Wednesday, February 22, 2017

From Ian:

David Collier: Hugging antisemitism and holocaust denial. Welcome to the PSC
I have just concluded an in-depth investigation into antisemitism inside The Palestine Solidarity Campaign that has spanned months but drew on several years of underlying research. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) claims to be “the biggest organisation in the UK dedicated to securing Palestinian human rights.” The PSC patrons include: Jeremy Corbyn MP, Pat Gaffney, Rev Garth, Ken Loach, Dr Ilan Pappe, Hilary & Steven Rose, Alexi Sayle, Baroness Tonge of Kew, and Betty Hunter. It partners with many of the largest unions in the UK.
The result of this research is an eighty-page report, that focuses on seventeen separate PSC branches across England and Wales, and culminated with an in-depth case study of a mass demonstration in London. The full report can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
In truth, I stopped the detailed analysis at seventeen branches simply because I was inundated with material. Although not mentioned in the report, I also found ‘qualifying material’ at the PSC branches in Brighton, Faversham, Camden, Haringey, Lambeth, Waltham Forest, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Oxford, Plymouth & Portsmouth. As the researched progressed, finding more of the antisemitism at every branch became an exercise in pointing out the obvious. The question became to how to find a way to measure and quantify it.
When I refer to antisemitism within this study, I avoided *all references to the conflict*. We all know the trick is to deflect accusations of antisemitism with a false cry about criticism of Israeli policy. I set out to avoid this. I was only interested in those pushing conspiracy theory, holocaust denial or classic antisemitic tropes. The argument that antisemitism is about legitimate criticism of Israel simply has no weight against this research. The bar for antisemitism that was used is unnaturally high. As an example, if the worst I found was an activist suggesting Israel should be destroyed, is committing genocide and Zionists are all Nazis, that activist *would not* have made the grade for this research. Let that fact sink in.
The CIA Roots of BDS?
The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is the most prominent effort today to single out and delegitimize the State of Israel. In recent months, BDS has lost some steam both because it ties itself to extreme and often anti-Semitic partners and also because some academic and church groups recognize that such political boycotts are anathema to scholarly discourse and peace-making.
The BDS today is nevertheless driven by the hatreds and obsessions which the post-Edward Said Middle Eastern studies community world promotes. At Columbia University, Brandeis, and many other elite universities, Zionism is considered original sin and students who support Israel as a Jewish state increasingly face ostracism. Whereas once African Americans and Jews found common cause and maintained a de facto alliance in Congress, progressive activists now cite the idea of intersectionality to demand blind loyalty to a collection of movements no matter how illiberal some causes like rejectionist Palestinian nationalism can be.
Because colleges and university classes too often de-emphasize fact in favor of political frameworks when tackling history, too many progressive activists imagine that when they support BDS and agitate against Israel, they are waging an anti-colonialist battle against the forces of imperialism. In effect, they see strength and power as sin, and cannot fathom that they have reversed David and Goliath; that Palestinian nationalists have prostituted themselves to become proxies of Iran, Turkey, and various Arab regimes. Israel, the United States, the CIA are by definition bad, whereas the Palestine Liberation Organization and like-minded or even more radical groups are good.
How ironic it is that so few BDS proponents recognize that they may very well be repeating if not cultivating the seeds planted by CIA Arabists half a century ago. From the Jewish Telegraph Agency on February 20, 1967:
Alan M. Dershowitz: Israel Does Not Cause Anti-Semitism
In a recent letter to the New York Times, the current Earl of Balfour, Roderick Balfour, argued that it is Israel's fault that there is "growing anti-Semitism around the world." Balfour, who is a descendent of Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary who wrote the Balfour Declaration a hundred years ago, wrote the following: "the increasing inability of Israel to address [the condition of Palestinians], coupled with the expansion into Arab territory of the Jewish settlements, are major factors in growing anti-Semitism around the world." He argued further that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "owes it to the millions of Jews around the world" who suffer anti-Semitism, to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
This well-intentioned but benighted view is particularly ironic in light of the fact that the Balfour Declaration had, as one of its purposes, to end anti-Semitism around the world by creating a homeland for the Jewish people. But now the scion of Lord Balfour is arguing that it is Israel that is causing anti-Semitism.
