Newsletter : 15fx0820.txt
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Israel's High Court Favors Hunger Striker's Release
The High Court for Justice has largely ruled in favor of Islamic Jihad terrorist and
hunger striker Mohammed Allan on Wednesday, allowing for his release in the event of
irreversible brain damage - and, likely, his release in November in the event he
The High Court ruling cancels the administrative detention order against Allan, but the
terrorist will functionally remain in intensive care until his condition stabilizes. In
the interim, Allan's family will be allowed to visit, subject to some security restraints.
Allan will then be subject to an MRI to determine the extent of the damage - and, thus,
the force of the ruling. The High Court stressed that the decision to cancel the detention
could be overturned in the event Allan recovers.
Earlier Wednesday, Allan reportedly did show signs of brain damage in a preliminary MRI
scan - but it is unclear yet whether it is "irreversible" as the High Court stipulates.
Hours before, Allan's attorney said he received an offer from the State Prosecution,
according to which he will be released in early November, at the end of his current second
term of administrative incarceration - and that his administrative detention will not be
renewed a third time.
Both rulings reverse a ruling by the High Court just 15 days ago to reject a petition
to end Allan's administrative detention.
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List), who earlier Wednesday hailed Allan's illness as a
conspiracy theory by Israel, hailed the ruling - to a point. "I said today that Mohammed
would be free, and starting from this moment, he is free," she said. "The High Court
decision is a good and just decision, but still lacking. The State of Israel must promise
not to place him back in administrative detention."
Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) on Wednesday said that the High Court's
decision to cancel the administrative detention of terrorist Mohammed Allan is a
legitimate decision, though he admitted he didn't like the ruling.
"I'm sorry that once again, I find myself swimming against the current of my colleagues
on the right - who strongly condemn almost automatically any High Court decision - but
this time, although I really do not like its outcome, this is a perfectly legitimate
decision," wrote Smotrich on Facebook.
"Allan is a terrorist and I really would not have been sorry if he had died of the
hunger strike he decided to take. But once the defense establishment decided that it is
not good for our interests that he die, we had to force feed him in accordance with the
new law, passed by the Knesset," said Smotrich.
"The weakness of the state and the hypocrisy of the Israeli Medical Association created
the absurd reality in which he lost consciousness and suffered brain damage," he added.
"In this situation it is quite possible that administrative detention, which is in the
first place a preventive detention, was no longer required. In his current condition he is
probably not a threat. The Court did not revoke the detention altogether but only paused
it as long as Allan's condition is 'not dangerous'. As stated, this decision is certainly
legitimate in a democratic country."
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Wednesday night strongly condemned
the ruling. "The decision to release the terrorist Allan stems first of all from the
position of the (Israeli) Medical Association, led by Dr. (Leonid) Eidelman, not to treat
hunger strikers until they lose consciousness and until there are concerns of irreversible
damage," said Erdan.
"Throughout his (Allan's) hospitalization, Dr. Eidelman demanded from the doctors and
threatened them not to act according to the law on rights of the sick, despite the
decision of the hospitals' ethics committee," he said, noting on the refusal to implement
the newly passed forced feeding law for hunger striking terrorists. "The time has come for
the Medical Association and its leader to honor the law instead of taking steps that in
the end lead to the release of terrorists."
After International Outcry, Spanish Festival Reinvites Matisyahu
By YnetNews.com, Reuters & AFP
A Spanish reggae festival on Wednesday reversed its decision to cancel an invitation to
an American Jewish musician because he had failed to spell out his views on Palestinian
statehood. "Rototom Sunsplash apologizes publicly to Matisyahu for cancelling his concert
and announces that it has invited him to perform next Saturday, August 22, at the festival
as initially planned," the festival organizers said in a statement.
The organizers said they had made a mistake under pressure from activists who call for
a boycott and sanctions on Israel over its policies towards Palestinians. The Spanish
government condemned on the festival's decision to cancel Matisyahu's concert. Spain said
it rejected boycott campaigns and any sign of anti-Semitism, while reiterating its support
for an independent Palestinian state through bilateral negotiations.
