Tuesday, October 13, 2020

From Ian:

David Collier: Exclusive – hacking a Palestine Action induction event
My key strategy has always been to go where others do not. I sit with the liars and the haters and then report on what I find. This week is no different – This is the story of a Palestine Action induction event.

The Palestine Action induction The Zoom induction starts with Huda Ammori appearing on camera alongside another activist called Richard Barnard.

Listeners are welcomed and then told there is a form they need to fill in, so they can later be added to a relevant ‘chat group’.

Location is key, and you will only be added to groups relevant to the area you live in. Palestine Action operate in small cells. This Zoom event is all about finding recruits and it is made clear from the outset, that if you are not interested in what they describe as ‘direct action’, you are watching the wrong event.

We are shown the Palestine Action ‘launch video‘ and we hear that Elbit ‘build weapons to test on Gaza civilians’. The video includes all the usual smears about Apartheid, war crimes, mass killings and through graphic imagery, leads the viewer to believe that Israel is a brutal war zone. It is difficult to reconcile this with the fact that the total casualty count for the entire year stands at about 21 – almost all of them engaged in acts of terrorism.

Their argument is simple. The UK is complicit, Elbit are in the UK, Elbit tests weapons on children, therefore anyone who disagrees with them attacking Elbit is a supporter of war crimes and Apartheid.

Ammori’s Horrible History No anti-Israel event is complete without a total rewrite of history and Ammori soon launches into her own fictional tale. Apparently the ‘Balfour Declaration’ was where the UK ‘basically mandated that is was okay to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people‘. She also grossly understates the Jewish percentage of the population of the time. She then quickly jumps to 1948, when the ‘Zionist’ Militia‘ backed by ‘Western countries‘ – ‘went in and ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians from their homes‘. The Zionists also ‘killed many, many, Palestinians in the process‘.

That is absolute ahistorical bunkum. Balfour didn’t mandate anything and 1948 was a bloody and desperate civil war that saw equal casualties on both sides. By January 1948 Arab irregular forces had already invaded the British mandate and had begun attacking Jewish settlements – all this long before the May invasion by several Arab states. In addition, every Jewish village that fell into Arab hands was entirely emptied of its Jewish inhabitants. These facts however do not sit well with Ammori’s lies. If she tells the truth, her entire movement falls apart.

But Ammori is all about the lies. Having laid out the history she then reinforces the *fact* that the UK are profiting from Israeli war crimes and as UK citizens it is our responsibility to bring this relationship to an end.
The far left is trying to hijack Muslim minds in the West
What unites the Squad? These American lawmakers represent three trends.

First, they are an intersection of interests and opinions that seeks to undo the intellectual scaffolding of the modern West and the civilisational alliances it has with its allies in the Middle East.

America is an idea. It is about the free individual, powered by human reason, and citizenship based on the content of one’s character, and not the colour of one’s skin, as Martin Luther King, Jr beautifully encapsulated it. No religion or collectivist interest is paramount above the nation state and its laws.

This settlement that makes America so special is being slowly uprooted by poisonous identity politics, some of which the Squad represent. When they are under fire for their policy positions on the economy or immigration, rather than engage in reasoned debate, they will often hide behind protest politics of being “women of colour”. To question Ilhan Omar is to be accused of “Islamophobia”. Labels trump logic.

Second, the Squad are the tip of an iceberg that has been building among the far left on campuses and communities across America and Europe since 9/11. A strategic alliance between supporters of political Islam has found common cause with the political far left. This intersection has put aside their deep divergences on God, religion, family, homosexuality and the role of women and united their activist base on campuses and community hubs in their shared hatred for Western history and capitalism.

This counterintuitive union, which I have called the “Red-Green Alliance”, is similar to the revolutionary mindset that saw Iranian left-Islamists come together before 1979 with the encouragement of the French philosopher Michel Foucault. In Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour party leader, had a similar Red-Green alliance last year with a view to winning the general election with 30 Muslim-influenced constituencies – only to lose disastrously.

But when push comes to shove, Islamism and “wokeness” do not mix. Iran’s Islamists killed thousands and exiled leftists. In Gaza, Hamas hanged leftists from tall buildings. Ask Egyptian feminists how the Islamists in Egypt treated them after the 2011 uprisings. Islamists debated in Parliament to reduce the age of consent for marriage for women from 18 to nine.

Third, the Red-Green Alliance wants to tear down the alliances of safety and stability that America and the West have supported in the Middle East. Ms Omar has repeatedly attacked Egypt and the Gulf states. Yet the real risks of a Muslim Brotherhood-led sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic government in Libya or Sudan have not seemed to trouble her and her allies.
Harris’s Ties to Leading Anti-Israel Group Draw Scrutiny
Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris’s ties to a leading anti-Israel group are generating scrutiny among Jewish voters, particularly in Florida, a perennial swing state populated by a large number of staunchly pro-Israel voters.

