Saturday, May 16, 2020

From Ian:

David Collier: Nakba – a Twitter tale of 7 million distortions
Today on Twitter is Nakba Day. It is commemorated on 15th May, the day following Israel’s independence. As bad as the distortion and ignorance surrounding the conflict may be on any normal day, the nakba anniversary always takes it to a whole new level of insane.

The true story behind the Nakba is a simple one. The UN partitioned the land between a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Arabs refused to accept it. Civil conflict broke out and this turned into a regional war. The Arab side lost and paid a price for their aggression. Rather than accept this, they have spent the last 72 years making it continually worse for themselves.

On social media – we are presented with a completely different tale. An insidious, antisemitic demonisation of Jews and a total distortion of history. As I am battling away today, I thought I would provide a few examples.

Nakba as a Jewish virus
These online campaigns are organised and sometimes state driven. As early as last night #covid48 started trending:nakba as a jewish virus

Covid is of course another name of the current Coronavirus. 1948 is the birthdate of Israel. This Twitter trend is in tune with some of the oldest and most deadly antisemitic tropes. Over the past 24 hours, there have been 100,000s of tweets calling Jews a virus. It is difficult to believe Twitter would accommodate a global racist trend such as this against any other minority group. Antisemitism is and has always been more socially accepted than other forms of hate. ‘Jews as virus’ trending in the UK. How sickening.
Nakba number lies

One of the key reasons I know anti-Zionism is just the latest version of antisemitism, is because of the ignorance behind it all. The tale they weave is not a perspective of an historical fact nor a slight bias in favour of their own side. It is a total fictional narrative. A place where the enemy is so demonised, so over-stated and the story so ridiculous – that they are discussion the devil or the bogey man – not actual historical events. This is full on anti-Jewish racism. Look at this one:

The tweet refers to a mass expulsion of 7 million Palestinians. Two things here. Firstly, there was no mass expulsion at all. It didn’t happen that way. History records that some localised hostile areas were cleansed by a Jewish force that had neither the time nor manpower to concern itself with anything other than its own survival, against an Arab force that wanted to annihilate it. But these incidents were not the main story, they were a side show and a strategic neccessity. For the most part, the Arabs voluntarily fled or stayed. Those that stayed are Israeli Arabs today. This has been turned on its head – and Arab propaganda pretends that the Jews had a plan to expel ALL the Arabs from the start. Absolute hogwash.

But notice too, the ‘7 million figure’. This is a direct attack on the Holocaust narrative. The Nakba – a war they chose and lost – has to be bigger than the Holocaust, the systematic genocide of European Jewry. The Holocaust had six million – therefore the Nakba had seven.
Holy Jewish site of Esther and Mordechai set ablaze in Iran - reports
National Director of Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Jonathan Greenblatt announced Friday on Twitter that the tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Iran was torched.

"Disturbing reports from Iran that the tomb of Esther & Mordechai, a holy Jewish site, was set afire overnight. We hope that the the authorities bring the perpetrators of this antisemitic act to justice & commit to protecting the holy sites of all religious minorities in Iran,” Greenblatt tweeted.

The Jerusalem Post is seeking to obtain the reports cited by Greenblatt in his tweet. Greenblatt has termed Iran's regime the top state-sponsor of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

Prior to the arson of the tomb, one Twitter user named Mohammad Mahdi Akhyar threatened to destroy the holy site on May 14 in response to a tweet by the Israel's Foreign Affairs' Farsi Twitter page.

It is unclear if the arson is connected to Israel's independence day.

US Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr strongly condemned the attack on the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai and said "Iran's regime is the world's chief state sponsor of antisemitism."

He called on the Islamic Republic to "stop incitement" and "protect its Jewish community" and its other minorities.

US Jewish Groups Denounce Reported Arson Attack at Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Iran
Several top US Jewish groups denounced on Friday a reported arson attack at the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in Hamadan, Iran.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement that it was “outraged” by the incident.

