Thursday, May 07, 2020

From Ian:


‘We Need More People Standing Up for Jews,’ Renowned Playwright David Mamet Says
David Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jewish playwright, film director, author and screenwriter, called on Tuesday for more people to publicly defend Jews in the US.

During a Zoom call hosted by Jewish National Fund-USA, Mamet discussed Jews being kicked out of various countries throughout history, and one viewer asked the American Theater Hall of Famer when he thought the US would become “inhospitable” to Jews.

Moderator Daniel Housman further asked Mamet if he believed there was “ill-will” towards Jews in the US. Mamet replied, “Well of course.”

“If you look at the ‘Squad,’ those harpies in Congress making antisemitic remarks — nobody says ‘boo,'” he explained, referring to the informal name of a group comprised of four progressive congresswomen: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Mamet added, “People come to me over the years and they say, ‘We need more movies showing that Jews are good.’ It’s like outreach, which is a bunch of nonsense. We don’t need more movies like that. We need more people standing up in Congress, more people standing up in the Senate and more people standing outside the door with a legally-licensed firearm saying, ‘Guess what, I’m not different.'”
The Navy SEAL turned congressman who has no patience for outrage culture
Rep. Dan Crenshaw is itching to get back to work. The freshman Republican is hunkered down in Texas as the coronavirus pandemic envelops the United States. But where he really wants to be is Washington.

“We want people to get back to their lives and get back to a sense of freedom,” Crenshaw told Jewish Insider in a recent phone interview from Houston. “We’re fine, of course, it’s the rest of the country that better get back on track.”

The legislator has called for Congress to reopen immediately, and he wants to see a change in how it deals with the “economic side” of the coronavirus moving forward.

“I will not support any more large, trillion-dollar stimulus packages because it’s ridiculous,” he told JI. “If the PPP program needs more funding, let’s possibly fund that — but let’s take it one step at a time… there’s a lot of problems with what we already passed, and we need to fix those things first.”

In less than two years in office, the outspoken political newbie has already made a name for himself among Congress’s diverse freshman crowd. He has become somewhat of a rockstar among young conservatives — amassing more than 1.4 million Instagram followers — and a regular on cable news shows. In his new book Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage, Crenshaw lays out his philosophy for his approach to both politics and life.

And there are several lessons from his book that can apply to the country’s current crisis, he says, pointing to chapters about acquiring perspective and living with a sense of duty.

“It’s tough to tell people during hard times that they should have some perspective, but it’s also true,” he said. “I think Israeli people probably know this better than most. Because on any given day, you might have rockets being lobbed onto your neighborhoods.”

Israel Advocacy Movement: The video Israel's haters tried to hide




Coronavirus: No new deaths, recovered patients double active cases
The number of patients (10,873) who recovered from COVID-19 is more than double the figure of active cases (5,228), the Health Ministry announced on Thursday. Moreover, the country registered just one new death in the previous 24 hours. A total of 240 people in Israel have succumbed to the disease since the beginning of the crisis.

The number of hospitalized patients currently stands at 237, some 83 of whom are in serious condition, including 68 who are intubated.

The steady decline of the infection rate in Israel is therefore confirmed on the day that marks the beginning of the second phase of the country’s exit strategy, with shopping malls, markets and workout centers resuming activity. All facilities have to implement several safety measures, including taking customers’ temperatures and limiting the number who are allowed in.

Meanwhile, outgoing justice minister Amir Ohana announced on Thursday that he was extending the state of court emergency from May 10 until May 17 at the request of the court system, in order to have an additional week to make preparations for holding more hearings under corona conditions.


Israeli disinfectant kills 100% of viruses, bacteria
A state-of-the-art disinfectant developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research and distributed by Tera Novel is capable of killing 100% of bacteria, viruses, molds and some fungi, including the novel coronavirus.

“Our disinfectant works in a very different way from many others,” Tera Novel chairwoman Karen Cohen Khazon told The Jerusalem Post. “We also use hypochlorite, but in a very high [concentration] and we add some [additional ingredients] so that anywhere the disinfectant is sprayed, it becomes a very white film of gel which keeps the [material] on the surface for a while.”

