Electronic Intifada Report: “Israeli embassy used fake Facebook profiles to spy on students”

30 OCT
10:12 PM

Reposted from The Electronic Intifada, By: Asa Winstanley and Ali Abunimah 30 October 2018: An Israeli embassy officer spied on student supporters of Palestinian rights, undercover video released exclusively by The Electronic Intifada shows.

Julia Reifkind wrote reports on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists, which were then sent back to intelligence agencies in Israel.

Her superior at the embassy did this via a classified server designated “Cables” which, Reifkind emphasized, “I don’t have access to because I’m an American.”

The undercover footage also suggests that Reifkind was engaging in deception when she suggested that Palestinian students were behind an anti-Semitic incident on campus the previous year.

The footage is the latest leaked excerpt from from Al Jazeera’s censored film The Lobby – USA, which The Electronic Intifada has viewed in full.

In January 2015, painted swastikas were found on a Jewish frat house at the University of California, Davis. Reifkind was then president of the student group Aggies for Israel, and had yet to be directly employed by the embassy.

Contrary to what she told journalists at the time, in the leaked Al Jazeera footage, Reifkind admits that the racist graffiti had almost certainly not been done by pro-BDS students, but was likely the work of white supremacists from off campus.

Defaming Palestinian rights

The effort to falsely implicate Palestine solidarity activists in the 2015 incident is particularly disturbing in light of the massacre of 11 Jewish worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The gunman arrested after that attack is Robert Bowers, a white supremacist with a history of conspiratorial and virulently anti-Semitic social media postings.

Yet since the attack, leading Israel lobby figures have continued to defame supporters of Palestinian rights as linked to the Pittsburgh massacre, and push for further crackdowns against them.

Meanwhile, members of Israel’s ruling Likud Party have engaged in apologetics and damage control for the American far-right that nurtures the kind of anti-Jewish hate that Bowers expressed.

Talking points used by the party cast blame for the massacre on a “left-wing Jewish group that promoted immigration to the US and worked against Trump” and echoed the gunman’s own anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Days before the 2015 graffiti incident at UC Davis, the student senate had voted in favor of boycotting Israel – a major victory for the BDS movement.

Reifkind had already been accusing the student movement of anti-Semitism, and reacted to the graffiti by drawing media attention.

She and other pro-Israel activists strongly implied in the press that Palestinian and other pro-BDS students had been behind the swastikas – without evidence.

“Random white supremacist”

Reifkind complained that university administrators had refused to blame the swastikas on campus Palestine solidarity activists.

The Jewish Journal reported at the time that Reifkind had “expressed disappointment that school leaders have not drawn a more direct and public ‘connection between the divestment resolution itself and anti-Semitism.’”

AEPi, the Jewish fraternity on whose house the swastikas were found, also blamed the incident on Palestine solidarity activism.

“On campuses throughout North America and Europe, AEPi brothers have been leading the Jewish community and leading the student movement to defend Israel,” the fraternity’s executive director said. “Because of that leadership, in the last few months alone, our brothers have been the targets of anti-Semitic attacks at a dozen universities,” including – he claimed – UC Davis.

On its Facebook page, Reifkind’s group Aggies for Israel posted a photo of the graffiti. The group stated that “AEPi was clearly targeted” due to its “strong track record of championing pro-Israel causes,” including campaigning against the divestment vote at UC Davis.

Aggies for Israel alerted media outlets including BuzzFeed by tagging them in comments.

But in the footage, viewable above, Reifkind admits to Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter “Tony” that “we don’t even know” who did the graffiti.

“We just think it was like some random white supremacist type people who just came, did it and left. We don’t think it was students,” she states.

Marcelle Obeid was then president of the campus group Students For Justice in Palestine at UC Davis.

In the Al Jazeera film – though not in the leaked excerpts – she explains that Reifkind’s false allegations were “hugely damaging” to the group at the very moment they had won a victory for BDS.

Obeid reacts to the undercover footage of Reifkind admitting the graffiti was likely the work of a “random white supremacist” by saying: “That’s very surprising, because it was very clear from their behavior towards us and their attitudes towards us that we had done some heinous crime towards them and we deserved to pay for it.”


The backlash that Reifkind and other anti-Palestinian activists drove was part of a general atmosphere of Islamophobic coverage of the divestment resolution.

Fox News, for example, claimed that pro-Israel students had been shouted down and “heckled” during the Student Senate vote.

The national media attention on the California campus peaked with former TV star Roseanne Barr tweeting: “I hope all the Jews leave UC Davis” and “then it gets nuked!”