As California’s attorney general and then as U.S. senator, Harris forged a relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the nation’s top anti-Israel groups and advocates for boycotts of the Jewish state. CAIR advised Harris on community issues during her time in California politics, and she later offered the group her "gratitude and admiration" in a 2018 personal letter to the group.

Harris’s association with CAIR is drawing scrutiny ahead of the 2020 presidential election. While Jewish voters overwhelmingly lean Democratic, the party’s recent embrace of anti-Israel causes and activists could make the critical voting bloc think twice. Biden has promised to be a mainstream pro-Israel president, but the Democratic Party’s alliance with anti-Israel leaders threatens to pull the candidate leftward, as evidenced by Biden’s campaign pledge to confront Israel over its continued building of Jewish homes in disputed areas. Recent national polls show around 30 percent support for Trump among Jewish voters, a number that ranks on the high end historically. And CAIR’s support for the Democratic ticket could prove to be a lightning rod for team Biden in states such as Florida, local GOP officials say.

"Every Jewish American should be concerned about a potential vice president who aligns herself with groups that support terrorists," said Randy Fine, a former Republican Florida state politician who went toe-to-toe with CAIR on several initiatives. "I don’t think we want people in the White House to invite anti-Semites to have a seat at the table."

As California’s top cop, Harris partnered with local CAIR officials and relied on them to advise her about community matters. In 2015, for instance, Harris hosted CAIR for an interfaith community event following a deadly terrorist attack in San Bernardino. In 2016, as Harris ran for the Senate, CAIR’s political action committee donated $1,750 to boost her campaign. CAIR PAC also has donated to prominent anti-Israel voices such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).


Alan Dershowitz: AOC’s Rejection of Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Crosses the Line From Extremism to Intolerance
AOC’s indecency was also recently manifested when she was invited by a pro-peace left wing Jewish organization to commemorate the death of Israel’s great peace maker, Yitzhak Rabin.

Rabin was assassinated by a hard-Right extremist who opposed Rabin’s efforts to make peace with the Palestinians and to recognize a Palestinian state. AOC originally accepted an invitation to appear at the event but after being pressured by virulent anti-Zionists who believe that Israel has no right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people, she backed out.

AOC’s cowardly decision not to stand up to antisemitic, anti-Israel bigotry is being applauded by fellow bigots on the hard-Left.

When AOC was first elected, I urged leaders of the Jewish community to reach out to her in order to educate her about Israel’s history and its enormous contribution to the well-being of the planet.

No country in history has ever done so much good for humanity in so short a period of time as in the 72 years since Israel has come into existence. Efforts were made to reach out to her to invite her to visit Israel to meet with Jewish leaders on the Left, and most recently to join in honoring Israel’s peace martyr Yitzhak Rabin.

She has rebuffed all efforts to build bridges to the pro-Israel community — even its most left wing members.

Although she has been deliberately vague about her position with regard to Israel, it now seems evidently clear that she does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and to live in peace as the nation state of the Jewish people.

If she did, she would not have refused to attend the pro-peace memorial to Rabin.

AOC has now crossed the line from radicalism to bigotry, from extremism to intolerance and from ignorance to willful mendacity. AOC is no longer a friend of liberalism, of mainstream Judaism or of basic decency. She is an enemy whose bigotry must be confronted at every turn and whose lies must be responded to with truth.
Peter Beinart’s Grotesque Utopia Part 1
And so it was that I encountered Peter Beinart’s recent fatwa on the Jewish state from Twitter posts hailing him as brave. Pro-democracy writers in Hong Kong, to say nothing of mainland China, merit the description “brave.” So too do LGBT activists in Egypt or Iran. To call a comfortable Upper West Side American Jew “brave” for writing something against Israel says very little about bravery and very little about Israel, but it says a great deal about what the person making the compliment thinks about Jewish power in American public life.

This was the barely repressed subtext of the two big New York Review of Books essays with which Beinart reinvented himself as a “critic of Israel” a decade ago — and which I critiqued seven years ago. In all the years since, each time I was approached for a comment about some new bit of “bravery” from Peter Beinart, I always declined. My explanation whenever I was asked why was that I didn’t disagree with the views Beinart claimed he held — for a Jewish state, against the occupation — I just didn’t believe those were his actual views.

It turns out I was right to doubt him.

