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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 recovers.

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, 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

By Ha'aretz

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 was innocent.

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 prejudices.

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, 1915.

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 movements."

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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