Tuesday, August 16, 2016

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: The Palestinian Charity Trap
World Vision officials have professed to be “shocked” by the arrest in Israel last week of Mohammed El-Halabi, the head of the megacharity’s Gaza operations. Mr. Halabi is accused of repurposing over the course of 10 years up to $7.2 million a year, in cash and materials, to Hamas. That’s approximately 60% of World Vision’s total aid to Gaza.
The broader problem is that due diligence for humanitarian aid in war and terror zones requires the allocation of significant resources and a professional staff capable of detaching itself from the pressures and sympathies of the local environment. World Vision, like most aid groups operating in Gaza, clearly failed in this respect.
World Vision’s troubles in Gaza reflect the broader moral failures of the humanitarian-aid industry. The narrow vision of aid workers contribute to a willful blindness to terrorism. The competition for publicity and donations results in alliances with brutal regimes and corrupt warlords. But thanks to the NGO “halo effect,” many donors also neglect due diligence, instead relying on the pure reputation of the recipient organization.
Aid groups also need to obtain and use intelligence information, particularly regarding employees and their activities. Some of this can be developed internally, and some can be purchased from consulting firms. And instead of adopting the Palestinian culture of noncooperation with Israeli security, it is in the interests of these organizations to quietly open channels of communication and information sharing.
The Illiberal Left and Political Islam
The liberal dread of being labelled Islamophobic, a penchant for tolerating the intolerant, combined with the fear of provoking violence, has effectively silenced intelligent debate about the rise of political Islam in Europe and its impact on secular democratic politics. Over the past decade, not only the media but also the art world has opted for collusion and self-censorship.
The combination of Islamophobia, balance and the omnipresent threat of violence means that it has become impossible to organise a conference or even a debate on political Islam and freedom of expression on a British or Australian campus. The preoccupation with “safe spaces” on Western campuses, along with the fact that the Gulf States endow chairs in Islamic Studies at Oxford, Princeton and Griffith University in Australia further inhibits discussion. Of 198 member states of the UN, ninety-four have blasphemy laws and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation regularly pushes for the UN Human Rights Council to recognise the defamation of religion.
The rising price of political freedom, it seems, is too high for many Western governments to pay. The long war for cultural freedom which began in 1989 is in serious danger of being lost. As Karl Popper observed of an earlier totalitarian threat to the open society, “If we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” We should therefore claim “in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant”. Unfortunately, this argument does not gets much air-time, let alone political support.
The UK media and the national student union now consider any mention of inconvenient facts about vote rigging in Asian, primarily Muslim communities, or the imposition of sharia law in some UK communities, as “Islamophobic”. Thus the Guardian, the BBC and academe ignore or condone the profound change in the character and conduct of UK politics that the resistible rise of Sadiq Khan and Naz Shah intimates.
“Life imitates art, far more than art imitates life,” Oscar concluded his essay on lying. Yet the slow-motion collision of mainstream Islam with the multicultural transnational Left has led to a Ben Abbes-style transformation of liberal democratic London into a progressively illiberal, Islamophile Londonistan that exceeds even Houellebecq’s fervid imagination.
Michael Lumish: This Week on Nothing Left (August 16, 2016)
These guys are a breath of fresh air.
Nothing Left - Episode 112 - 8/16/16
Rev Willem Glashouwer & Andrew Tucker (Christians for Israel)
Aussie Dave (Israellycool)
Julie Nathan (Executive Council of Australian Jewry)
Michael Kuttner (The Israel Resource News Agency)
Isi Leibler (Jerusalem Post)

Sweden: The Silence of the Jews
"It pains me to have to admit this but anti-Semitism is not just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it is routine and commonplace. Any Muslims reading this article – if they are honest with themselves – will know instantly what I am referring to. It is our dirty little secret. You could call it the banality of Muslim anti-Semitism." — Mehdi Hasan, The New Statesman.
