Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From Ian:

Professors Stand Up to BDS
A new academic year has begun and, with it, we can expect new attempts to demonize Israel on our college campuses. As ever, the immoderation of those who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement should help. The most recent visible move by prominent BDSers has been to try to align their colleagues—in however hedged a manner—with the politically toxic Antifa movement.

So yes, we are not dealing here with strategic masterminds. But, in academia, such people have an advantage, nonetheless. They are “scholar-activists,” distant cousins of the 1960s New Left, who view campuses, as their forebearers did, as grounds from which to assail the powers that be. That is to say, they are there primarily, not incidentally, to engage in political activism. They have an influence far out of proportion to their numbers because most academics are at colleges and universities to teach and engage in research. They don’t, as people say in the movies, want no trouble. So they are inclined to leave politics to the people who care about it, so long as they are allowed to do their work in peace.

It is in part for this reason that organizations like Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the newer Academic Engagement Network exist (full disclosure: I have worked with both organizations). On the one hand, they enable scholars drawn reluctantly into a fight against BDS to learn from and support each other’s efforts. On the other hand, they try to spread the news that BDS is not only unjust to Israel—a fact that may worry those with no dog in the fight only a little—but also damaging to the academic enterprise, for which BDS seeks to substitute propagandizing.

At the beginning of the academic year, it is worth pausing to notice how many professors have been willing to put their reputations on the line to turn back BDS efforts and how often they have been successful. These include figures like Cary Nelson, Russell Berman, Rachel Harris, Sharon Musher, and Jeffrey Herf, to name just a few. These academicians have well-deserved reputations for waging long and successful campaigns for the integrity of their disciplines in the Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association. But they also include physicist Azriel Genacka and biochemist Fred Naider, who, along with many of their colleagues at the City University of New York, stood up and opposed a pro-BDS resolution passed by a graduate student union there, and supported by some CUNY faculty.

Perhaps most impressively, they include scholars like the anthropologist Gila Silverman, who, despite working in a field that includes many BDS supporters and without the protection of tenure, was willing to fight publicly against a BDS resolution that very narrowly failed to win the support of the American Anthropological Association. Credit is due to the Academic Engagement Network for pulling together, as part of a new guide for faculty, these and other examples of faculty efforts to counter BDS.

Most of the participants in these efforts are left-liberals; in a profession in which conservatives have neither numbers nor much influence, that can hardly be surprising. But BDS has inadvertently brought together people on the left and right who have in common, at the very least, an interest in the health and integrity of their universities and professional associations.

Why Does the U.N. Exist? Secret Deals, Sex Scandals and Silence Harm United Nations Mission
For more than seven decades, the United Nations has been a leading international authority on world affairs. However, its credibility has been damaged by allegations of corruption, and political stalemates among leading powers undermine the U.N.'s core values and often produce more talk than change, critics say.

This week, world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York are set to deliver major speeches addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the international community. President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of the U.N., is widely expected to take on rivals Iran and North Korea in his first appearance at the forum. While the gathering is likely to host some fiery rhetoric from all sides, critics such as U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer are more concerned with what's going on behind closed doors, something he says could compromise the integrity of the organization as a whole.

"People don't realize this, but most of what happens at the U.N. is vote-trading," Neuer told Newsweek.

"Sadly, too often European democracies do deals in the darkness; they do secret deals that end up being sort of a deal with the devil," he added.

U.N. Watch is a Geneva-based monitoring group founded in 1993 by lawyer and civil rights activist Morris Berthold Abram. Its stated goal is to hold the U.N. accountable when it fails to live up to its mission. While Neuer cites U.N. inaction on humanitarian crises in Syria and Venezuela as examples of times when states needed to step up and effect real change, he expressed particular indignation toward a recent U.N. scandal that highlighted the practice of nations offering votes for individual political gains, as opposed to dealing on ethical and moral grounds.

Shimon Peres' Seven Lessons For An Eight-Year-Old Boy
It has been one year since the passing of Shimon Peres. Visionary, soldier, statesman, founder of the State of Israel, prime minister, president, Nobel laureate: no title, description or accolade can fully capture the immensity of his contribution — not only to Israel but to all who aspire to a better, more peaceful, more just world.

We now have President Peres’ story in his own words. Just weeks before his death at 93, he completed the memoir, No Room for Small Dreams, not only chronicling nearly seven decades of public service but exploring the principles and values that guided him in his life’s journey. His commitment to these principles was unwavering. As Peres’s children Tsvia, Yoni and Chemi recall in a moving introduction to the book, their mother would say to them, “Your father is like the wind. You will never be able to stop him or hold him back.”