In reality, as video from the night demonstrates, Reifkind was respectfully given ample time to speak at the debate, where she harangued students as being part of a “campus plagued by anti-Semitism.”

She was not heckled or interrupted even as she denounced the BDS movement as “anti-Semitic and hate-promoting.” She and her group then staged a walkout as a way to attract press attention, as they expected to heavily lose the vote.

At the time, in January 2015, Reifkind was a student and campus pro-Israel activist not yet employed by the Israeli embassy in Washington.

But in the clip, she admits to “Tony,” Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter, that as president of Aggies for Israel she had been in touch with the Israeli consulate in San Francisco.

Immediately after she graduated in 2016, her on-campus efforts for Israel paid off, and she was offered a job at the Israeli embassy in Washington. She spoke to “Tony” soon after, in September.

Her official title seen in a business card in the clip was “director of community affairs.” But as she explains to “Tony” in the film, her role mainly entailed “monitoring BDS things and reporting it back” to agencies in Israel.

“Report back” to Israel

Neither Reifkind nor the Israeli embassy in Washington replied to Al Jazeera’s request for comment, and she left her role at the embassy in October 2017.

In the clip above, Reifkind describes her role as “mainly gathering intel, reporting back to Israel. That’s a lot of what I do. To report back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.”

The strategic affairs ministry is Israel’s semi-covert agency dedicated to fighting a global war on the BDS movement, often utilizing “black-ops.”

It is run by a high-ranking military intelligence officer, Sima Vaknin-Gil, and staffed mostly from the ranks of Israel’s various spy agencies. The names of its operatives are mostly classified.

In the clip above, Reifkind describes to “Tony” how she monitors the activities of Students for Justice in Palestine, using several fake Facebook accounts.

“I follow all the SJP accounts,” she explains. “I have some fake names. My name is Jay Bernard or something. It just sounds like an old white guy, which was the plan. I join all these groups.”

The “intel” she got from such activities was then fed into the classified “Cables” server via her boss at the embassy.

The surveillance seems to have been effective.

SJP president Marcelle Obeid explains in another part of the film that “every single event that I put on, you would have these pro-Israel groups coming out – before our guests even got there – with their cameras videotaping.”

“That behind-the-scenes way”

Reifkind, as the president of Aggies for Israel, received assistance from the Israeli consulate in 2015. In the same manner, she, as part of her role at the Washington embassy, gave pro-Israel groups all over the US “our support, in that behind-the-scenes way.”

This arms-length approach through front organizations is key to how Israel operates in the West.

In 2016, the Israeli embassy in London warned in a cable that the strategic affairs ministry was “operating” British Jewish organizations behind the embassy’s back in a way that could put them in violation of UK law.

It later emerged – from an Al Jazeera film about the Israel lobby in the UK broadcast last year – that the embassy was attempting to “take down” a British minister deemed critical of Israel.

The embassy agent, Shai Masot, was also working through proxies to set up a fake pro-Israel youth organization within the main opposition Labour Party.

In the US, Reifkind was also active with the powerful lobby group AIPAC while she was on campus. In another part of the censored film she explains to “Tony” that “When you’re lobbying on behalf of AIPAC, you never say you’re AIPAC, you say, ‘I am a pro-Israel student from UC Davis.’”

The undercover footage of Reifkind explaining her activities shows how Israel – with total impunity – spies on and disrupts US citizens involved in lawful advocacy for Palestine.

A key Israeli front organization spying on US students is the Israel on Campus Coalition, as The Electronic Intifada revealed in its reporting on a previously leaked clip of The Lobby – USA.

The film indicates that the Israel on Campus Coalition is connected to the anonymous blacklisting site The Canary Missionon behalf of multimillionaire pro-Israel financier and convicted tax evader Adam Millstein.

In undercover footage yet to be leaked, the Israel on Campus Coalition admits to coordinating its covert spying and sabotage campaigns with Israel’s strategic affairs ministry. Like other groups profiled in the film it did not respond to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.

Al Jazeera’s film raises questions about the nature of Israel’s network of front organizations in the US and to what extent they may be violating the law in acting as undeclared agents for a foreign state.

As Reifkind sums up to Tony in the clip above, “I can’t say anything negative about Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] or the government because I definitely work for them. Not directly. I’m just a normal American.”

(Source / 31.10.2018)

Israeli Settlers Storm Palestinian Homes In Al-Khalil

A group of Israeli settlers yesterday raided two Palestinian buildings in Al-Khalil’s Old City, in the south of the occupied West Bank, locking them from the inside.