"There isn't much of a desire to do anything about it [the problem of antisemitism]. It should also be said that the so-called interfaith outreach work... achieves almost nothing. A couple of old bearded men get together and agree on some dietary thing they've got in common, but it doesn't solve the fact that anti-Semitism mainly comes from Muslim communities these days. ... that that's taught in many mosques and many Muslim schools..." — Douglas Murray, British commentator.
The question that arises is, are the elites of Sweden in general suffering from a case of Stockholm syndrome? Are we encouraging our adversaries to Islamize Sweden, which in the long run, might result in the abolition of freedom of religion, forcing Jews and Christians to live as dhimmis [subjugated citizens] in humiliation?
If by allowing hundreds of thousands of Muslims to settle here -- people much more hateful of Jews than the average German during the Nazi era -- are we not in fact paving the way for another Holocaust?
Christian Summer Conferences Offer Israel Blessings and Curses
A segment of Christians is actually trying to delude the world into thinking the absurd: that the ancient Jews of Canaan and Judea are "colonialists" who are "illegally occupying" their own native land.
Seemingly undeterred by their 2016 defeats, the Christian anti-Israel coalitions are regrouping for their next attacks, while pro-Israel Christian Zionist organizations -- including Christians United for Israel (CUFI), Friends of Israel (FOI), International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem (ICEJ) and Bridges for Peace, among others, continue to speak out and teach the facts and the truth about Israel to Christians throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Still, the Bible gives us hope and assurance that there is a future day when Israel will be able to bask in the elusive peace it demonstrably continues to offer those who are trying to destroy it.
A changing Crown Heights marks 25 years since Brooklyn 'pogrom'
Much has changed in Crown Heights in the past 25 years, since the accidental death of a black boy touched off three days of rioting in which black youths attacked religious Jews in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
Many called it a riot. Some Jews call the events of Aug.19-21, 1991, a pogrom. And some blacks call it an uprising.
Yankel Rosenbaum, a graduate student affiliated with the area's prominent Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, was killed when a group of black men stabbed and beat him, shattering his skull. Cars were overturned and set aflame. Bricks were thrown. Residents and reporters were pulled from cars and beaten. Stores were looted.
The violence left anguish in both communities, but also led to high-profile community programs intended to create racial reconciliation, many of which have since shut down.
And some scars, on both sides of the racial divide, have yet to completely heal.
But today is a very different time in Crown Heights, where charming limestone row houses line side streets and prewar apartment buildings sit tall on the avenues. A growing number of young professionals are moving in from pricier parts of Brownstone Brooklyn and Manhattan in search of more affordable rents. Fancy boutiques and coffee shops are proliferating. There’s even a Starbucks.
Today there is less open hostility between blacks and Jews, residents say, though still a high degree of separation, misunderstanding and suspicion. But there is far better communication between leaders of the respective communities, who are quick to quell misinformation when conflict occurs – which was part of what fed the rioting, according to a state-commissioned report issued in 1993.
And today, Crown Heights’ blacks and Jews share a common adversary: gentrification.
Telling It Like It Wasn’t
Former Times reporter looks back on coverage of the event, and what went wrong.
Yet, when I picked up the paper, the article I read was not the story I had reported. I saw headlines that described the riots in terms solely of race. “Two Deaths Ignite Racial Clash in Tense Brooklyn Neighborhood,” the Times headline said. And, worse, I read an opening paragraph, what journalists call a “lead,” that was simply untrue:
“Hasidim and blacks clashed in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn through the day and into the night yesterday.”
In all my reporting during the riots I never saw — or heard of — any violence by Jews against blacks. But the Times was dedicated to this version of events: blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions. To show Jewish culpability in the riots, the paper even ran a picture — laughable even at the time — of a chasidic man brandishing an open umbrella before a police officer in riot gear. The caption read: “A police officer scuffling with a Hasidic man yesterday on President Street.”
I was outraged but I held my tongue. I was a loyal Times employee and deferred to my editors. I figured that other reporters on the streets were witnessing parts of the story I was not seeing.