Indeed, “No Room for Small Dreams” proves that Peres’ voice and vision are not only still with us, but as forceful and relevant as ever. Much has already been said and written of Peres, and this book will, rightly, launch a thousand new conversations. There will be dissections of his policies and their impact, debates about his legacy, and wide-ranging political analyses in the context of Israel’s past, present and future.

But what I want to share is a deeply meaningful personal encounter between Peres and my son Lev. Peres’s extraordinary career brought him into contact with the world’s most powerful people, but something special shone in him while conversing with a child. His message had an undeniable purity and simplicity, as well as a quality that mattered dearly to him — hope. As Tsvia, Yoni and Chemi explain, “his greatest tool of all, always, was hope.”

Lev was eight at the time of the meeting. I had taken him to Israel for his first of what I hoped would be many visits. Wanting his experience to be an indelible one, I brought him to meet Peres on August 31, 2016, the first day of our visit. For me, the president was the very personification of Israel’s hope, strength and spirit — its dreams, ideals and tensions. He was gracious enough to meet with my son and my wife and me at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa. We did not know then that it would be one of his last meetings.

At one point in the conversation, I asked Peres to share with Lev how, after 93 years of life, he stayed so young.
From Helping Soviet Jewry to Guiding America’s Israel Policy: An Insider’s Tale
Working as an aide to the Democratic senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson in the 1970s, Elliott Abrams played a crucial role in formulating an approach to foreign policy that prioritized human rights in a way that could further American geopolitical interests. These efforts came to fruition in legislation that used economic pressure to alleviate the plight of Soviet Jewry and later became a basis of the outlook on international affairs now known as neoconservative. In an interview with Jonathan Silver, Abrams discusses his own Jewish upbringing, his political evolution, his career in public service, and his involvement in guiding Israel policy in the George W. Bush administration.
Douglas Murray: Are refugees welcome to plant bombs on our trains?
Unlike events some weeks ago at, say, Charlottesville (which is on another continent), blame for events in London on Friday will not be allowed to spill out anywhere. Probably not even onto the culprits themselves. They will be described as ‘boys’ or ‘young men’ or ‘kids’. We will hear about how they were ‘pushed’ to their actions in some way. If their country of origin was one we were militarily engaged in (Iraq) this will be deemed a contributing factor. If their country of origin is a country we have not been militarily engaged in (Syria) this will be deemed a contributing factor.

There are other ways in which we will wonder how our society failed our bombers. Politicians and the media will ponder whether they had a good enough foster family. Or whether they got their dream job at the first opportunity, like everyone else in our society does. And all the while people like O’Grady will try to patrol the boundaries, pointing out that any discussion of the facts is ‘Islamophobic’ and ‘pointless’.

Perhaps I might issue a note of warning to such people. Imagine the detonating device had worked on Friday. Think about what happens when it works next time. And the time after that. And imagine that instead of engaging in a reflex defence of all refugees you are instead staring at the photos of people of every age and background who just happened to have the misfortune to be commuting through Parsons Green last Friday. In other words, imagine what happens when being indeterminately ‘generous’ and ‘open-hearted’ stops looking cute and begins to look like you were just unforgivably lax with the security of your fellow-citizens for nothing more than short-term ideological reasons. In other words, imagine what happens when there is a political price to pay rather than just brownie-points to collect.

Because that day will come. It wasn’t Friday. But it will be another day, sooner or later. And wouldn’t it be a good thing to be ready for that day when it comes?
Douglas Murray: Mass-Migration: The Tiniest Dose of Reality Hits
If you do not have control of your borders, with a meaningful set of immigration laws and the right to keep people out of your country, then you do not really have a country.

While the public wants their representatives to control their borders, politicians seem to see only political capital in running the other way. In part this is because there appears to be some kind of "bonus" to be achieved by looking welcoming and kindly, in contrast to the unwelcoming and mean things that borders now appear to represent.

