Friday, January 19, 2018

From Ian:

Enjoy the moment
The Western world embraced our book of books and 2,000 years of Christianity have been characterized by an obvious (though one-sided) competition for the title of "the chosen people" and disputes over how to interpret the Bible. But not in India. The Bible holds no significant presence in the history and practice of Hindu culture. They have their own sacred texts, a pantheon of gods and goddesses, their own intricate mythology, philosophy, religious faith, methods of worship and a way of looking at things that is, at times, radically different than ours.

One ancient culture that worships one god versus another ancient culture that sanctifies a vast plurality of gods. Each approach profoundly influences the way of life and character of a culture. That is why there is no anti-Semitic baggage in the history of the relations between our two peoples. The world does not distinguish between Israel and the Jewish people, contrary to what our enemies may mendaciously claim. They say that they "don't hate Jews" only "Zionists." But in India, conversely and positively, they actually don't make the distinction.

Listening to Modi speak, I often heard ancient refrains behind his iron words that echoed the sentiments expressed by our own exiled forefathers – "we were as dreamers" – when they spoke about returning to Zion.

"Then said they among the nations: 'The Lord hath done great things with these" (Psalms 126). In historical terms, "these," meaning us, were ashes and dirt just a moment ago, when we returned to Zion. Now, a nation of 1.3 billion people is actively seeking a partnership with us. Right before our eyes, Israel is turning into a world player.

In one of his speeches, Netanyahu noted our commitment not only to ourselves, but also to serve as a light unto the nations. The rest of the Psalms verse mentioned above talks about what happens to us after the nations express awe at our good fortune. "We rejoiced," the verse says. It is okay to rejoice at Israel's success in the world. For one short minute, let us set aside our well-known Israeli cynicism – the product of many disappointments – and enjoy the moment. We were as dreamers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loved every moment of his visit to India: from the warm welcome he received from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to the defense and business pacts they signed, to the visit to the Taj Mahal, to the food.

Yes, Netanyahu confessed repeatedly on the trip, he loves Indian food. He even revealed that his first date with his wife, Sara, 27 years ago, was at the Tandoori restaurant in Tel Aviv.

When Netanyahu comes back, he should celebrate by eating a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving meal – not just because turkey is called tarnegol hodu (literally, both Indian fowl and fowl of thankfulness) in Hebrew, but because he has so much to be thankful for.

This past week might have been the best for Netanyahu of his current term in office. He has had, of course, many, many other trips abroad this term, but none received as positive coverage in the mainstream Hebrew media. After past trips, Netanyahu complained that while he was accomplishing a lot for Israel, the media back home was focusing on minutia involving his family and criminal probes.

This time, Sara Netanyahu’s lawyers were in court while she was in India, but it wasn’t a top story. And Yair Netanyahu stayed home and skipped a trial date, but he was not on the front pages anymore.

Instead, even newspapers normally hostile to the prime minister gave prominence to pictures of him in India, leaving him nothing to kvetch about.

Moshe's Return to Mumbai

What is India's de-hyphenation policy toward Israel and why does it matter?
When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, he instituted a policy toward Israel called de-hyphenation.

What that meant was simple: India’s relationship with Israel would stand on its own merits, independent and separate from India’s relationship with the Palestinians. It would no longer be India’s relationship with Israel-Palestine, but India’s relationship with Israel, and India’s relationship with the Palestinians.

This policy first became obvious when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Modi at the UN in 2014, soon after the latter’s election.

When it became clear that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would not be in New York at the same time, there was concern in Jerusalem that the Indians would call off the meeting with Netanyahu, to preserve a holy balance in its ties with Israel and its ties with the Palestinian Authority.

This “de-hyphenation” was even more apparent when Modi came to Israel last July, when Modi came to Jerusalem but did not go to the Palestinian Authority – he did not feel compelled to balance his trip to Jerusalem with one to Ramallah.

Similarly, he is scheduled to travel to the PA next month, and if does go ahead with that trip, he is not expected to visit Israel. Again, the idea is that relations which each side should stand on their own merits.

