Thursday, December 22, 2016

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Western reset
It is the behavior of America, along with Britain and Europe, which has incentivized Palestinian rejectionism and mass murder.
If Trump wants to break this impasse, he has to stop doing what the US has done for decades: he must stop funding the Palestinian Authority’s incitement to murder Jews, stop treating the Palestinians as statesmen-in-waiting while they continue to try to wipe out Israel, stop putting the thumbscrews on Israel to compromise its security, and stop endorsing the big lie about Palestinian entitlement to any of the land.
The turmoil in the region has created an unprecedented opportunity to reset the lethal Middle East trajectory. The Gulf Arabs have been made painfully aware that the real threat to themselves comes not from Israel but from within the Islamic world. Now they need Israel as a tactical ally against their common jihadi enemies.
The US and Israel between them have the capacity to become the “strong horse” in the region. That will make all those Arabs and Muslims who so desperately want to resist the Iranian regime or Sunni Islamists braver.
A “civilization spring” is now possible, centered on Israel and America – and, if it keeps its nerve over Brexit, Britain too.
For the desperate weakness of the West, through both cultural demoralization at home and pusillanimity abroad, is intimately connected to the erosion of national identity, patriotism and pride.
If the West is to survive, it must cast off its pathological guilt and shame and uphold once again the concept of the Western nation by putting the national interest first. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Why Did the New York Times Publish Fake News About Trump, Zionism, and Alan Dershowitz?
A Times opinion piece fabricated and erased the positions of American supporters of Israel, including Alan Dershowitz, in order to link Zionism to the alt-right
On Nov. 20, the Zionist Organization of America, a small hard-right pro-Israel group, held its annual gala. To the chagrin of many in the American Jewish community, Donald Trump’s newly-appointed senior strategist Stephen Bannon was scheduled to attend. Outside, scores of Jews protested. And inside, celebrated Zionist lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who had been scheduled to speak before Bannon had been invited, took the opportunity to issue a pointed warning to those in attendance.
“There is an equally disturbing trend that you might not be as happy to hear about, and that is the anti-Muslim and often bigoted extreme right that is pro-Jewish and pro-Zionist,” the Harvard Law professor said. “I’m a little worried today that there are Jews in many parts of the world that are being seduced by the hard right. We must not become complicit in bigotry, whether it is from the right or the left… Being pro-Israel can never serve as an excuse for bigotry against any other group.”
This warning was of a piece with Dershowitz’s critique of Bannon, outlined in an op-ed titled: “Bannon’s not an anti-Semite. But he is an anti-Muslim, anti-women bigot.” Asked by The New Yorker about the anti-Bannon protesters outside the ZOA gala before his speech, Dershowitz said, “Part of me wants to be with them. But … I confront. In the twenties, Jews were seduced by Communists. Now it’s by a populist right that has elements of Fascism. I’m going to try to warn against that tonight.” For his performance, The Daily Beast dubbed Dershowitz “the bravest man of the night.” Bannon ultimately didn’t show.
And yet, remarkably, The New York Times published a piece yesterday which falsely claimed Dershowitz defended Bannon at the ZOA. Writing for The Stone philosophy blog in a post titled “Liberal Zionism in the Age of Trump,” New School assistant professor Omri Boehm attempted to argue that “Zionism [is] a political agenda rooted in the denial of liberal politics” that inevitably dovetails with hard-right bigotry and apologism. His banner example? Alan Dershowitz.
Israel Is Not Up For Grabs
There is much noise surrounding our little land. The clamor of rival claims to the Land of Israel from the podiums of terrorist leaders ruling over a conjured up Palestinian people reverberates through the unhallowed halls of the United Nations. It is perpetuated by an Islamic cartel, anti-Israel NGO’s and an ill-educated and profoundly biased mainstream media.
As if the aforementioned were not galling enough, we are forced to contend with Jews who are stuck in a mindset of pleasing the enemy to the point of discounting their own identity, devaluing their own nation’s status, and consequently surrendering their heritage to the Land of Israel.
Many of these Jews go as far as placing the “sensitivities” of our sworn enemies before the lives of their own people and vociferously join anti-Israel NGO’s such as New Israel Fund, J Street, Jewish Voice of Peace, Peace Now, B’Tzelem, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence. These Jews have chosen to stand with those who wish to deny the rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. A form of Stockholm Syndrome, if you will, left over from too many years of persecution and oppression under a myriad of unfriendly host countries.
