Pompeo: BDS is a ‘cancer’; the US to declare movement ‘anti-Semitic and With Bars & Restaurants Shuttered Check Out Tel Aviv Beach Lifeguard Towers By David Israel - and Pompeo Becomes First US Secretary of State to Visit Judea and Samaria
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
We witnessed last week a series of historic events in Israel-US relations, with the official visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to a "settlement," the City of David and the Golan Heights, along with the State Department's "Made in Israel" decision, and Mr. Pompeo's anti-BDS declaration. Add to that the visit of Bahrain's foreign minister as part of the Abraham Accords and Bahrain's decision to open up an embassy in Israel.
These are paradigm-changing events that will be difficult to roll back.
We recommend you take the time and read all the articles in today's edition to understand the enormity of what happened this week.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Abbas Returning to Good Boy Tactics in Anticipation of Biden Presidency By David Israel
Over a period of two weeks, since the Democratic victory in the US presidential election, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has grown and matured, dropped his permanent sourpuss attitude about normalization, annexation, and cooperation, and started raising the corners of his mouth in a passable simulation of a smile. Suddenly, Abbas is prepared to offer the kinds of concessions that, had he presented them to President Trump's advisor Jared Kushner, he could have had a Palestinian state by now. Such an intriguing man.
The chairman will spend his days until January 20, 2021, in anticipation of a phone call from Joe Biden to restore ties with the United States. Should he receive an invitation, Abbas would catch the first plane available to Washington (probably from Amman airport).
From a sour and sullen leader in the days of Trump, Abbas has almost instantly become a clown made of candy, to quote BBT's Sheldon Cooper. Ramallah is already sending all the right signals to the White House to pave its way into Biden's heart: for the first time, the PA is prepared to reform the payment mechanism for the families of terrorists. Instead of basing the monthly salary on the length of a security prisoner's prison term, which reflects the number of Jews he killed – more dead Jews, bigger check – the PA is proposing a new formula, based on the number of family members and its socio-economic condition.
According to Kan 11, this proposal has been passed to President-elect Biden from the PA through Western diplomats.
Ramallah is reportedly already working on drafting an amendment to the PA's Prisoners and Released Prisoners Act of 2004. This PA law mandated a monthly salary of $250 to Palestinian security detainees imprisoned in Israel for up to five years, with a higher payment to those serving a longer term. Those who served a life sentence were paid $1,000 per month. In January 2011, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad enacted an amendment to increase these payments by 300%.
As of May 2011, the Palestinian Authority has spent $4.5 million per month on payments to prisoners in Israeli jails, including prisoners convicted of murdering civilians, and $6.5 million to the families of suicide bombers. The salaries, funded by the PA, are given to Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad prisoners. These payments comprise 6% of the PA's budget. Hamas member Abdullah Barghouti, who was sentenced to 67 life terms for perpetrating the killings of 67 Israelis, receives about $2,000. Prisoners who are behind bars for over 30 years receive $3,000 per month.
The EU has been repeatedly demanding that the PA change this policy for years, to no avail. But now, with the Biden administration entering the White House, Abbas and the gang are ready to make those alterations. Naturally, Ramallah, it is hoping that this will pave the way for the renewal of US financial aid, without exposing the Palestinian Authority and the PLO to lawsuits on US soil by victims of Palestinian terrorism.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced in early November that the Biden administration would restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the PA, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and reopen the PLO mission in Washington DC. This would reverse the Trump administration's cutting of more than $225 million in aid to the PA, Gaza, and to eastern Jerusalem Arabs in 2018. The Biden administration, according to Harris, is also planning to restore the estimated $360 million per year in US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRRA), which Trump's people said was "irredeemably flawed."
Harris also said the Biden administration would reopen the US consulate in eastern Jerusalem which the Trump administration closed last year.
On Wednesday, Abbas also announced the return of his ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the two countries that have normalized relations with Israel in the past two months. Back then, in protest, the Palestinian Authority ordered its ambassadors to return home, accusing the two Gulf states of sticking the knife deep in the back of the PA Arabs and twisting it tightly – as a few senior Ramallah officials put it.
Turns out the stick and carrot approach does work, even for the noble Arabs of Eretz Israel. The problem is, as usual, that we'll end up with too little stick and way too many carrots.
Tel Aviv Launches 'Hundreds' of Weekly Cultural Activities for Winter Season
Faced with the shutdown of the art and culture sector due to COVID-19, Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality is launching a season of performances and initiatives that will include hundreds of events every week across the city.
The municipality intends to continue organizing cultural events throughout the winter months, forecasting that the arts sector – including major performance venues, museums and theaters – will remain shut beyond the government's initial reopening plan (December 2020).
At the same time, the municipality is continuing its efforts to reopen cultural venues in a creative manner. Last week, Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai proposed a plan for the reopening of open-air venues to the health and culture ministers, including performances in stadiums and amphitheaters until the city's traditional venues reopen their doors.
"Culture has been the lifeblood of the first Hebrew city since its establishment, and also provides a livelihood for 150,000 citizens who have been left behind since the outbreak of COVID-19," Huldai said.
"Therefore, we will hold hundreds of events every week to provide a livelihood for thousands of people, medicine for the souls of tens of thousands of residents, and hope for an entire sector that feels abandoned and neglected."