But then I reached my breaking point. On Aug. 21, as I stood in a group of chasidic men in front of the Lubavitch headquarters, a group of demonstrators were coming down Eastern Parkway. “Heil Hitler,” they chanted. “Death to the Jews.”
Police in riot gear stood nearby but did nothing.
Proposing ‘extreme vetting,’ Trump says no entry to US for anti-Semites
Donald Trump said he would test would-be immigrants for anti-Semitic beliefs and that Israel would be a key ally in defeating radical Islam, unveiling a proposal for radically stepped up vetting measures for potential immigrants in a policy address Monday.
Speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, the Republican presidential nominee outlined national security policies that included what he called “extreme vetting” for would-be immigrants, including for those who would reject what he described as American values of tolerance.
“We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” Trump ventured, promising to temporarily suspend immigration from “the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world” that export terrorism.
“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today. I call it extreme vetting.”
Soros Hack Reveals Evidence of Systemic Anti-Israel Bias
According to one document, for example, the Arab Regional Office Presidential Portfolio Review, dated August 6, 2015, the Soros network has given $2,688,561 in 14 grants since 2001 to Adalah. A self-described “independent human rights organization” that has been instrumental in accusing Israel of war crimes on numerous occasions in international forums, Adalah has called on governments the world over to sever or downgrade their diplomatic relations with Israel. An additional $1,083,000 in nine grants since 2003 went to I’lam, a Nazareth-based Palestinian media center. In a 2014 publication about the Nakba—the name Palestinians give the creation of the state of Israel, literally meaning “catastrophe”—the center accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and argued that “the practical meaning of the Nakba undermines the moral and ethical foundation of Zionism and, hence, of the State of Israel.” Other similar-minded organizations received similarly large grants, sometimes through the auspices of another Soros grantee, the New Israel Fund, which supported many of the same NGOs.
But perhaps more instructive than the list of grantees itself is Arab Regional Office’s 2014 portfolio review document of the Palestine/Israel international advocacy portfolio, a deep and candid dive into the Soros network’s goals and ambitions in the region.
The ARO, the report indicates, was motivated in part by what it perceived as “a particular shift in political dynamics particularly in the US reflected by the publication of the Walt and Mearsheimer article ‘The Israel Lobby’ in Spring 2006 which pointed out the lobby’s role in, among other things, influencing the Iraq invasion.” Another encouraging shift, according to the report, is the rise of the international movement to boycott Israel: “A number of factors make this a good moment to review this portfolio,” it reads, “including some new or improved opportunities we may choose to exploit. In recent years there’s been heightened international solidarity around Palestinians’ rights, the rise of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other economic levers, and increased use and traction of arts and culture by Palestinians as a means to raise awareness of violations and the impact of the conflict.”
Rather than try and impact the conflict, however, by supporting organizations working to directly persuade the concerned parties—namely, Israelis and Palestinians—of the necessity of more equitable conditions for the benefit of both sides, the Open Society Foundations, ironically, took a much less democratic approach and instead focused exclusively on exerting outside pressure on the Israeli government.
Soros-Funded Group Blames Clinton for ISIS
While Donald Trump continues to be blasted in the mainstream media for calling President Barack Obama the "founder of ISIS," a left-wing organization that is funded in part by George Soros is blaming both President Obama and Hillary Clinton for setting the stage for ISIS.
In a piece published by Pro Publica and the Washington Post, the writers claim a series of decisions by the State Department, the White House and Congress -- but almost all implemented by Clinton's state department -- helped give rise to ISIS:
A State Department team that administered the cuts under White House direction eventually ended up with a $1.6 billion surplus — money initially appropriated for Iraq that was freed for use in other conflict zones, including Libya, officials and documents say.