Hyphenating the ties with Israel – linking them to ties with the Palestinian Authority – essentially prevented India from pursuing a pragmatic policy of what was in India’s best interests.
Netanyahu meets Bollywood stars, ends event with Oscars-style selfie
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu attended a special gala event with various noted stars in the Indian film industry such as actress Sara Ali Khan, actor and producer Amitabh Bachchan and former Miss World contestant and actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Netanyahu said that the rise of Bollywood is ''a part of India rising as a world power, which goes hand-in-hand with the ascent of Israel as a world leader in technology."

Netanyahu said that innovation is not limited to medicine or space but is also present in the arts. "I think that if we join our forces," he said, "magic will happen."

"We believe in Bollywood, we believe in India, we believe in the relations between India and Israel," he stated. Inspired by the Hollywood celebrities who took a selfie at the Academy Awards, the prime minister invited the Indian celebrities to take a shared picture with him on stage.

Netanyahu is wrapping up a five-day visit to India, during which he criss-crossed the country attending various events related to diplomacy, trade, technology, education and aid.

Baroness Deech blasts the UNHRC in the British House of Lords
I fear that these excellent intentions may not achieve much, because at the apex of all international effort lies the UN Human Rights Council, a body now so perverted that it no longer makes sense to support it. What is the use of the UK lobbying other countries and supporting UN resolutions on religious persecution when the UNHRC is peopled with representatives of the most egregious offenders?

My Lords, Iraq is a member of the UNHRC, along with Saudi Arabia, China and Venezuela, to mention just a few of them. When Iraq campaigned for membership of the UNHRC they cited in support the happy condition of the Christian minority. In China, 1.3 billion people are denied freedom of speech, assembly and religion. Tibetans are occupied and tortured. In Russia, dissidents are harassed, arrested and assassinated. Crimea is annexed and Ukraine bombarded. In Saudi Arabia beheadings are at an all-time high. They bomb Yemeni civilians.

The response of the UNHRC is largely silence and the welcoming as members of those atrocious states. Only one country is permanently on the agenda of the UNHRC and that is Israel, targeted by the Arab members in an effort to deflect attention from themselves.

Earlier this year our Government, thankfully, became a torch-bearer for the truth. The British mission blasted the UN body as biased and overly focused on Israel. The UNHRC has breath-taking double standards and is outrageously biased against the only country in the Middle East whose Christian population has grown, namely Israel.

It is time to call out the hypocrisy of the UNHRC, as a preliminary to safeguarding the religious minorities of Iraq and the wider Middle East. Will the Minister ensure that the UK’s place on the UNHRC is, has been, as it was in the past and I hope will be in the future, to tell the truth and defend the persecuted?
Baroness Deech blasts the UNHRC in the British House of Lords

UNRWA head: US aid freeze ‘not related to our performance’ (not satire)
The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said Friday a US decision to freeze tens of millions of dollars in aid resulted from diplomatic disputes rather than the agency’s performance.

The US State Department this week put on hold two planned payments of more than $100 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA.

The State Department denied the freeze was to punish the Palestinian Authority, which has cut ties with US President Donald Trump’s administration following his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with a spokeswoman saying it was linked to necessary “reform” of UNRWA.

But Pierre Krahenbuhl, the agency’s commissioner general, said it had not been informed by the United States of any new reform demands and had been simply “caught up” in a political dispute.

“I have to look at this as not related to our performance but a decision and a debate that was caught up in the aftermath of what of course was the General Assembly resolution on Jerusalem and other matters,” Krahenbuhl told AFP in an interview in Jerusalem.

“My perception is there is a debate in the US administration about funding to the Palestinians and our funding got caught up in that.”
Sexual harassment and assault rife at United Nations, staff claim
The United Nations has allowed sexual harassment and assault to flourish in its offices around the world, with accusers ignored and perpetrators free to act with impunity, the Guardian has been told.

Dozens of current and former UN employees described a culture of silence across the organisation and a flawed grievance system that is stacked against victims.

Of the employees interviewed, 15 said they had experienced or reported sexual harassment or assault within the past five years. The alleged offences ranged from verbal harassment to rape.

