday and a full text will be released on Monday.

Yaakov said he had initiated, drafted and promoted the plan, code-named Shimshon or Samson, and it would have been activated if Tel Aviv feared it was going to lose the war.

It would have been the first nuclear explosion used for military purposes since the 1945 US attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“Look, it was so natural. You’ve got an enemy … How can you stop him? You scare him. If you’ve got something you can scare him with, you scare him,” Yaakov said.

He further called the Israeli project a “doomsday operation,” saying it was aimed at intimidating Egypt as well as Syria, Iraq and Jordan into backing off.
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From PressTV

Sat Jun 3, 2017 6:6PM
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Photo by AFP)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (Photo by AFP)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has hailed continued victories by the army forces and allies against militants across the country, saying his government has weathered the worst part of the conflict and is now moving in the right direction.

The Syrian presidency released on Saturday an interview by Assad in Damascus to the India-based WION television station, in which Assad expressed satisfaction with the pace the pro-government forces were recapturing territories from militants across the Arab country.

“Unless the West and other countries and their allies, their puppets, support those extremists in… a very massive way, I’m sure the worst is behind us,” Assad stated.

“Things now are moving in the right direction, which is a better direction, because we are defeating the terrorists.”

Syrian military forces and allied fighters have recorded major gains against militants over the past few months with the most notable of them being the full liberation of the second-largest city of Aleppo in December 2016. Pro-government forces are now advancing in the southeast and east toward positions held by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group while the battle continues against other militants in the north and northwest.

Assad said in the interview that a peace initiative launched by Russia, Iran and Turkey had helped establish peace in some parts of Syria.

“Until this moment we haven’t had any real political initiative that could produce something, although Astana has achieved let’s say partial results through the recent de-escalation areas in Syria, which was positive,” he said, referring to a deal reached last month in the Kazakh capital that aims to eventually stop fighting in four zones in Syria.

The war in Syria began in March 2011 and has claimed more than 300,000 lives, according to estimates by reliable sources. The government blames the turmoil on certain governments in the Middle East and others in the West, saying if it was not for their support, the devastating militancy could have not spread across the Arab country.

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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to visit Israel on Wednesday

JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will visit Israel, including the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall.

Haley will arrive in Israel on Wednesday, according to Israeli news reports.

She is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as senior Palestinian officials, the Times of Israel reported.

Haley is scheduled to fly over the country’s northern and southern borders in a helicopter, visit Tel Aviv and lay a wreath at Yad Vashem, accompanied by Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon. Her visit to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall are being billed as “private and religious,” however, and she will not be accompanied by Israeli officials. President Trump, in his recent visit to holy sites in Jerusalem, was also unaccompanied by Israeli political leaders.
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From The Times of Israel

Thousands of marchers take part in the 'Celebrate Israel' parade in New York on June 4, 2017. (Courtesy)

Thousands of marchers take part in the ‘Celebrate Israel’ parade in New York on June 4, 2017. (Courtesy)

 

Some 40,000 people from over 250 organizations took part in a parade along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on Sunday to show their support for Israel.

The “Celebrate Israel” parade was held under the banner of “Celebrate Israel All Together.” The parade also recognized 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer marched in the parade. Some 30 floats and 11 marching bands took part of the parade.

Nine members of Israel’s Parliament, including Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, also participated in the parade, as well as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber joined Barkat and kosher chef Jamie Geller as honorary grand marshals.
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From The Times of Israel

Is Ivanka America’s most powerful Jewish woman?

CNN says ‘yes’ but social media counters with a resounding ‘no,’ favoring Fed chair Janet Yellen and even Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ star Gal Gadot

June 3, 2017, 4:42 am

Ivanka Trump attending a bill signing in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington DC, June 2, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump attending a bill signing in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington DC, June 2, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

 

JTA — CNN, look what you’ve started.

An article published Friday bears the headline “Ivanka Trump: America’s most powerful Jewish woman.” Authors Maeve Reston and Betsy Klein discuss Ivanka’s Jewishness (her Orthodox conversion, her trip to the Western Wall, yada yada yada) and posit that the president’s daughter is in a unique position to “guide a national conversation about the rising number of threats to Jewish community centers and places of worship.”

The piece, however, doesn’t offer much evidence to back up its headline.

Naturally, commentators on Twitter seized on the opportunity to critique the article and offer their own thoughts on the most powerful Jewish women in America. Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen as well as Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan were frequently named.

