Thursday, May 21, 2015

From Ian:

Robert Wistrich: Anti-Semitism and Jewish destiny
On Sunday, Robert S. Wistrich – the director of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – emailed the following column to ‘Jerusalem Post’ Editor-in-Chief Steve Linde, asking that it be published in the coming week. Wistrich died suddenly on Tuesday. We dedicate his last column to perpetuating his memory. May his words live on.
Today’s anti-Semitism is a product of a new civic religion that could be termed "Palestinianism."
There are few topics of more pressing concern today to Jewish communities around the world than the current resurgence of anti-Semitism. Thus, there could have been no more appropriate time for the 5th Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism to meet than last week in Jerusalem. It was a large and impressive gathering of participants from all over the world, initiated by the Foreign Ministry, together with its Diaspora Affairs Department.
In my own remarks to the conference I emphasized the need to free ourselves from certain outdated myths. My first point was that even today, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora are fixated on the dangers of far-right traditional anti-Semitism – whether racist, religious or nationalist. While neo-fascism has not altogether disappeared, it is in most cases a secondary threat.
Second, there is an illusory belief that more Holocaust education and memorialization can serve as an effective antidote to contemporary anti-Semitism. This notion, shared by many governments and well-meaning liberal gentiles, is quite unfounded. On the contrary, today “Holocaust inversion” (the perverse transformation of Jews into Nazis and Muslims into victimized “Jews”) all-too-often becomes a weapon with which to pillory Israel and denigrate the Jewish people. Hence the approach to this entire subject requires considerable rethinking, updating and fine-tuning.
Third, we must recognize much more clearly than before that since 1975 (with the passing of the scandalous UN resolution condemning Zionism as racism) hatred of Israel has increasingly mutated into the chief vector for the “new” anti-Semitism.
UK MediaWatch: In memoriam: Professor Robert S. Wistrich
Robert S. Wistrich, professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, head of the Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, and perhaps the world’s foremost scholar of antisemitism, died of a heart attack yesterday in Rome.
He was 70.
Wistrich was born in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1945, raised in Britain and educated in the US. He settled in Israel in 1982.
Professor Wistrich published dozens of books throughout his long career about the history of Jew hatred, including From Ambivalence to Betrayal: The Left, the Jews and Israel, and his magnum opus, A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism — From Antiquity to the Global Jihad,” published in 2010.
Though he was an accomplished academic, Wistrich also possessed the unique ability within academia to communicate effectively to non-academics, and was able to speak clearly and plainly even when contextualizing the often complex dynamics of historical and contemporary antisemitism.
This writer was honored to share a panel with Professor Wistrich at a CAMERA event in Jerusalem earlier in the year, where he addressed the relationship between media coverage of Israel and rising antisemitism.
Remembering Robert Wistrich, The World’s Foremost Scholar of Anti-Semitism
It was with deep sadness that I learned last night of the passing of my dear friend and teacher, Professor Robert Wistrich, at the age of 70.
Robert was the world’s foremost scholar of anti-Semitism. Based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he headed the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Robert was a prolific author and speaker, whose encyclopedic knowledge and unrivaled insight into the persistence of anti-Semitism was sought by academics, journalists, and politicians alike.
The news of Robert’s death was broken by the Italian newspaper La Stampa. He’d spent the day in Rome, where he was due to address the Italian Senate on the continuing rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. The cause of his passing was a sudden heart attack.
Robert’s death is an incalculable loss on many levels. At just the time that anti-Semitism has again become socially acceptable in Europe and elsewhere, we have been robbed of one of the few individuals whose voice on this topic underlined urgency, but not hysteria. Robert, moreover, was someone who intimately understood the historical provenance of today’s anti-Semitism, particularly in its insidious “anti-Zionist” guise.

Robert Wistrich: In Memoriam
For scholars, students, policy analysts, and the rest of us who struggle daily to understand the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, the death of Robert S. Wistrich yesterday hit hard. Anyone privileged enough to have experienced him or knew his deep scholarship on what he termed ‘the longest hatred,’ can only react with deep loss and the attendant fear of the future now that one of the world’s clearest voices on the subject has been stilled forever.