By the end of August, it was estimated that almost 12,000 people had arrived in Canada through this route so far this year. It is a number that constitutes little more than an averagely busy week in Italy at any time over recent years. But even this comparatively tiny movement across an entire year has proven too much for Canada. At the end of last month, Prime Minister Trudeau told reporters: "For someone to successfully seek asylum it's not about economic migration. It's about vulnerability, exposure to torture or death, or being stateless people. If they are seeking asylum we'll evaluate them on the basis of what it is to be a refugee or asylum seeker."
Leftism, not the neo-Nazis, is what we should worry about
A fine and honorable Rabbi I heard on the East Coast recently is very worried about Nazis in America. He and many other Jewish clergy and lay people, particularly in the Reform and Conservative movement see them as a clear and present danger in America and associate them with President Trump and Republicans in general. Putting aside calumny and falsehoods directed at our President and Republicans, I am as much worried about Nazi’s in America as I am the Army of the Dead from Game of Thrones.

I am, however, very worried about the statist/leftist/progressive, whatever label you wish, invading and terribly harming America. Nasty accusations hurled at a duly elected President accomplishing a lot of middle of the road American things under incredible attack, reminded me of the Civil War we are in, the intense cultural war in which we find ourselves between American and Leftist values. The war is threatening the pillars holding up American civilization.

There are three pillars of Judaism- God, Torah, and Israel. So too are there three pillars of Americanism- In God We Trust, Liberty, and E Pluribus Unum. The Left attacks all three of these precious American foundations. They are the main targets of their battle to undo America and Western culture. Our clerical elite, the normative Democratic party, its violent Antifa wing, going on to our college professors, public school teachers and mainstream media continue yanking down not only statues of our vital historical memory, but the core values undergirding our American civilization. It's been going on for a hundred years, starting with Karl Marx, on to John Dewy, Crowley, and the fathers of American progressivism - Woodrow Wilson, TR and FDR. It now is widespread and powerful, affecting the minds of millions of our citizens.

On the West Coast, Jewish clergy fasted because of the election of a Republican leader , the leader of a party whose normative member cherishes all three American pillars. For some reason these clergy never thought to fast when a radical Leftist President did one of the most despicable things in American and Jewish history, handing $150 billion dollars to hundreds of thousands of true Nazis in Iran . On the East Coast , from the tony Democrat enclave of Bethesda to the chiq leftist bubble of the Upper West Side, Jewish clergy mimic the Palestinian Authority, while America-trashing professors are widespread on our campuses and call what is good bad and bad good.
New Report: Anti-Israel BDS Campaigns Drop by 40 Percent on US Campuses in Past Year, but Are Turning Increasingly Aggressive
The number of campaigns supporting the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement at American universities dropped by nearly 40 percent during the past academic year, even as professional anti-Israel organizations invested more resources to advance campus efforts, a new report by a pro-Israel advocacy group has found.

Twenty BDS campaigns took place on US campuses during the 2016-17 academic year, compared to 33 campaigns during the 2015-16 academic year, the Israel on Campus Coalition determined. The amount of anti-Israel activity also decreased by 19 percent last year, with pro-Israel events outnumbering those hostile to Israel by more than 2-1.

Despite these gains, “BDS campaigns were more sophisticated and aggressive, with professional organizations investing greater resources in campus divestment efforts,” the report said.

These groups, which “provided Israel’s detractors with financial, material, and programming support,” include American Muslims for Palestine, American Friends Service Committee, Palestine Legal, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace, according to the report.

“These national organizations played a significant role in supporting the intense battles waged by Israel detractors on campus,” ICC spokesperson Megan Nathan told The Algemeiner, including by drafting student BDS resolutions and pursuing legal action on behalf of activists.
McGill University Ratifies Ruling Rejecting BDS for Promoting Discrimination Based on Nationality
The undergraduate student government at McGill University in Montreal, Canada on Sunday ratified a ruling against the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement for violating its policy against discrimination based on national origin.

The Judicial Board of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) initially issued the ruling on June 2016, after anti-Israel activists failed to pass a motion in support of BDS during an online referendum. That vote was the third unsuccessful effort organized by anti-Israel activists at McGill in 18 months.

In its ruling, the board explained that “picking a side” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by supporting BDS will inhibit “SSMU’s ability to create an open, inviting atmosphere for students of Israeli origins, and [undermine] SSMU’s ability to serve them without bias.”

The board further noted that such a decision would conflict with the SSMU’s mandate to represent all students equally, including those who hold Israeli citizenship. It also emphasized that endorsing BDS would violate the body’s own Equity Policy, which precludes discrimination based on national origin.

