Monday, February 26, 2018

From Ian:

Israel is the Ultimate Anti-Imperialist State
In his recent anti-Semitic rant, PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas repeated the lie that Israel is a “colonial project”. This is part and parcel of a long Muslim Arab tradition to wipe out the Middle East’s indigenous pre-Islamic civilizations.

Imagine if mainstream voices in the 21st century demanded that all non-German Europeans ”integrate into proper Europe” by embracing German culture, language, identity and the Lutheran religion. In a post-Second World War Europe, it would be rightly considered unacceptable supremacist racism. By contrast, many “liberal” Jew-haters demand that Israel “integrates into the proper Middle East” in the name of “peace” by letting itself be swallowed up by the surrounding Muslim Arab world.

In an era of Western post-colonial guilt, the Middle East is often presented as a hapless victim of former European imperialism. This myth was successfully promoted by the late Arabist Edward Said and his influential propaganda book “Orientalism”, which was enthusiastically embraced by numerous Middle East departments at Western university campuses.

It is a frequently ignored fact that former European imperialism in the Middle East was preceded by Islamist imperialism. In his book Islamic Imperialism: A history, professor Efraim Karsh, documents the long and violent history of Islamic imperialism. At its height, Islamist imperialism carved out a giant Muslim empire stretching from Spain in the West to India in the East. This once mighty empire eventually fragmented and the last Muslim empire collapsed with the end of Ottoman rule in 1917.

However, Islamist imperialism largely succeeded in wiping out pre-Islamic indigenous civilizations by imposing Islam and Arabic as the new norm across the Middle East and North Africa. The Jews were one of the few indigenous nations that managed to survive Islamic imperialism and maintain a separate identity and culture.

For centuries, Jews were the ultimate “other” in a predominantly Christian Europe. Today, the reborn Jewish state is the ultimate “other” in a predominantly Muslim Arab Middle East. Persians, Turks, Kurds and Berbers have largely embraced Islam but maintain separate cultural and linguistic identities from the surrounding Arab majority.

Ancient Christian and Zoroastrian communities are oppressed and threatened under Islamic rule. Israel stands out as the only remaining independent non-Arab and non-Muslim state in the wider Middle East region.

Anti-Jewish history revisionists often claim that Israel is a “foreign body” in a “Muslim Arab” region. In reality, the reborn Jewish state is the only remaining viable and indigenous fragment that survived the onslaught of Islamic imperialism.
The New Israel Fund Harms Israel, Yet Still Gets Support
A fundamental component of all strands of Judaism is supporting Israel as the Jewish state. Whether one believes in Orthodox or Reform Judaism, follows Shabbat, etc., believing that Israel should be the Jewish homeland is something that all Jews must believe in.

That’s why I don’t understand how American Jews can support the New Israel Fund (NIF) — an organization that harms Israel on many fronts. The latest development is a joint press release from Adalah (which received more than $2 million from the NIF from 2008-2016) and Hamoked (which received more than $700K during the same period). The press release claimed that, “it is illegal upon international law to impose upon East Jerusalem residents an obligation of loyalty to the occupying power.”

As the press release notes, these organizations sent a comprehensive letter to the Interior Ministry “detailing their grave concerns regarding a newly-proposed bill to amend the Entry into Israel Law. This new bill will allow the revocation of residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians on three possible grounds: for ‘breach of loyalty’; in cases where the status was granted on the basis of false information; and in cases where ‘an individual committed a criminal act’ in the view of the Interior Ministry.”

The new bill was drafted following the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision in September 2017 denying the revocation of permanent residency of four Palestinian parliamentarians from East Jerusalem — on the grounds of “breach of loyalty.”

These organizations argued that East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), and that its Palestinian residents are a protected civilian population. The groups claim, therefore, that it is illegal under IHL to impose upon them an obligation of loyalty to the “occupying” power — let alone to deny them permanent residency status on this basis.