Roderick Balfour's views are simply wrong both as a matter of fact and as a matter of morality. Anyone who hates Jews "around the world" because they disagree with the policy of Israel would be ready to hate Jews on the basis of any pretext. Modern day anti-Semites, unlike their forbearers, need to find excuses for their hatred, and anti-Zionism has become the excuse de jure.
To prove the point, let us consider other countries: has there been growing anti-Chinese feelings around the world as the result of China's occupation of Tibet? Is there growing hatred of Americans of Turkish background because of Turkey's unwillingness to end the conflict in Cypress? Do Europeans of Russian background suffer bigotry because of Russia's invasion of Crimea? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. If Jews are the only group that suffers because of controversial policies by Israel, then the onus lies on the anti-Semites rather than on the nation state of the Jewish people.

Prof. Phyllis Chesler: They still can't put the words "terrorism" and "Muslim" in one article
The headline reads: "Cleric's Death Stirs Memories of a Seminal Attack." The New York Times article is about the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. The “cleric,” Omar Abdel Rahman, is the "blind sheikh." The use of the word "cleric" instantly calls to mind a man of God, presumably, therefore, a man of Peace.
His lawyer, Lynn F. Stewart, (who had been convicted of passing messages for Rahman from his jail cell and who was released years ago for compassionate reasons), is also presented as a sympathetic figure, as someone who is "speaking from her hospital bed in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan." Her view of the Sheikh's "fiery rhetoric was a matter of free speech, a belief shared by many in the Arab world."
Worse. Stewart describes the Sheikh as "the latest in a long line of American heroes who were convicted wrongfully" and as yet another victim of American injustice. Stewart says: "We can name a lot of names in American history where people were convicted of not doing anything."
Not doing anything?
Rahman was a follower of Sayyid Qutb and a close associate of Osama Bin Laden as was one of Rahman’s sons. Rahman led an organization (Jam’a al-Islamiya) that was deemed a “terrorist” group by both the Egyptian and American governments. His group murdered 58 foreign tourists in Luxor, Egypt. Rahman issued the fatwa which approved the assassination of President Anwar Sadat—and he issued the fatwa which approved Bin Laden’s 9/11 attacks on America.
In his New York City based sermons, Rahman advised his followers to “rob banks and kill Jews.” One of his followers assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane.
And yet, Stewart considers him an “American hero.”
Jack Engelhard: Montreal’s “punch a Zionist” problem
If Obama were still in office that 22-year-old punk would be invited from Canada to the White House in celebration of his “punch a Zionist” tweet.
Okay, I exaggerate. So Obama’s invitation would not be for those words directly but rather to honor his version of free speech, as that appears to be the point of contention throughout Montreal and the rest of Canada – whether this particular McGill University student had every right to speak his mind or whether his message was a call to violence and therefore punishable.
People in the middle of all this at McGill – students, faculty, administration – are not quite sure what action to take.
So let me help out by saying – Are you kidding me!
It does not get more declarative and menacing than that, coming in English or French from bilingual Montreal.
Please notice that I am not using that man’s name except to call him Punch Boy. I am providing a link to him and his story. That’s enough. But he needs no help from me to win some fame. Yes he has his detractors. Jewish kids at McGill now say they feel unsafe and Punch Boy has apologized – apparently due to the uproar.
Jews Under Assault in Europe
A German court actually ruled that firebombing a place where Jews worship is somehow different from attacking Jews.
Why was the Israeli embassy not attacked, rather than a synagogue whose worshippers were presumably not Israeli? Presumably the worshippers were German. What happened in the German court was pure Nazi-think and the most undisguised antisemitism: that Jews are supposedly not Germans.
Meanwhile, another German Court again rejected an action against your friendly neighborhood "sharia police."
