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Hezbollah Hits Israeli Base, Says It Does Not Want Wider War

Mourners carry a coffin during the funeral of Wissam Tawil, a commander of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan forces who according to Lebanese security sources was killed during an Israeli strike on south Lebanon, in Khirbet Selm, Lebanon, Jan. 9, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Hezbollah attacked an Israeli army base with explosive drones deployed from Lebanon on Tuesday, hitting the position for the first time in what the Iran-backed terrorist group declared part of its response to recent alleged Israeli assassinations in Lebanon.

Also on Tuesday, an Israeli attack killed three Hezbollah fighters in south Lebanon, sources familiar with the group’s operations said, adding to the death toll among its forces from more than three months of hostilities with Israel.

Israel and Hezbollah have been waging their deadliest hostilities in 17 years following the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel from Gaza.

The violence has forced tens of thousands of people to flee both sides of the Lebanon-Israel border and raised fears the conflict could spiral.

Hezbollah deputy leader Naim Qassem, in a televised speech, said his group did not want to expand the war from Lebanon, “but if Israel expands [it], the response is inevitable to the maximum extent required to deter Israel.”

Hezbollah said its drones had hit the Israeli army headquarters in Safed, northern Israel, as part of retaliation for last week’s assassination of deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, and in response to Monday’s killing of Hezbollah commander Wissam Tawil, the most senior Hezbollah officer to die in the fighting.

Thousands of mourners attended his funeral in south Lebanon, his coffin draped in Hezbollah’s yellow flag as it was carried through the streets of his village.

An officer in the group’s elite Radwan force, Tawil had played a leading role in directing Hezbollah operations in south Lebanon and had been previously deployed to Syria, where the group has supported Damascus in the civil war.

Hezbollah said Tawil also took part in a 2006 cross-border raid into Israel during which the group captured two Israeli soldiers, igniting the last major war.

A source familiar with Hezbollah operations said it marked the first time the group had attacked Safed, some 14 km (8 miles) from the border, during hostilities.

An Israeli army spokesperson said a northern base was hit in an aerial attack, without giving the precise location. There had been no damage or casualties, the spokesperson said.

Much of the violence has taken place in the border area, ebbing and flowing, with Hezbollah firing at Israeli positions using rockets and other weapons, and Israel carrying out air and artillery strikes.

Arouri’s assassination marked the first time Israel has struck in Beirut’s Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs during this conflict. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it killed Arouri. Hezbollah had said a rocket barrage it fired on Saturday was also in response to his killing.

“We have seen more and deeper strikes in the past few days, which is a worrying trend,” said Kandice Ardiel, a spokesperson with UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon.

Israel has said it is giving a chance for diplomacy to prevent Hezbollah firing on its residents in the north and to distance Hezbollah from the border, warning that the Israeli army will otherwise take action to achieve these aims.

More than 130 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Lebanon during the hostilities. The three Hezbollah fighters killed on Tuesday died in a strike on their vehicle in the town of Ghandouriyeh in the south of Lebanon, the sources said.

In a statement, the Israeli military said its air force attacked Hezbollah targets in Kila — an apparent reference to the Lebanese border village of Kfar Kila — and a drone squad belonging to the group elsewhere in southern Lebanon.

The post Hezbollah Hits Israeli Base, Says It Does Not Want Wider War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Montreal’s Jewish Public Library moves books by local children’s author Elise Gravel to closed stacks in response to her series of illustrated messages criticizing Israel

Montreal’s Jewish Public Library has relocated renowned Montreal children’s author Elise Gravel’s books to the closed stacks after Jewish advocacy groups singled out some of her social media posts as antisemitic. Gravel is “one of Quebec’s most beloved children’s book authors. Her work is vibrant, thoughtful, funny, and educational,” said a statement from the Jewish […]

The post Montreal’s Jewish Public Library moves books by local children’s author Elise Gravel to closed stacks in response to her series of illustrated messages criticizing Israel appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘I’m Speaking Up Against Evil’: Israeli Columbia University Professor Addresses Smear Campaign

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Columbia University professor Shai Davidai, a Jewish Israeli, defended his right to condemn Hamas’ atrocities on Thursday after learning that an anonymous group of graduate students has accused him of anti-Palestinian racism and demanded a professional association of which he is a member to publicly censure him.

Anti-Zionist TikTok influencer Jessica Burbank first reported the accusations the graduate students lodged in a letter to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), an organization founded in 1974 to promote the social psychology field and its usefulness to society. Comprising over 7,500 student and faculty members, it provides invaluable funding and networking opportunities.

Accusing Davidai of “targeting individuals — especially Palestinians and students of color,” the students’ letter describes his efforts to hold pro-Hamas student groups accountable for harassing Jewish students and defending terror as “decolonization” as “blatant dereliction of duty with respect to his responsibilities and ethical standards as a professor and faculty member of SPSP.” The students additionally accused him of promoting “doxxing” and “misrepresenting” the views of pro-Hamas groups, all of whom have defended Hamas’ atrocities on Oct. 7 while calling for a ceasefire, a strategy they have employed to portray themselves as a pro-peace movement.

