In new film, Jewish director challenges Israeli version of 1976 Entebbe rescue Jose Padilha casts Yoni Netanyahu in less-than-heroic light, tells story from terrorists’ perspective in movie likely to spark controversy By Michael Bachner

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ has world premiere in Berlin

A new feature film challenges the widely accepted narrative regarding the 1976 Israeli rescue mission in Entebbe, Uganda, including by casting the brother of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a far less heroic light than the way in which he has been portrayed thus far.

“7 Days in Entebbe” also stands out by telling the story not from the IDF soldiers’ point of view, but from that of the terrorists. Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl star as two German terrorists who join forces with members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine out of sympathy for the Palestinians.

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In the July 4, 1976 operation, IDF forces rescued the hostages taken captive on June 27, 1976 by terrorists who hijacked an Air France jet from Tel Aviv to Paris. The plane was diverted to Uganda, where the hijackers were welcomed by dictator Idi Amin.

The raid saw the rescue of 98 hostages. Four hostages were killed during the operation, along with Yonatan Netanyahu, elder brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the sole Israeli soldier killed during the raid at the Ugandan airport.The film had its world premiere in Berlin on Monday, with its Jewish Brazilian director Jose Padilha (“Narcos”) insisting that his version of events was more accurate than the narrative reflected in several Israeli films, which showed Netanyahu playing a heroic role in the operation before being shot toward its end.

In the new movie, Netanyahu (Angel Bonanni) plays a minor role and is killed by a Ugandan soldier shortly after the mission begins.

IRAN’S SCHEMES AND ISRAEL’S REACTIONS Is a war brewing? Joseph Puder

Last Saturday (February 10, 2018) Iran’s Islamic Republic resumed its provocation of Israel by sending a drone over Israeli territory. It was answered by force as expected. An Israeli Apache Helicopter shot down the drone (it has not been verified whether the drone was armed or not) over northern Israel. Iran’s involvement in Syria, including the deployment of Iran-backed Shiite militias, near Israel’s Golan Heights, has alarmed Israel. Israel has accused Iran of building precision-guided missile factories for Hezbollah in Lebanon. As Iran and its sponsored Shiite militias, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, continue to encroach on Israel’s border, Jerusalem has vowed to defend its territory and its people. A year ago, Israel’s missile defense batteries intercepted and destroyed several Iranian built drones used by Hezbollah to penetrate Israel’s airspace from Syria. Saturday, Israeli fighter jets were able to hit and destroy the aerial defense system around Damascus that Russia helped to build.

In retaliation over Iran’s drone attack, eight Israeli F-16 Fighter jets attacked numerous military targets inside Syria, including an airfield near Palmyra called T-4 base, where the drone originated. One of the F-16 fighter jets was damaged during the attack while on the way back from the operation inside Syria. Its two pilots managed to parachute down over Israeli territory. The F-16, which was abandoned by the pilots, crashed inside Israeli territory. One of the pilots was wounded, but is expected to fully recover. The Syrian and Iranian media and government spokespeople celebrated the “downing” of the Israeli F-16 as a major accomplishment. Following the damage to the Israeli Fighter jet, a squadron of Israeli F-16’s returned to Syria and wiped out the Syrian/Iranian air-defense system throughout the Assad dominated Syria.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Sunday (February 11, 2018) that “Yesterday we dealt severe blows to the Iranian and Syrian forces. We made it unequivocally clear to everyone that our rules have not changed one bit. We will continue to strike at every attempt to strike at us. This has been our policy and it will remain our policy.” Yoav Galant, retired former army general, Cabinet Minister, and a member of Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet, told the Associated Press that “we do not just talk, we act.” Galant, a former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, added, “I think that the Syrians now understand the fact that hosting the Iranians on Syrian soil harms them.” Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio that “They and we know that we hit, and it will take them some time to digest, understand, and ask how Israel knew how to hit those sites (a reference to the air-defense systems). These were concealed sites and we have intelligence agencies and the ability to know everything that is going on there, and yesterday we proved it.”