To clean it off, she explained, you simply need to rinse it off with water or clean it off with a towel or paper towel.
Hazon explained that the disinfectant works well on walls, ceilings, floors, toilets, restrooms, spas, airport bathrooms, and now, mikvaot (ritual baths).

The company began a test run in Bnei Brak as part of the effort to slowly ease the coronavirus restrictions in the region by using the disinfectant in mikvaot in the ultra-Orthodox city. The pilot is seemingly a success, as the town plans on reopening mikvaot in the coming days.

Bnei Brak was one of the cities hit the worst by the novel coronavirus. The city was declared a “restricted zone” in early April and residents were banned from leaving the city in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Now, as the country slowly returns to normal, Bnei Brak is using the new technology to attempt the same.

“They are very excited to bring the mikvaot back to societies, to go back to normal life,” Khazon told the Post. “We are very flattered and happy to be part of trying to bring society back to their routine in Bnei Brak, especially after the very tough time they had to go through.”


IDF Naval Commando Unit Keeps Oxygen Flowing to Civilian Care Centers
The IDF's naval commando unit, Shayetet 13, has been making nonstop deliveries of oxygen cylinders to civilian care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic, due to its extensive experience in scuba-diving and the ability to compress oxygen gas into cylinders.

Maj. "N" explained: "In Atlit [where the unit is based], there is a kind of small factory for compressing oxygen. We saw that nursing homes and organizations that care for vulnerable populations had a bit of a hard time getting hold of oxygen cylinders.... This is the need of the hour."

Civilian organizations send over empty oxygen tanks and the Atlit center compresses oxygen into them and returns them.

In the past three weeks, Shayetet 13 has delivered more than 500 oxygen tanks to care centers around the country.


Future Coronavirus Outbreaks Could Be Predicted Using Sewage Water, Scientists Say
A team of scientists in Israel are the latest to suggest future coronavirus outbreaks could be tracked using sewage water.

In a preliminary study, the team detailed a proof-of-concept method for finding the genetic material of the coronavirus which causes COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2, in sewage water. They also showed that levels of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater reflected the severity of the outbreak in the area it came from.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started late last year, over 16,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Israel, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 3.7 million cases have been confirmed, 263,843 people have died, and over 1.2 million are known to have survived. The U.S. is the country with the most known cases at over 1.2 million, as the Statista graph below shows.

Building on evidence that SARS-CoV-2 can be shed in feces and detected in wastewater, the researchers carried out their study by collecting samples from wastewater treatment plants in four different locations in Israel, as well as raw sewage from different districts in Tel Aviv. They examined the samples to see if they contained SARS-CoV-2. The team also looked at data on the number of COVID-19 cases in each area.

In samples of sewage from the city of Bnei Brak, to the east of Tel Aviv, the team found concentrations of the virus' genetic material correlated with the "general" number of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 there. However, samples from the cities of Beer Sheva and Haifa were negative for SARS-CoV-2, "possibly related to the low proportion of infected people in these cities," the team wrote.

The researchers cautioned their work is "preliminary and ongoing."

The findings were submitted as a pre-print study to the website medRxiv meaning they haven't been through the rigorous peer review process required to publish in scientific journals. Scientists release studies in this way to spark debate on a topic.

Their work follows studies in countries including the U.S., France, the Netherlands and Australia, which similarly lead teams to conclude sewage could be used to track COVID-19 outbreaks. (h/t Zvi)
Israeli HIV drug used to treat coronavirus patients in Congo
Medical researchers in the Republic of the Congo have discovered that an Israeli-developed HIV drug apparently can be used to successfully treat critically ill COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, the drug might be available within “weeks to months, but not more” after further clinical trials are carried out.

Doctors from the Clinique La Source hospital in the Congolese capital Brazzaville noted that HIV patients who were in critical condition due to COVID-19 showed significant improvement after being administered a drug named Gammora for their HIV symptoms.

Developed by the Israel-based company Zion Medical and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Gammora was recently approved for use in the central African country.