The lowdown on Israel’s foes
HOLDING aloft Alex Ryvchin’s new book, The Anti-Israel Agenda: Inside the Political War on the Jewish State, Colonel Richard Kemp, one of its contributors, referenced Benjamin Netanyahu’s Munich speech in commending the collected essays to attendees at its Victorian launch.

Kemp described Netanyahu’s February 18 appearance at the Munich Security Conference, where the Israeli PM held up a piece of an Iranian drone fired on Israel from Syria, warning the Jewish State’s enemies not to “test Israel’s resolve”.

Waving the book, the visiting Briton exclaimed, “That is also a weapon — that is a weapon you need to arm yourself in your fight to defend the State of Israel.”

The former chief of command for British forces in Afghanistan, whose testimony before the UN Human Rights Council probing the 2014 Israel-Gaza war is detailed in Ryvchin’s new work, paid tribute to the Ukrainian-born Australian writer and lawyer, who is the public affairs director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

Liberal and Labor MPs, including Michael Sukkar (Deakin), Michael Danby (Melbourne Ports), Tim Wilson (Goldstein), and Victorian senators Kimberley Kitching and James Patterson, were on hand for the launch, co-hosted by ECAJ, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, the Zionist Federation of Australia and Zionism Victoria.

Sukkar described Israel as “the frontline of freedom in the world … yet there’s no nation probably on the earth that’s under a greater existential threat … works such as what we’re launching tonight … are so important in pointing that out”.



It’s not easy to be a South African Jew
This is the tweet that I sent to South Africa’s newly elected President and to MP Naledi Pandoor, one of the contenders for the Vice President position;

“Two consequences that will naturally follow the ANC’s hatred and obsession with Israel; 1. A rise in anti-Semitism. 2. A rise of terror within SA borders. Both are already a problem. The power sits with you to change it.”

That was before I read reports of the comments made by ANC MPLs in the Cape Legislature. It was less than a day later that I had cause to tweet the following;

“The ANC has institutionalised anti Semitism. The party’s rabid obsession with Israel and embracing of the racist BDS movement & terror organisations will be their undoing. ‘Zille is too much in love with the Jewish mafia’”

According to ANC MPL Sharon Davids the DA “fabricated” the day zero water crises in the Western Cape in order to set the scene for the desalination contracts and the kickbacks that would follow from the “Jewish mafia.” A comment that is bizarre and frightening on so many levels.

To date there has been no censure. No apology and no statement from the ANC.

There has not even been comment from Jewish community structures who are clearly grappling to find a way to handle this type of unprovoked attack.

Melanie Phillips: The world turned upside down: role of the media
Please watch below the video of my recent talk in Toronto, organised by the Speakers Action Group, on “The world turned upside down; the role of the media”.


Melanie Phillips: The war of our world; the struggle for conscience and reason
Please watch below the video of my recent talk in Beverly Hills to the David Horowitz Freedom Centre on “The war of our world: the struggle for conscience and reason”.


Polish Holocaust rescuers issue call for Polish-Israeli dialogue
The last surviving Christian Poles who helped Jews during the Holocaust appealed to Polish and Israeli authorities to return to a path of “dialogue and reconciliation” amid a diplomatic crisis and bitter emotions sparked by a controversial new Polish law that criminalizes some forms of Holocaust speech.

The letter, published Monday, is addressed to the governments and parliaments of Israel and Poland.

It was signed by 50 Poles who describe themselves as the last survivors of the more than 6,700 Poles who have been recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem as “Righteous Among the Nations” — gentiles who risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust.

They wrote that they oppose divisions being sown between Poles and Jews and seek a “future based on friendship, solidarity and truth.”