That fear, however, may be misplaced. The legacy that Robert Wistrich has left will only be appreciated in the years to come. The sheer volume of his writing and the people he has taught and inspired will live on in ways that those of us still in mourning may not be able to fully comprehend.
To be sure, soon the public will be inundated with an appreciation for his academic achievements and the towering intellect that he brought to the field. For me, the gap between the loss and the eulogies to follow are best filled with a desire to offer a personal tribute.
DivestThis: RIP Robert Wistrich
It is with unmitigated sadness that I must join the chorus of the tearful mourning the passage of Robert Wistrich who died last night in Rome at the age of 70.
Like Barry Rubin, another lion who passed away recently (and far too young), Wistrich was a shocking powerhouse of productivity.
But while Rubin’s staggering output fell into the category of journalism and analysis, Wistrich was first and foremost a scholar. And in an era when some people bearing that label might spend their careers hocking one book (or one idea taking the form of many books, only one of which ever needed to have been written), Wistrich took on the huge (and – sadly – ever-relevant) topic of anti-Semitism, both dissecting it as a scholar and fighting it as a champion of the Jewish people.
Wistrich’s writing has impacted my thinking for as long as I can remember. And his recent masterpiece, From Ambivalence to Betrayal (which some of you might recall served as the basis for a five-part review a couple of years back) helped clarify mine (and, I hope, other peoples’) thinking about one of the most vexing political issues of our time: the prominence of anti-Semitism on the Left.
UN: Israel is worst violator of health rights in the world
As Israeli hospitals continue their life-saving treatment for escalating numbers of wounded Syrians fleeing to the Golan from the Assad regime’s barbaric attacks, the U.N. reached new heights of absurdity today by accusing Israel of violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan.
By a vote of 104 to 4, with 6 abstentions and 65 absent, the Jewish state was singled out as the world’s top violator of health rights by the annual assembly of the U.N.’s World Health Organization.
The resolution, which adopted two reports heaping blame upon Israel for allegedly violating the health rights of both the Palestinians and Druze residents of the Golan, was the 2015 assembly’s only treatment of a specific country situation.
There was no debate on the health of the Yemeni people now under indiscriminate Saudi bombardment, no mention at all of the 1,850 Yemenis killed, the 7,394 wounded, and the 545,000 displaced, many of whom are desperate to find food. (h/t Bob Knot)
Saudi Arabia Seeks Top Spot on U.N. Human Rights Council
Saudi Arabia is making a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (HRC) just days after it posted a slew of new job openings for executioners who would help carry out beheadings amid a massive uptick in state-sanctioned killings in the country.
Saudi Arabia, which has come under increasing criticism from human rights groups for an uptick in the number of executions in the country, has been a member of the U.N.’s top human rights body since 2014, along with Russia, China, and Cuba.
It is now making a bid to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016, when the presidency rotates to a new nation.
While the HRC has often been dismissed for hosting nations with some of the worst human rights records in the world, its importance in the coming year could be critical to how the international community deals with atrocities in Syria and other Middle Eastern nations.
U.N. Watch, a nonprofit group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it, describing the move as “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.
“We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam,” Hillel Neuer, the group’s executive director, said in a recent statement.
Reflections on Contemporary Anti-Semitism in Europe
Authorities in Oslo, Norway, have permanently closed streets to traffic around the Jewish synagogue. In Berlin, Germany, the Jewish community newsletter is sent without any identifiable markings on the envelope, so as not to ‘out’ recipients as Jews or members.
In Amsterdam, police trailers stand before the 17th century Portuguese Synagogue, the Jewish high school, the Anne Frank Museum, and other institutions. Military police guard the buildings, and Jewish leaders desire that they carry automatic weapons. In Antwerp, an elite army unit patrols the Jewish quarter.
One small group of European Jewish leaders, the European Jewish Association, petitioned the European Union in January to pass new legislation permitting Jewish community members to carry guns ‘for the essential protection of their communities.’ Observers say that, 70 years after the Holocaust, Jew-hatred is spreading in Europe. Jews are seeing their religious freedom violated, their grave sites vandalised, their synagogues desecrated, and Jewish lives lost.