“We were surprised because we wanted to see if [Gammora] would work, but we didn’t know that it would happen like this, and we saw improvement in terms of symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours,” Dr. Eynat Finkelshtein, chief scientific officer of Zion Medical, told The Media Line.

A small clinical trial began in Brazzaville on April 8. Conducted under “compassionate use” protocols, which enable seriously ill patients to access new or untested treatments, it was overseen by Clinique La Source’s Dr. Sebastian Mafoundzi alongside Dr. Roger Alphonse Bouity. World Health Organization (WHO) representative Albert Kazadi was called in as a private consultant to supervise.

The trial saw 30 critically ill patients in intensive care – some with HIV, others HIV-free – divided into two groups.

The first group of 15 patients (Group A) received standard-care treatment for HIV and coronavirus, namely antibiotics and the HIV medicine Atripla. The second group (Group B) received the antibiotics, Atripla and Gammora via injection over a period of nine days.

After two days, all 15 patients in Group B showed marked improvement in their COVID-19 symptoms. (h/t Zvi)
Khaled Abu Toameh: IDF Soldiers Work Together with Palestinian Volunteers in Eastern Jerusalem
In the era of the coronavirus pandemic, nothing seems to be impossible, including cooperation between the IDF and Palestinian activists in distributing thousands of food parcels to families in east Jerusalem villages and neighborhoods. In the past few weeks, IDF soldiers have been distributing food parcels in neighborhoods such as Kafr Aqab, Shu'afat, Kalandiya, Jabel Mukaber, Beit Hanina, Issawiya, and Sur Baher. The IDF troops were assisted by dozens of Palestinian volunteers.

"In the past few weeks, especially since the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan, we have provided significant aid to the residents of all the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem," said Col. Sharon Gat, commander of the division responsible for the Jerusalem area. "We are working in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality and its community centers." Gat noted that he later saw many residents express gratitude to Israel on social media platforms for its assistance. "Some of their leaders also came to the municipality to thank us for the beautiful cooperation," he said.

"The people there told us: 'Let's put politics aside and work together.' There was full cooperation between us and the residents there. We also distributed medical equipment, not only food....I hope we will see more cooperation like this in the future. Besides the bad things the coronavirus has done, it has nevertheless brought about good things; it united us and made us forget about politics."
Court documents show extent of Israeli aid to PA during coronavirus crisis
Israel has continuously coordinated with the Palestinian Authority in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing equipment and training, the extent of which the Health Ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) stated in their response to a petition to the High Court on Thursday.

“Israel is working in cooperation and coordination with the relevant factors in the PA and various factors in the international arena to provide great and varied aid for the Palestinian population to deal with the coronavirus, far beyond what is legally required,” the response reads.

The government described the aid following a petition from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, which is demanding that Israel provide more care to Palestinians and provide the public with details of what it is already doing.

The response pointed out that since 1995, when Oslo II was signed, the Palestinian Authority has had responsibility for healthcare in its areas, and that Hamas, which took over Gaza in 2007, provides its residents with health services.

Oslo II also states that “Israel and the Palestinian side will exchange information about plagues and contagious diseases, will cooperate in fighting them and develop systems to transfer medical files and documents.”

The Health Ministry and COGAT stated that “Israel is taking many actions to aid the Palestinian side in responding to the coronavirus.” According to information the PA provided Israel, 264 Palestinians in the West Bank and five in Gaza have contracted COVID-19.
Lawfare Project investigates NYC for calling out Jews on social distancing
The Lawfare Project, a Jewish civil rights organization, filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Tuesday in order to investigate why a Jewish funeral was singled out by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for violating social distancing regulations.

The organization requested any documents related to the decision to call out the Jewish community for the violations on the same weekend that New Yorkers from all backgrounds gathered in public areas to view a flyover of the Blue Angels.

The request by the Lawfare Project was made in light of a tweet posted by de Blasio after police broke up a funeral gathering following the death of Rabbi Chaim Mertz.

"My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed," tweeted de Blasio tweeted on April 28. "I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period."

