Friday, September 29, 2017

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Antisemitism engulfs the British Labor party
The tragic fact is that there’s no disorder quite so pathological as when a Jew turns against his or her own identity. Jews are a unique people; the hatred directed at them is a unique hatred; and when Jews turn on their own people, they behave in a uniquely terrible way.

Israeli Jewish intellectuals are even more afflicted by this pathology. The Israeli novelist Aharon Megged has lamented “a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history: an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel’s intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation.”

In The Jewish Divide Over Israel, which he wrote with Paul Bogdanor, Edward Alexander writes devastatingly: “The disproportionate influence of Jewish accusers depends in large part on the fact that they demonize Israel precisely as Jews; indeed, since religion and tradition count for little in most of them, it is the demonization of Israel that makes them Jews.”

And because people assume wrongly that Jews cannot be antisemites, these anti-Zionist Jews offer themselves as human shields to protect and facilitate those who they hope will destroy the State of Israel through demonization and delegitimization.

The problem of antisemitism in Britain, however, goes far beyond the Labour Party.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie is a play first staged in 2005 sanitizing an International Solidarity Movement activist who was killed in Gaza by an Israeli armored bulldozer when she tried to stop demolition work being carried out to eradicate terror tunnels.

Lo and behold, this out-dated piece of meretricious agitprop is being revived by London’s Young Vic theater. Why? Because human-shielded Jew-baiting is now the recreational sport of the British intelligentsia.

So when is the opening night of this revival? Why, Kol Nidrei, the start of Yom Kippur, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. Right in the Jews’ faces, eh.

Don’t weep for the wretched Labour Party. Weep for what Britain has become, and for the Jews who have lost their way.
Melanie Phillips: Labour's lanyard of hate
The reverberations from Tuesday’s Jew-baiting hate-fest at the Labour party conference rumble on, as well they might. David Collier’s blog post here on what he experienced at the conference is a must-read.

I found this observation particularly chilling:
“At the Labour Friends of Israel event, there were anti-Israel activists actually taking photos of the MPs who were present. No doubt to add new faces onto existing expulsion ‘lists’… To my knowledge, I had my photo take twice at the conference. Once as I was leaving the ‘Free Speech’ event, an activist Elleane Green spotted me and reached for her camera, whilst the second time was at the Labour Friends of Israel event, where Tapash Abu Shaim was camera ready.”

And this:
“The PSC had brought ‘Palestine Solidarity’ lanyards, and it is clearly the item they want everyone to take from their stall. I also note they have ‘runners’, people walking off with several PSC lanyards in their hands. One was looking for people running other stalls, who were willing to wear them. This badge of identification was eventually seen on many of the visiting crowd.”

What they were hanging from their necks was the lanyard of hate. For as Collier observes, these people think that by supporting the Palestinians they are supporting peace; but in fact supporting Palestinianism leads them inexorably to supporting the extermination of Israel.

“As soon as you place that PSC lanyard around your neck”, writes Collier, “from the moment you believe you support ‘Palestine Solidarity’ as it is represented in the UK Labour Party, then you explicitly align with a maximalist Arab position, that is also heralded by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Assad, Hezbollah and Iran. Don’t believe me? Walk up to your nearest PSC activist and ask them if the organisation supports a two-state solution. Watch them stutter.”

Although these Labour members are shy exterminators, that’s the agenda to which that lanyard signs them up. The vast depth of their ignorance, however, means they have no idea that they are thus making a mockery of the very causes they profess to espouse.
Why do we still have to explain why Holocaust denial is wrong?
The Holocaust is one of the most well documented and researched periods in history. There are clear records of the systematic and industrial scale of the Nazi plan to murder the Jews of Europe. Not only from historians but from the Nazis themselves. Most importantly, we have the testimony of the lucky few who managed to survive whilst their families were shot into pits, deported and sent to gas chambers or simply left to starve to death.

You would therefore think that those who seek to deny or to denigrate this history would be given short shrift.

Which is why it has been all the more shocking to see the Holocaust once again called into question, and the root cause of this tragedy - antisemitism - rearing its head at a mainstream political party conference.

You only have to look at one single day with a series of deeply uncomfortable interventions by those who should know better: we had director Ken Loach suggesting that debate about whether the Holocaust happened is OK, saying “history is for all of us to discuss”; Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union labelling concerns about antisemitism as “mood music”; and then Ken Livingstone - never one to hold back on his views on this particular topic - stating that making offensive remarks about Jews is not necessarily antisemitic…err, OK Ken.