According to Arab News (February 11, 2018), Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, addressing a flag-waving crowd at the central Tehran’s Azadi Square, said that “They (a reference to the U.S. and Israel) wanted to create tension in the region…they wanted to divide Iraq, Syria…They wanted to create long-term chaos in Lebanon but…with our help their policies failed.” For the Iranian-Shiite coalition, this day of fighting (Saturday, February 10, 2018) led to what Hezbollah has called “a new strategic era.”

Palestinians: Hamas and Fatah – United against Trump by Khaled Abu Toameh

The two rival parties, Fatah and Hamas, are prepared to lay aside their differences and work together to foil US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, the details of which remain unknown. Thwarting Trump’s peace plan has become a top priority.

Although the details of the Trump plan still have not been made public, Palestinians across the political spectrum say they will never accept any peace initiative presented by the Trump administration.

The Palestinians know that no US peace plan would comply with their demands. Abbas’s Fatah is demanding 100% of the territories Israel secured in 1967, namely the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Hamas, for its part, is demanding 100% of everything, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As Hamas leaders repeatedly affirm, the goal is to “liberate all of Palestine,” meaning all of Israel.

Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction are continuing to contest control of the Gaza Strip.

However, the two rival parties are prepared to lay aside their differences and work together to foil US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, the details of which remain unknown.

Thwarting Trump’s peace plan has become a top priority for Hamas and Fatah. This is a mission that seems to be much more important than alleviating the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where 65% of families live under the poverty line.

Although the details of the Trump plan still have not been made public, Palestinians across the political spectrum say they will never accept any peace initiative presented by the Trump administration. Whatever the peace plan will be, the answer is No.

In the eyes of the Palestinian leaders, the US administration has shown unprecedented “hostility” towards the Palestinians.

Macron and Islam: “Appeasement and Dialogue” by Yves Mamou

When French President Emanuel Macron recently said that “We are working on the structuring of Islam in France,” it was only one part of a message, to prepare Muslims and non-Muslims for the big project: transforming Islam in France into the Islam of France.

Prison guards tried to explain that every day, their lives are in danger. In late January when the strike ended, Macron said privately that the danger was not radicalized Muslim prisoners but radicalized guards, and claimed that one of the main unions for prison guards had become “infiltrated” by undercover militants from the right-wing Front National party.

When US President Donald Trump announced the transfer of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv in Jerusalem, Macron immediately tweeted, “France does not approve the US decision. France supports the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states. We need to focus on appeasement and dialogue.” The last sentence is a resumé of Macron’s Islam policy: appeasement and dialogue — in other words, submission.

During Emmanuel Macron’s election campaign, and even after he became president, he carefully avoided France’s two most dodgy topics: migrants and Islam. It did not take long, however, before Macron found himself caught up in both of them.

On February 11, 2018, however, Macron gave an interview to Journal du Dimanche: “We are working on the structuring of Islam in France and also on how to explain it, which is extremely important,” Macron told the French weekly newspaper. Of course, nothing significant came out of the interview; it was only one part of a message, to prepare Muslims and non-Muslims for the big project: transforming Islam in France into the Islam of France. Although its contents are still unclear, the frame is usually the same: Muslims are supposedly victims, and a reform of France is necessary to make them peaceful and happy.

One wonders if the Islam of France will be really different from what it is today.

With Islam, an unbridled anti-Semitism in France has continued to soar. On January 29, 2018, an 8-year-old Jewish boy wearing a Jewish skullcap was attacked in the suburb of Sarcelles, near Paris. For a long time, Sarcelles was a suburb where Jews and Muslims once lived peacefully side by side. That has changed. In 2014, a pro-Palestinian demonstration escalated into an anti-Jewish pogrom, complete with shops burned and civilians attacked. On January 10, 2018, also in Sarcelles , an unidentified assailant armed with a knife slashed the face of a 15-year-old Jewish girl. On January 9, in the suburb of Creteil, a kosher grocery store that had been covered with swastikas days earlier was gutted in a fire. The police said they suspected arson.

