Tuesday, July 11, 2017

From Ian:

PalExpo: Outside and Inside
First the good (and exclusive) news about PalExpo, the event at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London which happened at the weekend. Mark Taylor, the CEO of the Conference Centre, was not in London at the weekend. Because he was on vacation. In Israel! #BDSFail.
The other good news was the resistance to the event, led by the StopPalExpo Coalition.
Sharon Klaff in particular worked really hard to ensure there was a pro-Israel anti-extremist presence outside the venue on both days. Well done Sharon and to all who came in support and helped in any way, especially the Zionist Federation.
Thanks also to the Met who ensured our safety, without in any way disrupting the sometimes very heated debates in the blazing sunshine outside the venue.
Now the not-so-good news. This event should never have been allowed to happen at a publicly-owned venue. Because it was organised by Friends of Al-Aqsa, which has been charged with expressing support for terrorists. And because it featured 25 speakers who have either supported terrorism, expressed antisemitism or defamed Israel – or its supporters – with lies (this booklet says 24, but Hatam Bazian was a late addition).
We have to conclude that after the election the government is too weak to act against this part-hatefest (there was also an unobjectionable cultural element). And too preoccupied with Brexit – and at DCLG (the Department responsible for the QEII Centre), too preoccupied with the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower inferno.
The organisers have defended one speaker, Shaykh Ebrahim Bham, who quoted Goebbels in a sermon (“People tell me that Jews are human beings. Yes, I know they are human beings. Just as fleas are also animals. Just as fleas are also animals, they are also part of human beings like that”).
How East Germany and the West German Left Waged War on Israel
The historian Jeffrey Herf, in Undeclared Wars with Israel, tells of East Germany’s vicious anti-Zionism, which went well beyond condemning Israel and expressing solidarity with those seeking its destruction: indeed, the German Democratic Republic provided funds and weapons to both Arab regimes and the PLO. For its part, Herf relates, the West German far left equated opposition to the government in Bonn with opposition to Israel, often crossing the line into anti-Semitism and, for the most committed, active participation in terrorist attacks against Jews. Allan Arkush writes in his review:
Unlike other Soviet-bloc nations, East Germany didn’t break relations with Israel after the Six-Day War—because it never had them in the first place. This was mostly due to its refusal to pay reparations for the crimes of the Nazis. But it did denounce Israel as the aggressor and likened it to the Nazi regime. . . . In the ensuing years, East Germany’s sales of armaments to the Arab world . . . ran in to the hundreds of millions of dollars. . . .
The West German far left, [meanwhile], emerged in a society that believed its own legitimacy to be bound up with a Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coming to terms with the past) that entailed not only repudiation of the Nazis but reparations to their Jewish victims. While East Germany was denying any responsibility for the Nazi regime and excoriating Israel, West Germany was transferring massive amount of money to it and offering the country its broad support. . . .

As the New Left turned against Israel after 1967, West German leftists followed suit and, in Herf’s words, “redefined the meaning of Vergangenheitsbewältigung” to justify the equation of the Jewish state’s alleged crimes with those of the Nazis. Leftists in the Federal Republic began speaking of the malign effects of Germany’s “Jewish complex” and condemning philo-Semitism.
NGO Monitor: Isso Amro: A Pretext for NGO and UN Lawfare
The trial of Isso Amro, which began on July 9 with charges of unlawful activity including violence, is deeply intertwined with the political complexities and narratives of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This issue has become an opportunity for advocacy NGOs and the UN officials closely linked to these organizations to falsely impugn the Israeli justice system and distort international law along the way. This campaign is a form of lawfare, exploiting the language of justice and aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing Israel.
Two UN officials, Michael Lynk and Michel Forst (Special Rapporteurs for Palestinian territories and human rights defenders, respectively), released an absurdly prejudicial statement (July 7, 2017) that “If the Israeli military court convicts Mr. Amro on any of the charges against him, the convictions will be stained by reasonable doubts about the system’s ability to ensure justice.” Likewise, Amnesty International prejudged the case before any evidence was presented and announced (November 22, 2016) “If he is convicted we will consider Issa Amro a prisoner of conscience.”