In Paris, an Islamic extremist tied to the Charlie Hebdo killers took over the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery and wantonly killed several Jewish hostages. The Charlie Hebdo killers themselves murdered only one woman, a Jewish woman, at the journal’s offices, intentionally sparing all others. Soon after the events unfolded in Paris, another jihadist in Copenhagen attacked a free speech gathering, and then murdered a voluntary Jewish community guard outside a bat-mitzvah. In each of these events, Jews were coerced to cower in basement hiding places, as if in a classic Bialik poem, to avoid being massacred.
But such recent events hardly stand alone, following a year during which large public marches in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, and elsewhere included demonstrators calling on Jews to leave France, Belgium, or Germany, and chanting that Hitler didn’t finish the job. ‘Jews to the gas, Jews to the gas!’, hundreds of demonstrators marching away from the Bastille in Paris called out in mid-July. Mob actions occurred against synagogues and Jewish stores in and around the city, including at the Don Abravanel Synagogue; further mob action came a week later at a synagogue in Sarcelles. Moreover, the events in 2014 came after a rising number of killings since the early 2000s, culminating in jihadi killings of children in Toulouse in 2012 and of tourists at the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014. The brutal slaying of a Jewish child in 2012 by a jihadist was even celebrated by some French Muslims on social media.
What is going on? How shall we understand the shape and meaning of contemporary anti-Semitism in Europe? How shall we begin to come to terms with the rising danger?
Nietzsche and the Nazis: A Movie Review
Hicks demonstrates that support for the Nazis did not come primarily from German street thugs, as is sometimes mistakenly assumed, but from the German middle class and intellectual elites of an intellectual society. Great German philosophers like Martin Heidegger, as well as Nobel prize winning scientists, jurists, celebrated writers and scholars supported the rise of National Socialism because they honestly believed that the ideals of Hitler’s political party represented the best hope for the German people going forward into the twentieth century.
The primary cause of Nazism resides in philosophy, not economics, not psychology, not even politics… National Socialism was a philosophy intensive movement.
The Nazis were idealists, Hicks argues. This is what so many people refuse to understand. The Nazis were not cartoon villains and their supporters were, for the most part, not street thugs. They were, instead, crusaders and idealogues in what they considered to be a noble cause.
The National Socialist German Worker’s Party was a highly idealistic political party that attracted young people and college students intent upon a social revolution. They believed in socialism, collectivism, nationalism, and racism. And they opposed both Marxism and capitalism, and, needless to say, associated the Jews with both.
Guardian gives Palestinian terror supporter a forum to condemn ‘Israeli racism’
An op-ed by Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, published at the Guardian (Israeli football cannot continue as a vehicle to legitimise racism, May 19), which calls on FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) to suspend Israel due to racism, is predictably short on facts and long on agitprop.
For instance, Rajoub (who’s also Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee) claims that Palestinian football “clubs [are] more often than not forbidden from bringing players, coaches or even materials from abroad”. Yet, according to Shlomi Barzel, the Israeli Soccer Association’s (ISA) head of communications, “only 1 percent of all Palestinian soccer players are denied travel“. Barzel noted that when Israel does deny Palestinian players exits, it’s because the player is known to present a serious security risk. (As noted on these pages, mainstream news outlets routinely hide or obfuscate the terror background of many Palestinian “footballers” despite ample evidence of their affiliations.)
Rajoub also complains that that ISA violates the FIFA charter by fielding five teams from the West Bank (Maaleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, the Jordan Valley and Givat Zeev). Yet, we could find no reference whatsoever to Israeli settlements – yet alone anything suggesting that teams from the ‘settlements’ are illegal – in the FIFA charter.
Most audaciously, Rajoub’s call to ban Israel – and only Israel among the more than 200 FIFA teams from around the world – from international football includes a plea that “football should be a vehicle of peace“.
Yet, Jibril Rajoub is perhaps the last person who should be lecturing Israelis, or anyone else, on the virtues of peace and tolerance, and the evils of racism and violence.
Minister Danny Danon: Boycott the Boycotters
Moves to ban the Israel Football Association (IFA) from international soccer club FIFA will not help coexistence, Science and Technology Minister MK Danny Danon (Likud) told Arutz Sheva Wednesday night.
"Boycotting Israel will not help them," Danon said. "We're here and we're staying here."
"I call on all international institutions: Boycott the boycotters," he added. "Whoever calls for a boycott of Israel should also be boycotted."