The Israeli Embassy in Madrid had denounced what it called "ideological censorship" by
the festival, adding that, as the singer is not Israeli, the decision appeared to carry
"anti-Semitic overtones." The cancellation drew protest from Jewish groups around the
world. The Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities condemned the decision as cowardly,
unjust and discriminatory, saying that Matisyahu had been asked to take a political
position because he was Jewish when this was not required of other performers.
Matisyahu himself took to Facebook to expose the injustice. "Honestly it was appalling
and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival
they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists
scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform? No artist
deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art."
Lynched at Midnight: How anti-Semitism Doomed Leo Frank
One hundred years ago, a mob showed up at the Milledgeville State Penitentiary in
Georgia in middle of the night. Without firing a shot, they managed to leave with the most
controversial criminal in America at the time. They drove him to a faraway oak grove and
hung him from a tree. The lynch was the end of a sordid trial tainted by racism, following
which even the original prosecutor in the case of Mary Phagan's murder thought Leo Frank
The start of his story was very different. Leo Frank had been the living embodiment of
the American dream. Born in 1884 to German Jewish immigrants, he was raised in Brooklyn,
New York, and studied engineering in Cornell University. He then moved to Atlanta to run a
pencil factory. Shortly after his arrival, he met Lucile Selig, who came from a rich
Jewish family. They married, and Frank became very involved in the Jewish community life
of Atlanta, then home to the biggest Jewish community in the American south.
All that would change on April 27, 1913, with the body of Mary Phagan was discovered in
the pencil factory's basement. The 13-year old factory worker had been brutally murdered,
and notes written by the killer were found near her body. In a world where modern forensic
science was only beginning, the detectives had little to rely on but their instincts - and
The investigation focused on three people who were also at the factory that night: Leo
Frank, the manager, the factory's black janitor Jim Conley, and the night watchman Newt
Lee, who had discovered the body and called the police.
Lee had an alibi, thanks to Frank's meticulousness : he had installed a punch card
system that proved Lee couldn't have been at the basement for long enough to commit the
murder. But Frank had no alibi. He had been in his office alone. Conley, who had no alibi
either, admitted to writing the notes, but claimed they were dictated to him by Frank.
Conley claimed Frank had murdered Phagan and forced him to help move the body.
Actually, this was only one of several versions Conley gave the police. But this was
the only one the detectives chose to believe. Frank was arrested for murder and Conley
became the State's witness. In little time the trial became a media circus, attracting the
attention of the national media. Local Georgia newspapers, and especially the new form of
tabloids, covered the story like a serial thriller.
Frank, cast as the villain, was repeatedly described in very different terms than the
local average white Southerner: a northern Yankee, an industrialist, a Jew. The local
Jewish community kept a low profile but racism played a major role in the trial. It was
conjured up by all sides, often in seemingly surprising ways.
For example, the prosecution ignored contradictions in Conley's testimony and even the
fact that he had knowledge of evidence he wasn't supposed to know. The prosecutor, Hugh
Dorsey, deemed all that irrelevant, because the killer had written notes with proper
grammar: Conley was black and therefore incapable of writing them. The Jewish Yankee, on
the other hand, was university-educated.
During the trial, as angry mobs howled outside the courthouse, one of the defense
attorneys, Reuben Arnold, argued that racism was actually key to the case: His client
stood trial because he "comes from a race of people that have made money. If Frank hadn't
been a Jew he never would have been prosecuted," Arnold argued.
Luther Rosser, the lead defense attorney and a prominent lawyer to Atlanta's wealthy
families, chose a very different set of racist sentiments to undermine the main witness:
"Conley is a plain, beastly, drunken, filthy, lying nigger with a spreading nose through
which probably tons of cocaine have probably been sniffed."
Prosecutor Dorsey, rebutting, made fun of that accusation, to a laughing and cheering
crowd. "Gentlemen, do you think that I or these detectives are actuated by prejudice?
