Saturday, June 15, 2019

From Ian:

Germany is accused of downplaying anti-Semitic attacks by Muslims
The annual al-Quds Day march in Berlin is often cited as a prime example of the rise of so-called new anti-Semitism in Europe: hatred of Jews in connection with Israel, often by people from Muslim societies.

Despite attempts by organizers in recent years to suppress some expressions of anti-Semitism, the march by hundreds of participants features frequent calls about killing Israelis, Zionist conspiracies and chants of “free Palestine from the river to the sea.” Flags of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah are on display, and imams regularly preach anti-Semitic verses from the Quran to the crowd in Farsi and Arabic.

“Under the guise of ‘Israel criticism,’ they use classic anti-Semitic stereotypes, identifying Israel as having ‘Jewish characteristics’: ‘domineering,’ ‘greedy’ or a ‘child killer,’” sociologist Imke Kummer observed about the marchers.

(Iran launched al-Quds Day in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel, and international events of support have followed. Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.)

Such agitation is seen worldwide. To many, it’s especially troubling on streets where the persecution of Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators was so brutal that it moved whole societies in Europe to vow “Never again.”

Curiously, however, some of the incidents documented at the al-Quds Day march in Berlin have been classified by authorities as forms of far-right anti-Semitism, independent watchdog groups have discovered.

Critics say the march example and other mislabeled incidents are facilitating attempts to politicize anti-Semitism and complicating the apparently losing battle to solve it.

“It means we can’t really use the official statistics on anti-Semitism in Germany,” Daniel Poensgen, a researcher at the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism, or RIAS, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
‘American Jews Forgot To Tell Their Children’
There’s a brief but quite telling scene in the remarkable documentary, “From Slavery To Freedom,” that recently premiered at a Jewish film festival in Washington, D.C.

The film is about Natan Sharansky, the most famous of the hundreds of Soviet Jewish “refuseniks,” referring to those who were refused exit visas to emigrate to Israel in the 1970s and ’80s. They lost their jobs, and many were imprisoned. Sharansky’s dramatic plight became the central rallying call for the Soviet Jewry movement. A well-known human rights activist in Moscow, he was accused of being a CIA spy, convicted in a sham trial and sentenced to 13 years of hard labor. He spent nine years in the Soviet gulag, much of that time in solitary confinement, before being released in a prisoner exchange in February 1986 and emigrating to Israel.

In the scene I referred to, Sharansky is shown in 2017 re-creating for the camera crew his walk to freedom across the famous Glienicke bridge, known as the “Bridge of Spies,” connecting East and West Berlin, where he was released by the KGB to U.S. officials on the other side. As he narrates his memories of the emotional moment, he is suddenly recognized by a middle-aged American Jewish tourist who happens to be walking by.

“Natan?” the man asks, stunned to see this iconic figure standing before him.

“Yes,” Sharansky answers.

“Oh, my God,” the man says, his mother at his side. “We marched for you in Philadelphia in 1980,” he exclaims excitedly.

A bemused Sharansky smiles and shrugs it off.

But in a phone interview this week with The Jewish Week from his home in Israel, Sharansky, who recently retired from his nine-year post as head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, acknowledges being “upset” with American Jewry for failing to educate its youth about one of the most successful human rights campaigns in history. (h/t IsaacStorm)
Jewish refugees to be debated at Westminster
The UK Parliament is for the first time to devote an hour-long debate to Jewish refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. The debate has been called by MP Theresa Villiers and will take place on Wednesday 19 June at 16:30 in Westminster Hall.

"This is a neglected aspect of the Israel/Palestine conflict and this debate is a long-overdue attempt to give this issue equal prominence with the far more familiar issue of Arab/Palestinian refugees," says Lyn Julius of Harif, a UK organisation representing Jews from the MENA.

Some 850,000 – a larger number of Jewish refugees – were driven out from Arab countries at the same time. The majority found a new home in Israel, but some tens of thousands were resettled in the UK .