"[Head of the 'Palestine Football Association'] Jibril Rajoub think it promotes the Palestinian cause - I inform him that he achieves the exact opposite."
NGO Monitor: "Breaking the Silence" in Zurich: Foreign Events and Foreign Funding
From June 4 to 14, the Israeli political advocacy group "Breaking the Silence" (BtS) is scheduled to hold an exhibit and series of events at the Kulturhaus Helferei in Zurich.
According to NGO Monitor, this event featuring a highly politicized fringe Israeli organization is inappropriately and immorally sponsored by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the Municipality of Zurich, and several church groups that are active in anti-Israel campaigns.
"By supporting this event which contributes to the demonization of Israel, the Swiss Federal Government and the City of Zurich use taxpayer funds in violation of diplomatic norms between friendly countries," stated Itai Reuveni, a researcher at NGO Monitor. "Swiss support for Breaking the Silence contributes to the politicization of human rights that is destroying these universal values."
As shown by NGO Monitor research, despite claiming and receiving funding in order to address Israeli society, BtS's lobbying and media advocacy campaigns focus significantly on international audiences, including appearances in France, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK, and the US. These events feature anonymous testimonies that cannot be verified, stripped of the context of brutal warfare and terrorism targeting Israelis. As a result, a large number of Israelis soldiers have protested the BtS campaigns in Israel, but do not have the opportunities or funds to to present their counter testimonies in Zurich or elsewhere.
Public Funding for Swiss ‘Breaking the Silence’ Event Stuns Local Jewish Community
Community representatives in Zurich told NRG that Breaking the Silence originally sought out a local synagogue for its exhibition, but was rejected after the group refused to organize additional soldiers to tell “the other side of the story.”
“I didn’t serve in the army and I don’t know the issue,” said president of the community Andrei Bolog, according to the report. He expressed disbelief that the Swiss authorities would fund the event, adding that he would make further inquiries into the decision.
Swiss officials told NRG that the country supported the event because it increased “dialogue about human rights.”
The event invitation, posted on the Medico International website, states that for, “48 years, the Israeli army has been occupying the Palestinian territories.” It also claims that the mission of ‘Breaking the Silence’ is to, “raise awareness of the daily reality in the Occupied Territories, and to create public discourse on the moral price for military control of a civilian population and an occupation that has lasted many long years.”
Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick: “when an artist says no she really means yes”
Waters even pretends to be puzzled that Warwick could possibly infer that his incessant, well-publicized calls for all artists to boycott Israel included her. Waters writes “Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick’s Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately. But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.”
Seriously, does anyone believe Waters needs a written invitation to stand on a soapbox? He has called on entertainers to nix their Israeli performances in publications like Rolling Stone, CBS, and Counterpunch. He has written “private” letters imploring “friends” like Alan Parsons and Cyndi Lauper to cancel their scheduled tours – letters which he subsequently made public. He has personally attacked artists who disagree with him like Scarlett Johansson, Neil Young, and Robbie Williams and droned on about Israel for twenty-five long minutes at the UN.
When Warwick said “art has no boundaries,” she was saying “no” to Roger Waters’ strong-arm attempts to control thought and “no” to a creeping evisceration of freedom of expression.
And Mr. Waters, when an artist says “no,” she means “no.”
The Judean People's Front: Ms. Hill, About Your Miseducation...
Dear Ms. Lauryn Hill,
Thousands of your fans were beyond disappointed yesterday when you chose to cancel your upcoming concert in Israel. I say beyond disappointed because the fact of the matter is that despite your stated desire not to be a "source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans," by cancelling your performance, you are in effect joining the hypocritical and anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Ms. Hill, you have stepped into a charged conflict, with a complex history, and many players with competing agendas. By agreeing to cancel your Israel concert, even if only done officially because you were unable to also stage one in Ramallah, you have lent your name, voice, and prestige to a movement dedicated to the destruction of the world's only Jewish State.
While it is too late for you to correct this mistake in time for Thursday, we would like to give you the opportunity to make a more informed decision the next time you are considering performing in Israel by taking this opportunity to fill in the gaps of your, shall we say, miseducation.
Israeli Judo Team Detained, Released in Morocco
Israel's judo team was released early Thursday after being detained in Morocco at an airport for over 8 hours as they attempted to participate in an international judo event.