When you have central figures making these sorts of insulting and ignorant comments, they embolden those who have only one agenda – to undermine the truth of the past and to whip up hatred against Jews today.

I think of the survivors of the Holocaust, some of whom we are fortunate to still have with us, and feel shame. After everything they suffered, they have to witness this. The pain and hurt this must cause.

How many times do we have to defend basic truths that should be considered sacrosanct? How many times do we need to explain that antisemitism is as much a form of racism as any other?



Welcome to Pallywood! (satire)
The PA sought membership in the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization. Here is the write up we think they should have in travel guides.

Looney Planet has chosen Pallywood as the Top Terror Travel destination 2017. The runner-ups, North Korea, Iran, and Islamic State are finding it hard to deal with the ensuing humiliation.

North Korea’s Rocket Man, also known as Sputnik-Kim, immediately threatened to launch World War III, unless Looney Planet recognize his Stalinist utopia, as the looniest destination on earth. Iran’s leader, known simply as Supreme-Comedy among friends, blamed the loss on “Zionist conspiracies” and threatened to unleash Iran’s fatwa-implementing assassin Salmon Rush-to-Die.

ISIS vowed to connect Londonistan and Parisijad with the capital of the Caliphate by setting up daily Caliphate Airlines flights featuring flight attendants dressed in daringly explosive burkas.

Loony Planet has written an extensive introduction to the mysterious land of Pallywood, which gives first time visitors historical background, as well as tips and advice on what to do and see.

According to legend, “Pallywood has proudly dwelled between the Michael Jordan River and the Club Med Sea for the past 100,000 years.” This makes Pallywood the oldest civilization in the world by far, outclassing both China and India. According to Pallywood stand-up comedian Saeb Erekat, his personal ancestors lived in the caves of Jericho 10,000 years ago. It was recently revealed that Erekat’s ancestors arrived from Saudi Arabia 100 years ago, but let us not be petty and argue over a couple of zeros. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
The Theory That Ashkenazi Jews Are Descended from Khazars Is Junk Science
At some point in the 19th century, a number of scholars tried to trace the lineage of East European Jewry not to German Jews who settled there in the late medieval period but to the survivors of the Khazar empire, which ruled over a large area in what is now eastern Ukraine and southwest Russia in the 8th through 10th centuries CE. This hypothesis, popularized by the Hungarian-British writer Arthur Koestler in the 1970s, claims that the Turkic-speaking Khazars converted to Judaism en masse and, after their empire was destroyed, settled throughout Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus, where their descendants came to constitute the bulk of the Jewish population. From this it allegedly follows that most modern Ashkenazim are unrelated to biblical Israelites, and that the historical Jewish connection to the land of Israel is attenuated if not false. Long discredited, the theory has recently been revived by a handful of academics. But the evidence against it is greater than ever, as the linguist and onomastician Alexander Beider explains:

[A]rchaeological evidence about the widespread existence of Jews in Khazaria is almost nonexistent. While a series of independent sources does testify to the existence in the 10th century of Jews in the kingdom of Khazaria, and while some of these sources also indicate that the ruling elite of Khazaria embraced Judaism, . . . we can be confident that Judaism was not particularly widespread in that kingdom.

The next historical record of Jews [in the region]—in a few cities that today belong to western Ukraine and western Belarus—shows up in the 14th century, when Jews are regularly referred to in numerous documents. And yet, no direct historiographical data are available to connect the Jews who lived in Eastern Europe in the 14th century with their coreligionists from 10th-century Khazaria. . . .

Looking at names, both first names and surnames, gives us a sense of how a community would see itself, its language, and its origins. And in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe over the past six centuries, not a single Turkic name can be found in documents listing Jewish names. Even documents from the 15th and 16th centuries dealing with Jews who lived in the territories of modern Ukraine and Belarus have no such names.
Alan Dershowitz: On Israel, Many Professors ‘Use the Classroom as a Propaganda Podium’
Retired Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday encouraged university students not to back down from difficult discussions surrounding Israel on campus, urging them to make complex, cogent cases rooted in history when faced with propagandistic attacks.