In 1947-48 (and in some cases much earlier) Arab countries deliberately targeted their Jewish populations. In all Arab countries, violence, expropriations and expulsions ensured that Jewish communities, which in many cases had existed for thousands of years, ceased to exist. Most who left were forcibly deprived of their property.
·
At the time this injustice was recognised by international actors: the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) recognised on a number of occasions that the plight of the Jewish refugees fell within its remit. This is also why UNSC Resolution 242 refers to “a just settlement of the refugee problem” without specifying the “Arab” or “Palestinian” refugee problem.

Some countries today, namely the US and Canada, have also recognised this refugee issue as the injustice it is.



Intelligence Report: The Israel-Abu Dhabi connection
The New York Times recently published an elaborate profile of Mohammed Bin Zayed, the crown prince known as MBZ and the de facto ruler of Abu Dhabi. MBZ contrasts starkly with the notorious and controversial MBS – Mohammed Bin Salman – the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

In the article, Israel is mentioned only briefly, including that Israel had sold intelligence equipment and upgraded US-made F-16 fighter jets to the principality, which is a dominant part of the federated entity known as the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Nevertheless, in the Times piece, an entire portion of the clandestine world of Israeli-UAE relations is unveiled. Together with previous stories, the report sheds light on the extent, depth and nature of the secret relations between Israel and Abu Dhabi. But it also provides a wider perspective on the special developing relations between Israel and other Sunni states.

The article claims that over the last quarter of a century, the 58-year-old prince has turned his tiny fiefdom into a dominant force in the Middle East, but also a source for stirring instability in the region.

The basis for Israeli-Abu Dhabi cooperation emanates from two sets of common interests: one is the animosity toward Iran, and the second is the loathing and fear of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

To achieve his goals, MBZ over the years has purchased weapons and other military equipment worth hundreds of billions dollars, mainly from the US but also from Israel.
PA: 'We have foiled Trump's peace plan'
The Palestinians have thwarted US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East and will also foil the US-led economic conference scheduled to take place in Manama, Bahrain on June 25, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority presidency, said on Saturday.

His statement came as Palestinians in the West Bank launched protests against Trump’s peace plan and the Bahrain conference.

Referring to the yet-to-be-announced peace plan, Abu Rudaineh said: “The American conspiracy has faltered and its direction has changed. That’s because of Palestinian rejection [of Trump’s plan] and President Mahmoud Abbas’s clear position on Jerusalem, the refugees and the national principles.”

Abu Rudaineh claimed that the US administration’s peace plan has been reduced to a “workshop” in Bahrain. “This plan could become a document that contradicts international law and Arab legitimacy,” he said.

Regarding the Bahrain conference, the PA official claimed that its true objective is “to avoid political negotiations on the basis of international legitimacy, and this will inevitably lead to a dead end.”

The US administration and the international community, Abu Rudaineh added, should stop trying solutions that have already been tried and failed over the past seven decades.
Corbyn: UK gov’t heightening Gulf tensions by blaming Iran for tanker attacks
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn accused the British government of heightening the possibility of a military conflict in the Persian Gulf, after the country’s foreign minister said Iran was culpable for this week’s attack on a pair of oil tankers.

“Britain should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement,” Corbyn tweeted Friday.

“Without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war,” he added.

The comments by Corbyn, a far-left lawmaker who previously has appeared on a television network connected to the state-owned Iranian broadcasting company, came after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that an independent assessment had concluded that Iran was “almost certainly” responsible for the latest Gulf tanker attacks.

“Our own assessment leads us to conclude that responsibility for the attacks almost certainly lies with Iran. These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilizing Iranian behavior and pose a serious danger to the region,” Hunt said in a statement.

The Foreign Office statement pinned the blame for Thursday’s attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard — a vast and powerful branch of the Iranian military.

“No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible,” the Foreign Office statement said.
Top Spanish Commentator Slammed for Pushing ‘Jewish Lobby’ Conspiracy Theory
One of Spain’s leading political commentators was taken to task this week by the European Jewish Congress (EJC) over a broadcast in which he criticized the “powerful Jewish lobby in America.”