Macron reacted strongly against the anti-Jewish violence. “It’s the republic that is attacked,” he said. Like all presidents before him, he took great care not to name the Islamist attacker.

In France, small groups of Muslims and Salafists have undertaken ethnically to purify territories that they see as their own. Every time an area is shared with Jews, the violence against them builds up. Between 30,000 and 60,000 Jews have already migrated from their homes — generally in the eastern suburbs of Paris — to other, safer parts of Paris.

As for asylum seekers, in 1981, there were 20,000 asylum seekers in France. In 2017, the number of economic migrants disguised as “asylum seekers” reached a historic mark of 100,000, announced the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) on January 8, 2018. That 100,000 represents an increase of 17% from the year before.

Facebook “Intellectually Terrorizes” a Human Rights Activist Or, an urgent complaint to Facebook management. February 20, 2018 Magdi Khalil

Editor’s note: Magdi Khalil, an Egyptian-born human right’s activist and Copt now living in America, explains how he escaped Egyptian-style terror only to suffer from a sort of Facebook Terrorism. In the Arab world, Khalil is a well-known political analyst and prolific writer who frequently appears on Al Jazeera, where he debates dictatorial and radical Islamist opponents.

My name is Magdi Khalil, I am an American citizen and a resident of Virginia. My Facebook page can be found here.

I currently work as an analyst researcher at an American institution. For over 20 years, I have been a well-known commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and the executive editor of international pages for a Cairo-based newspaper. I also made more than a thousand TV appearances as a political commentator on various programs broadcast on Middle Eastern TV channels. I have published more than 2,000 articles and research, and authored a number of books. While most of my published work is in Arabic, I have also published many articles in English.

I am also a human rights advocate, and have been involved in founding several human rights centers, including Coptic Solidarity in Washington, and the Middle East Freedom Forum. I currently serve as a member of the advisory board of MEMRI, the board of directors of Coptic Solidarity, as well as being the director of the Middle East Freedom Forum.

Given my strong advocacy for human rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, and my outspoken stance and writings against Islamic terrorism, I naturally attracted the ire and hostility of Egyptian and Middle Eastern intelligence agencies, as well as extremist Islamic groups. My activities, including my Facebook page, became a favorite target for those agencies and groups, which have at their disposal electronic “militias” working to flood Facebook Administration and other social media with a deluge of false complaints against their perceived opponents.

Unfortunately, I have had to deal with this issue repeatedly. Furthermore, I suspect that there may be some staff members in Facebook Administration, particularly in Middle East-based offices, who support these entities and target their opponents.

Fatal Bureau of Investigation FBI bureaucratic failures and willful blindness rack up a horrifying body count. Lloyd Billingsley

After Nikolas Cruz gunned down 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, FBI special agent Robert Lasky, head of the bureau’s Miami division, said he “truly regrets” the pain caused by the FBI’s failure to act on a tip about the shooter.

The FBI said it had no way to trace the tip, then FBI boss Christopher Wray said the message was never passed on to the FBI’s Miami field office, as official protocol required. Relatives of the victims might have noted the passive verb construction. In typical style, Wray failed to name the person who never passed on the tip, and offered no explanation why that person might have done so.

Wray did say “we deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy.” In response to that admission Florida governor Rick Scott called for Wray to resign. Across the country Americans could make a case that Wray and many others in the FBI deserved much sterner measures.