These statements do not point to the quality of the Israeli justice system, but rather to the possibility of an outcome that these ideological advocates do not like. The claims of the UN officials and Amnesty notwithstanding, the legitimacy of the verdict in this case will be established by the evidence presented by the prosecution and defense. Israel’s military courts employ the same evidentiary rules as civilian courts, and their standards are on par or exceed any system in the world. (Under international law, specifically the Geneva Conventions, Israel is required to try Palestinians domiciled in the West Bank and arrested on security offenses in military courts.)
In other words, either Amro violated the law, or he did not. Being automatically labeled a “human rights defender” does not generate immunity from prosecution.

Europe is not really serious about fighting terror, Israel is
EU experts warn that the shrinking of the ISIS territories may lead to this terrorist organization promoting more terrorist attacks in Europe. Al Qaeda terrorist affiliates and other terrorist organizations may also initiate such attacks. On top of that, there may be private terrorist initiatives by Muslims unaffiliated to any terrorist organization.
The European Union and its member countries are developing programs to better identify potential terrorists, increase information sharing, deradicalize returning jihadists, preventing additional radicalization and so on. Europeans crave greater security and expect that the EU play a role in this area while in essence this issue is dependent on the competence of the European member countries.
As Israel has a people’s army, most citizens have soldiers or former soldiers in their family. Israelis know far better than Europeans that fighting terrorism is also to a large extent a state of mind. Israelis are intimately familiar with murderous Palestinian and other Arab behavior for decades.
This mental attitude hardly exists among European populations. That is not only because the aforementioned characteristics of Israel are absent in Europe. Even a superficial observer can notice a variety of signals by European governments which make the creation of an effective anti-terrorist mindset among their populations unlikely.
Iran, a major terrorist state promotes among others, the destruction of another member of the United Nations, Israel. Its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei reiterates this to Iranians and the world. The annual Al Quds day symbolizes this. In June, this year’s march took place in Tehran with hundreds of thousands of participants. Some carried pictures of President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. These were captioned “Death to the Devil Triangle”.
Seth Frantzman: Peak white privilege at the G20 protests
WHEN WE hear about “anti-capitalism” and “anti-globalization” and are told to care about the “rest of the world,” it is always by these privileged protesters who care the least about the world. The protesters on the streets of Hamburg won’t help refugees, they don’t volunteer to teach German, French or English to newcomers, they don’t hand out food to the poor, they don’t clean up dilapidated areas, they don’t fight for women’s rights in places where ISIS is persecuting women. They don’t protest Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crimes. They do absolutely nothing and have never done anything for the poor or victimized people of the world. Protest against human trafficking? Modern- day agricultural slavery? No, it’s not “groovy,” bro.
The peak privilege on display at Hamburg was the high point of an unethical and abusive culture of privilege in the West that has taught generations that destroying small businesses, burning the cars of middle class people and throwing stones at police from the lower and middle classes is cool, while helping actual poor people, migrants, refugees, victims of terrorism, is not cool.
Far-left “anarchist” protest is the mirror-image of far-right Islamist terrorism; both seek destruction for its own sake. One is murderous while the other is primarily into rioting, but neither see themselves as responsible for society’s well-being. They want to blow up cars, not help elderly people. Burn a neighborhood, not refurbish it. Smash shop windows, not aid a poor struggling small businessman to aid his migrant family.
Unfortunately Western societies have relied on local authorities to confront these kinds of destructive forces, rather than raise up counter-protests, local neighborhood activists to fight the globalization of anarchism, the globalism of Islamism, to stand up to the anti-capitalist capitalist protesters who fly in to a city to destroy it.
Perhaps one day a city’s people will say no to this charade and say that this week privileged, wealthy young men will not get to fly in to burn cars and shops without facing a counter-demonstration. Until then it is the job of observers to ask critical questions about who these “activists” are and where they come from.
Jihad Means More than "A Peaceful Self-Struggle"!
Talking about jihad as a fight in the way of Allah takes us to the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood: "God is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way, Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Jihad is defined by the sentence that says, "Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." In my native country Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood called for jihad against the government, and innocent blood was spilled on a regular basis, especially from the armed forces and police. That is what usually follows a call for jihad.
Growing up in Cairo, we studied, for a whole academic year, the story of Uqba ibn Nafi, the Islamic military leader who came out of the Arabian Peninsula and invaded several North African countries to spread Islam. The Islamic military conquests that he led were, and today still are, taught in Egyptian schools as an example of "glorious jihad" for young teens to follow.