Seven of the women had formally reported what happened, a route that campaigners say is rarely pursued by victims for fear of losing their job, or in the belief that no action will be taken.

“If you report it, your career is pretty much over, especially if you’re a consultant,” said one consultant, who alleged she was harassed by her supervisor while working for the World Food Programme. “It’s like an unsaid thing.”

The UN conceded that under-reporting is a concern but said the organisation’s secretary general, António Guterres, has “prioritised addressing sexual harassment and upholding the zero tolerance policy”.
MEMRI: Saudi Journalist: Boycotting American Products May Boomerang On Arabs
In an article in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, economist Dr. 'Abdallah Al-Radadi opposed the calls to boycott American products and companies in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. He wrote that boycotts often yield the opposite results from those intended: they help to advertise and increase the popularity and the sales of the thing boycotted. In some cases, he added, they even end up harming the boycotters, as in the case of Arab boycotts on American companies that harmed the livelihood of Arabs workers or franchise holders. He noted that the importance of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa for the Arabs and Muslims cannot be overstated, but a boycott will not help Jerusalem but only hurt Muslims.

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

"The minute U.S. President Donald Trump announced [his] recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, some activists on social media rushed to market [the idea] of a boycott of American products. The calls started with simple tweets, and developed into infographics presenting well-known American brands like McDonald's, Coca Cola, Burger King and others.

"First of all, let me state that the importance ascribed by Muslims to [Al-Aqsa,] the third most holy mosque after those in Mecca and Medina, and to [Jerusalem], the first direction of prayer, cannot be overstated. Jerusalem has been an Arab capital ever since it was first conquered in 637 by Al-Farouq, 'Umar bin al-Khattab [the second Caliph, who ruled in 634-644]... Muslim blood is a small price to pay for Jerusalem, and it is naïve to think that any Muslim will prioritize a hamburger over Jerusalem.

"[But] as for a boycott of American products, I wonder if it is economically effective. Who will really be hurt by such as boycott, and who will benefit from it? Past economic boycotts have been imposed with a particular intent, only to achieve the opposite effect, as shown by the following examples:
Fear of coroner prompts Jews to move before they die
A controversial coroner’s refusal to respect Jewish burial requirements has led some Jews to consider moving house rather than die under her jurisdiction.

Mary Hassell, the head of St Pancras coroner’s court, is being investigated over her unwillingness to grant quick burials to members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in north London.

Such is the distress sparked by Ms Hassell’s policy that families “should wait in line” for the release of relatives’ bodies, that some Jews are now considering moving to other areas of the capital, or making aliyah, to escape her authority. “We are terrified at what this woman is doing to this community,” said Ita Symons, the chief executive of the Agudas Yisrael Housing Association in Stamford Hill.

“I have acquired a burial plot in Jerusalem, and I will, God willing, try and make sure that before I pass away I will not be in this country.

“I shall get onto a plane — even on a stretcher — and I will not let this women get her powers over me.”

Mrs Symons is also the director of the Schonfeld Square care home, where more than 80 elderly Jewish people live.
Are anti-Israel groups attempting to hijacking Saturday's Women's march?
Anti-Israel groups may be attempting to hijack the Woman's March on Saturday.

In New York Cty, Jewish Voice for Peace, Adalah-NY: Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, Jews Say No! and Women in Black-Union Square are hosting a "FreeAhed" contingent, in support of the young Palestinian woman who called for stabbings and suicide operations against the Jewish, er Zionist people.

Interestingly enough, local activists every bit as committed to the destruction of Israel as Ahed choose not to repeat her message promoting terror and violence.

"Whether it is a stabbing attack or suicide bombing or throwing rocks, everyone needs to do something and unite in order for our message to reach those who want to liberate Palestine”
New Orleans confimed as a BDS hoax
The New Orleans City Council realized quickly that they had been duped.

Members of the New Orleans City Council say they want a do-over after learning they inadvertently stumbled into an international controversy last week.