In 2013 Omar Mateen lost his job as security guard at Florida’s St. Lucie County courthouse. Mateen had made “inflammatory comments about women, Jews and the mass shooting at Ft. Hood.” The FBI twice questioned Mateen after he touted ties to terrorists, but FBI special agent Ronald Hopper told reporters “we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed.” On June 12, 2016, Mateen gunned down 49 people and wounded 58 others at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Mateen was born in the United States of Afghan parents but the Tsarnaev brothers, Termalan and Dzokhar, Muslims from the Caucuses region, entered the United States on tourist visas then claimed asylum. Russian intelligence warned the FBI the Tsarnaev brothers were dangerous but the FBI’s investigation found no links to terrorism. On April 15, 2013, the brothers planted bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded at least 264.

In 2008, the FBI had picked off emails between U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan and Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a terrorist with ties to the 9/11 hijackers. In these emails, Hasan was asking for religious sanction to kill American soldiers. The FBI failed to interview Hasan or even make a phone call to his superiors, and no government agency took any steps to stop him. On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood Texas, Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers, including private Francheska Velez, 21, who was pregnant, and wounded more than 30 others.

Understanding the California Mind By Victor Davis Hanson

Nancy Pelosi gave a marathon speech on illegal immigration the other day. But how would she know much about the realities of open borders, given her palatial retreat in Northern California and multi-millionaire lifestyle that allows wealthy progressives like herself to be exempt from the consequences of her own hectoring? In the end, the House minority leader was reduced to some adolescent racialist patter about her grandson wishing to look more like his Mexican-American friend.

I was thinking of the San Francisco Democrat’s speech last week, during a brief drive into our local town, in a region that is ground zero of California’s illegal immigration experience.

Illegal immigrants are neither collective saints nor sinners, but simply individuals who arrive from one of the poorest regions in the Americas, without legality or much in the way of English, or high school education.

They encounter an American host that has lost confidence in its once formidable powers of assimilation and integration as well as its ability to mint Americans from diverse races, religions, and ethnicities. Instead, American culture has adopted an arrogant sense that it can ensure near instant parity as redemption for supposed past –isms and –ologies. That may explain the immigrant’s romance for Mexico to which he fights any return, and the ambiguity about America in which he fights to stay.

We dare not mention illegal immigration in California as a factor in the state’s implosion. But privately, residents assume it has something to do with the 20 percent of the state’s population that lives below the poverty level. Illegal immigration plays a role in the fact that one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients lives in California and that one of four state residents was not born in the United States—or that one-half of all immigrant households receives some sort of government assistance, and that one in four homeless people lives in California.

Note a final statistic. A record of nearly $30 billion a year is forecast to be sent this year as remittances home to Mexico. If the sum is assumed to be wired largely by the reported 11 million illegal aliens, then illegal immigrants are sending per capita around $2,700 home per year. Again, in per capita terms, a household of five would average about $1,100 sent home per month to Mexico—a generosity impossible without the subsidies of the American taxpayer. (Some might wonder whether the U.S. could tax that sum to build the wall or at least declare that proof of remittances disqualifies one for public support.)

Impeachment or Bust What if ‘Resist!’ makes it harder for Democrats to take back the House?By William McGurn

Democrats have a single goal when it comes to Donald Trump : impeachment. Their strategy is likewise clear: Resist! What no one seems to ask is whether resistance is really the best path to the House majority Democrats would need to pass articles of impeachment.

Democrats do have a few things going for them this year. On average, the party that holds the White House loses 30 seats or so in midterm elections—and the GOP has only a 24-seat majority. Moreover, 35 House Republicans are leaving their seats, more than twice the number of Democrats who are.

That’s not all. The intense dislike for Mr. Trump energizes the Democratic base the way Barack Obama energized the Republican one. Many swing districts will be in suburban areas where the vote margin may be decided by college-educated women, one of Mr. Trump’s weakest demographics.