But I’m not writing to argue against enemy narratives that are based on a deliberate and malevolent revision of history. Nor am I going to attempt in this missive to explain the Diaspora induced mental anarchy in the minds of some of our fellow Jews. Too limited a venue for the latter. I prefer only to state the obvious. The simple truth. With no apologies or drawn out explanations or justifications: The Land of Israel, in its entirety belongs to the Jewish Nation.
David Singer: Britain rebuffs Abbas call to apologise for Balfour Declaration
However, fake news stories repetitively dealing with the “stateless Palestinians” may have influenced Ms May into also telling the CFI meeting:
“Of course, people are correct when they say that securing the rights of Palestinians and Palestinian statehood have not yet been achieved.”
The Prime Minister has ignored the following pertinent facts:
1. The term “Palestinians” was not defined until 1964 when article 6 of the PLO Charter stipulated:
“The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.”
2. The “Palestinian people” was declared to be an integral part of the Arab Nation under Article 1 of the revised 1968 PLO Charter – not a separate and distinct people.
3. The rights of the Arab citizens of Palestine were secured in 1922 by articles 2 and 25 of the Mandate.
4. On 13 September 1922 a Note communicated to the League of Nations by the Secretary General contained a Memorandum by the British Representative limiting the site designated for the Jewish National Home to just 22 per cent of the mandate territory.
The other 78 per cent was designated for the Arab citizens of Palestine – where Statehood was finally declared on 25 May 1946 when the area was renamed the “Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan”. Another name change to “Jordan” in 1950 followed Transjordan’s illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria in 1948.

A second Arab State in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – remains a fatuous and unrealistically attainable goal.

JPost Editorial: Free Pollard, really
On November 15, 2015, Jonathan Pollard was released on parole after serving 30 years of a life sentence for spying on the United States on Israel’s behalf. He is the only American in US history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally, and the only one to serve more than 10 years in prison for the crime.
Despite a decades-long campaign to achieve his freedom, Pollard has not been living in freedom for the past year, but rather on parole terms that make a mockery of the word.
What is a typical day in the life of this parolee? According to media reports, since his release from prison Jonathan and his wife, Esther, have been living in a one-room apartment in central Manhattan – a fifth-floor walk-up. Because of the curfew imposed on him by the court, his day begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m., during which time he may walk freely on the streets of Manhattan, but is barred from visiting his religious community in Brooklyn.
Because of the curfew, he cannot attend morning or evening prayers at a synagogue, and so must pray in isolation. A further restriction of his religious practice as an observant Jew is that he cannot attend a synagogue even on Sabbath mornings, because the electronic monitoring bracelet permanently attached to his ankle cannot last the distance to his synagogue without being recharged, which he cannot do on Shabbat.
Besides being unemployable as an analyst – because the terms of his release make an employer’s computer subject to federal monitoring – Pollard is not even allowed to have a smartphone.
A World of Hypocrites: Praising Fidel Castro, While Criticizing Israel
When Fidel Castro died, the Washington Post published an opinion article on his multiple crimes. The author wrote that Castro “killed political rivals, used firing squads to kill thousands of Cubans, sponsored terrorism, allied himself with the worst dictators on earth, built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.”
In the US, the State Department’s designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism was only rescinded in 2015, seven years after Castro left Cuba’s presidency.
It was thus to be expected that on the occasion of Castro’s death, a large array of democratic governments and others would point out the deceased Cuban leader’s criminality. In reality, their reactions to Castro’s death fall into three categories: those that were positive, those that were negative and those that were neutral or circumspect.
The strongest negative response came from President-elect Donald Trump. He said: “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”
Europe's Compassionate Hatred of Israel
The Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO seeks to Islamize, with the help of many governments in Europe and other Christian countries, the ancient history of the people of Israel.
But what does this declaration mean for Europe and Christianity? Wasn't Christianity born out of Israel? Wasn't Jesus a Judean Jew, as were the apostles and evangelists? Or was it Islam that Jesus was preaching, in Arabic and in the mosques?
Where are the great Catholic or Protestant voices to protest against this Islamization of Christianity? This passivity, this indifference makes you think that Europe will soon look more like Lebanon.
European countries recognize terrorism everywhere except in Israel, where they themselves are allies of these terrorists whom they call "freedom fighters" or "militants", against "occupation".
This alliance has ruined Europe -- because the enemies of Israel are also enemies of Christianity and of Europe. How can you ally yourself with those who want to destroy you, without in fact dying yourself?
The same obsessive hatred Hitler had for Israel, which led to the ruin of Europe, has persisted today in the European Union against the Jewish State. The great irony is that in trying to destroy Israel, Europe has destroyed itself.