On Thursday, Professor Davidai told The Algemeiner that the man depicted in the letter is not someone his community, students, and peers would recognize, and he accepts that enduring assaults on his character is a consequence of defending the Jewish people wherever they are, be it Israel or New York City.

“Look, I’m speaking up against evil, and against the support of evil,” he said. “I’m willing to take the reputational hits because people that won’t like me for saying what I’m saying — I don’t need them to like me. This isn’t about the performative virtue signaling that is en vogue right now. This is about having a moral compass and standing up for what’s right.”

Davidai went on to express concern that his colleagues in the field have not defended him, a silence which suggests that criminating pro-Israel activists with baseless accusations will not be denounced or resisted even by moderates holding nuanced views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israel’s war against Hamas.

“If I have to pay the price, I’ll pay the price. Thousands and thousands of Jews and non-Jews contact me to say that calling out pro-Hamas support on US college campuses is the right thing to do,” he continued. “And the irony is that I won’t be silenced. They might take away my reputation. They might take away my job and my career. But I’m not the kind of person who will be quiet now that there’s a personal cost for telling the truth. They’re just proving my point.”

Davidai first achieved national notoriety after delivering a thunderous speech before a crowd of students and others gathered on campus in which he called the school’s president a “coward” for refusing to condemn Hamas apologists and anti-Zionist demonstrations on campus.

“I’m talking to you as a dad, and I want you to know we cannot protect your children from pro-terror student organizations, because the president of Columbia University will not speak out,” Davidai said to the students, whom he asked to film and send the remarks to their parents. “Citizens of the US are right now kidnapped in Gaza, and yet the president of the university is allowing — is giving — her support to pro-terror student organizations.”

In many ways, becoming a public figure has been a detriment, Davidai said. His email is flooded daily with notes from antisemites accusing him of being an “Elder of Zion” and a “genocidal baby killer.”

His colleagues, furious that his exposing antisemitism and left-wing radicalism at Columbia University has caused important donors to pull their support from the school, have never commented on the hate mail even though they are always copied as recipients of it, he alleged.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘I’m Speaking Up Against Evil’: Israeli Columbia University Professor Addresses Smear Campaign first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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‘We Have Lost All Confidence’: Bipartisan Letter Urges Blinken to Demand Top UN Officials Resign

View of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90.

A bipartisan group of 12 US legislators sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week urging him to demand that United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and the head of UNRWA — the UN agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees — Philippe Lazzarini resign over the recent revelation that UNRWA employees were involved in Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack.

“We have lost all confidence in Secretary-General António Guterres’ ability to ensure that the U.N. is not actively supporting terrorism or giving refuge to known terrorists. Therefore, we ask you to demand that Secretary-General Guterres and UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini immediately resign from their posts,” the letter states. 

The signatories were Democratic Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Don Davis, Jared Moskowitz, Brad Schneider, Haley Stevens, and Ritchie Torres — along with Republican Representatives Don Bacon, Anthony D’Esposito, Brian Mast, Max Miller, Michelle Steel, and Claudia Tenney.

The letter laments what the legislators say was an inappropriate response to October 7 by the UN, pointing out that “While innocent blood was still fresh on the ground, the UN’s first response to these atrocities was to draw a moral equivalency between the Hamas terrorists and Israel, who acted in her own self-defense and the defense of innocent civilians, including Americans.”

“UN Women,” the letter continued, “also failed to condemn the heinous attacks on women in a timely manner — even after widespread, well-documented cases of sexual assaults, rape, and genital mutilation.”

It then turned its attention to UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated solely to Palestinian refugees. Recent reports have revealed that at least twelve UNRWA employees — including teachers — took part in Hamas’s October 7 attack. Seven infiltrated Israel itself along with Hamas terrorists, others helped to kidnap Israelis and provide ammunition.

Not only that, but the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza has exposed that “Hamas has stored weapons in UNRWA buildings, used UNRWA resources for terrorist activities, and built tunnels under UNRWA facilities,” the letter says. The reps ask: “How long before we acknowledge the truth and label UNRWA as a tool for Hamas and others to recruit and train?”

A recent Wall Street Journal report estimates that around 10% of UNRWA employees are terrorist-linked — about 1,200 of the 12,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza.

Blinken has not yet responded to the letter. But after the initial allegations against UNRWA were made, he wrote in a statement that The United States is extremely troubled” by them and that “The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”

The reports, based on evidence gathered and shared by Israel, caused more than a dozen countries to pause funding to the agency.

However, the statement also noted that “UNRWA plays a critical role in providing lifesaving assistance to Palestinians, including essential food, medicine, shelter, and other vital humanitarian support.  Their work has saved lives, and it is important that UNRWA address these allegations and take any appropriate corrective measures, including reviewing its existing policies and procedures.”

The post ‘We Have Lost All Confidence’: Bipartisan Letter Urges Blinken to Demand Top UN Officials Resign first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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