In my 2013 piece, I identified four themes to Beinart’s writing on Israel: (1) He makes sweeping judgements on scant evidence, that rely on out-of-date and out-of-context quotes. (2) Any observable outcome or effect or result of the Arab-Israeli conflict is for him an Israeli policy or the action of an Israeli subject on a Palestinian object. (3) He has no expectation of any kind of self-criticism by Palestinians or pro-Palestinian partisans and no capacity for a critical engagement with their actions and the effects they have on the conflict. (4) He consistently presents ideas that have been around for a long time as something new which he has just discovered, and thus manages to make them into a progressive reaction to Israeli actions rather than part of a long-standing rejection of sovereign Jewish life in the Middle East.

In 2013, this was most clear with his historically blind discussion of boycotts, which were central to the Arab strategy to prevent a Jewish state from coming into being and then, when that failed, to strangle it economically. In 2020, this is how he processes the old-new idea of one non-Jewish state in land of the former Mandate as an expected reaction to Israeli intransigence rather than the longstanding political program of those who never accepted a Jewish state and never will.
Are Democratic Socialists driving Jewish voters away?
US President Donald Trump’s November 2016 election affirmed that important political tectonic plates among the US electorate were shifting in notable ways and that a political realignment was well underway.

Most notably, the white working class – those without a four-year college degree – powered Trump to a narrow margin of victory in the industrial Midwest, where he won states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, although all by a cat’s whisker. By contrast, affluent, college-educated suburban voters in bedroom communities surrounding metro-political areas moved more firmly into the Democratic column.

While the Trump Republican message of American nationalism spoke to down-on-their-luck white, working class voters, it, by contrast, alienated the more globally minded, progressive professional class.

But as much attention as educational attainment has gotten as a very reliable predictor of voting habits, there is an important and indeed overlooked group which has very much been the subject of Trump’s attention and whose votes he is trying – so far unsuccessfully – to draw into the GOP column: Jewish voters.

Since November 2016, Trump has assiduously worked the Jewish vote hard if not relentlessly – publicly demonstrating unequivocal support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people – even if sometimes very un-artfully. Obviously, Trump’s overtures to Jewish voters are in part designed to curry favor with Christian Evangelical voters who hold very positive views toward Israel, but it is also a clear run at trying to break up the Jewish coalition’s monolithic support for the Democratic Party.

What are we to make of Trump’s focus on Israel, the latest evidence being the recent peace agreement in the Middle East between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates?
EXCLUSIVE FULL RECORDING: Jewish Leaders Say They Were ‘Stabbed in the Back’ by Cuomo
Hamodia has exclusively obtained a full recording of a conference call New York Gov. Andrew Cumo had with Jewish leaders last Tuesday, in which he said he would limit houses of worship to 50% occupancy in areas seeing a COVID-19 uptick, just hours before a public press conference in which he limited it to 10 attendees.

“The current rule … in any indoor gathering … it’s 50% of capacity,” the governor said. “That’s the current law. We have to follow that law. If we don’t follow that law then the infection rate gets worse. Then we’re gonna have to go back to close down. And nobody wants to do that. But I need your help in getting the rate down, and the rate will come down, if we follow the rules on the mask and the social distancing and the 50%.”

But just a few hours later, Cuomo announced restrictions on houses of worship to as few as 10 people. Jewish leaders said they felt “stabbed in the back” by what they deemed Cuomo’s duplicity.

“The governor came to us, supposedly to work with us as a friend,” said the participant who shared the recording with Hamodia. “And we would have been happy to work with him on the 50% maximum. But then he just stabbed us in the back with this 10-person edict.”

The participant said he also believes the 10-person limit to be illogical.

“There are so many shuls in the community that have a maximum occupancy of hundreds of people,” he said. “How does it make any sense to impose the 10-person maximum on them just the same as a small shul?”

“We feel that the governor is not interested in working with us at all.”


While Cuomo Targets Orthodox Jews, Muslim Mass Gatherings Go On
Every year, Shiite Muslims in Flushing, Queens conduct the Arbaeen, a procession in honor of Mohammed's grandson whose death at the hands of a Sunni caliph marked the pivotal break between Shiites and Sunnis, slapping their faces and chests for their beheaded Imam Hussein.

Queens, once the borough that gave birth to President Trump and David Horowitz, now has a large Muslim population, and the fall processions of wailing crowds are a regular event.

The coronavirus didn’t change that.

In early October 2020, videos show a huge knot of Muslim men packed closely together in circles, not wearing masks or with masks down, chanting and furiously beating their chests in memory of Hussein’s martyrdom. Some are shirtless in the traditional fashion. The slaps are meant to be hard enough to cause real pain and there’s plenty of reddened skin on display.

The Shiite procession marches down Flushing’s Main Street, past rows of Chinese stores without a police officer in sight. The media also doesn’t stop by to document the event.