Reporting Al-Khalil’s Rehabilitation Committee, Quds Press said that the homes in the buildings are owned by Palestinian families Arafa, Al-Hamour, Zaheda and Al-Shurbati.

The two old houses, the Committee said, are adjacent to the illegal settlement complex of Avraham Avino in the heart of the Old City.

The committee’s General Director Imad Hamdan said: “At a time when the Israeli occupation authorities do not allow Palestinians to maintain the cultural and human legacy in the city through renovation and reconstruction, the settlers raid Palestinian buildings and steal them.”

He added: “The settlers break into the Palestinian buildings and close their doors from the inside and start working in them ahead of seizing them.”

Meanwhile, he said that the settlers use equipment from the occupation forces, which Hamdan said is an effort “to enable the settlers to reach the Palestinian buildings”.

“Today, the settlers enter these buildings and leave them again,” he said. “We are afraid that they will enter these buildings later on and not leave.”

He noted that the Israeli occupation authorities turn a blind eye to the “illegal” activities of settlers.

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Why On Earth Would Israelis Kill Palestinians For Fun?

By Mahmoud el-Yousseph

International mass media is busy in reporting so many different issues most of them not newsworthy, while it is ignoring Israeli mass murder of Palestinians.

While Americans and the rest of the world’s attention was focused on the US midterm elections and the mysterious disappearance and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Israel occupation forces (IOF) and demented illegal Jewish settlers murdered two Palestinians that left 15 orphans and two widows behind. The questions are: Why on earth would Israelis kill Palestinians for fun? Secondly, who were the victims that Western media did not bother to report about or conveniently ignored their horrific death?

First Victim:  Aisha Rabi, 45, was stoned to death by demented Israeli thieves who live above the law on stolen Palestinian land. Aisha was driving in her private car with her husband Yacoub and two of their children by an Israeli army checkpoint near the city of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli police suspect the settlers struck her in the head.

A Palestinian ambulance rushed her to a local Palestinian hospital. However, the mother of eight children never made it. The settlers returned home safely and no arrest was made. The family said, IOF has killed Aisha’s brother in the past.

Second Victim: Mo’amar al-Atrash, 42, was shot ten times execution-style in his back by IOF soldiers in the Occupied West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil).

Based on an eyewitness account, the victim at no point posed a threat to the soldiers stationed at a checkpoint near Al-Abrahimi mosque. The soldiers never bother to call for an ambulance so the victim was left on the ground to die. Mo’amar has 7 children all of whom are under the age of 16.

We are told, good guys never ever shoot people in the back. If the soldiers were truly defending themselves as they have claimed, then people can easily visualize the attacker moving toward the soldiers, forcing them to shoot the attacker in the chest. But when the body on the ground has ten holes in the back, people get a different picture in their head.

The assumption is that the person was moving away from the soldiers, maybe running away. How can someone be running away from you and still present a clear and present danger?  Why would you shoot someone trying to run away? The only logical explanation is that the soldiers of the most moral army in the world killed him just for fun because they know they will get away with and no one will hold them accountable.

Days of Palestine, a news website specialising in reporting about Palestine and the Israeli occupation, has reported that, in just over six months since the wave of the mass protest began in the besieged Gaza Strip, IOF has killed 205 people and injured 22,000 with life ammunition. The unarmed Palestinian protesters did not at any point constitute any threat to the Israeli troops. They were simply taking part in peaceful protest against the 12 years of the illegal and inhumane siege on Gaza, which is a part of the protest of the Great March of Return.

The tragic stories of the two Palestinians’ parents I mentioned above were murdered during the month of October. According to If Americans knew, NGO website, the number of Palestinians killed during the month of October 2018 by Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers is 28. Aisha Rabi and Mo’amar al-Atrash were among the victims.

Sadly, the only time the Israelis and the Western news’ media outlets express any outrage or cover such heinous crimes is when the killing is the other way around. Meanwhile, these senseless acts of murder has filled so many lives with sorrow, as it devastates parents, children, siblings, friends and neighbors. If Israel claims it has the most moral army in the world, then why on earth would Israelis kill Palestinians for fun?

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Army Conducts Extensive Searches Of Homes In Tulkarem, Abduct Two Palestinians

30 OCT
11:46 AM

Israeli soldier surrounded, Tuesday, Shweika area, north of Tulkarem, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, violently searched and ransacked dozens of homes, and buildings, before abducting two young men.

The soldiers abducted Majed Zidan Na’alwa and Omran Hosni Abu Ahmad, from their homes, and took them to an unknown destination.