Would we as sworn officers of the law have sought to hang Leo Frank on account of his race
and religion and passed up Jim Conley? A negro!" said the prosecutor and added his
assessment of Jews: "This great people rises to heights sublime, but they can sink to the
depths of degradation too".
The verdict was a foregone conclusion to the courtroom audience and with the mob
outside too. And indeed, Frank was found guilty for the murder of Mary Phagan and was
sentenced to hang. Churches across Atlanta rang their bells, while many local residents
celebrated in the streets.
Frank filed 13 different appeals. All were rejected. In his dissent, Supreme Court
Justice Olive Wendell Holmes wrote that Frank had not received due process of law,
"because of the trial taking place in the presence of a hostile demonstration and
seemingly dangerous crowd."
While Frank was exhausting his appeals, pressure began mounting in the press, chiefly
in the New York Times, to void the verdict or, at the very least, to commute his sentence.
The popular Georgia daily The Jeffersonian replied in its headline: "When are the northern
Jews going to let up their insane attempt to bulldoze the state of Georgia?"
"I know the people of Georgia
The outcries of the mob against the defendant were
not against Frank - it was a cry against the Jews," Dr. Madison C. Peters, from the North
Baptist Church, told the New York Times before Frank's final appeal.
During the appeals process, even the original prosecutor Dorsey joined the campaign,
saying he had reexamined the evidence and determined that Frank was innocent. That didn't
help, but it did make Dorsey the target of death threats. It came down to the Georgia
governor, John Slaton, who was taking arrows from the opposing sides. Slaton decided to
conduct his own investigation and examine the evidence.
He concluded there was enough reasonable doubt to commute Frank's sentence from death
to life imprisonment. The decision sparked an outcry with Slaton at its center. Threats
were common and so were angry protests who demanded to hang "the pervert Jew."
Slaton, whose political career ended because of this decision, said: "I would rather be
plowing in a field than to feel that I had that blood on my hands."
In the end, the outraged citizens went the way of tradition. The most famous convict in
the country was taken from his cell in the dead of night. Not a single official there is
recorded as having objected as Leo Frank was led away to his death, on August 17,
This was not some angry mob with pitchforks. These were the well-to-do of Atlanta,
civilized people who drove up to the jail in their cars, at a time when few people in the
city had cars. The lynch party consisted of upstanding members of the community, including
a former county sheriff and a judge. The latter read Frank his original death sentence
before he was hanged.
The murder of Leo Frank is now long forgotten, and for reason. During the trial, the
lynch and its aftermath, American Jews were torn about an appropriate reaction to one of
the ugliest cases of anti-Semitism in American history. Was it just a harbinger of much
worse to come, as some of them had experienced in Europe? Or was it an anomaly, best
forgotten? They chose the latter.
Double Agent Dolphin: Hamas Catches 'Israeli Spy' at Sea
Hamas has taken a new captive said sources in the Gaza Strip Wednesday - a dolphin said
to be outfitted with cameras and other equipment on a spying mission for Israel. The
suspicious sea creature was apparently captured a few weeks ago near the shores of Gaza by
Hamas' elite unit of sea commandos whose operatives infiltrated Israel during Operation
Protective Edge and were killed on the beaches of Ziqim.
The source said that the spying dolphin was dispatched by Israel to collect video
intelligence of the unit's training activities. The Palestinian publication Al-Quds
reported that Hamas militants grew wary of the dolphin due to its "suspicious
The spying equipment was reportedly found when the dolphin was removed from the water
and checked. Al-Quds reported that the suspect was also outfitted with a device capable of
firing arrows with the capability of wounding or even killing a human.
The dolphin debacle is not the first time that Israel has been accused of using animals
in efforts to spy on their enemies. Birds have allegedly been outfitted for spying
operations and a shark that killed several tourists in Egypt in 2010 was accused of
working for the Mossad in an attempt to harm tourism.
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