In a TV commentary broadcast on Wednesday entitled “Very Bad News,” Inaki Gabilondo claimed that The New York Times stopped running syndicated political cartoons “under pressure by the mighty Jewish lobby” following the furor over the publication of an antisemitic cartoon of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Galibondo argued that the cartoon “parodied the relationship between Trump and Netanyahu,” and that this had “worn out the patience of the Jewish lobby.”

The EJC noted in a statement on Thursday that Gabilondo had spoken of “the enormous power of the Jewish lobby in the United States” and of the weakness of today’s print media, which “bows down [to the lobby].”

The EJC quoted its local affiliate, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain (FCJE), responding forcefully to Galibondo.

Charging Galibondo with having echoed antisemitic tropes used in the past by the dictatorial regime of the late Gen. Francisco Franco, the FCJE said that he had “resorted to the age-old antisemitic myth of the Jewish lobby. Just one step away from Franco’s Judeomasonic lobby conspiracy theories.”
Israel said to demand return of soldiers’ bodies as condition for calm in Gaza
Hamas sources said Saturday that Israel was demanding the terror group renew talks on returning the bodies of fallen Israeli soldiers in exchange for quiet in the Gaza Strip.

The sources told the Arabic 21 news site that Hamas had refused the demand, according to a report by Channel 13 news.

Hamas is believed to be holding the remains of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, whose bodies were captured by the terror group when they were killed in the Strip during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

The terror group also holds captive Israeli civilians Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

The report added that UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov was working to prevent further deterioration in the situation between Israel and Hamas.

Mladenov reportedly conveyed a message from Hamas to Israel that the terror group placed full responsibility for any future escalation on Jerusalem, saying that it was not fulfilling its part of the unofficial ceasefire agreement. Mladenov has told Hamas that Israel is interested in maintaining quiet.
Hamas chief tells UN he doesn’t know who fired past week’s rockets at Israel
The leader of the Hamas terror group reportedly told the United Nations envoy for the Middle East on Friday that he did not know who in Gaza was responsible for this week’s rocket fire at Israel.

“No faction fired toward Israel” in the past week, Ismail Haniyeh told Nickolay Mladenov, according to the Ynet news site.

“We’re conducting an investigation to find out who fired,” Haniyeh said at the meeting in Gaza, adding that all Gaza-based factions had denied firing the projectiles at Israel.

Hamas, a terror group which seeks Israel’s destruction, did not want the unofficial ceasefire deal reached with Israel to collapse, Haniyeh said.

Mladenov promised Haniyeh that a Qatari envoy would enter the Gaza Strip with a monthly cash delivery next week. He conveyed to Haniyeh that Israel was interested in maintaining calm in the south, the report said, citing Palestinian sources.

The meeting came after a fresh surge in violence, including two nights of rocket attacks and retaliatory air force strikes, and a wave of arson balloons sent into Israel.
Palestinian who was to be deported from US to Israel is released from detention
A northern Virginia man whose deportation to Israel was reversed last week is home again.

Immigration attorney Patrick Taurel said Abdelhaleem Ashqar was home in Alexandria on Friday following his release from a detention center in Bowling Green, Virginia.

Ashqar, who says he fears torture at the hands of Israeli authorities, is back in the US after a judge’s order last week forced immigration authorities to reverse his deportation and bring him back from Israel before he ever got off the plane.

Ashqar, 60, recently served 11 years in prison for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the Palestinian terror group Hamas.

According to court papers and interviews, US authorities arrested Ashqar last week and quickly deported him on a chartered flight after misleading him about his need to report to an immigration office to process paperwork.

By Thursday, though, Ashqar was back in the US. He was held at a detention facility in Bowling Green as his case awaits an expedited ruling from the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.
Fatah official said sacked after Jewish revelers show up at his son’s wedding
Fatah booted the council chief of the West Bank village of Deir Kadis Friday after four Israelis showed up at his son’s wedding celebration.

Radi Nasser was also removed from his job at the Palestinian Authority education ministry after videos emerged showing the Jewish men at the Thursday event, Haaretz reported.