Dershowitz, an advocate of the two-state solution and critic of Israeli settlements, was invited to speak at Columbia University by the local chapter of Students Supporting Israel on the First Amendment and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While organizers expected his talk to be interrupted by groups including Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, it ultimately proceeded without incident.

Touching on some of the tensions leading up to his appearance, Dershowtiz observed that “the one issue that is very hard to have a serious, nuanced discussion on at a university campus today is Israel.” He contended that too many professors “use the classroom as a propaganda podium,” teaching students not how to think, but what to think.

Dershowitz urged students not to answer this “propagandistic, anti-Israel speech” with “propagandistic, pro-Israel speech.”

“That is an ineffective way of responding to propaganda,” he said. “The appropriate response is calibrated, nuanced, carefully thought through, accurate, historical, and moral statements that acknowledge [Israel’s] faults.”
Senate anti-boycott Israel bill to be reviewed amid criticism
A bill extending bans on Israel boycotts to those initiated by international organizations is under review following criticism from civil libertarians, one of its authors said.

Maryland Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin defended the bill, saying critics — including the American Civil Liberties Union — had it wrong.

“The bill does not affect freedom of speech, it does not impose the jail sentences they were talking about, it does not penalize individuals for their activities,” Cardin, the lead Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a briefing Wednesday for foreign policy reporters. “The criticisms are just wrong.”

Nonetheless, he said, he was meeting with the bill’s co-sponsors to see if the bill could withstand “clarifications” that would address concerns raised by the ACLU and others.

“We can clarify certain additions that do not change the function of the bill, but will give people more comfort,” he said.

Among other criticisms, there were concerns that the bill, which updates a 1970s law targeting the Arab League boycott of Israel, would also replicate its stiff jail sentences, and that simple expressions of support for a boycott of Israel would be criminalized.
Anti-Israel Group SJP Slams ‘Powerful Zionist Lobby’ After University of Illinois Condemns Antisemitism
An anti-Israel group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is organizing a campaign to protest the school’s recent condemnation of “anti-Semitic attacks hidden under the guise of anti-Zionist rhetoric.”

Chancellor Robert Jones’ denunciation, shared in a mass email on Sunday, came after SJP at UIUC equated Zionism — the movement for Jewish national self-determination — with white supremacy and fascism. The group threatened to use “any means necessary” against supporters of each ideology, including “violent resistance–whether it is a black bloc or full-scale armed conflict.”

“Once again, our University’s administration has chosen to side with the powerful Zionist lobby on campus,” SJP at UIUC said this week in response to Jones’ statement, calling the “equivocation of anti-Zionist work to anti-Semitism … appalling, disappointing, and unsurprising.”

The group — part of a national network that, according to the Anti Defamation League, has “consistently demonized Israel,” including by “comparing Israelis to Nazis” — also claimed that it “spends multiple meetings discussing the evils of anti-Semitism in preemptive efforts to to [sic] ensure our organizing and activist work is truly intersectional and accountable to the various populations it seeks to represent.”
University of Cape Town debates academic and cultural boycotts of Israel
Africa’s top university, the University of Cape Town, is debating a proposed academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

The proposal was put forward by the Palestine Solidarity Forum, which has called on UCT to implement an academic boycott of Israeli universities. “This academic boycott would require that UCT reject forming any institutional ties with Israeli universities,” the PSF wrote.

“The rationale for this call is clear – Palestinian human rights are violated by Israel on a daily basis with the direct and indirect support from Israeli universities... By implementing an academic boycott, UCT takes a principled position in the defense of human rights and academic freedom,” The group claimed.

The matter has been raised for discussion at the UCT Academic Freedom Committee. The committee, however, is only able to make recommendations to the university for consideration by the UCT senate and council, it does not have the authority to make binding decisions on behalf of the school.

Klaas Mokgomole, a member of Africans for Peace, said the idea of boycott is taking the focus away from real issues.
Palestinian Terror-Loving Reems Bakery Wishes Jews A Happy New Year
Reems Bakery in Oakland California is clearly going out of its way to show everyone that just because you glorify the murderer of Jews, does not mean you hate Jews.

Note the table set up with challot and wine, as well as the singing. I am guessing Jewish Voice for Peace was behind this – they have a track record in supporting Reems, as evidenced by this video they posted only 6 hours ago as of the time of this post.