The examples above are but a few. If Sarsour wants to reclaim the "peaceful" concept of jihad from extremists, as she claims, first of all she needs to admit that it is not only extremists who relate jihad to violence, but also mainstream Islamic jurisprudence, which urgently needs to be reformed. Secondly, she needs to challenge those who still preach a seventh-century version of Islam in the 21st century; instead, she calls everyone who quotes what these faith leaders say a bigot, racist and Islamophobe. Sadly, Sarsour seems to be trying to whitewash dangerous ideas, perhaps to make them more appealing to the unsuspecting people of the West. This effort has nothing to do with real reform, which needs to start by acknowledging the problems that exist.
Sarsour may not like President Trump; however, calling for "Islamic jihad" against the President of the United States -- even if she meant the peaceful type of it -- while the concept of jihad is widely taught as a struggle that involves using violence to spread one's beliefs, is something immensely dangerous. It should not taken lightly by anyone.
Linda Sarsour’s Call For ‘Jihad’ Against President Trump Is A Call For Treason
Underlying this entire speech is a fundamental assumption: The American government is oppressive and it is our duty to resist and fight against it. Anyone inside and outside the Muslim community who assimilates, who sides with American government, is an oppressor and should be resisted. This is warfare mentality; it is agitation and incitement. But will the Muslim community heed Sarsour?
More About Sarsour’s American Muslim Audience
According to the Pew Research Center’s best estimates, as of 2015 there were 3.3 million Muslims in the United States. That is the total for all ages. This is roughly 1 percent of the population of the United States. Pew projects that Muslims will increase to 2.1 percent of the American population by the year 2050. They also found that 63 percent of Muslims were immigrants.
In a 2011 survey, 69 percent said religion is important in their lives, 48 percent said men and women should be separated when praying at a mosque, 70 percent lean toward the Democratic Party, and 48 percent believe their leaders do not speak out enough against Islamic extremists. Of foreign-born Muslims, 58 percent said Americans were friendly, but only 30 percent of Muslims born in America said American people are friendly toward Muslim Americans.
From that same survey, 68 percent said they wanted a bigger government and more services. Out of 1,033 Muslim Americans, Pew found that 5 percent have a somewhat favorable view of al-Qaeda. Of those surveyed, 20 percent said Muslim Americans want to be distinct from the larger American society, and 56 percent of those surveyed said Muslim Americans wanted to assimilate.

‘A Word of Truth’ About Linda Sarsour’s ‘Jihad’
Derivatives of “jihad” are used numerous times in the Koran in the militaristic sense. As I explained in Willful Blindness, my memoir about prosecuting jihadist terrorists in the mid-nineties, Bernard Lewis, the West’s pre-eminent historian of Islam, observes that “some modern Muslim theologians” have attempted to interpret the term as “striving … in a spiritual and moral sense.” Yet, he counters, “The overwhelming majority of early authorities,… citing relevant passages in the Qur’an and in the tradition, discuss jihad in military terms."
Furthermore, Thomas Patrick Hughes’s renowned A Dictionary of Islam (1895) defines jihad as follows:
A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad. It is an incumbent religious duty, established in the Qur’an and in the Traditions as a divine institution, and enjoined specially for the purpose of advancing Islam and of repelling evil from Muslims.
Note here that there is nothing contradictory in the concepts of (a) waging war to establish the reign of Islamic law, and (b) striving in other ways to advance Islam and repel evil from Muslims – which, Islam teaches, is also done by establishing sharia. Thus, the premise that the non-violent jihad negates violent jihad has always been nonsense. The varieties of jihad work together toward the same end. To take a prominent example, many American Islamists who claim to reject terrorist jihad nonetheless support Hamas; they rationalize this contradiction by claiming that Hamas’s jihad is “resistance” not “terrorism” – got it?
In any event, we should note that Sarsour gave her jihad speech at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA was established by the Muslim Brotherhood to be a progression from the Muslim Students Association, the Brotherhood’s foundational building block in the West. In the Justice Department’s terrorism financing prosecution, the Holy Land Foundation case, ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator because the evidence demonstrated that it participated in the movement of funds to Hamas.