NGO Monitor: It's Beginning to Feel a Lot like Manipulation: How Politicized NGOs Exploit the Message of Christmas
As in previous years (see NGO Monitor reports for 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and well-known charities have been exploiting the Christmas season to demonize Israel and work against peace.
Groups such as the World Council of Churches, Sabeel, Kairos Palestine, PAX Christi, Wi’am, Christ at the Checkpoint, and Amos Trust are again using religious and holiday themes to demonize Israel. These groups draw comparisons between the historic times of Jesus and current times, in attempts to equate the actions of the Israeli government and evil regimes of the past.
These holiday messages and “Christmas alerts” generally omit any reference to Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens, placing sole blame on Israel for the ongoing conflict. These groups condemn the security barrier near Bethlehem, while omitting the wave of Palestinian terror originating from this area.
The abuse of Christmas messages is part of a broad international campaign of political warfare targeting Israel in some churches and related charities. Many of these groups promote theological “supersessionism,” which claims that “the church has permanently replaced Israel in God’s plan.”
With this abuse of holiday and religious symbols, these NGOs and charities that claim to promote moral agendas are not offering messages of peace and good cheer. Rather, their messages of intolerance exacerbate an already polarized and violent conflict.
Documenting five years of BBC politicisation of Christmas
A multi-platform item promoted a smear from a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Political messaging concerning the anti-terrorist fence also dominated a Christmas 2014 report on the BBC News website and Yolande Knell produced an audio report and a written report from Bethlehem in which she blamed “the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land” on “Israel’s occupation”.
Reporting again from Bethlehem in 2015, Yolande Knell revisited the ‘nativity characters’ theme in a multi-media feature focusing on politicised messaging concerning the anti-terrorist fence. An audio report by Knell broadcast on the BBC World Service was notable for its adherence to PLO media guidance.
Let’s hope that this year the BBC Jerusalem bureau can resist the temptation to exploit Christmas for the promotion of opportunistic politicised messaging and perhaps even come up with some original reporting about the Middle East’s beleaguered Christians.
The politicization of human rights
The deterioration in the public's treatment of human rights and civil rights organizations can be attributed to the radicalization and politicization of these organizations' activities. This politicization not only harms the public's trust in those organizations, but it can also influence the extent to which the public respects those rights. When political organizations like Breaking the Silence present themselves as the defenders of universal human rights, the Israeli public might see those rights as only of interest to a narrow political camp, and not as public domain. When organizations like Adalah go to the U.N. and accuse Israel of torturing Palestinian prisoners because it does not allow enough family visitation, they are ridiculing the norms in whose name they act.
The great tragedy of "human rights organizations" in Israel, therefore, is that they are sawing down the tree on which they sit, and gnawing at the standing of human and civil rights in Israel. Israel needs these human rights organizations to work for these values in Israeli society.
The bleak results of the study are an opportunity for the organizations in Israel to look in the mirror, to do some soul-searching and set off on a new path. We can hope that the language of human rights will be heard to promote basic behavioral norms, and not to promote a narrow political platform. Likewise, this is an opportunity for the governments in Europe and the EU to examine the results of their funding and its negative influences on Israeli society. With a desire to rise above narrow and short-term political interests, it will be possible to restore the standing of human rights organizations in Israel, and thereby ensure those rights are given their proper place in an advanced democratic society.
Soft boycott: How the news of a revolutionary new cancer treatment was spun to hide its Israeli origins
The past 24 hours have seen wall-to-wall coverage of an amazing breakthrough on prostate cancer. Newspapers, TV, radio and social media have all carried reports of the research.
According to the BBC report:
“Surgeons have described a new treatment for early stage prostate cancer as ‘truly transformative’. The approach, tested across Europe, uses lasers and a drug made from deep sea bacteria to eliminate tumours, but without causing severe side effects. Trials on 413 men - published in The Lancet Oncology - showed nearly half of them had no remaining trace of cancer.”
And when I heard the report on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, I thought it does indeed sound amazing.
But let’s leave the science aside and look at another aspect of the story.
Guess where the breakthrough happened.
I say that not as a figure of speech but as an instruction – because from almost all the coverage, you would indeed have to guess where the research was carried out: the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel.
Not once in the Today programme report was it mentioned.
Michael Lumish: Question of the Whenever # 4: The Politically Correct Hierarchy of Victimhood
I need help creating the Politically Correct Hierarchy of Victimhood and am looking for suggestions.