The activities will include performances in parks, on boulevards, in yards and on rooftops, online workshops and lectures, special activities for seniors in the open air and activities for disabled residents as well. In addition, poetry, light festivals, press photography and art festivals will in public spaces and online will be offered much of the time free of charge, some of which will include unique musical performances as well. Even free fishing rods will be offered at the entrance to Jaffa Port, albeit limited to DigiTel Resident Card holders.
Pompeo Becomes First US Secretary of State to Visit Judea and Samaria
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made history Thursday when he became the first US top diplomat to make an official visit to Judea and Samaria.
Pompeo visited the Psagot Winery in the Shaar Binyamin Commercial Center and the Qasr al-Yahud baptism site in the Jordan River Valley.
The Regavim Movement, which is based in Shaar Binyamin, welcomed Pompeo with signs: "Thank you in the name of the people of Israel."
"Secretary Pompeo is a true friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria," says Meir Deutsch, Director General of the Regavim Movement. "The policy statement issued last year, now known as the Pompeo Doctrine, is an expression of truth and moral clarity regarding the State of Israel, and sets aside a gross distortion of history and international law. On behalf of all citizens of Israel, we thank him for his courageous stance and for his friendship."
During the visit to the winery, Pompeo was gifted with an ancient coin inscribed in ancient Hebrew that was discovered in wine cellar caves, as well as copies of the declaration of King Cyrus, the Balfour Declaration, and Pompeo's own declaration of the US government's position on Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria.
"The three historic declarations establish the eternal, unbreakable bond between the Land of Israel and the Jewish nation," the Benyamin Regional Council explained. "We consider this visit to be an important message that sees Binyamin as a valuable and significant region for the State of Israel."
Pompeo "displayed leadership and a deep connection to the history of the Jewish nation in Zion in his historic declaration recognizing the legality of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. This declaration will be remembered with the preceding historical declarations made in support of Israel," it added.
In November 2019, Pompeo announced a historic shift in the US administration's approach to the legal status of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and stated that "based on facts, history and special circumstances," the US "will no longer ascribe to the categorization of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria as contrary to international law."
"Secretary Pompeo's visit to Psagot is a historic event, showing that the US does not only regard Israeli settlements as not illegal "per se," but actually legal and legitimate in practice," explained Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Director of International Law at the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum.
He noted that while Pompeo's successor in the Biden administration is "unlikely to repeat this visit, he cannot undo it either."
He called on Pompeo to "translate his visit into policy, by ensuring that Psagot wines and other Israeli products from the area can be labeled "Made in Israel" when imported to the US, and prevent future administrations from requiring them to be labeled "Made in West Bank."
While in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Pompeo visited the City of David in the Old City.
"Wonderful to see the work being done to preserve the ancient City of David and the new discoveries by archaeologists working in the area," he tweeted after the visit
With Bars & Restaurants Shuttered Check Out Tel Aviv Beach Lifeguard Towers
Tel Aviv-Yafo is determined to prove that romance in the coronavirus era simply requires a little creativity and warm weather.
The municipality is therefore launching the "Save the Date" project at Tel Aviv-Yafo's lifeguard towers next week – a unique initiative launched as part of the "Tel Aviv-Yafo: The City That Refuses To Stop" campaign.
Offering an innovative solution for romance while bars and restaurants are shut, the municipality is inviting Tel Avivian couples to book dates at three lifeguard towers that are inactive during the winter months (Bograshov Beach, Hilton Beach and Metzitzim Beach).
Couples can enjoy a unique afternoon or evening in a lifeguard tower overlooking the picturesque Tel Aviv coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.
The novel location, unrivaled view, warm weather and the sound of the waves already make the perfect outdoors date, the municipality will also provide participating couples with a bottle of wine and decorations to make sure the experience is truly one to remember.
Everything else they have to bring from home.
Pompeo: BDS is a 'cancer'; US to declare movement 'anti-Semitic
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States government is declaring the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement to be anti-Semitic and will move to cut federal funding to any group that supports it.
At a press conference in Jerusalem after talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pompeo said that the decision by the State Department means "that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic."
"We will immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups," Pompeo said. "We want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is, and we're committed to combating it."
The move by the federal government joins decisions by 30 of the 50 states that have passed differing laws banning state funding for groups affiliated with the movement that seeks to ban all contacts with the State of Israel in an attempt to force it to capitulate to Palestinian demands. In May, Oklahoma became the 30th American state to prohibit the state government from contracting with entities that boycott the Israel.
BDS founder Omar Barghouti has rejected Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and said he would only accept a single state where Palestinians have total sovereignty. In 2005, he founded BDS, which brings together hundreds of anti-Israel organizations and branches around the world. In 2014, Barghouti stated that Palestinians have a right to "resistance by any means, including armed resistance."
The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent protest of the so-called "Israeli occupation." The movement does not call for peace or a two-state solution. Critics charge that its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its objective is to destroy the State of Israel.
Netanyahu told Pompeo that the announcement of the U.S. move "sounds simply wonderful."
Pompeo made his remarks during a two-day visit to Israel, where he met Wednesday with Netanyahu and visiting Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani. Pompeo called the announcement of the opening of the Israeli and Bahraini embassies in each respective country "a truly historic step."
The Secretary will visit the settlement of Psagot north of Jerusalem that named a wine after him, then visit the strategic Golan Heights.
From Israel, Pompeo will travel to the Gulf countries of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and his final stop will be in Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before returning to the U.S. on Nov. 23 in time for Thanksgiving.