Michael Curtis: The Palestinian Glib and Oily Art against Israel
It is gratifying to know that some individuals, scholars and artists can keep their heads while all about them are losing theirs. On June 14, 2017 members of the Modern Language Association, voted by 1954 to 885 to refrain from endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities. A year earlier, the American Anthropological Association, though by a small majority, similarly voted down a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
Now, Debora Spar, President of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York has repudiated an explicit argument for censorship in rejecting the call in a letter of July 5, 2017 by Palestinian and related groups and anti-Israeli activists to cancel “Israeli government-sponsored” performances by two Israeli theater companies, Haibima National Theater and the Cameri Theater of Tel-Aviv, at the Center in July 2017. The letter called on Lincoln Center “to respect the Palestinian civil society call for a boycott of those Israeli cultural institutions that are complicit in the denial of Palestinian rights.” The letter was in fact initiated by the New York City Palestinian rights group Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.
Their false rationale for this call for censorship was that the performances would be taking place “with support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America.” Their petition was based on the perverted conclusion that this support means not simply apolitical patronage but is a calculated effort to mask Israeli repression of the Palestinian people.
The fallacy is twofold. First, the Israeli Embassy was not trying to manipulate public opinion through its support: it was simply paying for the costs of the theater groups as government agencies do in the United States. The second fallacy is ironic: the play, the subject of the censorship, is “To the End of the Land,” which stems from an anti-war novel by David Grossman, a left wing activist Israeli writer often critical of Israeli policies in the West Bank.
AJC: Disciples of Christ Resolution Defames Israel
AJC deplores the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) resolution on Palestinian children who have been detained by Israel after engaging in violence against Israelis. Disciples delegates attending the group’s General Assembly in Indianapolis adopted the resolution, which singles out Israel for harsh condemnation while giving the Palestinian leadership a pass on their responsibility for violence perpetrated by Palestinian children.
The Disciples statement follows on the United Church of Christ (UCC) resolution adopted last week—in fact, the six-page Disciples resolution mirrors the UCC text almost word for word. Both fail to acknowledge that Palestinian leaders continue to support violence against Israelis, regularly demonize Israel, deny Israel’s right to exist, and encourage children to act violently through textbooks and paramilitary camps.
“It is deeply disappointing that the Disciples of Christ denomination has adopted the path dictated by the discredited BDS (boycott divestment and sanctions) movement, attributing to Israel sole responsibility for failing to end the conflict and casting spurious allegations of human rights violations upon Israel,” said Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations.
The resolution’s call on the U.S. government to withhold military assistance from Israel ignores Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism and the anti-Israel incitement of their children.
Largest French bank on defensive for alleged antisemitism
France’s largest bank was on the defensive on Tuesday when an Israeli sued BNP Paribas for alleged antisemitism and for contractual deception regarding its violation of global anti-terrorism laws and Iran sanctions.
Already on May 10, Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud), MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), MK Yehudah Glick (Likud) and terrorism victims support group Almagor sent a letter to State Attorney Shai Nitzan asking him to open a broad criminal investigation against BNP for its alleged terrorism financing activities.
Nitzan responded that he will meet with the MKs about the issue.
Ruth Agam’s lawsuit heard on Tuesday in the Tel Aviv District Court accuses BNP of making her a victim of the bank’s misconduct including criminal activity such as forgery and fraud regarding its antisemitic, terrorism financing and Iran sanctions violating activities.
French groups to protest Benjamin Netanyahu attendance at Paris Holocaust ceremony
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to attend a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the Vel' d'Hiv mass roundup of Parisian Jewry on Sunday is set to draw angry anti-Israel demonstrations in the French capital.
According to French website LeMuslimPost, a number of organizations have called on their supporters to protest Netanyahu's arrival and to oppose French President Emmanuel Macron's decision to invite the Israeli prime minister to the memorial event.
The president of the French Palestinian Solidarity Association (AFPS), Bertrand Heilbronn, dismissed the rationale behind Netanyahu's attendance at the ceremony in a joint letter with French-Jewish historian Dominique Vidal.
"In what way does this event concern Israel? The state didn't exist at the time [of the Holocaust]. Israel cannot present itself as the sole inheritor of the victims of the Holocaust," the letter read.
Award-Winning Journalist Who Broke Story of Jewish Women Barred From Chicago ‘Dyke March’ Removed From Reporting Duties
An award-winning journalist who broke the story of the group of Jewish women ejected from an LGBTQ march in Chicago last month has been reassigned to non-journalistic duties at the paper which ran the original report, the Windy City Times.