Earlier this month, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the controversial legislation, which outlaws blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany.
Renowned Professor Outraged After Being Accused of Saying Nice Things About Israel
In most academic circles, especially the ones inhabited by Catharine MacKinnon and Laura Finlayson, the accusation that one is acting as a useful idiot for George W. Bush is a scarlet letter, as depraved as liking child pornography or torturing animals. But the allegation that she is a handmaiden of American imperialism is not what prompted MacKinnon to write a letter to the editor. No, it was the fear that readers of the London Review of Books might mistake her for having even the slightest sympathy for the Jewish State which stirred the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at Michigan Law and James Barr Ames Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School to action. The accusation that she had “praised” the Israeli Defense Force for the record of its soldiers in not raping Palestinian women was an outrageous slander, as “no source, including the one Professor Finlayson kindly provided when asked, supports this false characterization of what was clearly an empirical observation of the contemporary occupying IDF [emphasis mine].” Not only is “saying I praised a fact I simply stated, raising it as a question seeking further information and analysis…a sloppy mistake as well as sloppy scholarship. It is also, in context, intentionally politically defamatory.”

Finlayson was baffled. Why else would someone mention the IDF’s supposedly spotless record of non-rape but to praise it? “Interventions taking the form of descriptive statements–whether true, false or questionable–can and frequently do constitute acts of praise or legitimation,” she writes in response to MacKinnon’s letter. “I leave it to readers to judge whether it is reasonable to interpret MacKinnon’s statement, delivered at an Israeli institution while a captive population was being bombed just a few kilometers away, as constituting such an act.”

Had MacKinnon wanted to convince readers that her comment about the IDF and rape was not intended as a mark of approval, she should have cited an infamous Master’s thesis written over a decade ago for, incidentally, Hebrew University, wherein the author decried the absence of rapes committed by Israeli soldiers as evidence of Jewish ethno-supremacy. Because Israeli soldiers, according to Professor Tal Nitsan, are trained not to see Arab women as fully human, raping them would risk diluting the Jewish gene pool. “The lack of military rape,” therefore, “merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences” between Jews and Arabs. Israelis would be better people, in other words, if they raped Palestinians.

So, in a sense, both women are right. Finlayson reasonably assumed that MacKinnon meant to “praise” the IDF when the latter stated that its soldiers do not rape Palestinian women. Yet MacKinnon is also right that, in the “context” of the pages of the London Review of Books, the perception that one has anything remotely positive to say about Israel—including the reluctance of its soldiers to rape Palestinian women—is a form of defamation. (h/t MtTB)
California Democrats for Peace and Justice
There is a new group on the scene, California Democrats for Peace and Justice, who describe themselves as "Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian and pro-Engagement".

They've been compiling information on the California candidates stance on the Boycotts, Development and Sanctions movement against Israel. Its an important resource for voters.

In the race for California Governor:

Exclusive: PayPal closes second illegal French BDS account
For the second time in 30 days, the US-based online payment service giant PayPal shut down the account of a French organization advocating for the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel.

The Jerusalem Post verified on Monday that the PayPal account of the BDS organization Jewish French Union for Peace (UJFP) was no longer permitting financial donations.

A PayPal spokesperson told the Post on Monday: “Due to customer confidentiality, we cannot comment on the details of any specific PayPal account. However, we would like to stress that PayPal has zero tolerance for the use of our secure payments platform to facilitate illegal activities. We make every effort to comply with laws and regulations around the world.”

The spokesperson added, “Compliance with these laws is something we take very seriously. We carefully review questionable activities reported to us and discontinue our relationship with account holders found to violate our policies.”

PayPal closed the account of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association in late January in response to an ongoing Post investigative series into funding streams for BDS organizations targeting Israel.

France has a tough anti-BDS law, the Lellouche Law, which bans discrimination based on national origin.

After a Post 2016 exposé of another BDS organization – Campagne BDS France – PayPal and banking giant Credit Mutuel closed the group’s accounts amid escalating criticism over its illegal practices.
Anti-Israel protesters disrupt Israeli speakers at U. Virginia
As we have documented here dozens of times, a standard anti-Israel tactic on campuses is to disrupt events and speakers. The purpose of even a temporary disruption is to intimidate and make clear there is a price to pay for Israeli or pro-Israel events.

It happened again, at an event sponsored by the Brody Jewish Center – Hillel at the University of Virginia and two pro-Israel student groups.

The event was Building Bridges, which takes place on many campuses. It gives Israeli Defense Forces reservists, through a group called Reservists on Duty, the chance to tell their story, and to be challenged on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. There is no attempt to shield the speakers from “tough” questions.