It’s one of a number of Shiite mass gatherings in New York and New Jersey, including more mourning events for Imam Hussein on Manhattan’s Park Avenue in August, where few of the participants wear masks, and another in Kensington, Brooklyn around the same time.


Jonathan S. Tobin: The woke world goes to war against ‘Wonder Woman’
I’m not sure the world needed another movie about Cleopatra. And the career arc of Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who became an international superstar with her “Wonder Woman” films, isn’t something that matters all that much in the general scheme of things. Still, the announcement that Gadot would team up with Patty Jenkins, the director of her hit comic-book movie, to do a film produced by Paramount Pictures (with Gadot’s production company also playing a part) about the legendary queen of Egypt sent Twitter into a tizzy.

The buzz on social media about the project revealed that a lot of people think Gadot has no business stepping in the footsteps of Hollywood legends Claudette Colbert and Elizabeth Taylor in playing the ultimate vamp role. They think it’s wrong that someone who isn’t black or Arab—or at least brown-skinned—is getting the part.

A lot of those who spoke out on this issue simply resent Gadot for being Israeli, a veteran of the Israel Defense Force and that her family immigrated to the Jewish state from Eastern Europe (her maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors, though her father is a sixth-generation sabra). But their beef isn’t just rooted in hatred for Jews and Israelis. Speaking in the language of race theory and intersectionalism, critics say the film is yet another act of cultural appropriation by colonizers in which the heritage of indigenous peoples of Africa and the Middle East are being stolen by whites.

That’s why this dustup isn’t just the usual nonsensical hype coming out of the entertainment world about a movie that is still in the planning stages. It matters because the debate about the prospective film illustrates the way ideological myths about race have distorted our public discourse and, more importantly, the way popular culture operates. The point being if studio heads and their sources of funding fear being “canceled” for casting a white Jewish woman as Cleopatra because the woke world demands a “person of color” in that role so much that they dumped Gadot, then it will be an important turning point not just for Hollywood but for so much else, too. It would be one more indication of how broken our culture has become because of the growing dominance of far-left ideologues that peddle lies about both the past and the present.
Seth Frantzman: It seems Jews aren’t allowed to play Cleopatra despite Mid-East roots
The goal of the anti-Gadot tweets has nothing to do with looks or where people are from. No other European minority group, whether Basques or Albanians or Sardinians or Maltese, are told they are not allowed to play Cleopatra, and no other Middle Eastern group, whether Kurds or Turks, are told they can’t. Only Jews. Only Israelis. There is no other small group in the world, like Jews, that are told systematically that they are not allowed to play a role of someone who existed thousands of years ago.

The goal of this attempt to police the roles, only of Jews, is part of an agenda to redefine Jews as “white.” The implicit claim that Jews are not allowed to play roles of Greeks or Egyptians is that they can only play “European” roles, but not “people of color.” The goal here is to pretend that Jews are not from the Middle East. The code word “Zionist” is used as a stand-in for “Jews.” In no other cases are political-ideological code words like this used. No one uses the word “Stalinist” as a stand-in for Russians when discussing if they can play the role of a famous Ukrainian. No one uses “Baathist” as a stand-in for Syrians when discussing if they can play the role of Saladin, who was of Kurdish background. Only with Jews.

The attempt to redefine Jews as “Polish” and “Austrian” is part of the way Jews, who were told 100 years ago they are not Austrian or Polish, are rebranded as rooted in Europe to deprive them of their rights to be from the Middle East, and their rights to be people of color. This rebranding of Jewish identity is used as part of a switch by those who always define Jews as the other. Whatever is considered unacceptable in every decade is what the Jews are said to be. That means in the 1930s when it was better to be European, white and Christian, Jews were said to be Asiatic and foreign and rootless. They were “wandering” like the Roma or “Gypsies” were said to wander. Now Jews are automatically said to be northern European, not even southern European, in order to restrict them as far as possible from proximity to the Middle East. Even ancient Jewish communities who are more dark skinned than most people in the Middle East, are not allowed to be considered for the role of Cleopatra. Jews are either too white, or too dark, but never acceptable in this new ethnocentric concept of casting.
Before Gal Gadot, Liz Taylor sparked debate as Jewish actress playing Cleopatra
After Israeli actress Gal Gadot announced this weekend that she would play the legendary Egyptian queen in a blockbuster movie, it didn’t take long for the calls of cultural appropriation to start on social media.

One tweet in particular, which said Gadot is “stealing” the role from Arab actresses, started a robust debate.

Some users pointed out that Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian — as a Ptolemaic ruler, she was descended from a Macedonian father, and historians don’t know the ethnicity of her mother.