In Germany, it seems, firebombing synagogues is merely "anti-Israeli" even if there are no Israelis there, and "police" who use Islamic sharia law -- without legal authority and within a system of law that persecutes women, Christians, Jews and others -- are acceptable and legal.
The anti-Semitism facing Jews at UK universities led the Baroness Deech to declare British University campuses "no-go zones" for Jews.
Simply defining and identifying anti-Semitism is only the start. It is also necessary to start tackling the anti-Semitic attitudes of Islamic communities across Europe and the attitudes of immigrants coming to our nations.
What needs to be made clear is that you are welcome here as long as you respect Jews, Christians and all others, as well.
Texas Pre-School Teacher Removed From Classroom After Twitter Calls to ‘Kill Some Jews’ Come to Light
A pre-school teacher in Texas has been suspended from the classroom pending an investigation into her encouraging social media followers to “kill some Jews,” The Algemeiner has learned.
Nancy Salem, who teaches at The Children’s Courtyard in Arlington, as The Algemeiner first reported, was among 24 anti-Israel activists at the University of Texas, Arlington (UTA), exposed by covert campus watchdog group Canary Mission for expressing racist and violent thoughts online.
Salem — a member of the UTA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine and a supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — used her now-disabled Twitter account to post such remarks as: “How many Jews died in the Holocaust? Not enough…HAHAHAHA.”
Since Canary Mission’s exposure of Salem’s social media behavior, the Children’s Courtyard’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments criticizing the institution and calling on parents to remove their children from the school.
Michael Lumish: This Week on Nothing Left
This week Michael Burd and Alan Freedman are delighted to have a very special studio guest in Edwin Black who is leading a campaign to have the United Nations replaced by a new organisation called the Covenant of Democratic Nations.
We also hear from Smadar Pery, an Israeli advocate living in Berlin who has some troubling observations about Jewish life in Germany, and Isi Leibler joins us as usual from Jerusalem.
1 min Edwin Black, on Covenant of Democratic Nations
51 min Smadar Pery, Berlin (Part 1)
1 hr 4 min Smadar Pery, Berlin (Part 2)
1 hr 22 min Editorial: Trump / Netanyahu meeting
1 hr 27 min Isi Leibler, Jerusalem
NGO Monitor: Initial Analysis of Amnesty’s 2016 Annual Report
An initial review of the section headlined “Israel and the OPT” reveals that, like Amnesty’s other publications relating to the conflict, the Annual Report has fundamental flaws:
  • Pre-launch message control: Amnesty launched its report on February 21 with a secret press conference for pre-selected journalists and allies. By not holding a fully open press conference for the public, Amnesty was seeking to control and manipulate the flow of information appearing in the media.
  • No methodology: No sources for any of the claims or way to verify any of it. No evidence to back up serious allegations of human rights abuses. Under these circumstances, none of the accusations should be repeated.
  • No legal methodology: No definitions of legal terms, including torture, unlawful killings, excessive force, unfair military trials, harsh sentences, and minor offences.
  • Ignoring inconvenient facts: Amnesty alleges that “Israel’s government … failed to ensure accountability either for the extensive war crimes and other grave violations of international law that Israeli forces committed during recent armed conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon or for unlawful killings, torture and other violations that Israeli soldiers and security officials continued to commit against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza” and “The Israeli army, Ministry of Justice and police also did not investigate, failed to investigate adequately, or closed investigations into cases of alleged unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in both Israel and the OPT.” This ignores long-standing procedures for review in the Israeli military and civilian justice system, as well as recent reviews and upgrades including the Turkel Commission, dozens of cases under review by the Military Advocate General regarding the Gaza War, and the myriad of reports released by the IDF and the government regarding those reviews.
NGO Monitor: Letter to the Editor: B'Tselem post-truth on 'the occupation'
In Haaretz’s lengthy interview with B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, he described an organization that operates primarily in the international realm, inviting the United Nations and European governments to pressure Israel. Within Israel, B’Tselem is on the fringes, openly rejecting cooperation with vital democratic institutions, including the courts and the army’s investigatory bodies, that El-Ad accuses of being complicit in “the occupation.”