The Brody Jewish Center published the following statement on Facebook:
As part of our initiative to invite and encourage open dialogue about the complex issues facing our students, last night the Brody Jewish Center, CavPac, and Hoos for Israel hosted “Building Bridges,” a panel of Israel Defense Force reservists to Grounds to share their personal stories and answer tough questions from the University community. The idea behind the panel was to humanize the conflict, learn about Israeli society, and allow for honest conversation.

During the program, a group of students and non-students entered the room, began chanting anti-Israel slogans, holding up signs, and passing out information. Though student leaders and Rabbi Jake invited the protesters to participate in the program and address their concerns through conversation, protesters declined and continued to disrupt the panel.

Campus police were called, the protesters dispersed on their own, and the program continued. Following the protest, reservists made clear they wanted to carry on, and challenged students and community members to ask difficult and important questions. The conversation continued, and students with various points of view engaged in productive dialogue with the reservists.

While free speech and the ability to protest are important aspects of college life, we are disappointed that protesters refused to engage in conversation and instead continued to shout intimidating and hostile slurs directed at students, staff, and panelists. UVa is and has always been a place for the free exchange of ideas, learning from opposing views, and open dialogue.

Since last night, we have been in touch with University leadership and Hillel International to discuss the incident and determine how best to prevent this type of disruption in the future. We are committed to continuing programs that educate, raise pertinent issues, and welcome constructive dialogue around Israel and many other topics. We are committed to helping our students as they challenge, investigate, and form opinions about the world around them.

To our students: as always, staff is here to listen and support you in any way. Thank you for your willingness to work toward open dialogue and conversation on Grounds. Let us know if there’s anything we can do.


Corrected: The New Republic Calls Palestine the Capital of Israel
It was such a blatant error that one can only speculate that it was a lapse of copy editing rather than any malevolent intent on the part of the The New Republic:

We contacted The New Republic to point out the obvious, which has now been fixed and the following correction added to the bottom of the story:

Haaretz English Edition Provides Selective Coverage of Jerusalem Church Dispute
Haaretz's English edition prioritizes the story about the closing of Jerusalem's Church of Holy Sepulchre with a page-one, above-the-fold article today ("Jerusalem's Church of Holy Sepulchre closes to protest 'discriminatory' bill"), but then, in comparison to the Hebrew edition (which published a parallel article on page nine today), provides remarkably less information key to understanding the issues.

Strikingly, the English edition repeatedly omits the authorities' responses to the church officials' accusations charging Israel of implementing measures akin to Nazi-era Nuremberg laws against Jews. The controversy surrounds a bill which would enable the state to expropriate land that the churches sold to private investors since 2010, as well as the municipality's stated intention to collect tax on church-owned property not used for worship. Thus, the English edition notes that the church heads released a statement blasting what they call a
"systematic campaign against the Churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land.
"The systematic campaign … reaches now its peak as a discriminatory and racist bill that targets solely the properties of the Christian community in the Holy Land. . . This reminds us all laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe."


Further on, the English article provides more details about the church's position, stating:
Church leaders have made it clear a number of times that they consider this a serious violation of their property rights and the status quo. Leaders have also announced they will fight the law both legally and diplomatically.
UKMW prompts Guardian correction to false claim Israeli bill would confiscate church land

A Guardian article (Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre church closes in tax protest, Feb. 25) by Oliver Holmes began with the following mischaracterization of a proposed Knesset bill at the center of row between the Israeli government and church leaders.

The heads of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, considered the holiest site in Christianity, have shuttered its doors to protest against a new tax and a piece of Israeli legislation that will allow the government to confiscate church land.

However, as we pointed out in a complaint to editors, the bill in question, sponsored by MK Rachel Azaria, would confiscate land that was already sold by the church, and presently owned by Jewish investors. The legislation, which also includes compensation for the new owners, was inspired by the desire to protect hundreds of Jerusalem residents from possible eviction by their new landlords.