This is hardly the first time in recent memory when the ability of Jews to play non-Jewish roles has come into question. It’s also not the first time that a Jewish movie star playing the Egyptian ruler has caused controversy.

The most famous Cleopatra film was released in 1963 and starred Elizabeth Taylor. The film was hugely expensive for the time — Taylor was reportedly the first actress to get paid $1 million for a role — and hugely successful, even though it was plagued by rumors of Taylor’s affair with co-star Richard Burton and all kinds of other on-set drama.

Taylor had converted to Judaism a few years earlier, before her marriage to singer Eddie Fisher, and had become outspokenly supportive of Israel. At the time, Egypt saw Israel as its enemy and banned any kind of relations with Jews and Israelis. So when the film first came out, Egypt banned the film.
Chased From Three Platforms, Leila Khaled Still Finds a Way to Call for Terrorism
Anti-Israel groups expressed outrage. The anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which promotes a universal academic and business boycott of Israel, called the cancellation “an extreme example of a well-documented and deeply troubling pattern of repression against and silencing of Palestinian scholarship and advocacy, both in the academy and on social media platforms.” University of California Berkeley Prof. Hatem Bazian posted, “Censoring Palestinians has no limits!” Comedian Amer Zahr posted a photo of a smiling Leila Khaled with her keffiyeh and rifle in hand, with the comment, “Because I feel like it…”

Abdulhadi was not pleased. “YouTube shut us down. If SFSU Administration has stood by us and if SFSU President did not join the Zionist chorus, we would not be here today,” she complained.

And yet, apparently unbeknownst to most, Khaled spoke a week later.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle featured Khaled in launching a month of solidarity with Palestine. Announcements of the October 3 event were posted on Facebook and Zoom, but due to participant overflow, it was then broadcast on Facebook live.

In addition to her incitement to armed resistance, Khaled refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist, states that Israelis are “playing the same role of Hitler,” and declares that “Israel is not a state to live. Israel is a state to be demolished.”

She objected to a map used in an earlier presentation that included Israel.

“Don’t use this map, please,” she said. “It makes me nervous to see that word because it is Palestine. Occupied Palestine. They say it’s Israel. I know, but I don’t recognize Israel. We don’t recognize Israel as a people because we are, they are our, our occupants.”

The talk does not appear to have received any attention. Video remained available on YouTube and Facebook as of October 12.

If those companies found her SFSU talk to be in violation of their policies, they need to explain why this other talk, with its calls to destroy an existing country, is acceptable.
British firm under fire over bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes
The sale of British heavy machinery that was used to demolish Palestinian structures in the West Bank may have been in breach of OECD guidelines, a UK government body said Monday.

A complaint had been lodged against the company, JCB, by the Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights organization in December 2019, using a UK government complaints system that was created to allow individuals and groups to challenge multinationals seen not to be keeping to the standards set by the OECD, The Guardian reported.

According to those guidelines, multinationals must “seek ways to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their business operations, products or services by a business relationship, even if they do not contribute to those impacts.”

Israel says the demolitions target illegally built units and the homes of suspected terrorists as well as structures used to attack Israeli forces. However, an April 2019 UN study said that building permits for Palestinians in the West Bank are “virtually impossible” to obtain and the result is a chronic housing shortage.

The National Contact Point, part of the British Foreign Office, announced on Monday that it believed JCB must account for the case, adding that the claims were “material and substantiated.”
BBC commissions Israel ‘documentary’ from American political activists
In other words, the BBC chose to commission a ‘documentary’ about a complex and charged topic from contributors with a specific political agenda but little expertise. That lack of expertise (and language skills) means that Freedman’s report relies heavily on additional contributors who are likewise inadequately presented to audiences.

One of those is an employee of the political NGO ‘Ir Amim’ whom Freedman introduces only as an “activist”, failing to mention his organisation’s “affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints” as demanded by the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

Freedman: “…Aviv Tatarsky, an Israeli activist who’s my translator today. […] Aviv, my translator, is part of a network of activists who visit places like Rashash all over the occupied West Bank to accompany Palestinians as they do some of their most basic daily activities; herding, farming, walking to school.”

An additional contributor is Arik Ascherman (formerly of ‘Rabbis for Human Rights’) who is introduced with the name of his latest NGO.

Freedman: “Rabbi Arik Ascherman is the executive director of Torat Tzedek – Torah of Justice – and he’s been going to Rashash to accompany Muhammad and the other shepherds for years.”

Listeners are not told that according to the organisation’s website, it co-operates with the controversial group ‘Ta’ayush’ on that project.

Another prominent contributor to Freedman’s report is anti-Israel activist Noura Erakat, who gets a plug for her new book.