Gretchen Rachel Hammond — whose June 24 story caused a national storm after she detailed how three women flying Jewish Pride flags embossed with the Star of David were instructed to leave the gathering by organizers from the Dyke March Collective — confirmed to The Algemeiner on Monday that while she was still employed by the paper, she was not presently engaged in its reporting and writing operations.
“At this time, I have not been fired from Windy City Times, but I have been transferred to working full time for the sales department,” Hammond explained in an emailed statement. “The reasoning is an internal matter and I have been instructed not to comment about it even to close friends. Given my present situation, I must comply with this instruction.”
The Windy City Times — whose masthead featured Hammond as a senior writer until a week ago — now describes her as “senior account executive.”
The Algemeiner approached Hammond after a reader pointed out that her role at the Windy City Times had been abruptly switched. The reader said in an email that Hammond’s reporting had been blamed by the march organizers for the ensuing controversy, and went on to express “disgust” and “outrage” that Hammond had “been bullied and attacked” by individuals associated with the march, sometimes in an “antisemitic” manner. (h/t MtTB)
Indy cites false NGO claim that Israel prevents Gaza docs from traveling abroad.
Though the Indy report is largely fair, it nonetheless included the claim that Israel was also partly to blame for the broader problem of Gaza’s deteriorating healthcare system. A representative of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I) claimed that “Israel prevents Gazan doctors from travelling abroad for training and the blockade prevents essential medical equipment from reaching hospitals“.
First, as we noted previously, there are almost no Israeli restrictions on essential medical equipment going to Gaza. The only banned medical related equipment are those classified as dual-use (items that have both civilian and military uses). This includes radioactive materials like radiation and CAT scans.
Concerning the other claim, that Gaza doctors are prevented from traveling abroad (countries outside of the region) for training, this also appears to be untrue. We contacted a spokesperson from COGAT (the Israeli Defence Ministry unit which coordinates government activities in the territories) to get an answer about this specific claim by PHR-I, and they flatly denied it.
IsraellyCool: Shocked! Online Magazine for Millennials Publishes Pro-Israel Piece on Border Guard
OZY is a global magazine that “delivers you cutting-edge viewpoints, worldwide stories and a daily dose of remarkable.” It claims to have an audience of 25 million monthly visitors, “along with millions more who enjoy OZY through our partners — including NPR, CNN, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, PBS NewsHour, MSN and our friends at Axel Springer.” Their Facebook page has close to a million Likes. So their audience is substantial.
I am telling you all of this because they have published the account of an Israeli border guard in their Day of the Life series, something I find to be surprising (in a good way) given the types of articles we are seeing from these millennial-type publications.
Motti Sherby, Head of Security
Lamed Hey Border Crossing, Israel
I’m always moving around. As the head of the shift for security, I manage our security guards, and when there’s a problem, I’m the first one to give it attention. I also run our 3:30 a.m. protocol meeting, where we review any terror incidents or new intelligence from the last shift.
We also spend time preparing hypothetical scenarios. For example, what happens if there are two simultaneous attackers at the crossing? Or what to do with a suspicious object. We try to be as creative as possible.
Los Angeles Times Corrects: Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital
CAMERA's Israel office yesterday prompted correction of a Los Angeles Times article which wrongly referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel, using the common journalistic practice of citing a nation's capital city as shorthand for the country's government ("New ceasefire agreement in Syria," in print July 8 and online here.)
Citing Amman, the Jordanian capital, the article states: "Amman and Tel Aviv have repeatedly expressed concern regarding Hezbollah and other pro-government factions supported by Iran near their borders."
Following communication from CAMERA reminding editors that Jerusalem is Israel's capital, yesterday the following correction appeared in the print edition (page 4).
The LA Times, the Bedouin of Khan Al Ahmar and 'Their Land'
It is precisely because the strategic land sites at the center of political tug of war that it is particularly critical that journalists responsibly report the relevant history and facts. For instance, how long have the Khan Al Ahmar homes at risk of demolition sat on “their land,” as the headline put it? From time immemorial? Before or after the 1948 war? After the key 1967 war?
In the course of a 1600 word article on Khan Al Ahmar, however, The Los Angeles Times' Joshua Mitnick excludes this relevant information. Instead, there is a more general statement about the Jahalin tribe in the E1 area between Jerusalem and the large Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim: "Displaced to the West Bank from ancestral lands after Israel gained independence in 1948, the Jahalin tribes settled in the open area outside Jerusalem with their flocks of sheep and goats.”