But the idea that Mr. Trump’s unpopularity makes a blue wave inevitable overlooks some Republican advantages. Mr. Trump’s popularity is beginning to move upward with the growing economy, which points to a key weakness in the Resist! strategy:

Because the tax reform passed without a single Democratic vote, good news about the economy is bad news for Democratic candidates. It further means the Democratic message is rooted in enabling Washington dysfunction, because they cannot run as people willing to reach across the aisle to get things done.

It’s too early to know how last week’s failure to pass an immigration bill will play out politically. But if Mr. Trump goes around the country saying he offered to compromise but Democrats refused because they’d rather have a political issue, that could hurt them too. Especially because he will remind voters this is the same party willing to shut down the government for people here illegally.

There’s also the problem of candidates. Among this year’s crop of Democratic hopefuls are some military veterans. But it’s not a uniform message. A progressive Democrat backed by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is targeting seven-term Rep. Dan Lipinski in Chicago, a pro-life Democrat who voted against ObamaCare. If the goal is a Democratic majority, purity campaigns are a distraction. When Rahm Emanuel was engineering the party’s retaking of the House in 2006, his strategy was to settle on a candidate who would be competitive in the district (even if not as liberal as the party would like) and then reduce the primary bloodshed. CONTINUE AT SITE

For Europe, Trump Is a Blessing in Disguise His policies promote energy independence and balance between France and Germany. By Walter Russell Mead

The Trump administration is turning out to be a blessing in disguise for the European Union. While many of the president’s rhetorical statements offend European sensibilities, and while dramatic acts like the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord prompt talk of a “crisis” in trans-Atlantic relations, the actual consequences of the administration’s policies are shoring up Europe’s foundations in surprising ways.

A year ago, fears that an allegedly pro-Russia Trump administration would ditch the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and throw Europe to the wolves had delicate Europeans trembling. These days those fears seem quaint. But few in Europe have yet grasped how anti-Russian and pro-European the Trump foreign policy is at its core.

This is partly because European reflexes, especially German ones, are so often nonstrategic. Fine words and noble resolutions are mistaken for hard facts, and the wrapping paper matters more than the gift.

When many Europeans—and more than a few Americans—hear the word “fracking,” for example, they don’t think of the spear tip of an American energy offensive that limits Russia’s geopolitical ambitions while creating the conditions for renewed European prosperity. And when they hear about American plans to rearm and modernize its nuclear arsenal, they instinctively think about the dangers of American militarism—overlooking Moscow’s hostile military buildup that endangers the European countries closest to Russia.

Energy is the place to begin. The vast American oil and gas resources being unlocked by unconventional (and rapidly improving) techniques like fracking are more than a domestic economic bonanza. They are a key instrument of American foreign policy. These resources will not only deprive Middle Eastern countries of the financial capacity too many have used to underwrite radicalism and terrorism; they force Russia, whose economy is greatly dependent on oil exports, to count the cost of every bullet fired in Ukraine and every mercenary deployed to Syria

Romney’s Russia Vindication He was right about the Kremlin in 2012, not that Democrats admit it.

Mitt Romney announced Friday that he’s running for the U.S. Senate from Utah, and the timing on the same day as the Justice Department indictments of Russians for meddling in the U.S. presidential election was apt. Mr. Romney was right about the Russian threat in 2012, and Democrats who are now echoing him when it serves their political purposes against Donald Trump owe the former GOP presidential nominee an apology.

Start with Barack Obama, who derided Mr. Romney’s claim that Russia was a major U.S. geopolitical foe in the third presidential debate in 2012. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Mr. Obama said, to applause from the Democratic media establishment. In its endorsement of Mr. Obama, the Washington Post criticized Mr. Romney for “calling Russia America’s greatest foe” as an example of his lack of judgment.

Readers may recall that Mr. Romney made his comments about Russia after Mr. Obama was caught unaware talking on an open microphone with then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in March 2012:

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important to give me space,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Medvedev, the Vladimir Putin stand-in.

“Yeah, I understand,” Mr. Medvedev said.

Mr. Obama then said, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”

Mr. Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”