Freedman: “Noura Erakat is a Palestinian American human rights attorney and the author of ‘Justice for some; law and the question of Palestine’.
National Library of Israel to digitize 180 years of Australian Jewish news
A new initiative will digitize and open free digital access to 180 years of Australian Jewish newspapers, including over 200,000 pages from Jewish communities across the continent. The project is a collaboration between the National Library of Australia (NLA), the National Library of Israel (NLI) and the Australian Jewish Historical Society (AJHS).

The new digital collection will be openly accessible and fully searchable from anywhere in the world through Trove, Australia’s free online research portal and the Historical Jewish Press Project (JPress), the world's leading digital collection of Jewish newspapers and journals. The new digital collection will offer scholars and the wider community the opportunity to understand centuries of Jewish life in Australia as never before.

The history of Jewish press in Australia goes back to 1842, when, despite the very small Jewish population, a local edition of the London-based Voice of Jacob (what would later become The Jewish Chronicle) was published in Sydney. As the local communities grew and established themselves in the twentieth century, the number of publications and their variety grew immensely. Most of the publications were in English, but there were also some in Yiddish and Hebrew.

With permission from the Australian Jewish News and their publisher, Polaris Media, all issues of the Australian Jewish News will be digitized, as will all other Australian Jewish newspapers published up to the copyright date of 1954.

This joint initiative would not have been made possible without financial assistance from philanthropic supporters, including the David Lesnie Foundation, the Embassy of Israel in Australia, the Besen Family Foundation, and Eitan Neishlos and Lee Levi.
HR Commends Facebook for Banning Holocaust Denial Posts
Following years of pressure from and engagement with Jewish and other organizations, Facebook, which also owns the popular social media platform Instagram, has updated its hate speech policy to include a ban on content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.

Jordana Cutler, Facebook’s head of policy in Israel, contacted HonestReporting to thank us for our “partnership and support,” adding that she is “looking forward to what else we will accomplish in the New Year.”

These changes are a result of the deep relationships we have built with organizations in Israel and the diaspora, and many conversations over the past year about the battle against antisemitism. As you know, this follows recent steps we have taken to protect Jews against harmful stereotypes. Thank you very much for your partnership and support – and am looking forward to seeing what else we will accomplish together in the New Year.”

After the announcement, HonestReporting issued the following statement: HonestReporting welcomes Facebook’s announcement that it has updated its hate speech policy to include a ban on posts that deny or distort the Holocaust.

Holocaust distortion and denial is more than simply a wrongheaded opinion, but poisons the public conversation with lies and fuels hatred of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

For years, HonestReporting has called on traditional and social media to act responsibly and not serve as a conduit for the promotion of falsehoods. Accordingly, we view Facebook’s move as a significant and deeply encouraging step in the right direction. It is our fervent hope that this new policy is enforced.”


“I’m proud that together with several dedicated organizations HonestReporting played a role in helping to bring about this commendable move by Facebook and I am proud of Facebook for taking action. This new policy will go a long way towards stamping out one of the worst forms of antisemitism,” HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz said.

“Nevertheless, Holocaust denial and distortion are still widely practiced and promoted not only by individuals and organizations, but also at the state level,” he added. “This includes, most notably, Iran, whose leader has been allowed to use Internet platforms to spread genocidal hatred against the State of Israel.
Human Chain Formed Around German Synagogue in Message of Solidarity to Jewish Community
Residents of the German town of Bad Neuheim formed a human chain around their local synagogue on Friday night in a gesture of solidarity with the Jewish community.

Around 80 people participated in the event, which took place as Jews worshiping inside the synagogue marked the arrival of both the Sabbath and the final days of the Sukkot holiday.

Initiated by the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation Wetterau (GCJZ), the chain included local politicians and church representatives.

Those present were addressed by the Mayor of Bad Neuheim — a town of 30,000 people north of the city of Frankfurt — Karl Kress, who warned against the “shadow of antisemitism.”

“We stand together against antisemitism and discrimination,” the mayor declared. “Above all we stand together for our values ​​of tolerance and openness, freedom of opinion and belief.”

Volkhard Guth, dean of the Protestant Church in Bad Neuheim, referred to the first anniversary of the attack on a synagogue in the city of Halle by a neo-Nazi gunman in which two people were killed.

“As Christians we have to say: ‘Antisemitism is a sin against God!'” Guth told the crowd. “The Halle victims remind us that antisemitism is always a crime against humanity.”
Petition Against Rehiring of Holocaust-Denying High School Principal in Florida Passes 20,000 Signatures
More than 20,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the Palm Beach County School Board in Florida desist from plans to rehire William Latson — a former high school principal who was terminated after he told a parent who enquired about Holocaust education that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

Last Wednesday, the School Board voted 4-3 in favor of rehiring Latson, who was the principal of Spanish River High School when he was removed from his post in Nov. 2019.