De Blasio's tweet sparked outrage throughout the Jewish community and accusations of antisemitism, amid fears that the tweet could exacerbate already growing antisemitism occurring during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Lawfare Project demanded communications related to Mertz's funeral, the New York Police Department's response to the funeral, the Blue Angels flyover and any other documentation concerning individuals who violated social distancing orders.
Masked and Partitioned, Worshipers Return to Jerusalem’s Western Wall
Worshipers are returning to the Western Wall in Jerusalem as Judaism’s holiest prayer site gradually reopens under eased coronavirus precautions. But now they are themselves being walled-off.

Under revised rules, up to 300 visitors at a time are being allowed to access the Western Wall, a remnant of two ancient Jewish temples in Jerusalem‘s Old City. They must wear masks.

“Worshipers that have so yearned to visit the sacred stones and pray in front of them can return to the Western Wall while keeping to the Health Ministry restrictions,” said the site’s chief rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

But the prayer plaza facing the wall, which in peak holidays of the past would throng with thousands of people, is subdivided by barriers and cloth partitions forming temporary cloisters that can each accommodate 19 worshipers — the current cap.

Full Jewish prayer services require a quorum of 10.
According to the BBC, antisemitism is just a political choice
Last week, the JC revealed a series of tweets by Prof John Ashton, the public health expert who has barely been off the TV criticising the government.

Among other things, he has compared "Zionists" to Nazis and written that "Jews" should reflect on the actions of the Israeli military. He has described Labour Friends of Israel as "A party within a party" and, after calling Dame Louise Ellman a "Vile Zionist", he wrote: "Is it time for a human being to stand against Louise Ellman in next year’s general election." In a message sent to Luciana Berger, the former Liverpool Wavertree MP, after she highlighted the rising problem with food banks under the government in 2012, he wrote: "What about the Palestinians?"

Some of his messages appear to be a clear breach of the internationally accepted IHRA definition of antisemitism. The examples cited by IHRA include: "Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" and "Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel."

Following our expose, Conservative Friends of Israel wrote a measured letter to Fran Unsworth, the BBC's head of news, pointing this out and asking her to consider if she felt it appropriate to carry on using Prof Ashton.

I did not for a moment imagine that Ms Unsworth would send a satisfactory response. I assumed that her reply would be defensive. But what I did not expect was the response she did send.

It is a response so breathtaking - and genuinely shocking - that I wonder how she can in all decency continue in her post, given what it reveals about her mindset.

Most of the letter is blather. She points out, quite rightly, that "Professor Ashton was eminently well qualified to speak about this subject [public health]. He has held positions at various universities, and was regional director of Public Health for Cumbria. More recently, he was president of the Faculty of Public Health." (Although she fails to point out that he had to take a voluntary leave of absence from the Faculty of Public Health after calling one e-cigarette advocate a "c**t" and another an "onanist".)

But Prof Ashton's qualifications as an expert are not the issue. The issue is that he has - repeatedly, over many years - made remarks which the under the IHRA definition are antisemitic.

And what is her response to that?

"I quite understand your strength of feeling about the views you have ascribed to Professor Ashton on Israel and Zionism...Professor Ashton did not, of course, make any comments of the kind that you describe in this programme and I hope you understand that I would have grave doubts about the impact on freedom of speech, and the BBC’s ability to report freely and impartially, if we were to ban contributors from speaking on the subject of their acknowledged expertise because of the political views they have expressed, however abhorrent some members of the audience may find them."


Now Corbyn Joins Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy in Another Zoom Chat for Antisemites
Last week, Keir Starmer was forced to admonish Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy for taking part in a Zoom chat with a number of notorious Labour antisemites, including Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein. His warning clearly made no difference as Guido can now reveal just a day later Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy – who this time was hosting – held a Zoom festival sharing a platform with notorious Anti-Zionist Chris Williamson supporter Lindsey German. This time the pair were joined by Jeremy Corbyn and Apsana Begum…

German – who is the convenor of Stop the War Coalition – has:
- Claimed Israel is an “apartheid state“ and a “racist endeavour“
- Wrote articles denying antisemitism in Labour’s ranks
- Claimed accusations of antisemitism in Labour are “lies and slander”
- Claims Chris Williamson’s suspension was “unwarranted” because his remarks were not antisemitic
- Shared content saying “Zionism is racist”
- Shared content saying accusations of antisemitism in Labour are simply “smearing of Jeremy Corbyn”