El-Ad and B’Tselem, after being unable to convince the Israeli public to accept their views, have elected to go outside, by lobbying European governments and the UN to impose their views on the Israeli people (and the Palestinians, for that matter).
In an age of political polarization, the disdain and radicalization of El-Ad’s B’Tselem, aided by distant and unaccountable European officials, have become par for the course. Making demands are much easier than offering anything of value or a constructive way forward.
Jewish governor, Muslim activists pitch in to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery
The Jewish governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, said he will volunteer to help repair a St. Louis-area Jewish cemetery where at least 170 gravestones were toppled over the weekend.
Meanwhile, two Muslim activists have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $20,000 for repairs. The launchgood drive started by Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi had brought in $17,750 as of Tuesday afternoon.
They said any remaining funds after the cemetery is restored will go to fixes for other vandalized Jewish centers.
“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America,” the activists wrote. “We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event.”
‘Watch What Happens Live’ Host Andy Cohen Rails Against Desecration of Missouri Jewish Cemetery Where Many of His Relatives Are Buried
In the “Jackhole” segment of Bravo TV‘s “Watch What Happens Live” on Monday night, host Andy Cohen railed against the desecration of more than 100 gravestones at the historic Jewish cemetery, Chesed Shel Emeth Society, in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
“This is extremely personal for me, because my great-grandparents and many other of my relatives are buried there,” Cohen said.
But, he added, “I don’t have to have a personal connection to know that this is not who we are as Americans, and this certainly should not be where we’re heading. We’re not even two months into 2017, and already there have been 69 reported bomb threats to JCCs in 27 states. A synagogue was defaced. Swastikas have been drawn on the subway here in New York City, and now this? This does not feel like a coincidence. We cannot allow acts of hate against anyone to become normal. We have got to do better as a country.”
Lithuania reconsiders plans to build atop former Jewish cemetery — report
Lithuania’s government is reconsidering plans to build a convention center atop what used to be a Jewish cemetery in Vilnius, rabbis said after meeting with the country’s ambassador to the United States.
The seven-member delegation of American haredi Orthodox rabbis and activists met Rolandas Kriščiūnas last week to discuss the controversial plan to build the $25 million conference center above the former Snipiskes Cemetery, which the Soviets destroyed decades ago. Many Jewish sages are buried there.
“The reception was certainly different than prior meetings, and we were encouraged to hear that the government is currently reviewing its options,” Rabbi David Niederman, president of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, who organized the meeting, wrote in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday.
The meeting coincided with reports in the Lithuanian media that the government recently canceled the solicitation for bids for the Congress Hall project due to technical irregularities.
MFA: Statement on the disgraceful action against Israel's Ambassador to Ireland
The Israeli MFA is horrified by the vicious action of a group of protestors, which denied the Ambassador of Israel his right to freedom of expression at Trinity College Dublin last night. These protestors chanted genocidal refrains, which call for Israel's destruction, while barring access to the lecture theatre.
They obviously have no interest in helping efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather wish to ignite and inflame the situation. It is a pity to see such a small and extreme group denying academic thought, exploration and discussion from an Irish audience but unfortunately these are the bullying, intimidating tactics of the BDS movement.
We are sure that an esteemed university such as Trinity will take the appropriate measures to deal with the instigators of last night's protest.
We expect the Irish authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure the freedom of speech of Israel's ambassador.
After Event with Israeli Ambassador Cancelled, Trinity Criticises “Unacceptable Attack on Free Speech”
Trinity has described the cancellation of an event with the Israeli ambassador after protests as “an unacceptable attack on free speech” with Provost Patrick Prendergast stating that the action of protesters “represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for”.
In a press statement, the College stated that it “regrets” that the event with Israeli Ambassador His Eminence Ze’ev Boker, organised by the Society for International Affairs (SOFIA) was cancelled after a protest from both students and outside of Trinity, organised by Students for Justice in Palestine (TCD).