“When all of these considerations are read together, the inescapable conclusion is that motions similar to the BDS Motion, which target one specific nation, breach values inherent in our Constitution and the Equity Policy,” the board determined.
New Jersey fails to enforce anti-BDS law with Danish bank
The State of New Jersey has come under fire for allegedly not punishing a giant Danish bank that engages in anti-Israel economic activity.

Danske Bank, the largest bank in the Scandinavian country, is blacklisted by New York State for violating its anti-BDS law shielding Israel from economic warfare. An intense row over whether Danske – a financial institution that seeks to aid its clients in Iran – is in violation of New Jersey’s 2016 anti-BDS law unfolded in August.

Marc Greendorfer, an attorney and founder of the Zachor Legal Institute, told The Jerusalem Post by email this week that New Jersey “has investments in Danske Bank, but the state refuses to divest from Danske even though under the New Jersey law, there is no question that Danske qualifies as a company that is boycotting Israel (and is thus subject to divestiture by the state).”

The Zachor Legal Institute is a legal think tank and advocacy organization that combats BDS.

Danske, with a customer base of over 3.5 million, blacklisted two Israeli defense companies – Aryt Industries and Elbit Systems – from its customers’ investments.

A nine-page, unpublished report from a private research organization on the bank’s investment policies and relations with Israel concluded that “Danske was never legally required to divest from any Israeli company... Dankse’s alignment with a specific political agenda concerning Israel reveals Danske’s intentions to penalize the State of Israel to create an environment of political duress to influence Israeli state policy.”
Reem’s Cafe Owner Has a First Amendment Problem
The evidence of Rasmea Odeh’s guilt is conclusive. Not only did she confess a day after her arrest, bomb-making materials were found in her room. Her co-conspirator, Ayesha Odeh, in a documentary interview willingly offered up how Odeh was directly involved in the bombings.

A few of us have been holding peaceful vigils at Reem’s to honor the memories of Kanner and Joffe. Assil is degrading their memories by grotesquely honoring their killer. We cannot let this stand.

We are also asking that Assil take down the mural. Though she said Reem’s is a place where people can “speak their mind and maybe have the hard conversations” she refuses to speak with any of us.

Instead, Assil wants to silence us. She repeatedly calls security and the Oakland Police Department to monitor our every move. Initially law enforcement even asked us to leave. But we know our rights.

Now Assil has gone much further. She has sued three of the protestors to obtain temporary restraining orders. The Alameda County Superior Court has twice denied Assil’s requests. Yet she perseveres with lawsuits aimed at quashing the voices of conscience about Odeh’s many crimes.

Why would Assil choose to lionize a convicted terrorist in a larger than life mural and not expect people to respond? And when they do, she quickly calls for cover from law enforcement and applies for restraining orders?

It is safe to say that Reem Assil only values free speech when it agrees with her own biased views.

A few days ago, we returned to Reem’s to again honor the memories of Leon Kanner and Edward Joffee.
Michael Lumish: Today on Nothing Left
Today's Rosh Hashanah show with Maurice Klein filling for Alan on holiday.

Special guest today, practicing orthodox Muslim Raheel Raza with a powerful message for our Jewish community, with Muslim Scholar Rev Dr Mark Durie explaining the connection between Islam and AntiSemitism. As always Isi Leibler from Jerusalem talking sense.

Raheel Raza 2.50

Rev Durie 22.45

Isi Leibler 41.00
Teacher who spewed anti-Israel rhetoric back in classroom
She’s back.
Controversial Mississauga Catholic elementary teacher Nadia Shoufani, suspended with pay last summer for spewing anti-Israel rhetoric at the 2016 Al-Quds Day hatefest, has resurfaced in a Sept. 10 online issue of al-Meshwar, a Holocaust-denying Arabic-language newspaper, which tried to endorse Niki Ashton for NDP leader last month.

In the article (translated from Arabic by the B’nai Brith and entitled, “Here I have Won, and Woe to the Losers”), Shoufani contends that she has triumphed after a “fierce Zionist campaign” to intimidate and silence her and to “destroy” her life and career.

Shoufani, who teaches special education, science and ESL at St. Catherine of Siena separate school claims all she was doing in her 2016 Al-Quds day speech was “supporting Palestine and exposing the crimes and practices of the Zionist occupation.”

Attempts to reach Shoufani at her school Monday were unsuccessful.