The downscaling was done over the objections of U.S. military leaders on the ground, who said the slashing of key assistance programs — in a few cases, by more than 90 percent — left the U.S. government increasingly in the dark about developments outside the Iraqi capital. Some former officers who managed Iraqi aid programs say the cuts were a factor in the slow deterioration of Iraq’s security forces in the months before the Islamic State’s 2014 assault.
Leaked Soros Memo: Refugee Crisis 'New Normal,' Gives 'New Opportunities' For Global Influence
A leaked memo from left-wing financier George Soros’s Open Society Foundations argues that Europe’s refugee crisis should be accepted as a “new normal,” and that the refugee crisis means “new opportunities” for Soros’ organization to influence immigration policies on a global scale.
OSF program officer Anna Crowley and program specialist Katin Rosin co-authored the May 12 memo, titled “Migration Governance and Enforcement Portfolio Review.” The memo focuses on an OSF program called the International Migration Initiative, which aims to influence immigration policy.
The nine-page review makes three key points: OSF — which doles out millions to left-wing causes — has been successful at influencing global immigration policy; Europe’s refugee crisis presents “new opportunities” for the organization to influence global immigration policy; and the refugee crisis is the “new normal.”
One of the purposes of the review, Crowley and Rosin write in the introduction, is to “consider the effectiveness of the approaches we have used to achieve change at the international level.”
Memo: Soros Group Funded ‘Opposition Research’ On Critics Of Radical Islam
In the memo, Open Society Foundations (OSF) executives lamented that progressive groups and members of the Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian-American (AMEMSA) community lacked “high quality opposition research” to combat “anti-Muslim xenophobia and to promote tolerance.”
To close that gap, OSF sought to provide a $200,000 grant to CAP, which was founded in 2003 by Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
The CAP project, called the Examining Anti-Muslim Bigotry Project, set out to engage progressives and journalists to raise awareness about the critics of radical Islam. In addition to Geller, Gaffney and Spencer, CAP planned to “research and track” the activities of David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Cliff May and Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“CAP’s first step will be to interview and engage journalists, researchers, academics, and leaders in the anti-hate movement who are researching and writing on Islamophobia, and to develop a roster of knowledgeable and credible experts to whom journalists and policymakers can turn for information,” it continues.
OSF did fund CAP’s project. Its 2011 tax filings show that it gave CAP the $200,000 grant as well as two others totaling $500,000.
According to the OSF document, which was published on a new website called DCLeaks, CAP would also explore the interactions of groups of conservative think tanks, pundits and politicians which were part of the so-called Islamophobia movement.
PreOccupiedTerritory: I, Thy Lord George Soros, Command Thee To Build An Echo Chamber By George Soros (satire)
Thus spake thy Lord and King George Soros: thou shalt construct for Me an Echo Chamber, of the finest pundits and plausible diversity. And the Chamber shall be 1600 cubits by 1600 cubits, that it may match My house on Pennsylvania Avenue, from which shall issue by My servants proclamations in support of My goals and condemnations of those opposed to My goals.
Verily, My goals are not your goals; for as the snow and rain come down from the heavens, not to return until they have sprouted on My land My political will, so, too, My money shall cultivate a tandem of experts predisposed to echo My desired policy goals, thus saith thy Lord George Soros.
Thou shalt build the echo chamber of politicians, businessmen, commentators, and Non-Governmental Organizations with established credibility to put forth My desires as the highest interest of the Land, that it may please Me and I may share My wealth with thee and thy puny dependents.
Take heed and watch thyself, for if thou strayest from My message of Israeli perfidy and Muslim virtue, My wrath shall be kindled against thee with the fire of Persian atomic weapons. Thy children will be orphaned and thy wives shall be widowed, for I am a jealous God Who tolerateth not dissent in the ranks of My empire. The wind of political correctness shall sweep thee away into social oblivion, and never shalt thou again find work in this town, thus saith George Soros.