“This abhorrent and unconscionable act represents not only a blatantly antisemitic assault on Jews and Judaism, but an assault on all people of faith,” the statement noted. “It must be unequivocally condemned by the international community. The government of Iran must act to prevent further attacks and bring to justice those responsible.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “We hope that the authorities bring the perpetrators of this antisemitic act to justice & commit to protecting the holy sites of all religious minorities in Iran.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said, “Historically, Muslims safeguarded Jewish holy sites from Persia to Morocco, including the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai. But all that has changed under the ayatollahs and the terrorist movements they have spawned.”

“The torching of this Jewish holy site is reminiscent of the Nazis, who not only killed the living, but desecrated the dead,” it added. “The attack took place against the backdrop of the mullahocracy’s drumbeat of genocidal hatred against the Jewish people, its state-sponsored policy of Holocaust denial and denigration. In such an environment a violent attack against Jews, Judaism and Jewish heritage should surprise no one.”

“We urge all world leaders to condemn this cowardly antisemitic attack and Iran’s serial antisemitic policies,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center concluded.




Jurisdiction in Palestine: What the ICC Prosecutor Did Not Say in Her Response …
Practising advocates know that what is not included in reply submissions is usually more interesting than what is there.

One of the omissions in the ICC Prosecutor’s recent Response on the issue of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in respect of Palestine is that it does not address the argument made by the amicus, UKLFI, based on the rights of the Jewish people derived from the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Indeed, while the claimed rights of the Palestinian people are given centre stage by the Prosecutor, the rights of the Jewish people are entirely ignored.

UKLFI argues in its submission that, in view of the rights of the Jewish people derived from the Mandate, the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot become the territory of a State of Palestine in the absence of agreement by Israel as the State of the Jewish people. This conclusion is moreover consistent with the international consensus that the only practicable means of peacefully resolving the issues is through negotiation. The ICC therefore does not have jurisdiction over these areas on the ground that they are the territory of the “State of Palestine”, even if this “State” exists and is a party to the Rome Statute.

- The preamble of the Mandate for Palestine recited that the allies had agreed that Britain would be responsible for putting into effect the Balfour Declaration and that recognition had thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country. Its substantive provisions charged the Mandatory with securing the establishment of the Jewish national home as laid down in the preamble and required the administration of Palestine inter alia to facilitate Jewish immigration and to encourage settlement by Jews.

- As explained in paragraphs 22-23 of UKLFI’s observations and references cited there, but ignored by the Prosecutor, the Mandate for Palestine differed from other League of Nations Mandates in that in this Mandate the primary beneficiary of the trust was the long-suffering Jewish people scattered around the world. It treated the Jewish people as the indigenous people of Palestine even though many of them were still in exile. As UKLFI demonstrated in paragraphs 7-11 of its observations (also ignored by the Prosecutor), this treatment was justified by the historical record, to which the Mandate’s preamble referred.

- The boundaries of the Palestine Mandate as agreed between the allies extended substantially to the east of the river Jordan. Art. 25 of the Mandate provided that the Mandatory could postpone or withhold most provisions of the Mandate in the area east of the Jordan. Britain exercised this power fully, and this area, representing 76% of the total area of the Palestine Mandate, subsequently became the Kingdom of Jordan.

- By stating that most of the Mandate’s provisions could be disapplied east of the Jordan, Art.25 clearly implied that they could not be disapplied west of the Jordan. The Mandate thus allocated the whole of the territory west of the Jordan (including what is now the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) for the reconstitution of the Jewish national home.
Pompeo warns ICC of ‘consequences’ for potential war crimes probe of Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday warned the International Criminal Court against asserting jurisdiction over Israel, saying the United States will “exact consequences” for any “illegitimate” investigations.

The ICC’s prosecutor’s recent decision to accept “Palestine” as a state with the status to file a complaint could lead to a potential investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“The International Criminal Court is a political body, not a judicial institution. This unfortunate reality has been confirmed yet again by the ICC Prosecutor’s attempt to assert jurisdiction over Israel, which like the United States, is not a party to the Rome Statute that created the Court,” read Pompeo’s statement.