Provost Patrick Prendergast also criticised those who protested in the statement, as they were stopping a guest from speaking: “This was most unfortunate and represents the antithesis of what Trinity stands for. Universities should be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas. The protesters have violated that fundamental belief.”
“Trinity will remain a home for debate and we will do everything possible to make sure that efforts to suppress the free exchange of ideas do not succeed. I look forward to welcoming Ambassador Boker back to Trinity to speak again in the near future”, Prendergast continued.
They followed this by stating that the event had been cancelled before Boker arrived “amid security concerns”.
Bristol University investigates claims of anti-Semitism after lecturer claims that Jews should stop 'privileging' the Holocaust
Bristol University is investigating claims of anti-Semitism after an article by one of its lecturers emerged, in which she says Jews should stop “privileging” the Holocaust.
Dr Rebecca Gould, a reader in translation studies and comparative literature at the elite Russell Group university, has been accused of using the “language of Holocaust denial”.
The university said they are “actively looking into this matter”, which first arose when an undergraduate penned an open letter to his lecturer last month, explaining his shock at coming across the article.
Sir Eric Pickles MP, who is the UK’s special envoy on post-Holocaust issues and a former Conservative Party chairman,​claimed it is “one of the worst cases of Holocaust denial" he has seen in recent years, adding that she should "consider her position" at the university.
The article is titled Beyond Anti-Semitism and was published in a 2011 edition of the American radical left-wing magazine Counter Punch while Dr Gould was an assistant professor at the University of Iowa.
She claims that the Holocaust is “available to manipulation by governmental elites, aiming to promote the narrative most likely to underwrite their claims to sovereignty.”
AIPAC-Affiliated College Dems President Endorses Anti-Semite For DNC Chair
Since Ellison was elected to Congress in 2006, he has held hostile positions toward Israel. For example, on a trip to the Jewish state, Ellison visited Hebron and tweeted a picture of a sign that claimed that Israel was "guilty of apartheid." In addition, Ellison associates himself with anti-Israel organizations that have a history of anti-Semitic activity. This includes the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which hosted a talk during the Democratic National Convention last year and works with several pro-BDS organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.
Ellison also continues to affiliate with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), organizations implicated in the largest terror finance trial in the history of the United States that exposed the Holy Land Foundation as a financial fundraiser for Hamas, the genocidal terrorist group ruling Gaza.
Despite Ellison's nefarious history of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias, both McMoore and Lindblom believe that endorsing him for DNC Chair will help move the Democratic Party forward:
We know that, in this moment, Democrats need a leader who will be honest about the barriers that exist between young people and the Democratic Party and have the ability and desire to bring us into the conversation. That leader is Keith Ellison. Keith understands that in order to be effective, the Democratic Party must empower young people at every level. He knows that we improve youth engagement by encouraging student activists to seek leadership positions - that includes inspiring young Democrats to run for office, work on campaigns, and take on leadership roles within the Party.
What makes McMoore's endorsement problematic in particular is that he is affiliated with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Last year, he stood beside the National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee expressing bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Advocacy Groups in UK Gear Up ‘Proactively’ to Counter Upcoming ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ Events Across British Campuses
A member of a leading Israel advocacy group told The Algemeiner that a new educational training program will help students counter the upcoming spate of UK campus events aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state.
Tamir Oren, Stand With Us (SWU) UK’s director of public affairs said that, in the run-up to “Israeli Apartheid Week” (IAW), students across Britain were selected to participate in sessions on different topics, such as Israeli history, international law and geopolitics, to “arm them with knowledge.”
Of this, Oren said:
It has been amazing to witness these students grow and become more confident in advocating for Israel, no matter how strenuous and frightening it may be. IAW used to be a week during which Jewish and pro-Israel were unable to effectively present Israel’s case. However, this time our training, educational materials and support to students across the country is making a difference and turning the tide on justice and truth.
For Oren, the safety of students on campus during this time of year remains paramount.
“IAW creates tensions on campus that enable anti-Israel students to feel they are able to harass and intimidate our students,” he said.