The huge periphery of anti-Semitism
The acceptance of a working definition of anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in May 2016 was a major event in exposing this ancient hatred. For the definition to be accepted, the IHRA required the agreement of the 31 member states of the organization, among which 24 are members of the European Union. One can now analyze the statements and publications of a person or organization for anti-Semitism by comparing them to the definition and the examples of anti-Semitism mentioned in the IHRA document.
One can apply this definition for instance to the frequent anti-Semitic slurs by Lady Jenny Tonge. Tonge is an independent member of the UK House of Lords and was previously an MP of the Liberal Party. Over the years, she has accused the Israel lobby of conspiracies, Israel of being responsible for suicide bombings in Iraq, as well as calling the treatment of Palestinians by Israel “the root cause of terrorism worldwide.” Tonge has also said that “Israel is not going to be there forever.” Other statements she has made include that the Jews should be “ashamed of themselves” for not stopping Israel. All of these are anti-Semitic slurs which are included in the examples of anti-Semitism accompanying the IHRA definition.
Yet, when analyzing Tonge’s statements, one realizes that the definition of anti-Semitism, like any other definition, has its limits. This has two major aspects. The first is that the definition cannot list all examples of anti-Semitism. For instance, the definition says that it is anti-Semitic to draw “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” It does not, however, mention comparing Israel to Islamic State (ISIS). This Islamic terror organization is currently a model for absolute evil.
Jeremy Corbyn, the extreme-left leader of the British Labour Party, has indirectly made such a comparison during the official presentation of the Chakrabarti Report on Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and Racism in the Labour Party. It is not clear that Corbyn’s remark meets the definition of anti-Semitism. Yet former UK chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks rightly called Corbyn’s statement “demonization of the highest order.”
The second aspect outside the IHRA definition concerns a large number of other acts and statements on its periphery. For instance, Lady Tonge brought the Palestinian Muslim cleric Raed Salah to the British Parliament. He has propagated the libel that Jews use the blood of non-Jews to bake their Shabbat bread.
Judge who ruled in Labour membership appeal challenged over being a "Zionist"
Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have suggested that the judge in the Labour membership case may have been influenced by his "Zionist" background.
Lord Justice Jack Beatson ruled in the Court of Appeal on Friday that Labour had the right to block new members from voting in the leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith.
The decision affects around 130,000 party members, most of them thought to be Corbynites.
Mr Corbyn's campaign team attacked it as wrong "both legally and democratically".
After the ruling, messages were posted on Twitter questioning Justice Beatson’s competence because he was "born in Israel".
A tweet from the account of Davidgeorgeking, a Corbyn supporter, said: “I don't know if this is true but the appeal court judge in Labour V Labour case today was (I'm told) born in Israel!”
The tweet cited a post from Ian R Millard referring to a “cuckoos in the nest Israel lobby”.
The account in the name of Ian Millard includes photos of Adolf Hitler and a message backing National Socialism.
In response, tweets from the account of a Leicester man called Safraan, said the judge "was born in Haifa- Israeli occupied Palestine”, adding: “Its quite apparent that Beatson, LJ. is a Zionist!” and using the slur term “Zio”.
The tweets also noted that the judge “went to a Jewish boarding school”.
Daphne Anson: Cherchez Les Greens: "We Must Force Israel into a Perennial State of Existential Anxiety"
Get Up! is an Aussie organisation that describes itself as politically progressive and supports "social justice".
On the Facebook page of its national director, Paul Oosting, it's described as "a people-powered social movement".
The sort of issues that turn its members on can be seen here
As reported (behind a paywall) in today's The Australian by senior writer Sharri Markson:
'A director of activist group GetUp! supports a boycott of ­Israeli products and wants to “force Israel into a perennial state of existential anxiety”.
Fresh from revelations GetUp! chairwoman Sarah Maddison campaigned for the Greens during the federal election, comes news that another board member, Sara Saleh, publicly supports the Boycott ­Divestment Sanctions movement on Twitter.