Keir Starmer passed up the opportunity to act the first time Abbott and Ribeiro-Addy shared an online platform with antisemites, will he assert his authority this time?
Top UK Jewish Group Demands Action From Facebook After Threat of Antisemitic Bombing
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl stated on Wednesday, “This situation would be worrying at the best of times, but what made it a thousand times worse is that, when alerted to this situation, Facebook took no action to remove the account of either the man who made the direct threat, or the original poster who incited it.”

“In fact, the member of staff who reported it to Facebook initially received a response telling him that they would not be removing the comment threatening to bomb us because ‘it doesn’t go against any of our Community Standards,’” she said.

“While the statement itself was eventually removed after we intervened directly with Facebook staff, it should not have taken this level of knowledge of people in the company to receive a response,” van der Zyl added.

“What this incident demonstrates, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that either Facebook’s Community Standards are hopelessly flawed or those employees responsible for implementing them are extremely ill-trained; or possibly both,” she said, pointing out that the offending posts had not been taken down.

“We live in a climate where Jewish institutions have been attacked in the very recent past,” she observed. “We do not understand why a social media company is somehow so reluctant to take action on direct threats against a Jewish communal organization.”

“We would urge Facebook to wake up and realize that there is a difference between free speech on the one hand, and incitement and hate speech on the other,” Van der Zyl concluded.
Labour Selected Hitler-Defending Local Candidate in Peterborough
The Peterborough Labour Party has not had a lot of luck recently, with disgraced Fiona Onasanya receiving a prison sentence, the ensuing by election resulting in a new local MP who Guido revealed was active in an Israel hate group. Now the leaked internal report into Labour’s handling of its antisemitism problem has gone beyond its attempt to settle factional scores within the party, in also revealing the Peterborough Labour Party selected a candidate accused of Holocaust denial in 2018…

Alan Bull was selected as a council candidate by local members even after they knew he shared material on Facebook describing the holocaust as a “hoax“. Labour’s leaked internal report also makes three allegations; that Bull allegedly defended Adolf Hitler, made antisemitic comments at a birthday party and was supposedly pictured protesting outside the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. He was only suspended from the party three years after the accusations of antisemitism arose…

Bull, however, has insisted to thePeterborough Telegraph that he is a “lifelong anti-racist” and only shared the Holocaust denying post with his friends to find out their views on the article. If Sir Keir wants to sort out his party a good place to start might be among the Peterborough membership…
BBC Arabic amends claim concerning Gaza Strip population density
The synopsis to a video about the Covid-19 pandemic in the Gaza Strip which was uploaded to Youtube by BBC Arabic on April 16th included the following claim:
“The Strip, which has been living under the impact of the Israeli blockade since 2007, is considered the most densely populated in the world”

CAMERA Arabic contacted the BBC, pointing out that:
The blockade on the Gaza Strip is not exclusively Israeli: Egypt also imposes a blockade on the territory. Among the media outlets which have in the past corrected their phrasing on that matter is Reuters News Agency.

With 4,987 persons/km2, according to mid-2017 data published by the CIA’s World Factbook, the Gaza Strip is not the “most densely populated” territory in the world, as stated by the BBC. In terms of population density, it is located below Macau (21,346), Monaco (15,322), Singapore (8,188) and Hong Kong (6,491), and slightly above Gibraltar (4,522 persons/km2). The official mid-2019 number provided by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics – 5,453 persons/km2 – still places the Gaza Strip in 5th place in terms of population density. As for the population density in Gaza City – 9,370 persons/km2 – it is actually lower than many more of the world’s cities. The BBC itself confirmed that it is lower than several of London’s districts in 2018.


While the BBC did not correct the first point, on April 21st it did amend the synopsis to state that the Gaza Strip “is considered one of the most densely populated [places] in the world”.
Hill Times Columnist Tries to Demonize Israel, HRC Rebuts Effort
In The Hill Times today, HonestReporting Canada Research Analyst Noah Lewis combated efforts by columnist Lisa Van-Dusen to demonize and falsely portray Israel.