During her 10-minute Al-Quds Day speech, posted on YouTube, Shoufani urges attendees to “support the resistance (against Israel) in any form imaginable.” She also expresses “glory to the martyrs” — including a member of a known terrorist organization who smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl on beach rocks.
IsraellyCool: Huge BDS Fail: Turkish Cyclist Joins Israeli Team
Only a day after yesterday’s huge cycling news regarding Israel comes more: a star Turkish cyclist has joined the Israeli team!
Ahmet Örken, a 24-year-old cyclist who has dominated the Turkish cycling scene for the last four years, has joined pro-continental Israel Cycling Academy (ICA) to become the first Turkish athlete to join a cycling team at this level.
“I waited for a chance to ride for a successful Pro team that is on the move and I am sure that with ICA I can make my dreams come true,” Örken, who recently won the sprinter’s green jersey at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, told his new club’s website on Sept. 18.
“My biggest motivation joining this team was the chance to win races but I also strongly believe that it also a great chance to contribute to peace and brotherhood,” said Örken, adding that he had no concerns about joining an Israeli team considering the recent tensions in the ties between Turkey and Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Researchers Develop Strongest-Yet Virtue-Signaling Transmitter (satire)
Engineers and physicists working on a joint project between Tel Aviv University and the research departments of several communications companies have created the most powerful virtue-signaling equipment to date, which they claim is capable of conveying a user’s ideological and political moral superiority at more than three times the distance and intensity of existing methods.

A representative of the team announced the achievement this morning (Tuesday), at a press conference enabled by the device. “Thanks to the Wokie-Talkie, as we’re calling it, we knew to hold this event at a makeshift community center for African migrants in South Tel Aviv,” boasted Dr. Piyelef Yoter-Progressivi. “Without the Wokie-Talkie, that never would have occurred to us. Thanks to our device, woke folks can demonstrate their more-progressive-than-thou social conscience with a force not possible before.”

Dr. Yoter-Progressivi contrasted the sorry state of sensitivity of only eighteen years ago with what the device no makes possible. “In 1999 it took a special kind of progressive attitude, ear, and eye to spot racism or other forms of oppression,” she recalled. “It took quite some effort to get the world to react negatively to when a staffer in the DC Mayor’s office used the word ‘niggardly,’ since the word bears no relation to the n-word. Remember that? Well, the Wokie-Talkie has sensors that detect such utterances or images from three hundred kilometers away, and immediately produces an outraged press release and tweet.”

The researchers hope to market the device as a standalone, and later as an app for smartphones. “Soon, the wokest hot take on any development won’t just be the province of Slate, Vox, or Jezebel,” she predicted. “Every college sophomore will be able to generate righteous outrage that conservatives are admitted to the institution at all, let alone form any clubs. The Wokie-Talkie will enable everyone, not just the coastal commentators, to explain how some beloved cultural phenomenon or critical everyday activity is actually racist or supports oppression.”
Guardian ignores antisemitism study which challenges one of their cherished beliefs
This paradigm seems an apt way to understand the Guardian’s failure to devote any coverage to the “largest and most detailed survey of attitudes towards Jews and Israel ever conducted” in the UK. The study, released last week by CST and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), which was covered by Times of London and The Telegraph, produces “the first robust empirical documentation” on what most British Jews have understood all along: that there’s a strong correlation between antisemitic and anti-Israel attitudes. The CST and JPR report demonstrates conclusively that those who hold strong anti-Israel views (such as calling Israel an apartheid state, accusing it of genocide and denying its right to exist, etc.) are dramatically more likely to hold antisemitic views than the general population.

This of course contradicts the dominant Guardian Left view that hatred of Jews qua Jews is distinct and separate from hatred of Israel. This erroneous belief has informed their coverage of anti-Israel movements for years, articles and op-eds which invariably frame pro-Palestinian groups as progressive and anti-racist – regardless of evidence to the contrary.

Though, over the years, we’ve been relentless in our criticism of the Guardian, we’ve also acknowledged that there are at least a few fair-minded journalists employed by the media group who understand and take seriously the problem of antisemitism. We can only hope that these voices will speak up, and start a desperately needed conversation with their colleagues – many of whom fancy themselves ‘free thinkers’, yet seem impervious to new information as it concerns relationship between Israel, Jews and antisemitism.
The New York Times Got Their Israel Reading List All Wrong. Here’s a Better One.
Readers learned that these three books “look at Jewish heritage, the Holocaust, and what has followed.” Indeed, two of the recommendations are novels deeply connected with the Holocaust and its legacy: Aharon Appelfeld’s 1998 The Iron Tracks (translated by Jeffrey M. Green) and Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2002 Everything Is Illuminated. Devotees of Appelfeld’s work might argue over which one of his many books merits such spotlighting. (My kind of argument!) And some readers may prefer other American writers’ explorations of Holocaust legacy to Foer’s. (For some of my own reading recommendations on writings by descendants of those who were either chased out of Nazi Europe “just in time” or somehow survived the Holocaust, see my essay in this book.)