The four were residents of nearby settlements, according to Palestinian media reports. Deir Kadis is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northeast of Modiin.

The PA education ministry announced that a special committee would review the incident and determine the steps to be taken against Nasser.

Fatah said that a no-confidence meeting would be held to remove Nasser from office and that the names of the Jewish attendees would be passed on to the Palestinian security forces.

The video clips from the village near Ramallah show the four Jewish attendees wearing religious garb and dancing alongside Palestinians.

Some of the Palestinians at the wedding filmed the Jews, and the video clips quickly spread on Palestinian social media, sparking outrage, Haaretz reported.

Nasser said he had not invited the Jews to the wedding, and that they had not arrived until after midnight.
MEMRI: Sheikh Of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb: The West Will Be Punished For Gay Marriage Sooner Or Later, Like Sodom And Gomorrah; Islam Only Permits Wife-beating In Rare Cases, It Is Much Worse In The West
Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb said in a series of interviews that aired on Channel 1 (Egypt) between May 17 and June 2, 2019 that the Western notion of equality is "false." He criticized Western civilization for not being based on any principles or heritage and said that this is why gay marriage is considered acceptable in the West. Stating that Allah's laws are immutable, Al-Tayyeb said: "Even the animal kingdom did not go that far." Sheikh Al-Tayyeb also said that the Quran does not order men to beat their wives, and, explaining that a man who chooses to not beat his wife is not in violation of the shari'a, he said that wife-beating in Islam is only permitted in certain extreme circumstances and that it is comparable to a "poke." He also said that Islam is criticized for permitting wife-beating because Islam and Muslims are "targeted," while the beatings that occur in the U.S. in the U.K. lead to death and police involvement.

May 17, 2019 – "Modern Civilization Is Not Based On Principles – It Is Well Known That Modernity Has No Principles Or Heritage, And That Nothing Is Sacred"

Ahmad Al-Tayyeb: "Is equality an absolute principle or a limited principle? We can see that the Islamic notion of equality is limited. However, the Western notion of equality is, I'm very sad to say, absolute. It has destroyed – or has strived to destroy – many of the values that are more vital for the stability of people's lives. If we examine the Western notion of equality... As a researcher I have the right to say that in my opinion this notion is false.
[...]
"Modern civilization is not based on principles. It is well known that modernity has no principles or heritage, and that nothing is sacred. All those things were locked up in a dark room, and that was it.
[...]
"This led us to the point where it is very legitimate, legal, socially acceptable, and considered to be in good taste for a man to marry another man.
The Mullahs Promise "Demise of Israel" and American Civilization
Iran recently produced a program on its state television channel demonstrating that the government is currently practicing missile attacks, with the purpose of carrying out actual attacks on Israel.... The video excerpt included in the television broadcast showed how the operations the Iranians are striving to put into action will bombard Tel Aviv.

From the perspective of the Iranian leaders, if they continue to increase their threats against Israel, the United States will be pressured to change its strategy and lift pressure that has been placed on the clerical establishment, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and its elite branch, the Quds Force.

It is an unacceptable double-standard that the United Nations and the international community have been, and continue to be, silent about Iran's threats against Israeli citizens. If the situation were reversed and if Israel threatened to annihilate Iran, the international community would be up in arms, and quick to defend Iran. Through political and economic pressure, the ruling mullahs of Iran should be held accountable by the international community for endangering global security and regional stability.
BDS – A power psychology against Israel
A well-researched Israeli government report has documented that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has its basic roots in terror, and not civil rights. No surprise here. Yet the movement continues to draw support among many well-meaning and truly decent folks in the United States and elsewhere.

So, what gives?

Clearly, not everyone supporting the BDS program or the Palestinian cause is antisemitic, nor is questioning Israel in itself problematic. Yet at its core, BDS is something else: it is a story about how radicalized players found a way to influence sincere people – academics, students, politicians and social justice advocates – by co-opting civil rights activism as a self-serving method to undermine the existence of a sovereign country.

The boycott movement’s will to fight Israel is political, but its means is psychological.