The soldiers also invaded and ransacked dozens of homes, after detonating many doors, and interrogated scores of Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, especially in the areas of Thahrat Ekbariya, Na’alwa and Wadi ash-Sham.

It is worth mentioning that the army has significantly increased its deployment shortly after midnight, and fired many live rounds, gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian protesters.

The soldiers also stormed and searched various commercial and residential buildings, car-repair facilities, and many other buildings, in Shweika area.

In addition, the army searched under-construction building, various farmlands, and hills surrounding Shweika.

Owners of a few of the searched homes have been identified as Ezzeddin Dheiliyya, Salah Dheiliyya, Maher Abu al-Fool, Ahmad Abdul-Jawad, Adnan Ersheid, Yousef Abu Hamed, Mahmoud Iskandar, Adel Hamed, Nizar Hamed, and a coffee shop owned by Amir al-Wahidi.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded and ransacked the home of Hanadi Walid Na’alwa, the sister of Ashraf Na’alwa, who carried out the fatal shooting in Burkan illegal colony, on October 7th 2018, and interrogated her.

The soldiers threatened to harm her and her family, and to demolish their home, if they provide any aid to Ashraf, in addition to posting his posters on many homes, walls and doors, threatening to punish any person who helps him.

Since Na’alwa carried out the fatal shooting in Burkan illegal colony, killing two Israelis, identified as Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh HaAyin, and Ziv Hagbi, 35, from Rishon LeZion, and fled the scene, the military started ongoing invasions into his home, and the homes of his relatives along with dozens of homes and property.

The soldiers also repeatedly abducted members of his family, including his father, mother, sisters and brothers, in an attempt to locate him.

On October 15, 2018, the army invaded Shweika area in Tulkarem, and handed Ashraf’s family an official order for the demolition of their home.

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Israeli Nation-State Law is ‘Apartheid,’ Says Democratic Congresswoman

30 OCT
6:08 AM

Coverage by Forward of US Representative Betty McCollum’s groundbreaking speech at USCPR’s 2018 national conference, Together We Rise:

A US Democratic Party congresswoman described Israel’s nation-state law as “apartheid” at a Palestinian rights event, Mondoweiss reported.

Accepting a leadership award at the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights conference on September 30, Rep. Betty McCollum said that Israel’s policies were “brutal” and “cruel” and explained her bill to end U.S. funding for the detention of Palestinian children.

McCollum didn’t hold back when describing the law, which defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

“Friends, the world has a name of that form of government that’s codified in the nation state law, and it’s called apartheid,” she said.

Following her speech, USCPR executive director Yousef Munayyer sent an email to supporters praising the congresswoman for using “apartheid” to refer to Israeli policies. “This moment is a benchmark in a narrative shift we have all been working towards for a long time,” Munayyer wrote.

The nation-state law has also been condemned by Israel’s liberal parties and mainstream diaspora Jewish groups like the Jewish Federations of North America.

McCollum said that she doesn’t see criticizing Israel as an act of anti-Semitism.

“Why can’t I hold a foreign government accountable for how they abuse an entire population of people under their control?” she asked the crowd.

McCollum, who has represented St. Paul in Congress since 2001, is endorsed by the left-wing Jewish group J Street.

Visit the US Capign for Palestinian Rights.

Human Interest 10/25/18 “They take everything.”: Bruqin Farmer during 2018 Olive Harvest 

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Israel kills Palestinian man in Gaza Strip

Israel wounds 130 Palestinian protesters in Gaza

The Israeli forces on Monday afternoon have killed Mohammed Abu- Abada, 27 during a protest at the maritime border between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli territories, the Palestinian health ministry in the Gaza Strip said.

According to the ministry, Abu-Abada, 27 from the Shatti refugee camp arrived at Al-Shifa Medical Complex with a gunshot wound to his chest.

As many as 15 boats flying Palestinian flags attempted to break the naval siege imposed on Gaza Strip. In response, the Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at the protesters causing dozens of people to suffer from breathing difficulties.

In response to the Israeli aggression on the peaceful protesters, a spokesman for Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege, Bassam Manasra said that “Gaza is still challenging the odds, facing the dangers, fighting for Palestine and confronting the worst forces of evil while paying the lives of its sons a price for dignity”.

READ: 3 Gaza boys killed in Israel airstrike on tinderbox border

8 years ago, #Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid and activists to #Gaza


Read more: ow.ly/v1lf30kgCUt

Meer weergeven

(Source / 30.10.2018)

140 settlers break into Al-Aqsa mosque

140 Break-in Al-Aqsa

140 settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday, on the side of the Margharba Gate, guarded by Israeli special forces.