But if you’re going to recommend a mini-list of titles that convey a sense of “Jewish heritage,” particularly insofar as “Jewish culture in Europe” may be concerned, these choices are eminently justifiable ones. What’s more problematic is the single selection that is presumably intended to inform would-be travelers about Israel: Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation, an anthology edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman that was published earlier this year.

You can read more about Kingdom of Olives and Ash right here on Tablet. And you may well opt to devote further time to the Chabon/Waldman project. As Tablet’s Liel Leibovitz noted in June, it’s “a meaningful book that deserves to be read, if not always for the reasons its editors had imagined,” and perhaps less for what it may say about Jewish culture than for its portraits of the Palestinians whom “Chabon, Waldman, and their friends profile” throughout.

But if you’re truly interested in discovering Jewish culture in Israel—and how its history, richness, complexity, and challenges can be explored in fiction and in fact ahead of any actual voyage—please consider some other titles. As we embark on the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, you might opt to place to these possibilities on your reading list for the new year 5778.
Where does the BBC report on air-raid sirens and shelters?
A look inside a South Korean public shelter September 13th 2017
“Public shelters have been set up across the country in the event of an attack from the North.”
“When you live here, in the closest village to the border – this is only about three miles away – you need a proper shelter.”

North Korea missile: People under threat react September 15th 2017
“People living in South Korea and Japan react to North Korea’s latest missile launch.”
“That’s a nice wake-up call. My phone translated as ‘a North Korea missile launch’. What do you do in a circumstance like that?”
“The strongest feeling I have is a feeling of fear. I don’t know when I might be killed. That is the scariest part.”

In contrast, the BBC has produced no English language reporting whatsoever on the dozen actual missile hits so far this year in a region just ninety minutes away from its Jerusalem office that has previously seen thousands of such attacks over the past sixteen years.
French teens get suspended sentences for vandalizing Jewish gravestones
A juvenile court in northeastern France suspended the prison sentences of five teenagers who vandalized a Jewish cemetery and damaged a Holocaust memorial.

The defendants, who were 15 to 17 in February 2015 when the vandalism occurred, were sentenced last week to eight to 18 months in prison for toppling and breaking some 300 gravestones in the Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, located in the Bas-Rhin region in Alsace. The cemetery is still in use.

A Holocaust memorial monument on the cemetery property was also vandalized.

The five are also each required to serve 140 hours of community service.

Each defendant had faced up to seven years in prison. They all reportedly expressed regret for their actions during court hearings on Thursday and Friday.

Several relatives of people buried in the vandalized graves attended the court hearings. Most of the gravestones have not yet been repaired due to the astronomical cost, the French news agency AFP reported.
Neo-Nazis parade through Swedish city ahead of Yom Kippur march
Dozens of people belonging to a violent Swedish neo-Nazi group paraded through the streets of the country’s second-largest city on Sunday, ahead of a planned march that has raised alarms for its route near a synagogue on Yom Kippur.

According to reports in Swedish media, some 50 members of the Nordic Resistance Movement marched through downtown Gothenburg waving flags and banners.

A minor scuffle between a counter protester and a marcher was broken up by police. Swedish authorities said no arrests were made.

The NRM used Sunday’s march to advertise for their upcoming rally, which is scheduled to pass near Gothenburg’s main synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

The group initially sought to hold its September 30 march adjacent to the Gothenburg Book Fair, when some 100,000 people are expected to gather in the city for the largest literary festival in Scandinavia.

Police denied the request, offering the group an alternative, less central route. That route would take the marchers some 200 meters from the Gothenburg Synagogue.
Israeli Kibbutz to Become Worldwide Medical Marijuana Hub
Earlier this month, the kibbutz partnered with Cronos, a Canadian cannabis conglomerate, and will soon begin building a 45,000 square feet greenhouse that will produce up to five tons annually, a capacity both partners hope will expand to 24 tons a year before too long. An additional 11,000 laboratory will serve for research and development of effective new brands of weed.