In a speech in March, Ms Saleh said the media fabricated news in support of Israel and claimed Israeli soldiers were banned from taking their phones into Gaza so they could not post to Facebook photos of them doing unspeakable things to dead Palestinians.
“It would come then as no surprise that after years of indoctrination, most Western news outlets are biased in favour of ­Israel, skewed at best, one-sided at worst in their media reports,” Ms Saleh said, adding this ­included “fabrication of news”.
Michael Oren aims to fight boycotts with the help of poets and writers
Israel should take a good hard look at how it allocates its foreign policy budgets, incoming Deputy Minister Michael Oren said, suggesting that Jerusalem’s traditional focus on Western Europe comes at the expense of developing ties with African and Latin American countries.
“Only four percent — get this: only four percent — of our Foreign Ministry’s budget goes to Africa. Only 14 percent goes to Latin America. I’d like to take a close look at our global priorities,” Oren told The Times of Israel this week.
On the other hand, a whopping 33 percent of the ministry’s budget is spent on Western Europe, added Oren. “If were to double that sum, how much change in Europe’s policy can we expect in response to that? And the answer to that would be not very much. Maybe not at all. But if we were to double the four percent that we invest in Africa to eight percent, I think we’d see a very substantive movement indeed.”
BDS’ destiny is failure
The international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel, falsely cloaked under the banner of justice, is just the latest morally bankrupt, hate-filled and all-too-often anti-Semitic movement waged against Israel and the Jewish people.
BDS has attempted to position itself as a purely nonviolent movement that holds the moral high ground and that seeks to isolate Israel economically and diplomatically, misguidedly drawing its inspiration from the South Africa anti-apartheid movement.
But here is the bottom line. BDS will fail, miserably. It is its destiny.
History and context matter, but to BDS supporters those parameters are unnecessary. To BDS supporters, it is irrelevant that the West Bank came under Israeli control in a defensive war, or that Israel has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, given back the Sinai and unilaterally withdrawn from Lebanon and Gaza. Any evidence that Israel wants peace is dismissed. BDSers are blinded by their own rhetoric; when people are exposed to this hypocrisy, BDS loses its limited legitimacy and the power of its sloganeering.
Americans, in particular, widely understand the Middle East is complex and the BDS argument absurd. They can differentiate between a democratic nation that despite its imperfections has historically seized opportunities for peace and the bloodthirsty terrorism that has been perpetuated against Israeli citizens. Americans know that each of Israel’s peace offers has been refused.
San Francisco Bus Ad Defends BDS
The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) has launched a new ad on buses in San Francisco with the slogan “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights.” The ad is not clear as to which Palestinians are bereft of those equal rights: are they the ones being repressed by Hamas that steals their charity funds, diverting them to luxury homes for Hamas bigwigs and to terror tunnels aimed at kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians? Are they the ones struggling to make it under an incompetent, corrupt PLO-run Palestinian Authority, that hasn’t run a national election in almost ten years? Or are they Israeli Arabs, with a representation in the Knesset that matches their 20% of the population, democratic freedoms and access to higher education? Or is it too much to ask a bus ad for specifics?
The ambiguous bus ad will run for four weeks, according to a SeaMAC press release. The ad includes the slogan “Stop Anti-Boycott Legislation” and features a list of historic boycotts, including the Boston Tea Party, segregated buses in Montgomery in 1956, and South Africa’s apartheid regime.
“Advocates for Israel’s apartheid are trying to persuade state and national legislatures to outlaw the right to boycott against social injustice in Israel,” said Edward Mast, volunteer board member of SeaMAC. Of course, Israel does not have an apartheid system — the Arab member of the Supreme Court would never approve of it, nor would the thousands of Arab students in Israel’s universities, thousands of Arab doctors and lawyers, and Israeli Arabs from all walks of life who participate in a free Israeli society. It’s not a problem-free society, but compared to the neighborhood it is pretty impressive.
Mast, however, sees attempts to seek legal means of stopping his campaign of lies as an “attack on free speech … one more example of demanding special treatment for the State of Israel.”