The error is an important one, because the suggestion that Israel is ‘confiscating church land’ serves to legitimise an outrageous statement by church leaders (quoted in the report), which you can see in this tweet, outrageously comparing the government’s behavior to “laws enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe”.
BBC News gives a stage to Iranian disinformation
As has been documented here (see ‘related articles’ below), one notable feature of the BBC’s coverage of the infiltration of an Iranian drone into Israeli airspace on February 10th was the corporation’s unnecessary qualification of the event.

“The Israeli military says a “combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel”.

It tweeted footage which it says shows the drone flying into Israeli territory before being hit.” [emphasis added] BBC News website

“Israel’s military, the IDF, released this footage from one of their helicopters. They say it shows an Iranian drone flying over Israeli territory.” [emphasis added] BBC News website

“…the Israelis have a very different narrative of the events of the past 24-36 hours and for them the original provocation was the flying of this drone over their territory.” [emphasis added] BBC World Service radio


At the same time, BBC reports also amplified Iranian disinformation.

“Meanwhile Iran and the Tehran-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon – which are allied with the Syrian government – dismissed reports that an Iranian drone had entered Israeli airspace as a “lie”.” BBC News website

“Iran denied it had sent a drone into Israel and defended the Syrians’ right to self-defence.” BBC News website


Significantly, the BBC’s coverage of that and related stories also failed to provide audiences with an accurate portrayal of the context of Iranian military activities in Syria and Lebanon.
More BBC promotion of PA messaging on US embassy
In the final version of the report – amended the following day – that statement was replaced by the following:
“Donald Trump’s decision in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy from Tel Aviv, where all other embassies are located, infuriated Palestinians.

The declaration broke with decades of US neutrality on the issue and put it out of step with the rest of the international community.”


In fact, the US Congress of course voted to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital over two decades ago.

Readers were told that:
“Within days of President Trump’s declaration, a UN resolution was passed declaring any decisions regarding the status of the city “null and void” and insisting on its cancellation. It was backed by 128 states, with 35 abstaining and nine voting against.”

They were not however informed that the UN GA resolution concerned is non-binding.
Putin praises achievements of ultra-nationalist anti-Semitic writer
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday praised the “social, literary and journalistic activities” of the editor of an ultra-nationalist newspaper who has called for a new Cold War and leveled vehemently anti-Semitic accusations against the vast country’s Jewish community.

Putin, who is all but guaranteed to win a fourth Kremlin term in a presidential election next month, sent Stalinist journalist and writer Alexander Prokhanov a telegram to congratulate him on his 80th birthday.

“You have taken a great professional path, you have found your calling in your columns and in your social, literary and journalistic activities,” the president said in the message published on the Kremlin’s website.

“You have always remained committed to your civic principles and ideals… I wish you good health and hope that your plans will be realized,” Putin added.

Prokhanov is the editor-in-chief of the far-right newspaper Zavtra (Tomorrow), which he founded in 1993.

In 2014, he accused Jews who supported anti-Russian protesters in Ukraine as “hastening a second Holocaust” with their backing of “fascist” Western reformers.
Polish lawmaker backs Jews fighting proposed ritual slaughter ban
As the Polish parliament gears up to vote next week on legislation that may effectively ban ritual slaughter in the country, one opposition MP wants the Jewish community to know he’s on their side.

“I think my country is making a mistake. I cannot understand it. I think this is the stupidest thing they could do,” Michal Kaminski of the Union of European Democrats (UED) told The Times of Israel.

“I think they destroyed the very good relations between the Polish and Jewish people that has grown since Polish independence,” he said in an interview.

Poland is currently a large exporter of kosher and halal meat across Europe, Turkey and Israel. Similar legislation was passed in early 2013, resulting in a hiatus on all kosher and halal animal slaughter until the law was overturned by the constitutional court in late 2014.

“These restrictions on kosher slaughter are in complete contradiction to the principle of freedom of religion of the European Union,” said European Jewish Association (EJA) Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin.