This is the tried and tested tactic of the haters: “Some of our best friends are Jewish, so we cannot be antisemitic.” It just so happens these “Jewish friends” hate Israel – thus are completely going against the Jewish faith.

Not that their Jewish faith is so important to them. I mean, they will bandy around catchphrases like “Tikun Olam”, but their ignorance of Judaism tends to be astounding. These Jewish displays are for propaganda purposes only. Rosh Hashana was over a week ago after all, and Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of repentance) is almost upon us.

I suggest JVP and other Jewish enablers of terror supporters and antisemites use Yom Kippur to think long and hard about who they have climbed into bed with. Because when you lie down with dogs, you tend to wake up without your head attached to your body.
CNEWA Changes Graphic on Christians in Israel
The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a Catholic Charity that serves beleaguered Christian populations in the Muslim-dominated Middle East, has corrected a graphic on its website that falsely reported that half the Christians in Israel had left the country in the years since the War of Independence in 1948. The graphic was part of a report about Christians in the Middle East, which CAMERA wrote about here.

After CAMERA publicized problems with the report, CNEWA quietly resolved one of the most egregious problems with the text. It removed a deceptive graphic that proclaimed that Israel's Christians population had declined by 50 percent since the 1940s and that half of the Christians in the country had left the country. In fact, Israel's population of indigenous Christians had increased by 282 percent since 1949, when the number of Arab Christians in the country was approximately 34,000. Today, there are more than 130,000 Christians in the country, making Israel the only country in the Middle East where the actual number of indigenous Christians has increased.
Here are two graphics shown from before and after the change:
Before
After
The new graphic is still somewhat problematic in that it obscures the substantial increase in the number of Christians in Israel, but at least it does not falsely state that half of Israel's Christians left the country since the 1940s, as the original graphic did.
‘Hitler You Were Right’ protester jailed for terrorism offences
A pro-Palestinian protester photographed holding a sign reading ‘Hitler You Were Right’ in 2014 has been jailed for terrorism offences.

Hussain Yousef, 22, became the face of hate in July 2014 as thousands protested Israel’s military action in Gaza, but was sent down for six and a half years at Kingston Crown Court last week for terror-related offences.

Police were alerted to extremist Islamic State material on Yousef’s Facebook accounts in November 2015. He was investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command (CTC), before being arrested in July 2016.

Restaurant worker Yousef, who lives in Kilburn, was found to have used six social media profiles to post extremist Islamist propaganda and execution videos online.
German TV to air interviews with SS death squad soldiers
A German television channel is broadcasting interviews with two alleged members of World War II Nazi death squads located with help from an Israeli hunter of Nazis.

Efraim Zuroff, Jerusalem-based Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, went public with the names after German state investigators appeared to be dragging their feet, he said in an interview.

The program by the ARB broadcaster featuring comments from Kurt Gosdek and Herbert Wahler was to air Thursday in ARD’s Kontakt magazine. They are alleged to be members of Einsatzgruppen, or mobile death squads, which historians say were responsible for about two million murders in the Soviet lands under German occupation.

According to Zuroff, who in 2014 had supplied German investigators with a list of 80 names of Einsatzgruppen members born in 1920 or later, said he became frustrated with the lack of response from the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg. He decided to work with a reputable German broadcaster in the meantime.
Chief Nazi-hunter of the US-based Jewish rights group Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Efraim Zuroff, during an interview with The Times of Israel on Wednesday, August 17, 2017 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

The prosecution of such perpetrators became easier after the 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk in Munich, which set a precedent enabling accessories to Nazi genocide to be tried for murder.
Graves at only concentration camp on British soil under threat from energy project
A leaked report suggests that a new energy project through the Channel Islands will do “great damage” to a gravesite where Jewish slave labourers are believed to be buried.

In an archaeological report seen by The Sunday Times, concern is raised that a power line between the UK and France will cut across the island of Alderney, where Hitler’s SS once guarded a concentration camp housing Jewish inmates.

Jews were imprisoned at Lager Sylt, one of four camps, and together with Lager Nordeney, one of two concentration camps built in 1942 and handed over to the SS in March 1943.

Inmates came from Sachsenhausen, a camp near Berlin, and one former inmate later recalled how “the most popular form of killing by the SS in Sylt was strangulation”.

While Nazi commanders burned all evidence and documents before their surrender, locals have since found hundreds of graves, believed to be those of Russian, French and Jewish labourers.