The settlers carried out provocative “educational tours” of the mosque about the myth of the alleged temple.

The so-called “organizations of the temple” called on its supporters and the settlers to participate extensively and intensively in the intrusions of Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning, coinciding with the elections of local authorities, under the slogan: (prayer and election is better than serves the idea of building the temple).

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Israeli settlers close Karam Abu- Salem commercial crossing

Image of the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip [4biaplatform/Twitter]

Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip

Dozens of Jewish settlers protested on Monday in front of the Karam Abu- Salem commercial crossing with Gaza Strip and prevented the entry of commercial trucks carrying food and fuel to the besieged Palestinians there.

Israel Channel 2 reported that settlers from the Gaza envelope area have been demonstrating since morning in front of the Karam Abu- Salem crossing and closed the roads leading to the crossing.

The settlers were protesting against “tensions in (Gaza Strip)” and the Israeli security cabinet’s decision not to respond to the recent security escalation and rocket fire from Gaza.

Read: Israel evades demands to end the Gaza protests and reach a truce

The Gaza envelope settlers have also demonstrated on Sunday in Tel Aviv to protest against the deterioration of the security situation in the settlements and closed some main roads in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli Security Cabinet met on Sunday evening to discuss the situation on the border with the Gaza Strip with the participation of senior security and army officials.

The Cabinet decided to use the Iron Fist policy on the one hand and give a chance to efforts reach a truce.

There has been a 17% increase in illegal settlement construction in the occupied #WestBank in the first year of #US President Donald J. Trump‘s term

Read more: ow.ly/6zhH30k1wGS

MEMO infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Israeli Defence Minister: Security cabinet refuses to direct ‘severe blow’ at Gaza

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Israel’s Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman said the majority of ministers in Israel’s Security Cabinet are opposed to a “severe blow” against the besieged Gaza Strip.

Lieberman added during a meeting of his Yisrael Beiteinu party held Monday afternoon that “there is no way to reach a truce agreement with Hamas without inflicting a severe blow to the Gaza Strip”.

The Israeli security cabinet met on Sunday afternoon to discuss the escalation in the Gaza Strip over the weekend and decided to pursue “an iron fist policy on the one hand while giving a chance to the efforts of Egypt and the UN special coordinator the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov to reach a truce” Israeli media reported.

Read: Israel evades demands to end the Gaza protests and reach a truce

The Israeli forces killed last night three Palestinian children to the east of Khan Younes in the southern besieged Gaza Strip under the pretext of attempting to sabotage the border fence.

Earlier on Friday, six Palestinian peaceful demonstrators were killed and dozens were injured during the Marches of Return.

Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis from the Gaza envelope area demonstrated on Sunday evening against what they called “the deteriorating security situation” and raised signs reading that “the lives of the envelope residents are not cheaper than the lives of Tel Aviv residents”.

43% of Gaza’s territory is engulfed by the buffer zone on land and sea

READ: ow.ly/94i230m57Cn

MEMO #Infographic by The White Canvas

(Source / 30.10.2018)

Israel settlers storm Palestinian homes in Hebron

A group of Israeli settlers raided two Palestinian buildings in Hebron’s Old City on 29 October, 2018

A group of Israeli settlers yesterday raided two Palestinian buildings in Hebron’s Old City, in the south of the occupied West Bank, locking them from the inside, Ma’an news agency reported.

Reporting the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Quds Press said that the homes in the buildings are owned by Palestinian families Arafa, Al-Hamour, Zaheda and Al-Shurbati.

The two old houses, Ma’an reported the Committee saying, are adjacent to the illegal settlement complex of Avraham Avino in the heart of the Old City.

READ: Israel demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in Hebron

The committee’s General Director Imad Hamdan said: “At a time when the Israeli occupation authorities do not allow Palestinians to maintain the cultural and human legacy in the city through renovation and reconstruction, the settlers raid Palestinian buildings and steal them.”

He added: “The settlers break into the Palestinian buildings and close their doors from the inside and start working in them ahead of seizing them.”

Meanwhile, he said that the settlers use equipment from the occupation forces, which Hamdan said is an effort “to enable the settlers to reach the Palestinian buildings”.

Today, the settlers enter these buildings and leave them again,” he said. “We are afraid that they will enter these buildings later on and not leave.

He noted that the Israeli occupation authorities turn a blind eye to the “illegal” activities of settlers.

(Source / 30.10.2018)