The question is, who goes where on the hierarchy?
My first suggestion would look something like the below, with the allegedly most victimized human beings (and, thus, most politically worthy) at the top of the list and the allegedly most privileged human beings (and, thus, least politically worthy) at the bottom.
This first look at the possible structure considers ethnicity and sexual orientation, but does not include certain other necessary differentiations. For example, what about Jews and Far East Asians? What about old people? Or, say, old Korean people? Or, say, old wealthy Korean people? Or, say, old wealthy Korean people of the male variety?
Or what about old wealthy Rosicrucian-Korean tranny albinos?
Understand, of course, that I find the whole notion of a Politically Correct Hierarchy of Victimhood vomitous and bigoted... but, then, I am not politically correct, either.
How to fight the anti-Israel BDS movement
Pro-Israel students need to flood the educational landscape with the acronym BDS until every school in the nation has so many resolutions pending that campuses revolt. And they should look beyond their obvious allies. They should reach out specifically to anti-Israel BDSers who supposedly care about human rights. If those students refuse, publicize their hypocrisy.
Meanwhile, create Web platforms and social media campaigns in the dramatic and successful BDS style. Produce short films that highlight the offending countries’ extensive and deplorable human rights violations.
The more BDS resolutions that are introduced, the sooner BDS will lose its meaning, power and relevancy, and the quicker the war against Israel will end on university campuses. Next, go after unions and professional associations, such as the American Studies Assn., which thought that Israel — among all nations — was the only country worth boycotting in its 52-year history.
Whenever I’ve shared my ideas with pro-Israel students, they’ve had similar reactions: “Two wrongs don’t make a right” or “We should promote Israel rather than attack other companies and countries.” The first response is inaccurate because the resolutions against Israel generally trade in falsehoods, while the new resolutions against other countries will be factual. As for the second response, maybe it’s time for pro-Israel supporters to get some chutzpah.
University students have become pawns in a political and religious campaign against a democratic, fundamentally decent country. In the process, the BDS movement has shifted the spotlight away from unspeakable human rights violators and the intolerable suffering of their many victims. When we beat BDS at its own game, people who really need our help may well benefit the most.
Revisiting the BBC’s amplification of an NGO’s PR
The Guardian reports that the head of Oxfam GB has described the NGO’s 2014 campaign against the Israeli company SodaStream as having ‘backfired’.
“In a candid presentation to an audience of charity professionals on 14 December, Goldring said Oxfam had made high-stakes misjudgments […] in the row over the involvement of its then celebrity ambassador, Scarlett Johansson with a company operating in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank.
The Johansson furore had cost Oxfam America “literally thousands” of donors, Goldring revealed. […]
In the Johansson case, after a protracted stand-off, the actor ended her eight-year association with Oxfam over its criticism of her for endorsing fizzy drinks company SodaStream, which at the time had a factory in an Israeli settlement.
Goldring […] told a seminar on campaigning for less popular causes that in mishandling the Johansson affair, Oxfam turned what should have been a point of principle into “something of a PR disaster”.
Oxfam’s error, said Goldring, was letting the controversy drag on so that Johansson could eventually seize the initiative. “The judgment was when to be proactive, when to be forceful, and when to be balanced and reflective,” he said. “We got that wrong.”
British minister: BDS activities in UK undercut by legislation
British Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said during a visit to Israel this week that the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has been far less active in Britain since the passing of legislation banning boycott efforts.
At a meeting with Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, the two lauded ties between Israel and Britain.
"I appreciate the efforts of the British government on this issue and its opposition to such initiatives and any kind of boycott against the State of Israel," Gamliel said.
She went on to say, "Cooperation between [our] countries in the digital and cyber sphere is very important, as is everything related to action taken against cyber threats -- Israel is at the front [of these issues] alongside its friends."
Refuting Tony Greenstein’s Guardian claim that antisemitism definition silences Israel’s critics
The Guardian then published a superb reply by Stephen Franklin on Dec. 19th.
I was shocked by the letter (17 December) from Tony Greenstein and others about the government adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. The letter said: “The new definition has nothing to do with opposing antisemitism, it is merely designed to silence public debate on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Antisemitic incidents comprise about 2% of all hate crime. Why then the concentration on antisemitism and not on Islamophobia, which is far more widespread?”