The council voted 5-0 last Thursday to plan a review of the city’s contracts and investments to ensure that none of them support companies or entities that have violated human, civil or labor rights around the world.
But after belatedly realizing the resolution was part of an international movement to boycott Israel, City Council President Jason Williams and other council members say they will move to reconsider it at their next council meeting.
Speaking to the Advocate, Williams stated

“Let me be very clear to citizens of New Orleans and citizens of the world — this City Council is not anti-Israel. That sentiment is inconsistent with the council's actions and certainly mine personally.... " He said it was a mistake for the council to introduce and vote on the unadvertised measure at the end of a nearly six-hour meeting, as doing so did not give people enough time to voice their opinions.
Note to the BDS movement: If you need to lie about your motives and your intentions to push your agenda, your claim to stand for social justice and civil rights rings hollow.
Sohrab Amari: Harvard Rewards an Iranian Hate-Monger
What is it with the Harvard Kennedy School’s penchant for celebrating dishonorable characters? First came a speaking invitation and fellowship for the traitor formerly known as Bradley Manning. The Kennedy School disinvited Manning following a public outcry in September, but now its leadership has awarded a fellowship to another equally odious figure.

That would be Hossein Derakhshan, an Iranian blogger and vehement apologist for the Tehran regime. Last week, the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy named Derakhshan a fellow for the spring semester. The fellowship brings together “experienced journalists and practitioners who focus on some of today’s most pressing issues: race relations, the urban/rural divide, the role of algorithms in society, and climate change, among other topics,” Shorenstein Center Director Nicco Mele said in a news release.

Derakhshan’s fellowship will focus on technology entrepreneurship, presumably drawing on his experience as one of Iran’s first bloggers in the early aughts, work that won him the moniker “the blogfather.” The Shorenstein release presents Derakhshan as a dissident of sorts, who “was imprisoned in Tehran for six years for his writings and online activism.” Yet spending time in the mullahs’ jails doesn’t necessarily make someone a dissident–or worthy of a top journalism fellowship. Derakhshan has spent years viciously assailing real dissidents, and he has a long record of public statements in support of the regime, its leadership and security apparatus, and its conspiratorial and anti-Semitic worldview.

Start with the anti-Semitism. In December 2015, amid the popular frenzy over Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Derakhshan took to his English-language Twitter account (he also maintains a Persian account) to note that the villain of the movie was identified as “Supreme Leader,” which is also the title of Iran’s ruling theocrat. Wrote Derakhshan: “A Supreme Leader in the new star wars [sic]? What is the very pro-Israel J. J. Abrams hinting at?”

The tweet played on the canard, rampant among Iranian Islamists, that Jews use Hollywood influence to plant pro-Israel and anti-Iran messages in the minds of global audiences. In the real world, there is no evidence that J.J. Abrams is “very pro-Israel”–other than his Jewish last name, of course.
University of Michigan Invited Anti-Israel Activist to Speak on MLK Day
A Palestinian activist with a history of making inflammatory anti-Israel statements was invited to make two appearances at the University of Michigan this week, including one held in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Steven Salaita—who gained popularity in 2014 when the University of Illinois rescinded a job offer following exposure of his anti-Israel tweets, such as posting approvingly of Hamas‘s kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens that summer—was invited by the U-M Detroit Center to participate in a MLK Day panel discussion considering if there is "such thing as a proper protest."

The event was co-sponsored by the U-M Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives and the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

The following afternoon, on Tuesday, CMENAS gave Salaita a platform to promote his book "Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine," which argues for an alliance of Palestinian and Native American scholar-activists as two indigenous peoples under colonial occupation.

There Salaita said, "Zionism is one of the reasons the world is so shitty today," according to attendees.

Benjamin Gerstein, a Central Student Government representative who attended the program, said Salaita went on to blame the United States-Israel alliance for much of world inequality and turmoil.

"It was very disturbing to hear the existence of the Jewish homeland described as the reason the world is shitty," said Gerstein.
IsraellyCool: Law Professor Noura Erakat Seems to Be Saying Palestinians Put Themselves on Map Through Terrorism
Noura Erakat is an assistant international law professor at George Mason University and the niece of PA negotiator propagandist Saeb Erekat. And like uncle, she is an Israel hater who plays loose with the truth.