Co-opting civil rights
When speaking of civil rights and justice, there is critique galore for Russia, China, the Europeans, for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and just condemnation toward those who have oppressed people of color, women and the LGBTQ community – the list goes on.

In the face of so much injustice, in so many spaces, one has to admire BDS’s singular focus and powerful social currency in mobilizing a widespread attack on the Jewish state. Case in point: consider the Women’s March, a cause shared by many which conflated an urgent cause with a bias against Jews – and Israel – to its own detriment.
The Legacy of the ‘Nakba’ and Lies About Israel on College Campuses
Many students on college campuses these days hear the lie that Israel has murdered entirely innocent, unarmed protesters in the Gaza Strip. They hear that the IDF specifically targets women and children, all while they displace Palestinians to make room for Jewish settlements.

In the past, they heard these accusations from professors and student governments.

But now they hear them from politicians, too, including the widely criticized comments of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), with the ​former​ accusing Israel of “hypnotizing the world” to ignore its “evil doings” in Gaza, and the latter planning to take US legislators to the West Bank to meet displaced Palestinian refugees firsthand and hear the “truth” about the after-effects of wars with Israel (wars started by Arabs on the Jews of Israel, with the goal of eradicating them).

What these students don’t normally hear is the fact that the vast majority of those killed and injured in the weekly “March of Return” riots were Hamas operatives, or violent and armed terrorists attempting to infiltrate the Israeli border. It doesn’t help that they use women and children as human shields to hide their activities.

Such facts are a few Google searches away, but many students just blindly assume that the wild accusations of Israel’s human-rights violations are true.

The problem is that they aren’t armed with information, especially when it comes to the ​Nakba — the “catastrophe” that Arabs associate with the creation of modern-day Israel, and their attempt to destroy the sole Jewish state in the world.

Progressive college students have come to believe that in 1948, Israel enacted a policy of ethnic cleansing and forcibly expelled 750,000 Palestinians in order to ensure a Jewish supermajority and make room for Jewish immigration. They also believe that Israel acted similarly, albeit on a smaller scale, in the Six-Day War.
Cambridge Union debate with proudly antisemitic Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to go ahead as part of its “great tradition”
Cambridge Union has disgracefully invited proud antisemite Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, to give a speech at 18:30 on Sunday.

It is unforgivable that Cambridge Union at the University of Cambridge, one of Britain’s most prestigious educational institutions, is rolling out the red carpet for this self-confessed and unrepentant antisemite, and allowing him to share his dangerous views with students.

Dr Mohamad, 93, has a long history of making appallingly antisemitic comments.

In his 1970 book “The Makay Dilemma”, he wrote that: “The Jews are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.” In 2012, he wrote on his personal blog that: “Jews rule this world by proxy.”

He also notoriously boasted that: “I am glad to be labeled antisemitic…How can I be otherwise, when the Jews who so often talk of the horrors they suffered during the Holocaust show the same Nazi cruelty and hard-heartedness towards not just their enemies but even towards their allies should any try to stop the senseless killing of their Palestinian enemies.”

In January this year, Dr Mohamad was controversially invited to speak at the Oxford Union. When challenged there about his comments about Jews, he responded that: “We talk about freedom of speech, but yet you cannot say anything against Israel, against the Jews, why is that so? If we are free to say what we like, we can say something that is regarded as antisemitic by the Jews, that is their right, to hold such an opinion of me. It is my right to tell them, also, that they have been doing a lot of wrong things.”
Raymond Ibrahim Expertly Eviscerates U. of Michigan Prof. Juan Cole's Hagiography of Muhammad
Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires by Juan Cole

Reviewed by Raymond Ibrahim

Fabricating Muhammad

Cole presents Muhammad as a contemporary Western statesman devoted to peace, tolerance, multiculturalism, and gender equality, and sympathetic to Christian Byzantium.