Archaeologists now say these graves could be destroyed by proposed £500 million energy scheme, which will link the British and French energy grids, and which is being funded by the European Union.
The Moral Choice of a Diplomat Who Defied Orders
On October 29, dozens of families will gather at a gala event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in New York, to celebrate their rescue 77 years ago at the hands of a single person, and to commemorate him. Those present will represent only a fraction of the thousands who owe their lives to the humanitarian act of this individual – Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul-general in the southern French city of Bordeaux.

In June 1940, as the German army was sweeping southward in defeated France, Sousa Mendes was faced with an impossible conflict between his conscience and his loyalty to his government. Portugal was then under the rule of the dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, whose wartime decree “Circular 14” forbade the issuance of transit visas to Jews wishing to escape capture by the advancing Germans. As the person in charge of the whole Bordeaux region, stretching into Bayonne, Sousa Mendes had the power to save thousands of Jews, who had fled to Bordeaux from other regions captured by the Germans and found themselves stranded on the streets of the city waiting for a miracle, but he would need to openly defy his government in order to do so.

Rabbi Chaim Kruger, one of those fleeing Jews, pleaded with Sousa Mendes to issue to his brethren Portuguese transit visas, thus making possible their escape by crossing into Spain and proceeding to Lisbon, Portugal, where they hoped to board boats taking them to safe destinations.

After a few days of agonizing soul searching, Sousa Mendes, the father of then 12 living children, decided to issue transit visas, and he did so by the thousands. When Salazar learned of Sousa Mendes’ flagrant disobedience, he ordered him back to Portugal for disciplinary measures. Even then, before leaving France, he managed to lead a group of refugees to a spot on the Franco-Spanish border where their passage was safer than at other transfer points.

Returning to Portugal, he was stripped of his diplomatic rank, fired, and all benefits accrued from a long diplomatic career annulled. When he died in 1954, he had been reduced to poverty, and was occasionally aided by Jewish welfare organizations. Most of his children left Portugal and took up residence in other countries.
Israeli Researchers Develop Firewall to Protect Android Devices from Hardware-Based Hacks
Cybersecurity researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed an innovative firewall program that adds a missing layer of security in the communication between Android smartphone components and the phone’s central processing unit (CPU), reported the university in Israel’s southern city of Beersheva.

The researchers in BGU’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering, led by Yossi Oren, earlier this year announced the security vulnerability and alerted Google to help them address the problem.

The researchers’ findings—written by Oren, in collaboration with Omer Shwartz, Amir Cohen and Asaf Shabtai—will be presented at the Workshop on Offensive Technologies (WOOT) in Vancouver, Canada in mid-August.

More than half a dozen cyber experts from Israel will be taking part in the WOOT conference, including Sofia Belikovetsky, Mordechai Guri, Yosef Solewicz, Andrey Daidakulov and Yuval Elovici, all of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; as well as Roee Hay of Aleph Research/HCL Technologies.

“The work of Yossi Oren’s team is only the latest invention coming from BGU’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering,” says Zafrir Levi, Senior VP Business Development at BGN Technologies, the BGU commercialization and technology company.

“In the last decade, the department has spearheaded cyber research, spawning many inventions that have been used worldwide through patents sold to international corporations and by establishing companies.”
Genetic manipulation makes strides in war against banana fungus
Israel - Genetic crops design company Evogene Ltd. and biotechnology firm Rahan Meristem Ltd. announced positive results in developing strains resistant to a widespread Banana fungus.

The companies’ second-year field trials with specialized banana strains have shown effectiveness against the Black Sigatoka fungus, the companies announced Tuesday.

The joined trials make use of genome editing technology—targeted modifications in a cell’s DNA—for the purpose of developing a potentially safer and healthier product for both growers and consumers.

The Black Sigatoka fungus imposes substantial costs on global banana producers, surpassing $500 million per year, according to a study published in the Journal PLOS Genetics on August 2016. Chemical fungicides are currently considered the only effective treatment, but are regarded as polluting and their frequent use increases the likelihood of fungicide-resistant strains will evolve.
Israel-Russia trade leaps by 25%
Amid tightening of economic cooperation between Russia and Israel, their trade has grown in 2017 by 25 percent, officials from both countries revealed.