“This is a slap in the face to all Holocaust victims,” declared the online petition, which was launched by parents opposed to Latson’s continued presence as an official in the Florida education system.

“We cannot allow antisemitism and discrimination to take hold in the school system,” the petition stated.

The controversy involving Latson dates back to April 2018, when he told the mother of a student who sought to ensure that Holocaust education was “a priority” that “not everyone believes the Holocaust happened” in an email.

“And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school, and not all of our parents have the same beliefs,” he scolded.

Latson added that educators had “the role to be politically neutral, but support all groups in the school.”

“I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school-district employee,” he wrote.
Police investigating political flyer emblazoned with swastika in New Jersey town
Flyers combining a swastika and a political message were found on cars and in mailboxes in a small New Jersey town on 9th October.

The leaflets in Harrison Township in Gloucester County, NJ were from a group calling itself “The Mullica Hill Militia.” The flyer had a swastika along with a political message and a phone number.

Angry residents posted a picture of a flyer on a Facebook group for the local community. In an accompanying statement they rejected its message, saying: “We are very saddened and extremely disappointed to learn that a flyer from a group called the Mullica Hill Militia was placed on cars and in mailboxes in our community today.

“The racist content of the flyer is NOT a reflection of our community but rather the hatred act of disturbed individuals.”

The Harrison Township Police are reportedly investigating and have asked that those with information about “their source or the so-called Mullica Hill Militia” make contact with the detective conducting the investigation.
Slowest part of COVID tests ‘eliminated’ with Israeli single-molecule method
Israeli nanotechnologists say that they have found a way to examine molecules one by one for coronavirus, and eliminate the most time-consuming process in COVID-19 test analysis.

In regular virus testing, lab teams need to massively increase the number of molecules they have from each patient’s sample, through a process known as amplification. That typically takes between one and two hours, and requires special chemicals. Millions of molecules are needed before a sample can be analyzed.

But the method just developed in Haifa, tested, and outlined in the peer-reviewed journal ACS Nano, requires just 100 molecules, eliminating all need for amplification, bio-engineer and nanotechnology expert Amit Meller told The Times of Israel Monday.

“We have developed a way to pass molecules, one by one, through a tiny nano hole,” said Meller, of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “The hole is called a nanopore, and isn’t new, but this is the first time it has been deployed for RNA testing for the coronavirus.”

He said that as well as being used for the coronavirus, his analysis method can be deployed in screening for secondary cancers, and said he hopes to see it quickly commercialized for both uses. He said the key is that it retains a level of precision in analysis of ribonucleic acid, RNA, “which is essential in both contexts we studied – RNA biomarkers of metastatic cancer and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Israel Teams with India to Develop Rapid COVID Testing

Arab Contractor Donates Jewish Prayer Area to Israeli Settlement in the Shomron
An Arab contractor, who paved an open space that will serve Jewish worshippers at an Israeli settlement in Samaria (Shomron), decided to donate it free of charge.

The contractor, Rami Yihya from Taibeh, was hired by members of the Yemenite synagogue in the community of Einav to prepare an outdoor space where the congregation could pray during the Corona crisis while synagogues are shuttered.

Upon learning that the construction was meant for prayers, Yihya donated all the materials and work time.

“This is a holy place,” he explained, speaking at a ceremony held this week after the conclusion of the construction, at which he was the guest of honor, “God will pay me”, he added.

He further shared the story that after the murder of Rabbi Achiad Ettinger in a terrorist attack in March 2019, he came to pay his respects to the family and saw that the family’s 12 children were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. He built beds for them and repainted the house.

He visits the family on a weekly basis.

“We are all human beings,” he stressed.

His gesture was warmly welcomed by Israelis on social media.

“I shed a tear. May there be more people like him,” one Israeli tweeted. (h/t Zvi)
UN Space Agency to Establish Regional Support Office at Ben-Gurion University
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the creation of a regional support office for UNOOSA’s UN-SPIDER program, the United Nations announced in a statement on Monday.

The program, the full name of which is “United Nations Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response,” is, as its name suggests, geared towards leveraging space for disaster management and risk reduction. Regional support offices (RSOs) for the program collaborate with UN-SPIDER on “technical advisory support, capacity building and outreach,” according to the statement.

The new RSO, bringing the total number to 25, is to be located in BGU’s Earth and Planetary Image Facility, which conducts research on advancing satellite and airborne remote sensing applications for a variety of uses. The RSO at BGU “adds precious expertise on satellite technology to the network,” the statement said.