“I call on the Polish government to not legislate this shameful law and to take into consideration that the Jewish people’s trust in the Polish leadership is deteriorating. I don’t want to imagine what the next stage will be after legislating the Holocaust Law and putting limits on kosher slaughter in the country,” he said.
Polish Minister Says So-Called ‘Polokaust’ Museum Won’t Be Built
Poland’s deputy culture minister backed away on Monday from an academic’s proposal to build a so-called “Polokaust” museum for Polish victims of the Nazis, at a time when Warsaw faces international pressure over a law imposing jail terms for suggesting Polish complicity in the Holocaust.

Poland’s nationalist ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) says its measure passed this month, which imposes jail sentences of up to three years for those who suggest Poland was complicit in Nazi crimes, is necessary to protect the honor of their nation.

Marek Kochan, a writer and academic, coined the term “Polokaust” earlier this month to suggest that Poles were similar targets of Nazi crimes as Jews, and said a museum should quickly be built to commemorate them. Last week, Deputy Culture Minister Jaroslaw Sellin backed the proposal.

However, the idea drew criticism, including from the dean of the university where Kochan teaches, who called it harmful. On Monday, Sellin rowed back, saying the idea would antagonize Jews.

“It is a complete misunderstanding,” Sellin told Rzeczpospolita daily when asked if he wants the museum to be built.

“Using the concept of ‘Polokaust’ in a way I understand it would hurt Jewish sensitivity and unnecessarily provoke more tension between our nations. The Polokaust museum will not be built,” he also said.

Israel and the United States have spoken out forcefully against the Holocaust law, which they say could criminalize truthful scholarship about the role some Poles played in German crimes. Opponents accuse the PiS of politicizing World War Two to build a nationalist sense of grievance among the population.
Documentary about Kurt Waldheim’s Nazi past wins big in Berlin
An Austrian-Jewish filmmaker’s documentary about the 1986 campaign to unearth the Nazi-era past of Kurt Waldheim has won a top prize at the 68th Berlinale International Film Festival.

Ruth Beckermann received the Glashutte Original Documentary Award for “The Waldheim Waltz,” which uses historical footage to revisit the question of whether Waldheim, the president of Austria and a one-time secretary-general of the United Nations, lied about his involvement in atrocities committed when he was serving in the German army during World War II.

In so doing Beckermann, who received about $61,000 for winning the prize, also asks whether Austria has come far enough in confronting its role as perpetrator in Nazi crimes rather than calling itself Nazism’s first victim.

The campaign to expose Waldheim, which pitted local activists and the World Jewish Congress against the Austrian politician and his supporters 32 years ago, helped trigger a self-searching trend that led in 1995 to the establishment of Austria’s National Fund for Victims of National Socialism.

Waldheim, born in 1918, became the foreign minister of Austria in 1968 and then the fourth secretary-general of the United Nations before his successful run for the Austrian presidency in 1986.

The documentary focuses on the period during his presidential campaign and news conferences with Edgar Bronfman and Israel Singer, respectively president and secretary general of the WJC at the time, and interviews with Waldheim in English and German.
Mayim Bialik is heading to Israel to take part in antisemitism forum
TV star and Jewish activist Mayim Bialik will be heading to Israel next month. But she's not taking part in a new acting project - Bialik will be speaking at the Foreign Ministry's Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism.

In a video released on Monday, Bialik said she is looking forward to taking part in the Jerusalem confab, which will be held March 19-21.

"I'm very excited to be heading to Israel this March," she said. "I'll be speaking on hate speech on the web and in social media and I hope to see you there."

The ministry said Bialik will be taking part in a panel discussion on the discourse of hatred online.

Bialik, the star of The Big Bang Theory who got her first break as a child actress in Blossom, often speaks proudly about her Jewish heritage and faith. The actress considers herself an Orthodox Jew and often shares her Shabbat and holiday prep with her fans online.

Bialik also often speaks out on social media about the State of Israel, and not surprisingly can be subject to hateful replies.