Those assertions are all either misleading or false and seem to say that antisemitism in Britain doesn’t matter. It is true that religiously based hate crime represents a very small percentage of all hate crime. In 2015 out of about 66,000 hate crimes in the UK, about 5,000 were on grounds of religion and, of those, about 1,000 attacks each were antisemitic and Islamophobic. Both types of attack are as abhorrent as each other. The British Jewish population is less than 10% of the size of the British Muslim population, so the Jewish community is facing far more frequent racist attacks pro rata than the Muslim community. In fact, the attacks on the Jewish community are concentrated on those who are easily identified as being Jewish, including those going to or from Jewish community centres, events or synagogues. Secular Jews are frequently unaware of such attacks.
The new definition of antisemitism that the government has adopted specifically states that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic”. It does, however, define “applying double standards by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” as antisemitic. Is that what they want to do?
There is nothing in the new definition that would stifle legitimate criticism of Israel. When unjustified criticism of Israel is published in the media, such as the false report of a massacre in Jenin, antisemitic attacks in the UK increase, so this new definition is needed. Islamophobia does not increase in response to reports of the Israel-Palestine dispute. It does increase in response to reports of jihadi attacks in the west. That is also unfair on Muslims in Britain who are strongly opposed to terrorism. But it is no reason to make light of antisemitism in Britain.
BBC ignores UN SG’s admission of bias against Israel
Readers may recall that in February 2016 the BBC’s UN correspondent Nick Bryant told listeners to BBC World Service radio that:
“The Israelis always believe that they are victimized at the UN; that they are singled out unfairly; that they are isolated…”
However, as has been noted here before, Bryant did not provide BBC audiences with any relevant factual information which would enable them to understand the reality behind his portrayal of what Israelis “always believe”.
As the current UN Secretary General’s term of office comes to an end, the BBC has found a ‘hint’ made at a final press conference newsworthy.ban-art-2
“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has hinted that he may shortly run for the presidency of his native South Korea.
Mr Ban’s term as the world’s top diplomat expires at the end of December.
In his final press conference as UN chief, Mr Ban said that after some rest he will return to South Korea and consider how best to help his country.”

Not newsworthy for the BBC, however, was Ban’s acknowledgement of bias against Israel at the body he has headed for a decade in his last address to the UN Security Council.
Russian ‘Holocaust’ ice skaters to bring ‘Ice Age’ to Israel
Remember the Holocaust-themed ice show starring the wife of Putin’s spokesman, who competed in a popular Russian reality TV show?
It’s coming to Israel.
Called “Ice Age,” the figure skating reality show features champion skaters from Russia and other Russian bloc countries, and will be coming on March 18 to Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena as part of a world tour.
“It’s a hugely popular show in Russia,” said promoter Carmi Wurtman. “It’s like ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ but on ice.”
The skaters are all male and female champions in their 30s and 40s, “whose competitive careers are over,” said Wurtman. Now they travel for two months around the Russian bloc, and this time, will be coming to Israel as well.
Yazidi victims of IS abuse get help from Israel aid group
In August of this year, Israeli aid worker Rachel Weiss (not her real name, for her own protection) traveled to Iraq as a part of an official IsraAID mission to assist Yazidi refugees living in displaced persons camps in Dohuk province, in northern Iraq.
IsraAID, an Israeli humanitarian agency, joined an international relief effort to help Yazidi and Christian refugees in Iraq in 2014 and has been sending missions of Israeli humanitarian workers there ever since.
Weiss, an Israeli-American who specializes in helping victims of sexual violence in developing nations, was sent by IsraAID to train local non-governmental organizations working in the region with women who suffered at the hands of the brutal Islamic State group.
Mostly situated in northern Iraq’s Sinjar Mountains, near Mosul, Yazidis have suffered from a systematic campaign of violence. In 2014, the Sinjar massacre saw an estimated 5,000 Yazidi civilians killed and 5,000 to 7,000 abducted and enslaved — mostly women and children — by IS fighters who have continued to target them since. Thousands of Yazidis in northern Iraq and Syria are still in danger.
According to the director of Yazidi affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government, there are an estimated 3,770 Yazidis being held captive by IS, over 60 percent of whom are women and girls.
Economic Mission Strengthens Innovation Ties Between Israel and Massachusetts
Who would ever imagine that two peoples living 5,470 miles apart (that’s 8,803 kilometers for the Israelis) would share so much in common, notably a mutual passion for innovation, a creative work ethic and a deep well of talent?
The ties that bind Israel and Massachusetts were both celebrated and strengthened during the Bay Sate’s Economic Development Mission to Israel last week. For four days, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker led a delegation of leaders from across his state — representing industry, academia, the non-profit world and government agencies — through a packed schedule of briefings, summits, forums and site visits.