“As we made clear when the Palestinians purported to join the Rome Statute, we do not believe the Palestinians qualify as a sovereign state, and they therefore are not qualified to obtain full membership, or participate as a state in international organizations, entities, or conferences, including the ICC,” said Pompeo, who was in Israel for a whirlwind visit on Wednesday.

“The United States reiterates its longstanding objection to any illegitimate ICC investigations. If the ICC continues down its current course, we will exact consequences,” Pompeo concluded.

This week, letters signed by senators and US House representatives from both parties urged Pompeo to protect Israelis from International Criminal Court prosecution, and an Israeli delegation traveled to the United States earlier this year for talks on coordinating a joint US-Israeli campaign against the ICC, Israeli television reported.

An Israeli official told Channel 13 news the trip was timed to coincide with the ICC’s approval of a war crimes probe in Afghanistan, as American anger over the decision would underline that both the US and Israel have a common interest in opposing the court.
EU says will work to ‘discourage’ any Israeli annexation initiative
The European Union will work to “discourage” any Israeli initiative toward the annexation of parts of the West Bank and devote diplomatic efforts for a solution, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said this weekend.

Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Friday after a virtual meeting with EU foreign ministers, Borrell said “unilateral actions from either side should be avoided and… international law should be upheld,” according to a transcript of the event released Saturday.

Borrell said the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “remains a priority and it is one of the strategic interests of the European Union.”

Several European nations led by France, and including Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg, have reportedly expressed support for threats of punitive action in a bid to deter the new Israeli government — set to be sworn in on Sunday — from carrying out annexation with a green light from Washington.

The EU bloc is Israel’s largest trading partner, grants Israel favored trading status, and helps fund Israeli scientific research and development through its massive Horizon 2020 program.

Proposed steps include announcing that Israel would be prevented from entering into trade agreements with the bloc, receiving EU grants or participating in other forms of cooperation with the union. It is not clear if the steps would apply to future agreements or freeze existing ones.

Borrell said Saturday that European nations “must work to discourage any possible initiative towards annexation” and such a strategy will require that states reach out to Israel, the US, the Palestinians and Arab partners, “using all channels that the EU and the member states have.”

Asked if the EU is prepared to take concrete steps to deter Israel from going ahead with its annexation plan, Borrell responded that for the time being, the EU’s efforts are “devoted to the diplomatic action in order to avoid any unilateral action” and in support of a negotiated Two-State solution, as well as in support of the upholding international law.”
3 Palestinians attempt attack on army post near Jerusalem, are hit by IDF fire
Israeli troops shot and injured three Palestinians who were attempting an attack on an army post near Jerusalem on Friday night, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The attackers targeted the IDF post near the Palestinian town of Abu Dis with explosive charges and molotov cocktails.

Soldiers who had been waiting in ambush fired on the men, injuring them. Their condition was not immediately known. No IDF troops were wounded in the incident.

“An attack was thwarted moments ago when IDF troops spotted three Palestinians hurling explosives and lighting Molotov cocktails, preparing to attack an IDF post. Our troops responded with fire and thwarted the attack,” the IDF said in a statement.

The attack comes amid heightened tensions in the West Bank. An IDF soldier was killed during an arrest raid in the Palestinian village of Yabed when a brick was thrown at his head on Tuesday morning and a Palestinian teenager was shot dead during clashes with Israeli troops in the al-Fawar refugee camp the following day.

IDF troops arrested two suspects in Yabed overnight Friday-Saturday, according to Arabic media reports.
Israel’s Pluristem: 75% of treated COVID-19 patients off ventilators. The survival rate is 87.5%, Pluristem Therapeutics reported.
A Haifa-based regenerative medicine company that has been treating COVID-19 patients with its biological therapeutic products reported that 75% of those treated were off any mechanical ventilation within 28 days.