The group was released only after the intervention of the athletic organization sponsoring the event.
The team had been warned by the Israel Security Agency not to attend the event in Morocco, after being informed that they could not bring armed guards as part of the contingent. However, the Israel Judo Federation decided to allow the team to participate anyway.
The team reached Morocco on Wednesday, and were immediately detained at the airport, with their passports confiscated. Moroccan authorities cited “security concerns” as the reason for the team members' arrests.
They were released on Thursday after intervention and pressure from the International Judo Federation. Morocco had agreed to host the Israeli team as a condition for holding the event.
IsraellyCool: Times Of Israel Misleads With Inaccurate Headline
I’m sure that plenty of Israelis are fed up with American Peter Beinart-types talking about how they love Israel so much, that they have to condemn it for its own good. (I’m fed up with it, too.) There are also, however, many, many of us in the US that actually love Israel, that work hard to defend Israel from bias in the mainstream media, on social media, and on campuses. We give our time writing letters and our money to organizations that pursue these goals. On behalf of everyone in the US that works hard to support Israel, I’d like to say, today, WTF, TOI?
This headline in today’s Times of Israel gives the distinct impression that segregation on buses is something that has been ongoing. Reading the first line of the story, however, we find that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning suspended a Defense Ministry pilot plan that would have disallowed Palestinians with work permits from using Israeli buses to enter the West Bank.” Reading further, we find that Netanyahu stopped the plan on the same day that the Defense Minister intended to start it — it other words, it never went into effect at all. Adding a single word to the headline could have made it accurate: “Netanyahu puts the brakes on ‘segregated’ West Bank bus plan.”
BBC’s Evan Davis promotes the chimera of ’67 borders
The latest example of the use of the inaccurate term “’67 border” came in the May 18th edition of BBC Two’s flagship news programme ‘Newsnight‘ which the corporation has claimed is “routinely being watched by more than 700,000 people”.Newsnight
Whilst interviewing Shimon Peres, presenter Evan Davies asked:
“Can you imagine now any situation – anything the Palestinians could do – in which Israel would agree to go back to this newly defined ’67 border.”
And no – we have no idea what “newly defined” means in this context either.
Also notable is Davis’ promotion of the notion that “it’s warranted to say that [the first Lebanon war] created Hizballah” – with no mention of no less relevant factors such as the Iranian revolution, Iranian policy or the Lebanese civil war.
Robert Naiman Uses Saudi Arabian Human Rights Violations as Pretense to Impugn Israel
Robert Naiman, a regular Huffington Post contributor, penned a piece titled “Is Saudi Arabia Now the Israel of the Gulf?”. In it, he addressed human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia, and without any background or context, likened them to issues in Israel.
Naiman suggests both that “Saudi Arabia is apparently becoming the Israel of the Gulf countries -- a habitual aggressor in its neighborhood”, and that Saudi Arabia and Israel “have killed many human beings, including many civilians, for no clear military purpose.”
His version of Israel’s recent history compares unfavorably to reality and demonstrates sweeping bias. Naiman, as evidenced in the comparisons he draws, categorically ignores that Israel is neither an “aggressor” nor a ruthless apartheid state.
Indeed, both of Israel’s recent wars in Gaza have been defensive, prompted by unending rocket fire from Hamas. The untargeted rockets are indiscriminately fired toward Israeli population centers with the hopes of inflicting maximum casualties. Moreover, Israel has undertaken unprecedented measures to prevent civilian casualties. That they have happened is deeply regrettable, but they happen not because Israel targets civilians but because Hamas uses them as shields, prevents them from leaving targeted areas, and fires rockets – which they know will draw responsive fire – from densely populated areas. Indeed, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claimed that “Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.”
These issues considered, to call Israel an aggressor that callously kills civilians is propagating an anti-Israel lie.
Can AFP say "Egyptian blockade"?
Can the Agence France Presse news agency say "Egyptian blockade"? In the article today, "Gazans reach beyond blockade through start-up," the "Israeli blockade" of the Gaza Strip looms large.
Though the article twice mentions the "Israeli blockade" of Gaza, under which hundreds of trucks containing all kinds of products pass every week, not once does it contain the phrase "Egyptian blockade," though for most of the last seven months nothing at all passed through the Gaza-Egypt border crossing.