HRC’s rebuttal can be found immediately below, along with Ms. Van-Dusen’s April 29 commentary that was published in The Hill Times.

In April, CAMERA Prompts Record 27 Corrections
In April, with the global battle to contain the spread of Covid-19 in full swing and much of the world’s population facing severe restrictions or even lockdown, CAMERA elicited a record 27 corrections in a variety of news outlets: from major media outlets including The New York Times, Associated Press and NBC, to non-Western and alternative news sources. Among the 27 corrections were four in Arabic, prompted by CAMERA Arabic at BBC, American Al Hurra and Germany’s Deutsche Welle.

Most of the corrected errors were either directly related to the pandemic or had appeared in the context of coronavirus coverage.

News consumption was up in six Western countries surveyed by the Reuters Institute in late March and early April, as were fears concerning misinformation about the novel coronavirus, leading some observers to warn of a “disinfodemic.” It was against this backdrop that CAMERA, which has been monitoring international media coverage of Israel and the Middle East for nearly four decades, secured the unprecedented number of corrections. ,

Despite the noteworthy cooperation between Israel and Palestinian leaders in combatting the spread of the coronavirus, a handful of media outlets falsely alleged that Israel blocks the passage of medical necessities to the Gaza Strip. By prompting a correction shortly after an Associated Press story falsely reported that Israel prevents surgical supplies from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory, CAMERA preemptively ensured that the correct information would get to the news agency’s clients around the world.

The CAMERA-prompted correction of the virtually identical falsehood in a Washington Post Op-Ed sent a clear message with a reach far beyond the Post: factual assertions in opinion columns must also be accurate. Following a correspondence with CAMERA, the Forward likewise commendably corrected an Op-Ed that falsely reported Israel bans dual-use items, including disinfectants, from reaching the Gaza Strip.
Proof Found That Czech Communist Regime Used Looted Jewish Gravestones to Pave Prague City Square
The Prague Jewish community has finally found proof that the Czech Republic’s former communist regime looted Jewish cemeteries in order to build one of its iconic tourist sites.

The Guardian reported on Tuesday that, at the request of the Jewish community, during renovations at Wenceslas Square workers searched for and found dozens of tombstones taken from the city’s Jewish cemeteries that had been broken into paving stones.

Although only surviving in fragments with the names of the dead rendered illegible, the paving stones still revealed Hebrew writing, Jewish symbols and dates of birth and death.

Prague’s Jews had long suspected that their cemeteries had been desecrated for building materials when the square was renovated in the 1980s, but had no proof until now.

Rabbi Chaim Kočí of the city’s rabbinate, who supervised the retrieval of the stones, said, “We feel this is a victory for us because until now this was just a rumor. Maybe there were Jewish stones here, but nobody knew.”

“It’s important because it’s a matter of truth,” he stated. “We are making something right for the historical record.”

“These are stones from the graves of people who were dead for maybe 100 years and now they are lying here. It’s not nice,” he added.

The Czech communist regime, like its counterparts in Russia and Eastern Europe, was hostile to religion in general and toward Judaism and Jews in particular, propagating antisemitism until it fell in 1989.

František Bányai, chairman of Prague’s Jewish community, commented, “More Jewish synagogues were destroyed in the area of the current Czech Republic during communist times than under the Nazis.”
GoDaddy drops ‘Miss Hitler’ competition site after outcry
The GoDaddy.com web hosting company said Thursday that it had taken down the domain of the site running the “Miss Hitler 2020” pageant, following pressure from Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission, a Jewish group aimed at fighting against anti-Semitism and racism.

The competition, run by the so-called World Truth Historical Revisionism website, encourages women to enter by posting sexy Nazi-themed photos together with an entry explaining why they “love and revere the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler.”

“We have suspended the account and informed the account owner to move the domains in question to another registrar, as they have violated our terms of service,” GoDaddy said in a brief statement.