Pluristem Therapeutics developed PLX cells that induce the immune system’s natural regulatory T cells and M2 macrophages, which in previous pre-clinical studies on animals showed therapeutic benefit against pulmonary hypertension, lung fibrosis, acute kidney injury and gastrointestinal injury – all potential complications of severe COVID-19.

Last month, Pluristem began testing its PLX cells on patients with COVID-19 in hopes of reducing the effects of the virus-induced pneumonia or pneumonitis and leading to a better prognosis.

Eighteen Patients were treated under a compassionate use program in Israel and the FDA single Patient Expanded Access Program. They were all in intensive care units, on invasive mechanical ventilation and suffered from Acute Respiratory Syndrome at the time of treatment.

So far, eight of the patients have completed a 28-day follow up period.

The survival rate of the eight patients is 87.5%.

In contrast, nearly 90% of coronavirus patients who required mechanical ventilation in New York's largest health system, Northwell Health, died, according to a report by The Journal of the American Medical Association.
GOP Alaska legislator compares coronavirus screening sticker to Nazi Germany's Star of David
A Republican state lawmaker in Alaska is facing backlash from Jewish legislators after he compared coronavirus safety measures at the statehouse to the Nazi treatment of Jewish people.

Alaska state Rep. Ben Carpenter (R) complained about the new health screening required for lawmakers returning to the Capitol building this week, Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

In an email copied to all 40 members of the Alaska House, Carpenter reportedly ranted about legislators being asked to wear a sticker proving they’ve passed the screening.

“How about an arm band that won’t fall off like a sticker will?” Carpenter wrote. “If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too? Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?”

His message was immediately condemned by two Democratic members of the legislature who are Jewish, the outlet reported.

“Ben, This is disgusting. Keep your Holocaust jokes to yourself,” Rep. Grier Hopkins (D) wrote before adding that, “Putting other people at risk because somebody doesn’t want to get a medical test to make sure they’re not carrying a disease that will kill others is NOT the same as labeling and targeting a group of people for genocide through hatred and ignorance.”

He continued to tell the outlet that the state was heading down a slippery slope. While the level of regulations did not match Nazi Germany’s extermination camps, those were not built overnight.

“Can you or I — can we even say it is totally out of the realm of possibility that COVID-19 patients will be rounded up and taken somewhere?” Carpenter said. “People want to say Hitler was a white supremacist. No. He was fearful of the Jewish nation, and that drove him into some unfathomable atrocities.”

Carpenter sent a follow-up text message to the Anchorage Daily News after the initial publication of the article elaborating on his point.

“Hitler wasn’t fearful of a Jewish nation because there was not one. The point was that it was fear that drove him. The attention of his fear was undesirables, including Jews. And the larger point is that PEOPLE FOLLOWED HIM.”

Hopkins rejected Carpenter’s argument.

“That’s not what led to the Holocaust,” he told the outlet. “There was no Jewish nation at that time. It didn’t exist. And using that term is anti-Semitic and a misunderstanding of history. ... If he wants to have a conversation about constitutional rights, that’s a discussion we can have, but likening it to genocide is completely erroneous and wrong.”




Congressional Republicans Clash With Trump Admin Over Lebanon Aid
New legislation in Congress would block longstanding American aid to Lebanon over concerns the Iranian-backed terror organization Hezbollah is benefiting from U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Aid to Lebanon has emerged as a flashpoint between the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, many of whom have sought to end the funding due to Hezbollah's near-total control of the Lebanese political system. U.S. officials have warned for some time that American civil and military aid has fallen into the terror group's hands.

The new legislation, introduced this week by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.), would stop more than $100 million in yearly contributions from going to Lebanon so long as Hezbollah controls the country. The Washington Free Beacon reported in late 2019 that some hardliners in the Trump administration were pushing for this aid to be frozen. However, career officials at the State Department dismissed their objections, leading to millions being ultimately unfrozen. U.S. aid to Lebanon has totaled several billion dollars since it began in the mid-2000s.