Thus, the second paragraph of the article states that the Gaza Strip "has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006." Further along, the article asserts that Gaza "is effectively ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement and cut off from the rest of the world by the Israeli blockade."
Police do not have legal powers to stop anti-Jewish demo planned in Golders Green
Police are unable to stop an anti-Jewish rally scheduled for a holy day in one of London's biggest Jewish communities.
Far-right groups are planning the event in Golders Green on a Saturday - the Jewish Sabbath - in July.
But if the demo is static then Scotland Yard has no power to prevent it.
Police said they were "speaking to the organiser of the protest to understand what their plans are," but could not disclose who the organiser was or how large the rally was expected to be.
The demo has been linked to a badly-attended rally opposing the Shomrim Jewish neighbourhood watch group in Stamford Hill on April 18.
A video of that event, organised by breakaway fascist Eddy Stamton, concludes with the announcement: "The next demo against the Shomrim 'police' will be in Golders Green very soon."
Canadian Football Player Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Tweets
A football player in Canada who was fined by the Canadian Football League (CFL) and his team over anti-Semitic tweets has apologized for his action, The Canadian Press (CP) reports.
Khalif Mitchell, a defensive lineman for the Montreal Alouettes, was fined an undisclosed amount last week for “tweets violating the league’s social media policy” after he tweeted a link to a 2015 YouTube video titled “The greatest lie ever told – The Holocaust,” which called the murder of 6 million Jews an “alleged” act.
On Friday, he apologized for the tweets in a joint statement by the CFL Players’ Association and B’nai Brith Canada, according to CP.
“I wholeheartedly apologize to all those who I know I let down by posting those videos, especially those who look up to me as a professional athlete,” Mitchell said. “I fell into a trap by watching that video and I hope others can learn from my very public mistake.
“This is a learning moment for me,” he added.
Mitchell agreed to work with B’nai Brith, a Jewish human rights organization, to “educate myself about this and other human rights matters,” according to CP.
Twin Reports Document Desecration at Lithuanian Jewish Gravesites
Two reports emerged this week documenting the seemingly irreverent use of historical Jewish gravesites in Lithuania for urban projects in recent times.
On Tuesday, a Jewish group said that a formal request had been submitted to the U.S. State Department asking for immediate contact with high-level Lithuanian officials to forestall construction at an already desecrated Jewish cemetery.
The authors of the request are concerned at the Lithuanian government’s go-ahead to developers to begin construction atop one of Eastern European Jewry’s “most sacred sites,” the Snipisek Jewish Cemetery of Vilnius.
According to the group, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkerslius dismissed the site as a “former Jewish cemetery,” and said “private investors could build a hotel, parking lots and other infrastructure” on its grounds.
Germany adds Jews to anti-Semitism panel after criticism
Germany’s Interior Ministry says it has appointed two Jews to a new commission on anti-Semitism in response to criticism that there were none among the original eight experts chosen.
The ministry said Thursday that Marina Chernivsky, of a Berlin-based organization that fights anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and Andreas Nachama, director of the Topography of Terror museum in the capital that documents Nazi-era crimes, would both join the commission.
When created earlier this year, the commission drew widespread criticism for not including any Jews; the Interior Ministry responded that the religious affiliation of the experts hadn’t been a criterion in the selection process.
The commission will investigate anti-Semitism in Germany over the next two years and present its findings to Parliament as a basis for a discussion on how to tackle the problem.
The Expulsion of Jews from Lithuania and Courland 1915: A Century Ago
It was a time of trial and tribulation for World Jewry. Shavuot 1915 was one of the largest single expulsions of Jews since Roman times. Over 200,000 Jews in Lithuania and Courland would be abruptly forced from their homes into dire circumstances.
With the advance of the German army on the Eastern front in the spring of 1915, retreating Russian forces vented their fury against the Jews and blamed them for their losses. They leveled spurious accusations of treason and spying for the enemy and sought to keep a distance between Jews and German forces to prevent contact by expelling Jews near the war front. From province to province throughout Poland, multitudes of Jews were expelled. Many also fled from their homes as German forces moved eastward.