Just as Israel is often called the “start-up nation,” Massachusetts has been named the most innovative state in the US by Bloomberg and the Milken Institute, in addition to boasting the highest venture capital investment rates as a share of its GDP nationwide. The US Chamber of Commerce recently chose the city of Boston as the best-positioned place to lead the digital economy.
“We produce the greatest density of science and technology graduates in the US, we have the country’s best-educated workforce and we attract more federal funding for research and development than nearly any other state in the US,” Baker said.
With over 200 Israeli-founded businesses bringing Massachusetts more than $9 billion in 2015 and employing 9,000 workers, the governor used his trip to attract even more of the innovative magic the Jewish state is known for.
WATCH: “Fit Man Who Cooks” Kevin Eating His Way Across Israel (Part One)
Kevin of Fit Men Cook – a very popular site about health and wellness – was recently in Israel. While here, he recorded a vlog entitled Eating My Way Across Israel. This is the first part, and I have to say I found it very entertaining.
Only thing is, I am really, really hungry right now.

Update: It looks like Kevin came under fire from a Muslim tweeter who objected to his visit. And Kevin would have none of it.
Once outlawed, Uganda's tiny Jewish group opens synagogue
Seth Yonadav swaggered along a dirt path in rural Uganda, pointing toward the new synagogue where young men wearing kippot lingered.
Up on a hill the synagogue stood like a crown jewel, surrounded by schools and a guest house, all owned and operated by a small community of Jewish believers in this remote hamlet founded by a single convert a century ago.
The Stern Synagogue, built largely with money donated by Americans, is a source of pride for hundreds of Ugandan Jews known locally as the Abayudaya, who have tenaciously maintained their belief despite the prejudice they have suffered over the years in this Christian-dominated country.
The community continues to pursue formal recognition from Israel, which would give it a further sense of inclusion. The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the Israeli government to serve Jewish communities worldwide, has recognized the Abayudaya since 2009, spokesman Avi Mayer said.
"People come here for conversion, many of them," said Yonadav, a 40-year-old teacher who serves as cantor at the synagogue. "I know 50 people right now who are ready to convert."
Marion Pritchard, Dutch rescuer of Jews during Holocaust, dies at 96
Marion Pritchard, a Dutch social work student who rescued Jews during World War II and killed a policeman who discovered a Jewish family she was sheltering, has died.
Pritchard died earlier this month from cerebral arteriosclerosis, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. She was 96.
Pritchard was said to have helped as many as 150 people, including by obtaining false identity documents, delivering food and supplies, and sheltering and finding hiding places for Jews who faced Nazi persecution.
In 1942, at 22, Pritchard felt compelled to resist the Nazis after seeing Germans rounding up Jewish children for deportation. She falsely declared herself to be the mother of Jewish babies in order to save the children — being unmarried, it was considered a “mission of disgrace” — and sheltering and taking care of a Jewish man and his three young children for three years.
When the father and children were discovered by a Dutch policeman, she shot the officer in order to save the family.
Israel Donates First Life-Saving Kidney Dialysis Unit to Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, people are dying of kidney disease due to a lack of available treatment. But as of this month, kidney patients in Freetown can finally access the country’s first dialysis unit – thanks to the Israeli government.
Paul Hirschson, Israeli ambassador to Senegal and non-resident ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Cape Verde, live-tweeted the first-ever dialysis treatment in Sierra Leone on December 15, 2016.
In Hanukkah message, British PM vows to always support Jews
British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to stand by the Jewish community and to fight against prejudice in all its forms, in a Hanukkah message released days before the Jewish festival of lights.
The theme of her message was religious freedom in the face of intolerance and oppression.
“As we confront the horrors of growing anti-Semitism and the appalling hate fueled terrorist attacks that we have seen across Europe, so the themes of freedom and liberty at the heart of the Hanukkah story remain as relevant as ever,” the PM said.
“For just as the Maccabees resisted oppression and kept their faith, to be rewarded by the miracle of a light that burnt for eight nights, so too must we today have the courage to stand up for our values and hold sacred our way of life.”
May stressed the importance of the Jewish community to Britain and the contribution they make to life in the country. She also reiterated her message for the Jewish New Year that she will do everything in her power to protect the Jewish community against the prejudice and extremist ideologies behind anti-Semitism and racism.
“For as long as I am Prime Minister I want you to know that I will stand alongside you and passionately defend your right to practice your faith, free from question or fear,” she said.
“Britain would simply not be Britain without its Jews,” she said.

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