A few days ago she tweeted the following in response to this Washington Post article.

I had been trying to think what Erakat meant by “Palestinians put themselves on the map – literally” from 1968-88. She is referring to some way the palestinians paved the way, from 1968, towards their 1988 Declaration of Independence, which was subsequently acknowledged by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 43/177.

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind up in the skies.
Among the many children of the Six-Day War, the most frightening is international terrorism. Of course, terrorism, including Palestinian terrorism, predated 1967, but the war changed its scope, scale, and very nature. Before the war, Palestinian terrorists struck at targets in Israel, often in cooperation with neighboring states. After the war, the Palestinians used terrorism to internationalize the conflict, hijacking and destroying airplanes, holding diplomats hostage, and even attacking Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
IsraellyCool: BDS-Holes in New Zealand Show Their Bigotry
Note the meme the letter begins with, which minimizes the violent rock throwing of palestinians (which can, and has, caused serious injuries and even deaths), and implies it is only ever in response to the IDF killing someone (a blatant lie).

But even more than that; these haters are asking to dis-invite an Israeli just because they are Israeli. Victoria Hanna is an religious Jewess, the mother of 3 children. Her parents are from Egypt and Persia – no doubt kicked out or otherwise forced out due to persecution. She performs Aramaic hip hop and rhythmic raps on ancient Hebrew texts. She is not at all political from what I can see, and is not active on social media. Her crime here is being from Israel. She is not part of some conspiracy as they suggest – she just wants to do what she loves, which is performing.

If that is not bigotry, I do not know what is. And that is just assuming their motivation is not antisemitism (which it more often than not is, when it comes to hating on Israel).

Once again, the true face of BDS is revealed. And it is ugly as hell.
Pro-Palestinian Students On Probation AGAIN

I’m a Transgender Peace Activist Who Converted to Judaism. I Wasn’t Expecting My Fellow Progressives to Turn on Me.
Here’s what they don’t tell you when converting to Judaism: Everyone has an opinion on Israel. And once you convert, everyone has an opinion regarding your opinions on Israel.

To say I chose a rather interesting time to convert to Judaism is an understatement. Considering the current political climate, I’ll admit that I braced myself for certain negative reactions to my being Jewish. Being queer, transgender, and Hispanic, I’ve had my share of slurs thrown at me.

My social group and volunteer work are where I find a safe place from the nonsense outside. If things got bad after my conversion, I had this community to turn to. Imagine my surprise, then, to find accusations and anger not from the usual suspects, but from my own progressive communities. To give a few choice examples:

1) My Catholic parents bought me a Star of David necklace to celebrate my conversion. I showed this to someone I had attended numerous LGBT events with. Their response was to call it “pro-apartheid jewelry” and said I was wearing “that star on the Jewish flag.”

2) For about a year, I catalogued footage of humanitarian disasters during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for use by a humanitarian organization. I’m proud of that work. I mentioned my conversion to a few friends who knew me at the time. All immediately asked if I had changed my views on Israeli politics.

3) Whenever I mention my conversion to anyone in my larger social circle, the response is never congratulations. Four out of five times, I’m immediately grilled on my views regarding Israeli policy.
The BBC’s narrative on ‘East Jerusalem’ omits relevant context
Although the BBC has been telling its audiences that “the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state” for many years, since the US president’s announcement of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6th 2017 that messaging has been promoted on a variety of BBC platforms on an almost daily basis.

BBC portrayals of the topic usually include the narrative seen in a frequently reused backgrounder on Jerusalem produced by Yolande Knell in which audiences were led to believe that a Palestinian capital in “east Jerusalem” is an already agreed component of the two-state solution rather than a topic to be discussed in final status negotiations.

“Of course, Palestinians see things starkly differently. They want east Jerusalem as their capital.

And that’s part of the long-standing international formula for peace here, known as the “two-state solution”.

Knell also portrayed the two-state solution in terms that dovetail with the PLO’s interpretation of that term.

“Basically the idea that an independent Palestinian state would be created alongside Israel, along the boundaries that existed before 1967, it’s written up in UN resolutions.”