Israeli-American students gather in LA to sharpen tools against BDS
Some 400 Israeli-American students gathered in Los Angeles over the weekend to learn how to fight the presence of BDS on college campuses.
The Israeli-American Council’s annual Mishelanu Conference focused on the participants’ hybrid identity and the development of tools for creating pro-Israel activity on campuses to counter Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activists.
IAC Mishelanu is a pro-Israel campus program that fosters young leaders and provides a home for Israeli- American students. It was established in 2011 and is now active on some 100 campuses, through its accelerator, fellowship and mentorship programs, which develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills to enrich students’ college experience and professional careers.
IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet said: “Discourse surrounding campuses focuses on the challenges of apathy, the disconnect of the young generation from Israel, and a disconnect from Jewish identity.” He said Mishelanu provides solutions to all those issues.
MSM Hypes Steven Goldstein/Anne Frank Center For Anti-Semitism Narrative
Crying wolf with false claims of anti-Semitism cheapens the world’s oldest hatred.
Steven Goldstein of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect (AFC) is attempting to cash in on self-promotion with the aid of left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media outlets while pushing a narrative of President Donald Trump as somehow facilitating a rise in anti-Semitism across the country.
Goldstein’s AFC profile reveals him to be a leftist agitator, advancing the cause of “social justice” with a particular focus on “LGBT equality.” Co-opting the term “civil rights” to frame LGBT persons as somehow marginalized by American society, the AFC credits Goldstein as essential to having ushered in “marriage equality” - a leftist euphemism for "same-sex marriage" - in the state of New Jersey.
The AFC’s Twitter banner cynically casts Muslim and Arab children as Anne Frank’s contemporaries, superimposing a photo of one the Holocaust's best known child victims upon an image of crying children and hijab-adorned Muslim women:
Like many other neo-Marxist political agitation groups that operate under the guise of advancing ethnic interests, the AFC enjoys tax-exempt status with the IRS via its 501(c)(3) status.
As the usual suspects coalesce around hunting ghosts of anti-Semitism, they ignore real threats to Jews from its primary sources: Muslims and leftists. Meanwhile, opportunists such as Goldstein cash in via self-promotion with aid and support from politically friendly news media outlets.
New York Times Corrects Erroneous Claim That President Trump Visited Israel
CAMERA was alerted to the error thanks to a tweet by former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, whose wife, Julie Fisher, first picked up on it.
As CAMERA wrote to The Times, in December 2015 President Trump cancelled a plan trip to Israel after Prime Minister Netanyahu opposed the candidate's proposed Muslim ban. On Feb. 21, The Times removed the erroneous reference to a Trump visit to Israel and appended the following:
Correction: February 21, 2017
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mr. Trump visited Israel during the presidential campaign.
SUCCESS: “Tel Aviv’s Iron Dome” Shot Down in Daily Mail
We contacted Mail Online to point out that:
  • The attack was aimed at Eilat, which is over 200 miles / 350km from Tel Aviv. It is difficult, therefore, to work out the reference to “Tel Aviv’s Iron Dome defence system.”
  • And even if this isn’t a geographic reference, then it brings up the question of the status of Tel Aviv, which is not Israel’s capital city. Therefore, it should be Jerusalem’s or Israel’s Iron Dome system, not Tel Aviv’s.
Editors have now amended the headline to refer to the somewhat unwieldy but more accurate “government’s Iron Dome.”
Headline Fails: “Wounded Palestinian,” “Suspect” or “Attacker?”
Following our complaints, CNN’s headline and text now refer to a “wounded Palestinian assailant” rather than a “wounded Palestinian knife attack suspect.”
While The Times of London still refers to a “wounded Palestinian,” it has amended its headline following a complaint from HR. The headline, in an important change of nuance, now says that Azaria “could be free this year” instead of “set to be free this year.”
Stolen Dachau gate with infamous slogan restored
The gate was reported stolen in November 2014. It was found near Bergen in southwestern Norway last December thanks to an anonymous tip. The identity of the thief remains unknown.
