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May 13, 2016

Hezbollah Launches New Mobile App

UPDATE 5/14/16 – Apple has removed the app from iTunes.

Last month, al-Manar, Hezbollah’s media arm, which is listed as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity” by the U.S. government, launched Trust News, a new iPhone app. Available through the Apple online store iTunes, the app streams al-Manar’s live television broadcasts and newsand provides access to al-Manar’s social media platforms.It also provides the latest speeches of Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.al-manar-trust-news-app

Unlike previous apps launched by the terrorist entity, the new app’s page on iTunes did not include any reference to al-Manar or Hezbollah, in an apparent attempt to circumvent Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, which require apps to “comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users.”

Al-Manar’s website posted a link which directs its visitors to the iTunes store to download the mobile app.

ADL has alerted Apple about this new app.

ADL previously informed several US-based technology companies about apps launched by the terrorist entity and they were removed subsequently. For more information:

 

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April 20, 2016

Why I’m Speaking to Students at J Street U

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium on April 17, 2016.

J Street U

This morning, I will speak to students at the J Street U National Assembly, the annual gathering of more than 200 young leaders from across the country who converge on Washington D.C. to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to exchange views about what they can do on campus to advance a two-state solution. J Street U reached out to me seeking to engage with the Jewish community, eager to establish a relationship with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which it has never had.

As I begin to chart the course of my leadership, I felt it was important that I accept this invitation. I feel this way because of my conviction that it is vital to engage with all members of our community, even and especially those with whom we might have disagreements.

We can’t talk only to those who are aligned with us on every point.

In our time of hyper-polarization and the erosion of civil discourse, I believe it’s imperative that the organized Jewish leadership models the traits that we want to define the broader politics in our country. When I started my tenure as CEO, the country was locked in a bitter debate over the Iran deal. More than anything, the experience showed me that our community suffers from an inability to thoughtfully and respectfully engage across political divides.

I saw it firsthand as Jews who supported the deal as well as those who opposed the deal both were attacked viciously for their views, particularly by fellow Jews. I was dismayed by the self-destructive behavior — taking out newspaper ads, plastering municipal buses, excoriating others with ad homenim attacks — such attacks don’t advance the debate. They diminish all of us.

For a people who elevated the notion of dissent as a bedrock principle of our religious practice, the unwillingness to countenance opposing views is counter to the best traditions of our people. As a leader, I will not engage in these tactics. Instead, as the CEO of ADL, I will be an active advocate for civility and avoid the politics of personal destruction.

Building from this frame, I see my remarks today as a major opportunity for ADL to accomplish two things.

The first is to deliver the message that, at ADL, we are committed to ensuring Israel remains a safe and secure, Jewish and democratic state, as enshrined in its proclamation of independence. It was that remarkable Zionist vision expressed from the cradle of Israel’s birth that captured the imagination of the Jewish people and the world, the notion that Israel would be a country unlike all others:

“…based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture…”

Frayed Israel Flag

That is why ADL has had a policy of support for a two-state solution for decades. This means advocating for the legitimacy and security of the Jewish state even as we support Palestinian dignity and equality of Arab citizens in Israel. These ideas should not be in conflict. Rather, they are consistent with our centennial commitment to civil rights and social justice.

Secondly, I see an opportunity to deliver an important message to these impassioned students who are galvanized by the imperative to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. At ADL, we equally want to see a resolution of the conflict. Israel must take real, meaningful measures to promote an end to the impasse. However, the idea that peace can be brought about only by applying pressure to one side of the conflict — Israel — is a strategy bound to backfire.

Further isolating Israel at a time of great local tumult and regional volatility will only reinforce the political psychology of Israelis who eye concessions made in the context of negotiations with the Palestinians as inevitably endangering them. And this fear is real. It is substantiated in the unraveling of the modern Middle East, the rise of violent non-state actors committed to the destruction of Israel, terrorist groups like HezbollahISIS and Hamas, and the regional power of Iran whose revolutionary ideology remains firmly rooted in anti-Semitism. As Israelis look around they see regional chaos engulfing their neighborhood: wholesale slaughter in Syria, chaos in Sinai, challenges to the stability of their friends in Jordan. Any reasonable approach to solving the conflict in order to be credible in the eyes of Israel must bear in mind this new reality.

Given these facts, it is only the constancy of American guarantees of moral and physical support that will undergird an eventual agreement. And undermining that support endangers the prospects of peace. While a responsible approach should recognize that there are steps that Israel must take to ensure the viability of a two-state solution, a reasonable approach must have expectations of the Palestinians as well.