“Israel has an ideal climate for growing cannabis with abundant light to support year-round greenhouse cultivation without the need for supplemental flower lighting,” read a statement from Cronos. “The Israeli climate, combined with Gan Shmuel’s existing manufacturing infrastructure and skilled labor force, will enable Cronos Israel to produce high quality medical cannabis at an expected cost of between $0.40 and $0.50 per gram.” Some of the supply will serve the local medical marijuana market, instantly making Gan Shmuel the largest player in the Israeli market. The rest will be exported.

“This isn’t just about becoming the lowest cost producer in the world,” said Mike Gorenstein, Cronos’s CEO. “Establishing a major operation in Israel gives us frontline exposure to leading medical cannabis research and innovation. Cronos Israel is a significant step in raising the standard of medical cannabis globally.” In start-up nation, the standards just keep getting higher.
StandWithUs+: Israel's Leading Research in Medical Marijuana

Does Morrissey have Israel on his mind?
It seems like prominent indie rock singer Morrissey might have been thinking a lot about the Jewish state when he recorded his latest album "Low in High School."

Two track names on the album, which is slated to be released November 17, appear to make references to Israel. Those are titled "The Girl from Tel Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel" and "Israel," according to the listing published by Pitchfork.com on Tuesday.

The same day, the singer released his first single from the album, his 11th, entitled "Spent the Day in Bed." Lyrics of that song include "And I recommend that you stop watching the news/ Because the news contrives to frighten you/ To make you feel small and alone/ To make you feel that your mind isn't your own."

Purported images of the album cover posted online feature a child holding an axe and a poster reading "Axe the monarchy."

When the album was first announced last month, BMG record company released a statement saying that “Morrissey’s talent for combining political statements and melodies is more prevalent than ever on Low in High-School, capturing the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world.”

Morrissey last performed in Israel in August 2016, when he played in Tel Aviv and then Caesarea. He previously played concerts in Israel in 2012 and 2008. In 2012 he ended his show wrapped in an Israeli flag.
Israeli Aid Workers Welcomed by U.S. Hurricane Victims
On a house-to-house mission in the Florida Keys, search-and-rescue volunteers from Israel discovered an ailing American military veteran who spent four days without water, electricity or telephone reception in his home as Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc outside.

“You are the first people to come down here and offer aid,” the grateful man told Tamar Citron, a member of the team from the Israel Rescue Coalition and United Hatzalah.

“We provided him with water, food and a lot of positivity,” Citron reported. “We notified local authorities and EMS teams and made sure that they followed up. Unfortunately, there are many people stuck on the Keys right now without access to food, water, electricity or a method of communication. Our entire team is heading down to the Keys to help rescue more of these people.”

Citron and volunteers from other Israeli humanitarian aid groups, who dropped everything to fly over and assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, are finding their expertise is needed and appreciated. Israel is the only country to send multiple groups of volunteers in addition to material aid.

“Our first night in Texas [September 8] we went to a restaurant and the waiter asked us if we were in Houston for business or pleasure,” says Smadar Harpak, a therapeutic clown with Israel’s Dream Doctors Project.
Israel Shipyards launches patrol vessel built for Cyprus Navy
Israel Shipyards has unveiled an offshore patrol vessel designed and built for the Cypriot Navy. The project has been valued at tens of millions of Euros. The high-end vessel is slated to be delivered to the Cypriot Navy by the end of the year and integrated into the fleet patrolling Cyprus' exclusive maritime economic zone.

In a statement released on Sunday, Israel Shipyards said the OPV, ordered in December 2015, was launched at a ceremony held last week at Israel Shipyards' facility at Haifa Bay. Senior members of the Cypriot Defense Ministry, representatives of Israel's Defense Cooperation Authority, and company executives attended the ceremony.

"The project is of great importance for the company, and we invested our knowledge, experience and ingenuity in order to build and supply this unique, technologically advanced ship," said Israel Shipyards CEO Avi Shahaf.

"We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Cypriot Defense Ministry for the trust they invested in Israel Shipyards to deliver this vessel."
British MP and family honored as Righteous Gentiles in Poland
British MP Daniel Kawczynski and his family were honored on Monday for saving hundreds of Polish Jews during the Holocaust at an award ceremony held by the NGO From the Depths at the Warsaw Zoo.

The venue is the site where Antonina and Jan Zabinski, after whom the From The Depths Zabinski Awards are named, rescued more than 300 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943-1945.