A spokeswoman for Cruz told the Free Beacon the senator rejects efforts by some in the Trump administration to ensure the money keeps flowing.

"Sen. Cruz believes the United States should stop sending American taxpayer money to governments controlled by terrorists," said Cruz spokeswoman Lauren Aronson. "The Lebanese government is controlled by Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist group directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans. There are some officials across the U.S. government who think we should continue sending money to governments that are controlled by American-murdering terrorists. Sen. Cruz disagrees with that."

Cruz's bill—the Stop Sending American Taxpayer Money to Governments Controlled by Terrorists Act of 2020—would prohibit any assistance to Lebanon until the president certifies that Hezbollah is not a member of the government, does not exercise influence over it, and does not have power in any government ministries, according to a copy of the bill obtained by the Free Beacon.

The bill is likely to garner GOP support, though its passage is not assured given widespread Democratic support for U.S. foreign aid.
Iran to mark annual anti-Israel Al Quds rally with vehicles, online
Iran is slated to mark next week’s annual antisemitic Quds Day rally, calling for the obliteration of Israel. by permitting people to drive in vehicles and participate in an online event rather than march through the streets, so as to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the vehicle protest on state-controlled television on Saturday.

The elite Revolutionary Guards will be in charge of organizing the rallies, Rouhani said, adding that those joining in could still chant slogans from their vehicles and wave flags.

Rallies to mark Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, are held in towns and cities across the country and aim to show of support for the Palestinians. Typically those marching chant “Death to Israel” and burn the Israeli flag.

The Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Saturday that an international Quds Day conference will be held online.

The state-controlled IRNA wrote: “Ayatollah Aarafi said that the aim of the conference is to keep Quds alive using the capacity of the elite, NGOs and Arbaeen rallies, discussing Zionists and the World Arrogance’s plots and state terrorism against Palestine, as well as the strategies of the Resistance.”

One of the conference’s sections is titled “discourse of Islamic Resistance and liberation of the Holy Quds.” The regime’s use of liberation has been interpreted as state-sponsored violence against the Jewish state to seize Jerusalem and dismantle Israel.

A second panel is titled: “the role of Resistance General’s martyrdom in fight against Zionism.”
Seth Frantzman: US-Iran-Venezuela tanker battle heats up
Five tankers filled from Iran may be heading to Venezuela, reports indicated over the weekend. TankerTrackers.com, which tracks oil shipments and storage, showed the route of the suspect ships, which allegedly received gasoline at the port of Shahid Rajaee.

The US and Iran have now warned each other regarding interfering with the tankers, even as the destination of four of the ships is not clear.
Iran’s IRGC is tracking four US warships in the Caribbean and says the US is using a P-8 surveillance aircraft in the area. This sets the stage for a clash at sea.

How did we get here. The US has been trying to bring Iranian oil shipments to near zero since leaving the Iran Deal and slapping sanctions on Iran in 2018. In 2019 US-Iran tensions rose and Iran lashed out at oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and attacked a Saudi oil facility using drones and cruise missiles.

Iran also targeted US troops in Iraq by having proxies fire rockets at American troops. The oil trade has led to other clashes as well. The UK sought to seize an Iranian tanker destined for Syria in 2019 and Iran responded by seizing a British ship.

Iran, Turkey and Russia are key allies to the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro. Both Iran and Turkey have received gold from the regime.

Recently the price of oil has sharply declined, and Venezuela’s oil industry is facing a disaster – the Maduro regime having destroyed what was once a thriving industry. It is not entirely clear what is in the suspected ships heading for Venezuela, and it is not entirely clear they are all going to Venezuela because they don’t all declare their destinations.
Spanish state hires group accused of antisemitism to ‘teach against hate’
A regional government in Spain hired an organization that is widely regarded as antisemitic to train teachers on how to combat racism.

The group, BDS Pais Valencia, is scheduled to begin the training 20-day seminar on June 8, ACOM, a pro-Israeli organization in Spain, wrote in a statement Wednesday.