The increase in the first six months of 2017 was over $380 million in trade that exchanged hands between Russia and Israel in the corresponding period the previous year.

Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), who also serves as Jerusalem Affairs Minister, announced these figures earlier this week at a conference in Moscow about Russian-Israel relations.

“There is still great potential for increase in trade and there is much work ahead of us,” Elkin said in reference to ongoing talks since 2013 on signing a free trade agreement with Russia.

The increase comes amid tight cooperation between Israel and Russia on security issues connected with Syria, where the Russian government is helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Russians helped Assad regain much of the territory lost to forces loyal to him since the outbreak of a bloody and brutal civil war in Syrian in 2011.
Israeli Agriculture Ministry accepts medical marijuana as farming sector
As proposed legislation to decriminalize recreational marijuana use awaits approval from the attorney-general, the Agriculture Ministry recently announced it is classifying medical-grade-cannabis growing as an official farming sector.

The move thereby entitles between 15 and 20 marijuana farmers to government aid, grants, water quotas and training in crop growing.

The ministry noted that the most recent branch to be classified as a farming sector was a decade ago, when the horse sector was recognized.

Calculations by the ministry show that it costs NIS 1.5 million to set up a 0.1 hectare (a quarter of an acre) cannabis farm, and costs 0.85% of this amount to double the farm’s size to 0.2 hectares, and 0.75% of the amount to increase it to 0.3 hectares.

If the cannabis is sold for NIS 10 per gram, cannabis growing is profitable only when a farmer has at least 0.4 hectares, with the return on such a farm being NIS 380,000 per each tenth of a hectare.

According to projections by the ministry’s experts, the medical cannabis market for Israeli exports will amount to roughly NIS 1 billion-NIS 4b. a year.
Former boy band Take That brings world tour to Tel Aviv
English pop group Take That is headed to Israel this fall, performing at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena on November 27, nearly three weeks after fellow Brit Boy George and his Culture Club headline at the same venue.

Three of Take That’s original members, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, will perform the band’s greatest hits, as well as songs from their new studio album “Wonderland,” which came out in March.

The five-member UK boy band, originally modeled on the US pop group New Kids on the Block, was a huge hit in the early 1990s, singing and dancing its way to 28 Top 40 singles in the UK, and dozens of number one albums. Early hits included “It Only Takes a Minute,” “I Found Heaven,” and “A Million Love Songs,” as well as a cover of Barry Manilow’s “Could It Be Magic.”

The original lineup included a young Robbie Williams, who was just 16 when he joined the band. Williams left the band in 1995 because of his drug abuse, and the band split up soon after, reuniting in 2006 and achieving renewed success as a four-piece band in the UK and Europe.
Jerusalem Biennale displays works of 200 global artists
If you’re in Jerusalem between October 1 and November 16, don’t miss the third Jerusalem Biennale, encompassing 17 group and eight solo exhibitions interpreting the theme “Watershed” through the lens of contemporary Jewish art.

The show includes photography, video, installation and performance art created by 200 artists hailing from diverse locales: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Budapest, Buenos Aires, New Delhi, Singapore and of course Israel.

“We’ve really become international,” Jerusalem Biennale founder and director Ram Ozeri says with pride. “This fulfils the vision we had from the beginning, to create a meeting point in Jerusalem for all those interested in the intersection between contemporary art and the Jewish world of content.
City of Jerusalem Seeks Technology Ties With India
An initiative sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in India seeks to connect Jerusalem’s startup ecosystem with India’s technology scene. Contrary to the popular perception, Jerusalem is fast catching up with Tel Aviv as a leading technology center in the world. In 2015, TIME magazine named Jerusalem as one of the world’s fastest growing hi-tech hubs.

The annual startup competition “Start JLM”, supported by Indian government and local private sector players, is being held in the country for the first time. This year’s winner, Bangalore-based Mimyk startup will be taking part in an technology boost camp in Jerusalem. Four other finalists will be getting access to startup incubators.

Jerusalem has lot to offer to a promising Indian medical technology startup like Mimyk. The Biblical city has established itself as a hub for cutting edge innovation in healthcare and life sciences. As Israeli technology magazine Israel21c commented this week, “Tel Aviv may be Israel’s high-tech capital, but the heart of life-sciences innovation lies in Jerusalem.”