To support this portrait of Muhammad—which the author admits "differs significantly from the picture of the Prophet in most Muslim commentary"—Cole rejects mainstream Islamic historiography, relying instead on select Qur'anic verses, unsourced "folk memories," plenty of academic conjecturing, and heavy use of the verb "would." For example, on the war between Rome and Persia, he writes, "Muhammad would have watched with horror"; on the Persian siege of Jerusalem in 614, "Muhammad would have listened with horror to the reports of travelers"; or "Muhammad ... would have been acquainted with Roman law, culture, and languages"; and "Muhammad would have sent envoys seeking good relations with the new imperial authorities."

Why the subjunctive tone? Because there is zero textual evidence for these statements. There is, however, plenty of contrary evidence. For example, the only record of relations between Muhammad and Byzantine emperor Heraclius found within the Islamic tradition—the Prophet's order that the emperor abandon Christianity and submit to Islam or face war—is not mentioned. Instead, Cole writes, "Muhammad had allied with Constantinople and went to his grave that way in 632" even though no evidence of any such alliance exists.
UCLA investigates Guest Speaker's Alleged Remarks Comparing Jews to White Supremacists [on Rabab Abdulhadi]
UCLA professor Kyeyoung Park teaches anthropology and other courses at the public university, and invited Rabab Abdulhadi, a San Francisco State University professor of Arab and Muslim ethnicities and Diasporas/Race and Resistance Studies to lecture at UCLA. However, UCLA is looking into Abdulhadi's guest lecture because it apparently veered into anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Abdulhadi has an alleged history of anti-Semitic rhetoric and anti-Zionist actions, and during the guest lecture, allegedly told students that pro-Israel students are "white supremacists" who want to "ethnically cleanse the Middle East."

Abdulhadi has taught classes, such as the following:
- Arab American Identity: Memory and Resistance
- Gender and Modernity in Arab and Muslim Communities
- Theories and Issues in Ethnic Studies
- Palestine: Ethnic Studies Perspective
- Gender, Identity and Society in the Middle East
- Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial Discourse: Perspectives on Resistance and Revolution
- Introduction to AMED
- Introduction to Arab and Arab American Feminisms

Her Twitter page is full of anti-Zionist rhetoric and content, such as quoting the left-wing website Truthout with the following caption:

"Why did @SFSU cancel Palestine Study Abroad trip? Why are Zionist bullies misrepresenting what happened @UCLA? Why does Lawfare target campus advocates for justice in/for Palestine?"


Man hurls subway rider’s phone onto tracks for recording his anti-Semitic slurs
A hateful straphanger snatched a man’s phone and hurled it at an oncoming train because he was being recorded spewing anti-Semitic slurs, police said Friday.

The 33-year-old victim was on the southbound platform of the Gates Avenue station waiting for the J train at about 8:00 a.m. on Thursday when the suspect approached him and started arguing, cops said.

The suspect then began making anti-Semitic statements, referencing Hitler and yelling “F–k all Jews,” and “Kill all Jews,” authorities said.

The victim quickly pulled out his cell phone to record the racist rant, and then tucked the phone away in his shirt pocket.

That’s when his attacker ran up from behind and snatched the phone, flinging it at an oncoming train before fleeing the scene on foot, cops said. But the cell phone wasn’t damaged, and police were able to retrieve footage of the incident.

The suspect is described as a black man in his 30’s, about 5-foot-9 with black hair and a goatee, police said. He was last seen wearing a black suit, black dress shoes, and a black tie.
Ukraine historian honors Nazi collaborator, calls criticism ‘Russian propaganda’
A senior state historian of Ukraine said that protests by Poland and Israel about his country’s glorification of Nazi collaborators was Russian propaganda.

Volodymyr Vyatorovych, director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, offered his opinion last week on social media in connection with a joint letter of protest by the Israeli and Polish ambassadors to Ukraine.

In an unusual move, the two diplomats wrote to the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankisvsk protesting the unveiling there of a monument honoring Roman Shukhevych, a collaborator with the Nazis who is implicated in the murder of countless Jews and ethnic Poles by his UPA nationalist militia during the 1940s.

“The letter is in English, but its essence is Russian. The content — this is also a repetition of the Russian propaganda against the UPA,” Vyatorovych wrote.