The online seminar was listed on the Spanish Education Ministry on April 27 under the title “Solidarity and human rights. Learning to teach against hatred and racism (Judeophobia, Islamophobia, and Palestine-Israel).”

In 2015, BDS Pais Valencia initiated what resulted in the exclusion of the American singer Matisyahu from a music festival.

Matisyahu, who is Jewish but not Israeli, was the only performer to be asked his views of Palestinian statehood by organizers of the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Benicassim, Spain. Amid an international storm of condemnations over what critics said was naked antisemitism, the organizers reinvited Matisyahu and apologized for their previous action, which they said was the result of pressure from BDS Pais Valencia.

That group defended its actions by saying that Matisyahu was singled out not because he’s Jewish but because he’s “a Zionist.”

ACOM on Twitter compared the seminar to having “a Nazi lecturing against racism, or a member of the Ku Klux Klan speaking on racial persecution.”

Multiple courts in Spain, including in Valencia, have declared the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel as a racist or discriminatory endeavor.
Top US Jewish Group Calls for Apology for Cattle Car Cartoon
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is calling for an apology from a major Atlanta newspaper for publishing a cartoon depicting a commercial airplane as a cattle car.

The image — drawn by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez — features a passenger saying, seemingly sarcastically, “I can’t understand why people don’t want to fly.”

Among the newspapers that published the syndicated cartoon was The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which was singled out for rebuke by the AJC.

“This cartoon is offensive and a slap in the face of survivors and all who lost family in the Holocaust,” the AJC asserted. “The Atlanta Journal Constitution owes its readers an immediate apology and explanation.”

Many European Jews were transported in cattle cars to Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

However, travelers have long used cattle car metaphors when complaining about uncomfortable conditions, even before World War II.
Anger in Australia Over Nazi Memorabilia Auction
An auction house in Australia is continuing the sale of Nazi memorabilia despite strong protests from Jewish leaders, state government officials and local activists.

Armitage Auctions in Launceston, Tasmania, will be selling the Nazi items for the third time in under a year. On Tuesday, bids will be accepted at an online auction for a Cast Aluminum German Eagle Crest with a swastika at the center.

Last October, more than 30 objects were offered by Armitage Auctions, including swastika-adorned badges, pins and medals, an SS ring and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

An August 2019 event fetched more than $2,000, with one buyer spending $1,000 for an SS ring, while a Hitler Youth belt buckle sold for $500 and a German Police belt buckle sold for $525.

Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) chairman Dvir Abramovich — who has been spearheading the Jewish advocacy group’s national campaign to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia in Australia — labelled the current auction as “indecent and cruel,” adding that, “if you want to see up-close the face of pure evil, which led to systemic extermination of six million Jews and millions of others, look no further than the grisly and perverse objects showcased last year and this year on the Armitage Auctions site.”

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor urged the island’s Premier, Peter Gutwein, to take a firm stand against the “glorification of the Nazis and the Holocaust.”

O’Connor has pledged to introduce a draft bill in parliament which will prohibit the sale and display of Nazi memorabilia except for approved purposes, such as for display in a museum.
Intel and Microsoft Investing in Secretive Israeli Company
Is Intel preparing for its next big acquisition? Israel-based semiconductor manufacturer Xsight Labs has completed a fundraising round estimated at upwards of $50 million led by Intel Capital, Microsoft, Valor Equity Partners, and others, a person with knowledge of the deal told Calcalist under condition of anonymity. Both Intel and Xsight Labs declined to comment on the report.

The company, which is based in the southern city of Kiryat Gat and employs dozens of workers according to the IVC research center, produces advanced chipsets for the communications market. The company, which is operating in stealth mode, has raised upwards of $100 million in three rounds. The first round was led by Israeli tech entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, the second led by Intel and Microsoft, and a third, which was completed in 2020 and raised more than $50 million, was led by Intel.