According to the MoU, UNOOSA and BGU will collaborate, among other things, on emergency-response management, capacity-building on space-based technologies for disaster management and the dissemination of methods and results from Earth observation.

UNOOSA Director Simonetta Di Pippo said, “I am delighted to see the UN-SPIDER’s network of RSOs continuously growing, adding diverse, top-class expertise to its resources and allowing the sharing of knowledge on a global scale. Through the RSOs, our work to help countries leverage space tools to counteract disasters is scaled up to improve the lives of more people worldwide.”
Promise of hydrogen-fueled future lights a fire under Israeli innovators
During the Exodus from Egypt, God split the sea to save the Israelites. Several millennia later, many in Israel increasingly view repeating the miracle — but on the molecular level — as the key to helping save the rest of the planet.

Around the world, the promise of hydrogen power, harvested by separating and reuniting the elements that make up water, is sparking the next revolution in clean energy.

The technology is still in its infancy, but both the government and private sector are pumping money into developing ways to make hydrogen use more powerful, efficient and cost effective.

The Far East, Europe and parts of the US are investing billions into creating a hydrogen infrastructure that will power trucking, heavy industry and even homes.

Tiny Israel neither builds vehicles nor has much heavy industry. Furthermore, the Energy Ministry is focused on replacing coal with less-polluting natural gas and on shoring up the infrastructure needed to reach its target of generating 30 percent of the nation’s energy through renewable sources, mainly solar, by 2030.

But big overseas companies have snapped up many Israeli innovations. The biggest was in 2017, when the US giant Intel Corp. bought Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems, for $15.3 billion to help position it as a leading technology player in the fast-growing self-driving car market.

Could the Start-Up Nation pull it off again with a piece of genius tech for the hydrogen economy?


6,500-year-old copper workshop shows ancient Beersheba was tech hub
An ancient copper-smelting workshop once operated in what is now the Neveh Noy neighborhood of Beersheba, new research from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority published in the Journal of Archaeological Science reveals.

The research, which began in 2017 when the IAA conducted a salvation dig to save antiquities that were under threat, indicates that the site might have been the first in the world to use a furnace.

Archaeologist Talia Abulafia, who led the excavation for the IAA, said that it had turned up evidence of "domestic production from the Chalcolithic period, about 6,500 years ago. The surprising finds include a small workshop for smelting copper with shards of a furnace – a small installation made of tin in which copper ore was smelted – as well as a lot of copper slag."

The Chalcolithic period (the word is made up of the Greek words for "copper" and "stone") is so named because although metalworking was already in evidence, the tools used were still made of stone. At the Neveh Noy site, an analysis of the isotopes of ore remnants in the furnace shards show that the raw ore was brought to the workshop from Wadi Faynan, located in present-day Jordan, more than 100 km. (62 miles) away.

The furnace may have been a local invention.

"At the first stage of humankind's copper production, crucibles rather than furnaces were used," said Prof. Erez Ben-Yosef of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near East Civilizations at TAU.
Ancient two-shekel weight discovered near Western Wall
An ancient limestone weight, dating back to the Iron Age – the First Temple period, which corresponds to the measurement unit of two shekels at that time, has been discovered at an archaeological excavation next to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) said on Tuesday.

The weight was found beneath Wilson’s Arch and was retrieved from earthen fills by the City of David sifting project. The excavation is nearing its completion and researchers have unearthed many enlightening and unexpected discoveries that will be included in the tour of the Western Wall Tunnels.

“How exciting, in the month of Tishrei, whose symbol is the scales of justice, to find a souvenir from the First Temple period. Actually now, when coming to the Western Wall is so restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, this finding strengthens the eternal connection between the Jewish nation, Jerusalem, and the Western Wall while offering us all encouragement,” Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, said in a statement.

The excavation where the weight was found was conducted by the IAA in conjunction with the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

According to Dr. Barak Monnickendam-Givon and Tehillah Lieberman, directors of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, “The weight is dome-shaped with a flat base. On the top of the weight is an incised Egyptian symbol resembling a Greek gamma (γ), representing the abbreviated unit ‘shekel.’ Two incised lines indicate the double mass: two shekels.

"One of the uses of the shekel weight system during the First Temple period was to collect an annual tax of half a shekel dedicated to the sacrifices and upkeep of the Temple.

"According to previous finds, the known weight of a single shekel is 11.5 grams and a double shekel should weigh 23 grams, exactly the measure of this artifact. That accuracy attests to advanced technological skills and that it was used for precise trading and commerce in ancient Jerusalem. Coins were not yet in use during the period, so the accuracy of weights was significant for business dealings.





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