CAMERA's BBC Watch Secures Correction on Eli Weisel
The BBC claimed in its July 2 article that, during the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Wiesel charged Israel with genocide:
Two years ago, Elie Wiesel, together with 300 Holocaust survivors, criticised Israel because of its attack on Gaza, and accused the Israeli government of genocide.
Wiesel made no such accusation. He did, though, criticize Hamas during that war for its use of human shields.
And in fact, it was precisely because Wiesel went after Hamas that a group calling itself the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) published an advertisement — the statement cited in the BBC Persian story — attacking Wiesel and charging Israel with a "massacre." (It does not, however, accuse Israel of genocide.)
Following communication from BBC Watch, the erroneous paragraph has been amended and a footnote has been added to the article that reads:
“Clarification: In the first version of this article it was written by mistake that Elie Wiesel was a signatory to a letter that accused the government of Israel with genocide. Hereby the mistake is corrected.”
105-Year-Old Goebbels’ Stenographer Calls Her Work for Nazi Propaganda Mastermind ‘Just Another Job’
The 105-year-old former secretary and stenographer of Nazi propaganda mastermind Joseph Goebbels described her role promoting the evil regime’s war machine as “just another job” in an interview with The Guardian on Monday.
Brunhilde Pomsel — who was one of Goebbels’ five personal assistants — spent more than 30 hours with Guardian reporter Kate Connolly, and their conversations were the source of “A German Life,” which recently premiered at the Munich Film Festival.
Pomsel readily admitted to manipulating statistics of fallen German soldiers, so that the casualty rates wouldn’t appear high to the public. She also said she was tasked with inflating the number of rapes the Red Army had carried out against German women.
One story she told was of being handed the file on Sophie School, an anti-Nazi activist and student who was executed for treason in February 1943, after distributing anti-war fliers at the University of Munich.
“I was told by one of Goebbels’ special advisers to put it in the safe, and not to look at it,” Pomsel stated. “So I didn’t, and was quite pleased with myself that he trusted me, and that my keenness to honor that trust was stronger than my curiosity to open that file.”
“But really, I didn’t do anything other than type in Goebbels’ office,” she said.
To Connolly, Pomsel appeared “unrepentant…it seems as if she even takes something restorative from her insistence that she simply acted the same way as most other Germans.”
Uproar over ‘satirical’ Czech bus advertising Auschwitz vacations
A “satirical” tour bus in the Czech Republic advertising the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as a fun holiday destination has been condemned by Holocaust survivors and local Jewish leaders.
The camp’s infamous sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work makes free”) is seen emblazoned on the side of the double-decker bus alongside a large Star of David and images of real Jewish victims murdered by Nazi Germany.
Text along the side of the bus cheerfully urges people to “Come to Auschwitz — A journey through emotions,” and “Our guides speak Czech!”
The bus was originally made as a film prop for a satirical movie by Czech director Vit Klusak examining the emerging Holocaust tourist industry in Eastern Europe.
However, after filming was completed the bus was sold to a local tour company that has refused to remove the decorations.
Polish president pens passionate eulogy for Sobibor survivor
In an unusual gesture, the president of Poland published a long statement eulogizing a Holocaust survivor who was among a handful of people to have escaped the Nazi death camp at Sobibor in the country’s east.
Andrzej Duda published his 650-word eulogy of Philip Bialowitz on the president’s official website on Friday. Bialowitz, who died August 6 in his home in Florida at age 90, was the last Polish Jewish survivor of the Sobibor camp.
“We are saying goodbye to an ardent advocate of mutual friendship and respect among nations, religions and world views,” Duda wrote about Bialowitz. His death, Duda added, marks the passing of a “person who did much to ensure that the crime of the Holocaust forever remains a closed chapter of history. So that nobody, under no circumstances, experiences it ever again.“
Bialowitz and his older brother, Symcha, escaped from Sobibor along with 300 other Jewish prisoners after staging a well-planned rebellion in which the death camp’s German guards were killed. Most of the prisoners were recaptured and killed, but the brothers Bialowitz were among a few dozen who got away. Symcha Bialowitz died in Israel in 2014.