In addition, a photo caption in the photo essay illustrating the online article likewise states that the Jahalin “fled into the West Bank as refugees in the years after Israel’s establishment.”
Vandal carves 30 swastikas into wet concrete in Brooklyn
New York police are searching for a man who carved about 30 swastikas into wet concrete in Brooklyn.
The Midwood neighborhood where the incident occurred early on Saturday morning is predominantly Jewish, and home to at least nine large Orthodox synagogues, a branch of Touro College, and two historic non-Orthodox synagogues.
The vandal, believed to be a teenager, was captured on video carving the swastikas in the concrete over the course of 35 minutes. He also took photos of his handiwork. The graffiti was discovered on Monday and reported to police, the New York Daily News reported.
The incident is under investigation by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force.
The Carpenter Who Almost Killed Hitler
In November 1939, Georg Elser tried to kill Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, the bomb missed Hitler by mere minutes, and history proceeded apace.
The new film “13 Minutes” is based on the true story of Elser, a lone-wolf assassin who tried to kill the German despot by placing a bomb behind the speaker’s podium where the Fuhrer would give an annual speech in commemoration of the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler cut his speech short, and the bomb went off 13 minutes too late — killing eight people.
Elser, an ordinary German citizen, made the bomb himself and tested it in his family’s orchard. He worked on the plan for nearly a year, constantly sneaking into the building and hollowing out an area to place the bomb in.
Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, “13 Minutes” is a powerful film that makes us admire a man who did not have to take matters into his own hands. Elser was not being persecuted himself, yet “we can’t wait till it’s too late,” his character says in the film.
Christian Friedel does an excellent job playing Georg — a regular man who, at first, stands on the sidelines as others are hurt by the Nazis, including a Jewish stranger and a communist friend.
The film uses frequent flashbacks to show Elser as a ladies’ man, who has much to live for. It also juxtaposes scenes of music, dancing and bliss with scenes of torture, blood and death. We also see the perfecting of propaganda, as Elser watches a film produced to show the greatness of the Nazis.
US family can sue to get back Nazi-looted masterpiece
A California family can sue to get back a Camille Pissarro painting that the Nazis looted from their Jewish ancestor even though she accepted a settlement from the German government for the masterpiece, a US appeals court said Monday.
The ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals revived a lawsuit by Lilly Cassirer’s great-grandchildren, David and Ava Cassirer, over the 1897 oil-on-canvas Paris street scene.
Lilly Cassirer and her husband traded the painting for the exit visas that allowed them to flee Nazi Germany for England in 1939. The piece has been appraised at more than $30 million and has resided at Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum since 1993.
The court said the museum failed to establish that it did not know the painting was stolen and sent the lawsuit back to a lower court for further action.
The World’s First Kung-Fu Holocaust Exploitation Flick!
Exodus to Shanghai is a film that claims to tell the story of Ho Feng-Shan, Chinese consul for Vienna, a rescuer of Jews in prewar Austria. While indeed based on true events, it may be the first Holocaust film that heavily features martial-arts-action scenes. The cast includes German actors, as well as Romanians, some Asians, and two young blond models. It was completed in Israel and sponsored by the Fashion TV channel. Sounds delusional? Not in the eyes of the filmmakers.
The production of Exodus to Shanghai was initiated by the founder and sole owner of Fashion TV, Michel Adam, a 67-year-old Jewish businessman. Born in Warsaw as Michel Adam Lisowski, his life took him from his homeland Poland to Vienna, where his family relocated in the 1950s. From there, he went to Princeton University as a math student. He then moved to Thailand, where he started his textile business. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Paris, where he opened some nightlife spots and founded Fashion TV, which is basically an endless catwalk running 24/7 on television, with some trendy parties here and there. Adam also has strong ties with Israel, where he was detained in 2005 after he was accused by a model of sexually harassing her.
The idea to make the movie was sparked in Adam’s mind in June 2014 while having a Shabbat dinner in Shanghai with the local rabbi, who told his honorable guest about the “Chinese Schindler” who helped Viennese Jews escape Nazi-occupied Austria in the late 1930s by secretly stamping thousands of immigration visas. “As I live in Vienna I went after the story, and I found out that the office of Dr. Ho was 100 meters away from the Fashion TV Office,” Adam told me in an interview. “The characters and incidents are based on many stories told by my family and by real-life people of Jewish heritage, who I met on my multiple journeys from Vienna and Israel to China. I got to live out my interpretation of this story.”