The president of the International Dachau Committee, Jean-Michel Thomas, called for the investigation to continue during the ceremony to mark the restoration of the infamous gate.
He said that the purpose of the theft was to "remove a trace, a symbol of all that is represented by the inscription 'Arbeit Macht Frei' on this gate of Dachau camp that some 210,000 detainees walked through from 1933 to 1945."
The original gate was made by prisoners of the Dachau death camp. It was removed when the camp was liberated in 1945 and replaced by a replica in 1965. The gate which was stolen two years ago was the replica.
Saving the Remnants of Jewish Life in the Arab World
In 2008, Jason Guberman began a project to map and collect photographs of synagogues and Jewish shrines and cemeteries throughout the Middle East, creating for posterity a digital museum of the physical remnants of these ancient, and almost entirely defunct, communities. Diarna, the organization he founded, has been able to take advantage of the recent upheavals in the region to expand its reach even as Islamic State and other groups have been destroying what little remains. Emily Feldman writes:
Many places were still off-limits when Diarna started its project, some three years before the Arab Spring uprisings toppled dictators in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Many of those autocrats clung to anti-Semitic policies. Libya under Muammar Qaddafi was particularly difficult to access for researchers working for a Jewish nonprofit. Qaddafi was notoriously anti-Semitic—canceling all debts owed to Jews, among other things—and Diarna’s efforts to recruit local researchers failed. . . .
When fighting erupted in Libya, for example, reporters descended on the country, including one familiar with Diarna’s work. She contacted Guberman, offering to help him. Her only condition was anonymity. In May 2011, Guberman sent her a map of the Hara Kabira, the old Jewish quarter in Tripoli, to help her locate the Dar Bishi synagogue, the most beautiful in the city when it opened in 1928. After Qaddafi took power in the late 1960s, the government seized and shuttered all Jewish property in Libya. . . .
Israeli born Ovadia Brothers wow New York's fashion week
Israeli twins and fashion designers Shimon and Ariel Ovadia have been wowing audiences during New York Fashion Week.
The brothers, described a few years back by GQ as Best New Designers in America have a fashion line described as “chill and fresh”and having the “exact charm, edge and creativity of New York". WWD marvels “ how two kids without a college education or any design experience launched themselves from the observant Jewish enclave of Flatbush, Brooklyn, to a Vogue-sponsored fashion show at the Chateau Marmont. And did it without working on the Sabbath.”
From the New York Times, writing about 2017 New York fashion week
The New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, left, and the rapper Fabolous sat front row.
He went on to praise the fellow New Yorkers, less like a football star than a fashion editor: “I love their aesthetic — from the energy that they put into their clothing, to the silhouettes, to the cuts of their T-shirts. It’s just really beautiful.”
On the same front-row bench sat the rapper Fabolous, who appeared not to mind the fashion-mad fan crawling at his feet, trying to get a clear smartphone shot of his Puma x Trapstar sneakers.
“One thing that Ovadia has is the dope streetwear, but there’s a little touch to it that screams New York City, screams high-end,” Fabolous said. “But it’s still comfortable and casual at the same time.”
Smart pest management for fruit, nut and grape growers
When you bite into a juicy fruit, you don’t want either insects or pesticides in that delicious mouthful.
Controlling pests with minimal spraying is a difficult balancing act for commercial growers. And surprisingly, they don’t have a reliable mechanism to assure that the right quantity reaches every tree or vine; some may be missed or over-sprayed.
Israeli ag-tech startup FieldIn innovated an end-to-end pest-management software to achieve that balance with input from innovative tractor hardware and a host of agronomic data.
In addition to all major grower organizations in Israel, FieldIn technology is now used by one of Italy’s largest wineries and by prominent nut and wine producers in California. The product is designed for “specialty” crops including almonds, citrus, wine grapes, apples, avocados and pomegranates.
FieldIn took second place in the AgriVest 2016 Best Companies competition held at the international AgriVest expo last September in Rehovot. Last June, FieldIn won the audience favorite award at TechCrunch’s first Meetup and Pitch-off in Tel Aviv.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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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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