Rising Tensions in Ukraine Prompt Hundreds of Jews to Consider Immigration to Israel
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, or The Fellowship, said that in the last two weeks they have been flooded with hundreds of calls from Ukrainian Jews inquiring about immigrating to Israel as a result of increased tensions with Russia.
In the past month alone, The Fellowship, known for helping Jews immigrate to Israel, has received more than 1,700 inquiries (over 1,000 emails and 720 phone calls) from Jews in the Ukraine in their office in Kiev, the organization said.
There are 260,000 Jews living in the Ukraine. About 5,000 are eligible for emigration who live in the Donbass region, which has been experiencing violence and unrest since March 2014, when government troops began fighting pro-Russian rebels, following the Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“The plight of the Jewish people in Ukraine is deteriorating,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship. “Our support for them will mean the difference between life and death, whether we’re providing critical aid such as food and medicine or helping those who wish to immigrate to Israel.”
Virtual reality can help prevent falls in elderly, Israeli team finds
For the elderly, a fall can alter life permanently. In the US alone, over 700,000 people 65 and older are hospitalized because of a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control; 250,000 of them are treated for a hip fracture. Any person caring for an elderly loved one will tell you that after a bad fall, the next step is likely to be a nursing home.
Preventing such events, then, could save a lot of misery and a lot of money that would go to treatment for the injury as well as care for the elderly person who may never overcome the damage sustained in the fall.
Researchers at the Sackler Medical School of Tel Aviv University have been studying this problem, and a team led by that institution’s Dr. Anat Mirelman believes that it may have found a way to help prevent or reduce the numbers of those falls.
“Our approach combines treadmill exercise and virtual reality to help improve both physical mobility and cognitive aspects that are important for safe walking. We found that virtual reality plus treadmill training helped to reduce fall frequency and fall risk for at least six months after training,” said Mirelman.
New Israeli venture hopes to revolutionize small dairy farms in Vietnam
A stone’s throw away from the buzzing metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, south Vietnam’s array of small dairy farms sit tucked away among muddy dirt paths and lush fields of elephant grass – clinging to cultivation practices from decades ago.
But with milk yield and quality lagging far below accepted standards, one Israeli-owned company hopes to revolutionize the sector.
“In Vietnam, more than 60 percent of the dairy industry is small household farmers – somewhere between four cows and 70 cows,” Ronen Zexer, a co-founder of a new enterprise called Smart Feed Solutions, told The Jerusalem Post on a Skype call last week.
“These farms are utilizing technology and know-how that is equivalent to Israel back in the 1940s and 1950s,” Zexer said. “These farmers do not have access to technology and to know-how and to the progress that was made in the dairy industry. At the same time, they need to compete in the market.”
Zexer, who in the past served as CEO of the dairy technology leader Afimilk and has consulted for the Israeli-Vietnamese TH Milk mega project, is heading a co-investment between Israeli and Dutch entrepreneurs in a new approach to the challenges of the dairy industry in developing countries.
Israeli animators earn top prize at US film festival
Two graduates of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem won first place for design in a major US animation festival.
“Scapegoat,” a short film by Gal Haklay and Shulamit Tager, won first prize in the original design category at the 13th annual Animation Block Party Awards, Bezalel announced Monday. The Animation Block Party is a showcase for independent, professional and student animation.
The Israeli pair were among 100 participants selected for the festival, held in Brooklyn, New York July 28-31. The two earned Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from the Israeli art school.
“We are proud of our students’ great achievements as they creatively represent the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design around the world,” Dudu Mezach, head of Bezalel’s Screen Based Arts Department, said in a statement. “The successes of our students reflect their excellent work during their studies at Bezalel, and we wish them every success in their future endeavors.”

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