Ignoring the steps they also must take, compromises they too must make to achieve peace, does a deep disservice toward that goal.

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The fact is that the Palestinians, under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, twice rejected serious Israeli peace offers, once in 2008 during direct talks between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abu Mazen, and again under the Obama Administration — an administration which I was a part of. When President Obama offered President Abbas an American framework document for the resolution of the final status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas decided to ignore it entirely. That is an inconvenient fact for some who wish to portray the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a simplistic story of Israel’s unwillingness to make peace. But it is a fact that cannot be ignored.

The champions of Palestinian self-determination must hold the Palestinian leadership to task for its failures as well.

But even as I will make these points, I want to stress that despite this, we must find the areas where we can be partners.

It is vital to be in conversation with these students and the next generation of American Jewish leaders because it they who can credibly broker critical conversations on campuses rooted in a commitment to peace, while unmasking the damaging effects of BDS and anti-normalization.

The imperatives for social justice today do not lie in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations alone. We cannot let our differences over how to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace keep us from working together to address so many other challenges facing our nation. There are vital issues of structural racism that we must address now, matters of pressing racial injustice that wrack our own society. There are demagogues rising to power in Europe and the introduction of a terrible new type of political discourse that threatens our fundamental values.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 with an enduring mission that still rings true today: to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. For more than 100 years, we have worked to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry even as we equally have fought for civil rights and social justice for Jews and other marginalized people.

But it always has been a shared struggle, one that we have not waged ourselves but that has been a product of alliances, coalitions and partnerships. And the work is not yet complete. There is still much to do be done. Hopefully we can do it, together.

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November 25, 2014

Music Videos Enhance Violent Anti-Jewish Messages Online

Songs and music videos using the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Israel to glorify the attacks and encourage more violence are part of a larger online phenomenon where individuals celebrate and promote terrorism through popular memes, graphics and videos.

Screenshot from "Runaway oh Zionist"

Screenshot from “Runaway oh Zionist”

An animated music video uploaded to YouTube on November 18 called “Runaway oh Zionist” is an explicit reference to the recent “run-over” car attacks in Israel.The song, preformed in Hebrew with Arabic and Hebrew subtitles, says, “Runaway oh you Zionist, Runaway…Minutes, and a car will run over you” and depicts a Jewish man singing about running away from cars. In the part of the video where the Jewish man gets hit by a car at a bus station and thrown into a cemetery, the lyrics are, “A car will attack you from each direction to give you a ride to the grave.” The song closes with “Runaway Zionists because you will be killed by all means.”

The video, which has received more than 98,000 views, was praised by Hezbollah’s media arm, Al Manar which stated, “the melody of this short video is very apt, and the animation is highly professional which indicates a quality boom for the ‘resistance’ art in the Occupied Territory [Palestine].”

Another song circulating online titled “Run-over this settler” is performed by a Palestinian duo. The song includes the lyrics “Prepare your ambush on the road, run-over them; may god help you.” It also praises Abdulrahman al-Shaloudi, the terrorist who rammed his car into a group of Israeli pedestrians last month, killing a baby and a young woman. One lyric says that he “Ran-over a Jewish settler…did it, with his limited resources, for his country.” The lyrics also callupon Palestinians to “wait for them at the intersection, let the settler sink in the red blood. Terrify them don’t be merciful.” Jordan-based Al Yarmuk satellite TV station aired the song on its channel as well.

Various YouTube users have created their own videos and made use of this song as well, bringing the total number of views for this song to more than 260,000.

Similar user generated content began circulating online within min­utes of the bru­tal ter­ror attack that killed five peo­ple in a Jerusalem syn­a­gogue. In addition to those images and car­toons glo­ri­fy­ing the attack, another song, titled “The one who knocks the door will hear the answer” was uploaded to YouTube by the popular Palestinian singer Qasim Al-Najar. The song received more than 154,000 views in the first several days. The song’s lyrics urge Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “to collect his Rabbis,” warning that when Jerusalem revolts it will slaughter the settlers.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which claimed responsibility for the Synagogue attack, also released a video on YouTube titled “With a butcher’s knife, a gun, and an Iron will.” The song says “oh settler, this is your destiny…your death is inevitable.” The song also praises the Popular Front and describes its members as “walking in defiance over death and slaughtering them [Israelis] like sheep.”

The PFLP’s song has attracted only 5,800 viewers on YouTube, which further attests to the significance of user generated content to spread messages of violence and anti-Semitism.

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