If only Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Janet Yellen had their own line of lavender sheath dresses https://t.co/A0i09GHGBo

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From The Times of Israel

UK’s May grilled by voters, urged to confront Trump on Paris

With less than a week until elections, PM faces tough questions on her government’s cuts to welfare, spending, ties with US president

June 3, 2017, 3:39 am

British Prime Minister Theresa May takes part in 'The Question Time, Leaders Special' hosted by David Dimbleby in York in northern England on June 2, 2017, ahead of the upcoming general election. (AFP/Stefan Rousseau)

British Prime Minister Theresa May takes part in ‘The Question Time, Leaders Special’ hosted by David Dimbleby in York in northern England on June 2, 2017, ahead of the upcoming general election. (AFP/Stefan Rousseau)

 

LONDON (AP) — With less than a week until Britain votes in a national election, Prime Minister Theresa May faced tough questions from voters Friday about her Conservative government’s cuts to welfare and health spending.

She was also accused by opponents of failing to stand up to the United States over its withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

May and opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared before a live audience on prime-time TV — but consecutively, rather than side by side.

May has refused to take part in any televised debates, saying she prefers to answer questions directly from voters. Friday’s show may have tested that preference, as audience members criticized the prime minister for presiding over stagnant wages for nurses and cuts for those in need of physical and mental care.

May said the government had “had to take some hard choices across the public sector” to curb spending and reduce the country’s deficit.
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From PressTV

Tue Jun 6, 2017 1:10PM
This file photo shows the entrance to the building of Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in the capital Manama.
This file photo shows the entrance to the building of Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in the capital Manama.

A court has sentence two young anti-regime protesters to death and handed down jail terms to six others as the ruling Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

On Tuesday, Bahrain’s Fourth High Criminal Court, presided by Ali Khalifah al-Dhahrani, delivered the death verdicts to Sayed Ahmed Fouad al-Abar and Hussein Ali Mahdi, sentenced two other defendants to life imprisonment and passed prison sentences ranging from 3 to 10 years to eight others, Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website reported.

The court also revoked the nationality of nine of the convicts, and ordered them to pay 28,716 dinars ($76,106) altogether over damages inflicted on two police patrol cars during an anti-regime protest in the northern village of Karbabad back in April 2016.

A Bahraini police officer purportedly lost his life and two others sustained injuries in the rally.

On April 29, 2016, the Bahraini Interior Ministry announced that it had arrested 11 people, including 4 children, and charged them with the incident.

The ministry then published the names and photographs of the suspects before referring the case to the Public Prosecution.
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From PressTV

Thu Jun 1, 2017 4:47PM
US President Donald Trump (R) and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah shake hands during a meeting at a hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump (R) and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah shake hands during a meeting at a hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A senior researcher has described as planned the latest wave of Manama’s crackdown on political dissent in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Bahraini monarch King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah.

“The human rights situation was already bad, but the timing of the latest crackdown is striking and it’s unlikely to be coincidental,” Jane Kinninmont with the London-based Royal Institute of International Affairs, commonly known as Chatham House, said on Thursday.

Trump had a string of meetings with Arab and Muslim leaders, including the Bahraini ruler, during a summit in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh last month.

Less than 48 hours after the US president left Saudi Arabia, Bahraini regime troops attacked supporters of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, in the northwestern village of Diraz, killing at least five people and arresting 286 others. Reports said 19 policemen were also injured in the clashes.

“That does suggest that the calculations are being made. I think the main thing that is definitely different is … the amount of force that was just used. It does seem like a change,” Kinninmont said.

Rights groups and political analysts both warn that the worst is yet to come in Bahrain.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Sears website offers clothing with slogan calling to ‘Free Palestine’

(Screenshot from Sears.com)

(JTA) — Clothing with slogans calling to “Free Palestine End Israeli Occupation” are for sale on the Sears website.

The clothing is being offered for sale by another company, Spreadshirt Collection, and includes tank tops, and t-shirts and hoodies featuring a variety of pro-Palestinian messages. The garments are being sold through Sears Marketplace, which offers a platform for third-party sellers to offer their wares through websites managed by Sears.

The availability of the designs was first reported by Reuters.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

UN secretary-general calls for Palestinian state in statement marking 50th anniversary of Six-Day War

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaking to reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Dec. 12, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and called for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War.

The statement, issued Monday, said the war “resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.”

Guterres criticized Israel’s military control of Palestinian areas, saying it endangers both Israelis and Palestinians. He called for the establishment of a Palestinian state through “direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, agreements and international law.”
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Jordan considering banning ‘Wonder Woman’ over Israeli star Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot (Clay Enos/DC Comics)

(JTA) — Jordan is considering banning the film “Wonder Woman” because star Gal Gadot served in the Israel Defense Forces.

Jordan’s Communications Commission is currently reviewing the film to determine whether it meets the country’s standards and laws, the Israeli news website Ynet reported.

The review comes in the wake of Lebanon’s decision to ban the film as part of its total boycott of all things Israeli. Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and bans Israeli products.