XSight Labs was founded in 2017 by three former employees of EZChip, which was acquired by Mellanox in 2016 for $811 million. Its founders are Guy Koren, who serves as CEO; Erez Sheizaf, vice president of research and development; and Gal Malach, its CTO. All three left Mellanox after the acquisition to start Xsight Labs.

Willenz invested in the company shortly after its founding together with Manuel Alba, who co-founded Galileo Technologies. Willenz and Alba have partnered on many investments. Another executive at Xsight is COO Hamutal Raab, who used to work at other tech companies like Emblaze and Siano Mobile Silicon.

The company maintains secrecy about its activities and developments but is apparently working on chips to accelerate next generation, cloud-based, data-intensive workloads such as machine learning, data analytics, and disaggregated storage.

At the end of 2019, Intel acquired artificial intelligence semiconductor manufacturer Habana Labs for more than $2 billion, after the latter had raised only $120 million.

Intel Capital is one of the most active funds operating in Israel. Just recently it took part in a $35 million investment round in AI monitoring company Anodot. Intel also acquired public transportation navigation app Moovit earlier this month for almost $1 billion.
IAI's TaxiBot to expand to airports in Netherlands, India
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced it was expanding its TaxiBot operation to two new airports, Bangalore Airport in India and Schiphol in Amsterdam.

Officially certified for use in 2014, the TaxiBot is a semi-robotic vehicle controlled by a pilot, and is used as a means of taxiing the plane from the gate bridge after passengers board to the runway. This method allows the plane to be taxied without turning on its jet engines, cutting down 85% of fuel burnt in taxiing.

This, in turn, has the added benefits of cutting back greenhouse gas emissions, reducing noise by 60%, reducing the damage caused by objects being sucked into the engines during the taxiing process by 50% and speeding up departures by approximately 4 minutes.

Schiphol has recently started a pilot program to get ready to adopt the TaxiBot operation, while Bangalore Airport is currently testing the system to start operations as soon as possible.

Both airports are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis, which has nearly completely halted airport operations. This allows the airports to test new developments to allow them to operate with greater efficiency when the travel resumes.
Hasidic Cantors Sing ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ for Health Workers in New York
Two Hasidic cantors sang the national anthem of the United States outside a hospital in New York City on Tuesday in honor of frontline medical workers combating COVID-19.

Cantors Yaakov Lemmer and Aron Gerstel stood on the latter’s car as they belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the entrance to NYU Langone’s Ronald O. Perelman Center for Emergency Services.

Footage of the singing posted on Twitter shows New York City Fire Department firefighters and other first responders cheering on the cantors when they finish the tune.

It is evident from clips posted on Gerstel’s Twitter page that he has been traveling and putting on similar shows daily at various hospitals across New York, in tribute to healthcare workers fighting the war against the coronavirus.


Israeli Embassy in Washington Hosts Star-Studded Virtual Independence Day Party
The Embassy of Israel in Washington, DC, hosted on Thursday evening an “all-star” virtual celebration in honor of the country’s Independence Day.

More than 50,000 viewers from across the US tuned in for the event dubbed “#Israel72.” The idea behind the live broadcast was to celebrate 72 years of Israel’s independence in 72 minutes.

Various well-known Israeli and international figures joined in the celebrations, including Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Michael Douglas, Gene Simmons, Mayim Bialik, Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski), Sharon Stone, Julian Edelman, Kelsey Grammer, Perez Hilton and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, as well as Netflix’s “Fauda” actors Lior Raz and Rona-Lee Shimon.

During the broadcast there were also performances by famous Israeli artists such as Ivri Lider, Miri Mesika, David Broza, Marina Maximilian, Shiri Maimon, Ehud Banai and Nasrin Kadri.

Cooking lessons were hosted by Michael Solomonov, a James Beard Award-winning Israeli chef and restaurateur, and Adeena Sussman, author of the best-selling cookbook Sababa.

A special recorded tribute to American healthcare workers, made by their Israeli counterparts, was shown as part of the celebration, as well as a special tribute from the Israeli Defense Forces highlighting security cooperation with the US.




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