On Sunday, the Anti-Defamation Commission appealed to GoDaddy.com to take down the domain due to its running the neo-Nazi pageant, calling it “an incitement to murder.”

The last two years have seen attempts by neo-Nazis to host the competition largely foiled after reported pressure from Israel convinced the Russian social media network VKontakte (also known as VK) to take down the page.
German Far-Right AfD Leader Mourns Allied Victory Over Nazis as ‘Day of Absolute Defeat’
The leader of the parliamentary group of Germany’s main far-right party has publicly mourned the victory over the Nazi German regime by Allied forces on May 8, 1945 as “a day of absolute defeat, a day of the loss of large parts of Germany and the loss of national autonomy.”

Alexander Gauland — who represents the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party — was speaking against a proposal to make May 8 a national holiday in his country.

“You can’t make May 8 a happy day for Germany,” the 79-year-old Gauland told German broadcaster RND on Wednesday. “For the concentration camp inmates it was a day of liberation. But it was also a day of absolute defeat, a day of the loss of large parts of Germany and the loss of national autonomy.”

A petition initiated by Esther Bejarano, a survivor of the Holocaust, has won 80,000 signatures in favor of marking May 8 as a national holiday. But Gauland — whose party has enjoyed strong showings in both state and federal elections over the last year, coming second in one crucial state ballot in October 2019 — countered that “the women raped in Berlin will see it differently from concentration camp inmates,” a reference to the rape of German women by Soviet troops in the final stages of the war.

Gauland has frequently used World War II as a stick to beat opponents, complaining that Germany had been made to suffer from an undeserved humiliation in the wake of its defeat. In a June 2018 speech, he dismissed the Nazi era as “speck of bird poop” on German history, telling an audience of ultranationalist supporters: “We have a glorious history and, dear friends, it lasted longer than those blasted 12 years.”
Remembering Jewish heroism on V-E Day
Consider the following: According to Yad Vashem, 1.5 million Jews fought on behalf of the Allied forces in World War II, with 500,000 serving in the Soviet Red Army, 550,000 in the US Armed Forces and 30,000 in the British Armed Forces, including units such as the Jewish Brigade, which consisted of volunteers from pre-state Israel.

Another 100,000 Jews fought in the Polish army against the German invasion of that country in September 1939.

Jewish losses on the battlefield, like those of their non-Jewish compatriots, were staggering, with an estimated 250,000 Jewish soldiers having given their lives in the war.

The heaviest losses were suffered by Jewish servicemen in the Red Army, of whom some 120,000 were killed in the line of duty and another 80,000 were captured and murdered by the Germans as prisoners of war. Approximately 10,000 American Jewish soldiers died fighting Hitler and his collaborators, and an astonishing 30,000 Polish Jews either “fell in battle, were taken captive by the Germans or declared missing during the battles defending Poland, 11,000 in the defense of Warsaw”, notes the Yad Vashem website.

Shouldn’t we aim to preserve the stories of young Jewish men and women who took up arms to defend freedom and defeat Nazism? Don’t they too deserve a greater degree of recognition?

In 2017, the Knesset passed a law designating May 9 each year as Victory over Nazi Germany Day, and in the past couple of years, a growing number of events such as parades, marches and memorial ceremonies have been held.

But more needs to be done, from educating schoolchildren about the Jews who fought Hitler to collecting the testimonies of the remaining thousands of aging Jewish veterans before it is too late.

The fact that so many Jews fought against Nazi Germany, whether as Allied soldiers or as partisans, is an important chapter in Jewish heroism and courage, one that does not get its due.

But V-E Day provides us all with an annual opportunity to change that and to ensure that the sacrifices made by so many will be remembered for generations to come.
Jewish Burials Without Mourners on Staten Island
Mourners who do attend an HFBA funeral at Mount Richmond must now stay in their cars, a safe social distance from the actual grave. From their vehicles they squint at a foursome of white- and yellow-suited space aliens surrounding the small earth mover. Rabbi Plafker communicates with them by phone. So it would be for the next burial. We walked to the outer edge of the cemetery, where two cars worth of mourners were waiting, including the wife of the deceased, who would one day be buried next to him.