Vogue’s guide to Israel’s stunning beaches
Israel is perhaps best known—and deservedly so—for its holy sites, but its standing as a stellar beach destination often goes unsung. With coastline bordering the Mediterranean, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee, and everything from world-class scuba diving to ancient ruins to explore, the beaches of the Land of Milk and Honey have something for every type of sand lover. Here are the must-visit spots for a day (or a few) in the sun:
Tel Aviv
The White City’s perpetual sunshine draws people to its 13 beaches, which rest on a nine-mile stretch of Mediterranean seashore. A casual, walking city with sycamore-lined streets and clusters of Bauhaus architecture, beach life in Tel Aviv is part of the culture. “Life happens outside in Tel Aviv, in the cafés and on the streets,” said Ofra Ganor, owner of seaside restaurant Manta Ray at Alma Beach. “The connection to the sea is part of our daily life.”
Beachgoers traipse from sand to street, popping into restaurants with indelible views of the Mediterranean, such as Manta Ray, known for its mezze and fashionable crowd; chef Meir Adoni’s internationally renowned Israeli-Moroccan restaurant, Lumina, overlooking the Tel Aviv Marina; Cassis, a Mediterranean restaurant in the millennia-old port city of Jaffa; and Fortuna Del Mar for rustic fare in a more removed setting in the northern part of Tel Aviv.
Israeli Doctors Perform Revolutionary In-Utero Heart Surgery on Ailing Fetus
In a risky and delicate procedure performed for the first time in Israel this week, an interdisciplinary team of Hadassah Medical Center physicians fixed a severe heart defect in a 28-week-old fetus in the womb.
The medical team widened the baby’s aorta using a balloon technique similar to adult catheterization.
“In the process of catheterization, under epidural anesthesia for the mother and anesthesia for the fetus as well — because we do not want him to feel pain — we inserted a very delicate needle through the mother’s abdominal wall, directly to the left ventricle of the fetal heart,” said Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky, head of fetal medicine at Hadassah’s Ein Kerem campus.
The pregnant mother had approached Dr. Azaria Rein, director of Hadassah’s pediatric cardiology department, after tests showed her baby’s heart defect.
“The diagnosis was a critical narrowing of the aortic valve, which is also accompanied by severe damage to the function of the left ventricle, which was barely able to contract and perform its function,” said Rein.
The baby’s parents were told that without treatment, the left ventricle would likely degenerate and not be able to transfer blood to the baby’s body after birth. They decided to try the catheterization procedure.
Big-name artists scorch Israeli summer with record ticket sales
It's official: The summer of 2017 has broken records for concert ticket sales, with throngs of young Israelis flocking to star-studded blockbuster performances. As of Monday evening, a total of nearly 300,000 tickets had been sold for various summer concerts in Israel.
According to figures obtained by Israel Hayom, two major concerts slated to take place at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon -- Guns N' Roses on Saturday, July 15, and Radiohead on Wednesday, July 19 -- have resulted in ticket sales of over 60,000 each.
"We remember summers with two concerts by Michael Jackson or Madonna, or even Guns N' Roses on their first tour. But that was in the mid-1990s," said a veteran concert producer involved in bringing the biggest acts in the world to Israel.
The third-most successful concert this summer belonged to Justin Beiber in May, with ticket sales close to those of Guns N' Roses and Radiohead.
In fourth place was Britney Spears, whose concert last week sold close to 50,000 tickets.
Bienvenue: 200 new immigrants from France land in Israel
A group of 200 new immigrants from France arrived in Israel on Monday on a special charter flight run by the Jewish Agency in conjunction with the United Israel Appeal.
The group, the largest from Europe set to immigrate to Israel this summer, was greeted with a special welcoming ceremony at Ben-Gurion International Airport, which was attended by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar and United Israel Appeal global chairman Eliezer Sandberg.
The group included 74 children and teenagers who will join the Israeli school system in September, at the start of the academic year. The youngest immigrant is a 3-month-old girl, who along with her parents and 18-month-old brother will be making the move to the coastal city of Netanya. Among the cities in which the new immigrants are set to put down roots are Jerusalem, Raanana, Ashdod, Netivot, Tel Aviv and Herzliya.
Speaking at the welcoming ceremony, Sharansky said that emigrants from France were leaving out of choice and not to escape.

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