By March, German forces approached Lithuania as Russian forces continued their retreat. The first expulsion in Lithuanian took place in a small town of Botki. In April, at the town of Kuzhi, the local Jews were accused of hiding German troops in their homes. Although proofs were brought by members of the Duma exposed the charges as fiction, the accusations had already spread throughout Russia via newspaper reports and became another pretext to persecute Russian Jewry. Soon after, the mass expulsion from Lithuania commenced.
While preparing for the upcoming Shavuot holiday, notices appeared calling for the Jews living in areas closer to the war front to vacate their homes over the next day or two days. Most of the notices gave 24 hours or even less time.
In just a few days, Lithuanian Jewry, which had a legacy of hundreds of years made a hasty exit, ordered to move eastward. Even the sick and the infirmed were included in the decree. Those who did not comply faced execution.
Report: Israel, India Close to Missile Development Deal
Israel and India are close to a deal on developing a joint missile system, the Times of India reported Thursday.
Negotiators had “virtually sealed” the deal for medium-range surface-to-air missile system (MR-SAM) missiles which the Indian Army will purchase from Israeli developers, including Israel Aerospace Industries. The manufacturing will mostly take part in India.
Over the past 15 years, Israel has sold over $10 billion in defense systems and arms to India making Israel “among the top defense suppliers to India,” the Times of India said. Incidentally, India is the largest buyer of Israeli defense technology.
In October, India decided to buy anti-tank guided missiles from Israel, rejecting a rival US offer. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government bought 8,356 Spike missiles and 321 launchers from Israel in a deal worth 32 billion rupees ($525 million).
Buffett Subsidiary Invests $22.5 Million in Israeli Energy-Saving Company
IES Holding, a subsidiary of American billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and General Electric Co. invested $22.5 million in Israeli energy savings solutions company eVolution Networks, it was announced Tuesday.
The company provides energy-management solutions and services for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). It will use the funding to expand into new global markets and promote its products to new industries.
“Energy costs are a huge problem for mobile operators,” Roy Morad, CEO of eVolution Networks, said in a statement. “Operators are constantly forced to expand their network to support the growing data demand from subscribers and the Internet of Things. However, the way networks are designed today doesn’t allow operators to wisely ‘right size’ their energy use according to live traffic demand. eVolution Networks’ Smart Energy Solution eliminates this problem.”
The company’s Smart Energy Solution is a software-based service that analyzes a mobile network’s needs and manages the network’s resources according to real-time demand from subscribers. The approach has been applied by Tier-1 operators such as Telefonica Group and has proven to save millions of dollars annually on energy bills, the company said in its statement. The solution has also reduced up to 35 percent of the annual energy consumption of mobile operators.
World’s first – Israeli scientists grow lymphatic cells in the lab

For over a century, scientists have debated the question of the origins of the lymphatic system – a parallel system to the blood vessels that serves as a conduit for everything from immune cells to fat molecules to cancer cells. This issue has now been resolved by Dr. Karina Yaniv of Weizmann Institute’s Biological Regulation Department.
In a study reported in Nature, Yaniv and her team revealed how the lymphatic system develops in the embryo.
The science community had been split on how the lymphatic system is formed. Some scientists had claimed that the lymphatic system was derived from specialized stem cells called angioblasts; others had argued that it originated by the differentiation of pre-existing embryonic veins.
But as the research in Yaniv’s lab progressed, it became clear that scientists on both sides of the argument had been right: Lymphatic cells do indeed grow from veins, but they originate from a niche within the vein that harbors angioblasts.
Section of ancient Jerusalem aqueduct uncovered
A section of Jerusalem’s Lower Aqueduct, which brought water to Jerusalem more than two millennia ago, was uncovered in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Umm Tuba during the construction of a new sewer line, it was announced Thursday.
The ancient aqueduct was discovered during digging last month by the Gihon Water Company, which was laying new pipes to modernize the sewer system in the Umm Tuba and Sur Baher neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
The Israel Antiquities Authority excavated the area after the aqueduct was found.
“The Lower Aqueduct to Jerusalem, which the Hasmonean kings constructed more than 2,000 years ago in order to provide water to Jerusalem, operated intermittently until about one hundred years ago,” said Ya’akov Billig, the director of the excavation.
IDFBlog: Recap of IDF Humanitarian Mission to Nepal

Israeli Ambassador serenades the UN with John Lennon's Imagine


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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