Kawczynski’s family was one of three to receive the award this year, which was handed out for the second year running. The MP’s great-uncle Jan Kawczynski and his wife and 10-year-old daughter were killed by German soldiers for helping to hide Jews in their home.

Kawczynski is the first Polish Brit to serve in the British Parliament. Ahead of his attendance at Monday’s ceremony, he received a letter from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who wrote: “I was interested to hear of your impending trip to Poland to attend the ‘From The Depths Zabinski Awards,’ and wanted to send my best wishes for what I am sure will be a very moving ceremony.

“You must be incredibly proud of your great-uncle, Jan Kawczynski, and his heroic efforts to save Jews during the Second World War. Such acts of bravery and defiance must never be forgotten – they remind us not only of the horrors of the past, but also of the continuing need to confront bigotry and antisemitism wherever we see it,” she continued.
The Story of Israel’s National Emblem
Shortly after declaring independence, the Israeli government ran not one but two contests in its search for an official seal. The winning design, submitted by the Shamir brothers, featured a menorah with an olive branch on either side and the Hebrew word “Israel” beneath. The committee tasked with choosing an emblem asked the Shamirs to make one change: replace the stylized, modern-looking menorah with one modeled on the menorah depicted on the Arch of Titus in Rome. Saul Singer writes:

Many, including particularly then-Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, vociferously objected to the use of this design because the menorah, which the Romans had proudly paraded as the ultimate symbol of Jewish defeat and degradation, represented the expulsion of the Jews from the land of Israel and the destruction of the Second Temple.

But the members of the committee and Israel’s provisional government, both of which unanimously adopted the design, believed the use of the Titus menorah would serve as an important metaphor for the rebirth of Israel: that after itself joining the Jews in exile, the menorah would now stand as testimony to the ultimate victory and eternal survival of the Jewish people. . . .

Because the ultimate design does not seem to reflect religious practice or belief—no verses from the Torah, no reference to the God of Israel—many argue that secularists prevailed [in choosing the seal]. In fact, however, the national emblem reflects one of the great . . . visions of the prophet Zechariah, [in which an angel shows him a menorah flanked by two olive trees].
Rosh Hashanah Message: British PM Theresa May Salutes 'Remarkable' Israel, Vows to Fight Anti-Semitism
British Prime Minister Theresa May reaffirmed her government’s determination to fight anti-Semitism as she saluted the resiliance of the State of Israel.

Speaking on the eve of the Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, Mrs. May told members of the Jewish community from business, the arts, politics, public services and charities about her plans to fight anti-Semitism as well as celebrate this year’s centenary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration.

Through our new definition of anti-Semitism we will call out anyone guilty of any language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews.

And we will actively encourage the use of this definition by the police, the legal profession, universities and other public bodies.

But the ultimate way of defeating anti-Semitism is to create an environment that prevents it happening in the first place.
Watch: Happy New Year from President Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday wished the Jewish people a Happy New Year, ahead of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah which will be celebrated on Wednesday at sundown.

“The High Holy Days are a time of both reflection on the past year and hope for renewal in the year to come. Jewish communities across the country and around the world enter into a time of prayer, repentance and rededication to the sacred values and traditions that guide the incredible character and spirit of the Jewish people,” he said.

“We reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and we ask God to deliver justice, dignity and peace on earth.”

“Melania and I wish everyone a sweet, healthy and peaceful year which we hope will bring many blessings to all.”

Conan O’Brien’s Israel special set to air September 19
Even the most cosmopolitan Tel Avivi can’t help but be charmed by Conan O’Brien, one of America’s most popular late-night hosts.

If you doubt it (and really, who can blame you?), simply look for proof to the comedian’s spontaneous romps around Rothschild Boulevard and the Jaffa port, among other notable landmarks, when he visited Israel in late August.

Heck, one starstruck Sabra even gave him the shirt off his back.

And what’s not to love? Though he describes himself as pale compared to his swarthier Levantine counterparts (“Does white float?” he asks buoyantly while drifting along the Dead Sea), O’Brien possesses a keen, self-deprecating sense of humor any Jewish comedy fan can be proud of.

The visit was part of the latest installment of “Conan Without Borders,” a series of shows which O’Brien films in various exotic (and not-so-exotic) locations throughout the world. Previous trips include Berlin, Mexico, and Armenia.
#ConanIsrael Sneak Peak: The Dead Sea

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