Vyatorovych is a consistent advocate of the UPA and other pro-Nazi outfits. But his claim that Israel and Poland are serving Russian propaganda is unusual. Russia last year blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian defenses during an Israeli strike in Syria, an accusation rejected by Jerusalem.
Swastika graffiti found on Argentine Holocaust memorial
A swastika was spray-painted on a Holocaust memorial in the northeastern Argentine city of Resistencia.

The Monument to Humanity commemorates, among other victims, Irene Schwimmer de Korytnicki, the last survivor of the Holocaust who lived in the capital of the Chaco region. She died this year.

On Wednesday, the Resistencia Jewish community, the Hebraica of Resistencia Jewish Community Center and the local representative branch of the national Jewish umbrella group DAIA condemned the attack as “part of the anti-Semitic events that are taking place in Argentina, which threaten the coexistence and democratic values of society.” They called on authorities to investigate.

In the last three months, Argentina has seen three instances of violent anti-Semitic aggression, and there is a growing concern about the wave among Jewish leaders. In February, nine gravestones were vandalized in the Jewish cemetery of San Luis province.
Fortnite Owner Epic Games Acquires Group Video Chat App Houseparty
Epic Games, the owner of gaming phenomenon Fortnite, has acquired group video chat app HouseParty, the latter announced in a blog post Wednesday. While the company did not disclose financial details, one person familiar with the matter who spoke to Calcalist on condition of anonymity placed the sum Epic Games paid at several tens of millions of dollars.

HouseParty is an app operated by San Francisco-based Life on Air, which was founded in 2012 by a team of Israeli entrepreneurs. The app, available for iOS, Android, MacOS, and as a Chrome extension, offers a social network for video chatting.

“Houseparty brings people together, creating positive social interactions in real time,” Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, said in the blog post. “By teaming up, we can build even more fun, shared experiences than what could be achieved alone.”
World's largest brewer opens Israeli cybersecurity unit as attacks mount
Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer maker, said on Thursday it was opening a cybersecurity unit in Israel to help protect against a growing number of attacks.

Israel is a leader in cybersecurity, and many of the world’s largest companies have opened centers there or acquired Israeli tech firms to defend themselves against hackers as the reliance on digital networks and cloud storage becomes more prevalent.

Anheuser-Busch’s Tel Aviv hub will focus on analyzing threats and potential attacks, said Luis Veronesi, vice president of global security and compliance. The company did not disclose financial details of the move.

Veronesi said the entire industry has been facing increased cyberattacks, ranging from “financially motivated” hacks to attempts at disrupting operations.

“With increasing digitalization, we have to be prepared to defend against anything coming,” he said.
1,500 Chernobyl ‘liquidators’ live in Israel. They are appallingly mistreated
The much-discussed new TV series, “Chernobyl,” which focuses on the worst nuclear disaster of the twentieth century, has reminded the world about what happened at the plant’s No. 4 nuclear reactor 33 years ago.

Despite the very real health dangers, many curious tourists have been making their way to the remote Ukrainian city where time stopped in April 1986. And journalists have been seeking out the people who fought the devastating fire and built the Chernobyl sarcophagus, the massive steel and concrete structure that was constructed on top of the destroyed reactor to isolate it and limit radioactive contamination of the surrounding area.

The vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of Chernobyl “liquidators” — those who were called in to deal with the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic nuclear leak — who are still alive today reside in the former Soviet Union. But about 5,000 of them immigrated to Israel at the start of the 90s, and 1,500 of them still live here. Unfortunately, the liquidators are elderly and suffer from ill health. Unsurprisingly, those facts are less interesting than the painful memories from those terrible days: the friends who died, the hair that fell out, the diseases that spread.

I came into contact with this unique group of people four years ago in the course of the election campaign for the twentieth Knesset. The head of the association of Chernobyl liquidators here, Alexander Kalantirsky, got in touch with me before I was elected, and asked for my help. When we started talking, it emerged that he had studied construction engineering together with my mother at the same university in Moscow.



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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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