“Can you hear me?” Rabbi Plafker asked, speaking into his phone. “I can hear you!” the widow replied, from a car about 100 yards away. I never saw her face. “He went away April 1,” she said, explaining her late husband’s disappearance into hospitals and nursing homes, places now beyond the reach of just about any outside human contact. “I never saw him again.”

Toward the end of the burial, Rabbi Plafker recalled a Yiddish saying to the woman: “A gitte bitte—He should be a good intermediary in heaven,” someone who could plead with God for this plague to end.

I asked Rabbi Plafker to further explain the phrase during our slow walk back to the cemetery entrance, toward the mud tracts that would fill far earlier than anyone had once expected. For the entire year, Rabbi Plafker explained, Jews pray directly to God. But there was a tradition of visiting the graves of loved ones before Rosh Hashana, to request just a little extra help. “I always say on Rosh Hashanah, we’re asking the landlord to extend the lease another year. No one has a guarantee.”

But a Jewish burial ritual is a guarantee of sorts—it at least contains the certainty that the dead will be prayed over, that their bodies will remain intact, and that they will be granted the ultimate kindness of the tahara, cared for even in death, regardless of their earthly circumstances, which have finally ceased to matter.

Every funeral at Mount Richmond is its own victory against the abyss. The people buried here will not have simply vanished into the earth. So the lessons one might draw from conducting scores of coronavirus burials are not wholly discouraging. “You have to appreciate every single day,” Rabbi Plafker told me. “Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Tell them you love them. Appreciate what God has given you. We have so much: a roof over our heads, food. Most of us can feed ourselves. We have clothes to put on. Maybe we didn’t buy new clothes for Pesach, but thank God we have clothes to wear. When you think about it, there’s so much to be grateful for.”
Meet the 107-year-old woman who survived the coronavirus and Spanish flu
After Marilee Shapiro Asher was admitted to the hospital in mid-April sick with COVID-19, her daughter got a call from the doctor telling her she ought to get down there right away. Her mother likely had only 12 hours to live.

“Well, he doesn’t know my mother, does he?” Joan Shapiro said.

What the doctor didn’t know was that Asher, a 107-year-old working artist, had already survived one global pandemic. And she was about to survive another.

In 1918, then about 6 years old, Asher contracted the Spanish flu, a deadly strain of influenza estimated to have killed at least 50 million people worldwide.

“What she told my brother and I, she remembers being sick upstairs and coming downstairs and seeing her father, who she adored, and knowing that if she saw her father everything would be OK,” Shapiro said.

Fast forward a century and change: Asher had contracted the new coronavirus, which is particularly lethal for older people. She wound up spending five days in the hospital,undergoing a course of antibiotic treatment before being sent home to Chevy Chase House, a senior living community in Washington, D.C. She was never put on a ventilator.

“It’s remarkable,” Shapiro said. “That’s all I can say. It’s just unbelievable. I think perhaps it’s because of her art that she’s still involved in.”
'Hallelujah' multilingual cover raises $1m. for Israeli first responders
A new version of the iconic Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” performed in English, Hebrew and Arabic was released as part of a benefit supporting first responders in Israel.

“Saving Lives Sunday,” a virtual benefit to support the emergency response organization United Hatzalah of Israel in its fight against COVID-19, raised over $1 million.

The new “Hallelujah” was performed by Israeli recording artist Dudu Aharon, as well as “Fauda” star Rona-Lee Shimon, actress and singer Layan Elwazani, Iranian-American Jewish singer and composer Chloe Pourmorady, and Adam Kantor from the Broadway cast of “The Band’s Visit.” Joining in were first responders and people whose lives were saved by Jewish, Muslim and Christian Hatzalah volunteers.

During the event, some of those who were saved spoke directly to their rescuers in conversations that were shared via Zoom.

United Hatzalah founder Eli Beer, 46, contracted the coronavirus while on a fundraising trip in the United States and was placed on a ventilator in an induced coma in a Florida hospital for a month. He returned to Israel late last month after being hospitalized at University of Miami Hospital for six weeks.




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