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Airbnb Bars Listings of Jewish Homes in ‘Disputed’ Biblical Heartland

November 19, 2018 News

This building is a serious concern to Airbnb. Home in Ma’ale Adummim Settlement in Judea and Samaria region. Illustrative. Photo by Joshua Spurlock.

Airbnb on Monday announced via press release a new policy on listings in “disputed regions.” In a world of options, they chose just one location in which to enforce a new ban on who can list their homes for rent on the space-sharing website: the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. And while Jews and Arabs live in that area, Airbnb chose only to remove approximately 200 Israeli settlement listings from their site, which allows everyday people to list residences on the website for rentals.

While Airbnb’s statement on their website claimed they hold “deep respect” for the various views on the region Arabs call the West Bank, Israeli leaders saw the move as the exact opposite: anti-Semitism. Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and now a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), slammed on Twitter the one-sided nature of the Airbnb decision.

“Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria—not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism. No one should use its services,” tweeted Oren. … Continue Reading

US Switches Traditional ‘Abstain’ Vote to ‘No’ on Anti-Israel Golan Heights UN Resolution

November 18, 2018 News

Will peace return to the Israel-Syria border region?
Golan Heights UN Peacekeepers. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Wolfgang Grebien.

For years, the United Nations has purposely felt the need to reiterate in a resolution their objection to Israeli control over the disputed Golan Heights that border Syria, and for years the United States has simply abstained. But this year, things are different—in Syria, at the UN and with the US vote.

“If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today,” said US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley last week in comments released by her office. “The resolution is plainly biased against Israel. Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone. The destructive influence of the Iranian regime inside Syria presents major threats to international security. ISIS and other terrorist groups remain in Syria. And this resolution does nothing to bring any parties closer to a peace agreement.”

The Times of Israel said it was the first time the US had voted no on the resolution, which rejects Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Israel acquired the region while defending itself from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greatly appreciated the US vote last week, while saying that Israel wasn’t leaving the Golan. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Meets with World Leaders at 100th Anniversary of End of WWI

November 11, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu with US President Trump. Photo courtesy of Israeli GPO

The past, present and future of Israel all merged in Paris on Sunday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a global event to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The past—Netanyahu highlighted the importance of WWI in setting the stage for the recreation of the State of Israel—the present—as Netanyahu met with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin—and the future, embodied in Netanyahu’s conversations with world leaders who hope to grow ties further with Israel.

“I think that there is no better evidence of the State of Israel’s standing in the world than the way we were accepted in this event, from the place we received, literally, in the first line of countries,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “I see this as a great compliment to the State of Israel and its achievements.”

According to Israeli press releases, Netanyahu met not only with Trump and Putin, but also German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a number of others. “What was very interesting was a number of African leaders who spoke about the importance of cooperation with Israel and the way it could of course help their countries,” said Netanyahu. “I heard this from countries in Eastern Europe, Western European countries, African countries, Latin America, leaders who came and spoke without question that Israel is a rising force in the world. If someone needed proof, I would say—come to Paris.” … Continue Reading

Israel to Host Arab Nations in Judo Tournament for the First Time

November 8, 2018 News

Israel and Arab states are getting closer. Illustrative photo of Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian FM Shoukry. Photo courtesy of by Haim Zach / GPO

First, it was the Israeli national anthem playing at a Judo tournament in an Arab nation that showed just how far Israel had come towards being accepted in the Arab sports world. Now, it’s Arab nations who are coming from afar to compete in Judo—in Israel. “For the first time ever, Israel will host an int’l Judo championship in which judokas from Arab countries that we don’t have diplomatic relations with will also participate along w/ their flags and their national anthems. It’s a great achievement for Israel & for Israeli Judo” Ofir Gendelman, Israel’s Arabic spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, posted to Twitter on Thursday.

Arab nations have long tried to refuse to recognize Israel, even in the sports world, where simply competing against an Israeli can have negative connotations. In the past, in Judo tournaments in Arab nations, Israel’s national anthem was not played when their athletes were victorious. But that changed in the last competition in Abu Dhabi in October, where the national anthem played not once, but twice.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on this significant moment in comments to the gold medalist Israeli judokas on Thursday. “I’ll tell you a secret, when I heard Hatikva twice; I also had tears in my eyes,” said Netanyahu in a press release from his office. “It was so exciting, I do not believe that there was an Israeli who was not excited at this moment, it really has very broad implications. Keep it up, this is a tremendous thing.” … Continue Reading

Major US Sanctions on Iran—including on Oil Trade—Return for ‘Maximum Pressure’

November 4, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

The United States on Monday is resuming sanctions on key Iranian industries—including the oil and financial sectors—and their impact was already being felt before the sanctions’ effective date as global businesses anticipated the sanctions “snapback.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last Friday said that ahead of the sanctions’ return on November 5, they expect to have already reduced Iranian crude oil exports by more than 1 million barrels.

“This massive reduction since May of last year is three to five times more than what many analysts were projecting when President [Donald] Trump announced our withdrawal from the [nuclear] deal back in May,” said Pompeo in comments released by the State Department. “We exceeded our expectations for one simple reason: Maximum pressure means maximum pressure.”

The Israelis were already applauding the American sanction plans last week as well. “For years, I’ve been calling for sanctions to be fully reimposed against Iran’s murderous terrorist regime, which threatens the entire world,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening in a press release. “The effect of the initial sanctions is already being felt—the [Iranian] rial [currency] has plummeted, Iran’s economy is depressed and the results are evident. Thank you, President Trump, for this historic move.” … Continue Reading

Denmark Accuses Iran of Plotting Attack in Europe, Talking ‘Actions’ in Response

October 31, 2018 News

Will the Europeans agree with Israel on Iran after attack plot in Denmark? PM Netanyahu and Federica Mogherini. Photo courtesy of: Avi Ohayon (GPO).

Denmark has accused an Iranian intelligence service of plotting to assassinate a political separatist in Denmark and arrested a man they claim was conducting reconnaissance for that plan. In response, Denmark is now talking with the European Union about taking steps against Iran in response, which the BBC said could include sanctions. The BBC report identified Iran’s target as a senior member of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), a separatist organization that wants to carve out an Arab state in a region of Iran.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) posted in a report on their website that while the arrested man denies the charges, the Danes believe the plot was real. Said the PET report, “When PET now states that there is sufficient basis to conclude that an Iranian intelligence service has been planning the assassination of an individual living in Denmark, it is not only based on the case against the man in custody, but on comprehensive intelligence efforts.”

Meanwhile, the angst towards Iran has reached the highest levels of Denmark’s government. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen posted to Twitter on Tuesday, “It is totally unacceptable that Iran or any other foreign state plans assassinations on Danish soil. Further actions against Iran will be discussed in the EU.” … Continue Reading

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