"I have spent a lot of time in Israel – and in the West Bank – and I have family on both sides of the spectrum politically and religiously," Bialik wrote in a blog post in December. "I consider Israel my historical, spiritual, and religious homeland."
Spain’s SEAT showcases Israeli auto safety tech in new car
Israel-developed sensor technology that alerts drivers when they are distracted or drowsy has been incorporated into a car to be showcased by Spanish manufacturer SEAT at the 2018 Mobile World Congress Show this week in Barcelona.

SEAT has joined forces with Israel’s eyeSight Technologies to incorporate its embedded computer vision and deep learning solutions within the Leon Cristobel Concept Car it will present at the Barcelona congress.

“This is the first vehicle manufacturer to publicly introduce our technology,” said Iain Levy, VP Automotive of eyeSight, in a phone interview.

eyeSight’s solution uses an infrared sensor together with computer vision to help monitor drivers’ direction of sight, the level of their attention to the road and if they show signs of drowsiness. Once drowsiness or distraction is detected, eyeSight provides an alert in real time.

“Our technology uses computer vision — a camera technology to provide a complete in-cabin vision solution,” said Levy. The technology looks at the position of drivers’ heads, their eyes, how often they blink and where they are looking. It can also detect pupil dilation, which would provide information about drugs or alcohol use.
Daimler, MizMaa Invest in Israeli Tech Startup Anagog
German carmaker Daimler and US venture capital firm MizMaa Ventures took part in a round of financing for Tel Aviv-based start-up Anagog Ltd, Daimler said on Monday, without providing financial details.

Daimler opened a Mercedes-Benz research and development center in Tel Aviv last year, making it one of a growing number of multinational firms seeking to tap into Israel’s auto technology expertise as the industry moves toward self-driving cars.

Anagog has developed software that analyses user behavior directly in the mobile phone, using sensors, and then predicts future scenarios on the basis of artificial intelligence.

Last year, Anagog and Daimler launched the EQ Ready App, which helps drivers decide whether it makes sense for them to switch to greener car technology by recording real journeys and comparing them with electric and hybrid vehicles.
Israel, US join hands to protect Jewish heritage in Europe
The US Embassy and Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the signing of a Joint Declaration of Cooperation Between the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad (CPAHA) and the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs on the preservation of certain cultural properties.

Under the declaration of cooperation, the CPAHA and Ministry of Diaspora Affairs agreed to work together to preserve the cultural heritage of their citizens in Europe, including cemeteries, monuments, and archival material, which were decimated by the Holocaust and decades of communist rule. The United States and Israel have committed to identifying damaged, deteriorated, or obscured sites and related objects of cultural heritage in Eastern and Central Europe, and to work together to preserve those sites through joint projects.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said: “The relationship between the United States and Israel has never been closer, and we are cooperating at every level and in every sphere. While diplomatic and security cooperation are often what makes the news headlines, I’m especially proud of this new joint declaration, which unifies our efforts on the preservation of cultural heritage, an issue of extreme importance for millions of American citizens and Israeli citizens.”


Minister mulls Independence Day celebrations in New York
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev is considering holding an international event in New York City to celebrate Israel's 70th Independence Day, Hadashot evening news reported Sunday.

The ministry is reportedly looking into purchasing screen time to play a two- to three-minute video clip about Israel on the digital megascreens in Times Square that evening.

In addition, a lavish reception is reportedly being planned at a luxury hotel in Times Square.

The report said city dignitaries, diplomats, international delegations and representatives from around the world would be invited, and the hotel has already undergone a preliminary security tour ahead of the event.

According to Foreign Ministry sources, the estimated cost of the event would be between $3 million and $5 million.

"In days when the ministry is struggling over budgets, Minister Regev is spending money on a gala event whose contribution to the state is uncertain," a ministry source said.
WATCH: The story of Purim retold through text messages
Think you know the story of Purim? Everyone can use a little brush up on the saga of Esther, her husband the king, and the foiled plot to massacre the kingdom's Jews. The Global Jewish Channel (J-TV) on Monday released on Facebook a retelling of the Purim story through text messages.

The creative presentation casts the timeless characters in terms of slang, emojis, and some brilliantly chosen GIFs.



Purim in Text Messages! (Credit J-TV: The Global Jewish Channel/Facebook)



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