“Mimyk and the other top 4 startups are not the only winners today, the relations between India and Israel have won a big prize as well,” Israel’s envoy, Ambassador Daniel Carmon, noted while congratulating today’s winners. “The India-Israel growing partnership is advancing in every field thanks to the promotion of innovation in India and in Israel, as well as the meeting of minds between our two ecosystems.”
IsraAID sends emergency response team to Puerto Rico
On September 19, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and other islands in the Caribbean. The hurricane destroyed much of the island’s key infrastructure, buildings and homes.

An emergency response team from Israeli NGO IsraAID, including professionals from its established team in Haiti, arrived in Puerto Rico earlier this week.

Based on its assessment of immediate needs, the team’s first priority was distributing and setting up water filters in the most affected places, and training local people how to use them effectively.

In addition, the Israeli team is distributing food and hygiene kits to the lowest-income neighborhoods.

Natalie Revesz, head of IsraAID’s mission in Puerto Rico, describes the scene: “The island is in complete ruin. There are wrecked cars all over the streets, boats washed onto land, many trees destroyed and felled, and electricity pylons upended, with cables scattered everywhere. The lack of electricity has also hugely impacted Puerto Rico’s clean water supply, and many areas now have no or very limited access. People in the streets are worried and shocked; there is a tremendous feeling of confusion and uncertainty.”
Israel’s top tennis player quits mid-match for Yom Kippur
Dudi Sela, Israel’s top-ranked men’s singles tennis player, quit mid-game at the Wuhan Open in China on Friday due to the imminent start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Sela, ranked 77 in the world, was down 1-0 in the third set of his quarter-final game with Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine. The first two sets were one each, 6-3 and 4-6.

Sela had asked for the match to be brought forward due to the fast that starts at sundown on Friday, but his request was reportedly denied and there was not enough time to complete the game before the advent of the fast day. He therefore withdrew and was knocked out of the tournament.

Sela forfeited $34,000 in prize money and the chance to win 90 ranking points.
In first, Denmark deploys troops to guard synagogue, Israeli embassy
The Danish military deployed troops in Copenhagen on Friday to guard the city’s synagogue and the Israeli embassy, hours ahead of the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday.

The deployment was the first by troops in the Danish capital since WWII.

The synagogue and the Israeli embassy have been under police protection since two deadly attacks in 2015.

An AFP correspondent at the scene saw armed soldiers standing outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue, with the narrow medieval street where it is located sealed off on both ends, hours before the start of Yom Kippur on Friday evening.

“This is the first time they are used in this type of situation, so it’s unique,” Copenhagen police spokesman Rasmus Bernt Skovsgaard said.
Danish soldiers guard the Jewish Synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 29, 2017. Danish soldiers took to the streets of Copenhagen for the first time on Friday, September 29, 2017, replacing the police to protect the synagogue and the Israeli embassy which have been guarded ever since two deadly 2015 attacks. (AFP PHOTO / SCANPIX DENMARK / Mads Claus Rasmussen)

Danish police have protected Jewish institutions in the country since Omar El-Hussein, a Danish citizen of Palestinian origin who swore allegiance to the Islamic State group, opened fire outside the synagogue, killing one Jewish man and wounding two police officers in 2015.
A Yom Kippur tradition in Amsterdam dates back to the invention of electricity
As one of Europe’s oldest and most impressive Jewish buildings, this city’s Portuguese Synagogue is known far and wide for its majestic beauty.

Built in 1675 for the descendants of Jews who fled religious persecution on the Iberian Peninsula, the Portuguese Synagogue today sees some 200,000 tourists annually. Inside its vast sanctuary, a massive Torah ark made of Brazilian Jacaranda wood towers over 17th-century furniture and a multitude of low-hanging golden chandeliers hang among 12 stone pillars.

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Its architect is said to have drawn inspiration from Solomon’s Temple, and the synagogue would be Europe’s largest and most ornate, according to historians. While the Portuguese Synagogue was later eclipsed by even larger and more magnificent shuls — like the one on Dohany Street in Budapest — the Amsterdam building remains a spectacular sight on any day of the year.

Yet most of the synagogue’s visitors are not around on the day when its beauty shines brightest: Yom Kippur. On the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the hall is packed to capacity as worshipers pray by the warm light of hundreds of candles — a tradition that dates back to the invention of electricity — accompanied by unique cantorial melodies that resemble operas.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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