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July 21, 2016

Israeli Flags Burned in Cairo in Protest of Foreign Minister’s Israel Visit

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri’s July 10th visit to Israel and meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu was the first such trip in nine years.   In Israel, Shukri’s visit was greeted as reflective of warming relations between Jerusalem and Cairo who signed a peace agreement in 1979.   For some in Egypt, the visit sparked protest against this act of normalization.

According to reports in Arab media, Egyptian journalists burned Israeli flags on Wednesday (July 13) on the footsteps of the Syndicate of Journalists building in Cairo, shouting anti-Israel slogans. A video of the demonstration posted on YouTube by Egypt’s Al-Masrawi newspaper shows a group of protesters standing around an Israeli flag, holding additional Israeli flags marked with an X. The person in the middle is saying “We came today to burn this despicable flag, the flag of the apes and pigs. We’ll also burn the pictures of the one called “the Prime Minister of the Zionists” and that of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri”. The video goes on to show them shouting together “We’ve been repeating it generation after generation – we’ll treat you as enemy, Israel.”

From Twitter

From Twitter

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July 15, 2016

ADL’s Issues for the Platform Committees

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Over the next two weeks, Republicans and Democrats convene their conventions – the equivalent of the MLB All-Star Game for political junkies. While the conventions are often a spectacle of political theater, this year it feels like the drama that has taken center stage is overshadowing important policy issues.

This hasn’t happened in a vacuum.  For years, America’s political debate has been sliding toward greater polarization and acrimony, leaving little space for the give-and-take that is vital to the public policy conversation and a healthy democratic process. Even where Democrats and Republicans can find common ground, as they do on issues like criminal justice reform, there seems to be little incentive for either party to compromise.

These diversions would be unhelpful in any election year.  But there are serious issues facing Americans today, issues that require serious debate. Americans across the political spectrum are reeling from the shooting death of African-Americans Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the mass murder of police officers in Dallas. And terrorist massacres targeting a gay night club in Orlando and government workers in San Bernardino, CA have brought home the impact of hatred and the threat posed by violent Islamist groups like ISIS. Whatever one’s views about how to address this violence and the range of intertwined issues it raises, Americans deserve a probing and constructive national debate rather than a contest to see who can score the most political points.

In formal submissions to the Platform Committees of both parties, ADL has urged that Republicans and Democrats address a range of important issues in an urgent way. Internationally, the U.S. must continue to play a leadership role in the fight against terrorism; in ensuring that Israel remains strong and secure; in promoting peace and respect for human rights across the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe; and in speaking out against a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism.  Domestically, our submission also addresses a variety of issues, for example asserting the urgent need for progress on voting rights, criminal justice reform, expanded legal protection for the LGBT community, refugee rights, and gun violence prevention.

ADL has had a longstanding practice of submitting its policy agenda to both parties, and has called on campaigns to reject character attacks and the use of bigotry in numerous campaign seasons.  This year, ADL is hosting events at both conventions that focus on finding space for substantive debate and collaboration toward progress in order to get down to the serious business of addressing the nation’s problems.

Politi­cians and can­di­dates will win or lose, come and go—but the fallout will linger unless we can elevate the quality of the debate moving forward.  It is incumbent upon all of us to raise our voices, to reject the use of bigotry or character attacks by any candidate, and to promote a public debate based on facts, evidence and civil discourse.

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July 11, 2016

Violent East Jerusalem Graffiti Suggests Incitement Seeping Into Palestinian Daily Life

Graffiti recently on view in East Jerusalem, including on Salah El-Din street (the area’s main business district), highlights the incitement to violence seeping into the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in that area. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of the relative calm Jerusalem has enjoyed in recent weeks, having previously been a focal point in the wave of Palestinian terror which began in September of 2015, often referred to as the “Knives Intifada” because of the frequent stabbing attacks. Examples of this hateful graffiti include an image of a hand holding a knife with the Arabic captions “stab”  and “The Jerusalem Intifada,” and an icon of a Palestinian hurling a Molotov cocktail with the caption “resist.”

Other examples include a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza with the caption “From the river to the sea”, suggesting that the Palestinian state should stretch from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, thereby eliminating the State of Israel. Also spray painted are slogans calling for additional acts of Palestinian terror, with graffiti reading “The armed struggle till the liberation/long live the Intifada” and “The Intifada continues till the liberation of the land and the people.”

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