Of course the prime motivation behind Palestinian claims to a capital in the parts of Jerusalem occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967 is control over Temple Mount but the BBC repeatedly fails to adequately clarify that important point to its audiences.

Neither does it bother to inform them of the Palestinian Authority’s record on upholding agreements it has already signed with Israel regarding other holy places.

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, freedom of access to and worship at holy sites was guaranteed.
NY Times Mischaracterizes Conversations Between Egyptian Intelligence and Media
We know the White House's position on Jerusalem. In late 2017, the U.S. formally recognized the city's status as Israel's capital.

We also know the view of Congress. Over twenty years earlier, a strong bipartisan majority passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which acknowledges that "since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel as the capital of Israel" and says the city should be recognized as such.

Now, thanks to leaked phone calls between an Egyptian intelligence officer and several prominent media figures, we know what Egypt thinks. They want to avoid war and to encourage some flexibility on the part of the Palestinians, the officer told his contacts.

And finally, we also know what The New York Times thinks of all that Egyptian moderation. It doesn't seem pleased. In a Dec. 7, front-page article about the leaked conversations, the newspaper it did its part to embarrass the Egyptians, framing the story in a way that casts the government in the harshest of lights, and even fabricating portions of what the Egyptian official said.

Here's what's clear: In the days after the U.S. announcement on Jerusalem, Egypt had taken steps to maintain calm, and went so far as to feed talking points to the media figures, who reportedly complied without hesitatio
SoundCloud rejects CAA complaint, refusing to act over Kelechi Okafor’s defence of antisemitic stereotyping in podcast
Responding to a complaint made by Campaign Against Antisemitism, SoundCloud, the popular music streaming service, has stated that it can see no problem with the antisemitic comments made by actress and fitness studio owner Kelechi Okafor during an episode of her podcast series, “Say Your Mind”.

Ms Okafor caused outrage when she defended recent comments about Jews made by BBC presenter Reggie Yates in which he claimed it was “great” that the young generation of grime music artists is not “managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren”. In her defence of Mr Yates, Ms Okafor insisted that his comments were truthful, and asserted that that the whole affair demonstrated “the power of a specific community”. She went on to make a series of remarks that relied on classic antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews and money, as well as Jewish power wielded for the exploitation of others.

Ms Okafor said that black entertainers had been “so short changed by the kind of people Reggie Yates describes”, adding that “all sorts of ethnicities” can be capable of this but “the fact is, these men has dominated the industry for decades” and are “taking most of the profits”. She claimed that black artists “are having to work [their] entire arse off while they’re keeping everything”. According to Ms Okafor, grime, RnB, and hip-hop music have been “diluted” by these supposed Jewish music managers who “like blackness as long as it’s making them money”. She claimed that annual commemorations of the Holocaust are more prominent than any memory of the slave trade, saying that these historical events were part of the “power dynamic” she was discussing.

DIY Network apologizes for host’s anti-Semitic haggling slur
The DIY Network has apologized after one of its hosts made an anti-Semitic remark during an episode that aired on the channel.

“Texas Flip N Move” host Toni Snow made the comment during the show’s season finale, which aired late last week.

“You’re not even gonna bicker a little bit? Jew us down?” Snow asked a participant who was prepared to pay the full asking price for a refurbished school bus.

Snow’s co-host and sister, Donna Snow, did not react to the comment, but just added: “You’re not even gonna blink an eye?”

“Jew down” is a derogatory expression meaning to haggle based on the anti-Semitic perception that Jews are cheap or love money.

In its apology, the DIY Network said that “an inappropriate comment unfortunately made it past our team.”
Will Holocaust crimes of Finnish volunteers in Ukraine go unpunished?
The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, has appealed to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to launch an official inquiry into the participation of Finnish volunteers in Holocaust crimes, in the wake of new research on their service in Ukraine in 1941.

Research published in October by Dr. Andre Swanström, chairman of the Finnish Society of Church History, strongly suggests that Finnish volunteers who served in the Viking Division of the Waffen-SS were actively involved in the mass murder of Jews in Ukraine.

Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that he was awaiting a response to a letter he sent earlier this month to Niinistö in which he wrote: “I am certain that you would agree that such revelations require a forthright response by the Finnish authorities and appropriate measures to investigate this matter.”

“You might recall that in a similar situation in November 2003, president Halonen immediately initiated the establishment of a commission of inquiry to examine the deportation from Finland of approximately 3,000 foreigners to Nazi Germany, among them Soviet political officers and Jewish prisoners of war, who were thereby sentenced to almost certain death,” he added.

The establishment of that commission resulted in extensive research and the publishing of numerous books on the subject. Zuroff hopes that the same will happen now, following the findings of this latest research.

“All the research until now claims the Finns were not involved in killing the Jews,” he said, noting that Finland protected its own Jewish community.

“And this comes as a total surprise to researchers and society – it’s important,” Zuroff told the Post. “It’s a pattern,” he added, noting that similar revelations were made recently regarding the role played by SS volunteers from Denmark and Norway.
What made Muslim Albanians risk their lives to save Jews from the Holocaust?
Most anywhere else in Nazi-occupied Europe, an encounter with police would have likely sealed the fate of Jewish refugees like Nissim and Sarah Aladjem and their 10-year-old son, Aron.

Instead, when the family was detained by police in the Muslim nation of Albania 75 years ago, it was the key to their survival.

The family was fleeing Bulgaria when they were detained by five police officers working for the occupation forces. Instead of turning them over to his occupiers, as he should have done with undocumented Jewish aliens, one of the policemen helped the Aladjems find shelter with other locals.

Far from unusual in Albania, the actions of that officer in 1943 — he has not been identified — attest to the prevalence and boldness of the efforts to rescue Jewish refugees in this nation situated northeast of Greece. It is perhaps the only Nazi-occupied country that had more Jews after the Holocaust than before.

Owing partly to what locals call Besa, a local code of honor and neighborly conduct, the rescue and survival of approximately 2,000 Jews by Albanians for decades had remained largely unknown. But thanks to recent studies and films, it is taking its place as a rare ray of light during otherwise dark times.
Palo Alto Networks opens new office in Tel Aviv
Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks is opening a new office and research and development site in Tel Aviv, as its local research team in Israel has “grown significantly” in the past three and a half years.

The Santa-Clara, California-based Palo Alto Networks started operations in Israel in 2014 after it acquired Cyvera; it bought LightCyber in 2017. The new offices will house over 200 employees in development, customer support, sales, DevOps, IT, HR, facilities and finance, the company said in a statement.

Tel Aviv is the only research and development site for Palo Alto Networks outside of its global headquarters in Santa Clara.

The teams in Israel and in the US are expected to grow “significantly” in the coming year, the company said.

“Over the last ten years, our growth has been fueled by the ingenuity, skills, and commitment of our global teams, who remain focused on maintaining trust in the digital age by preventing successful cyberattacks. Our Israel-based team has played a pivotal role here and will continue to do so,” said Mark McLaughlin, chairman and chief executive officer of Palo Alto Networks.
David Ben-Gurion's 1940 Mission to Rouse the Fighting Spirit of American Jews
In 1940, as millions of Jews came under Nazi control in the countries conquered by Hitler, and as the route to safety in Palestine remained closed by the British Mandatory power, three of Zionism’s greatest leaders traveled to America. They came at different times, on separate missions, but all three—Chaim Weizmann, the president of the Zionist Organization, Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky, the leader of the Revisionist Zionist movement, and David Ben-Gurion, the Labor Zionist leader who headed the Jewish Agency in Palestine—shared a single goal: to win support in America for a Jewish army to fight the Nazis alongside the British.

This article focuses on Ben-Gurion, the last to come. Writing to his wife Paula before leaving London for the United States, he said he wanted “to see with my own eyes what we can expect from America in wartime.” In particular, he wrote, “I want to know the extent of the contribution America’s Jews are prepared to make for the life of their own people.”

Ben-Gurion would remain in America for four months, on a visit that—like those of his two predecessors—would reveal a great deal not only about American Jews but also about their Zionist visitors. The following brief account draws on Ben-Gurion’s diary, translated into English for the first time, as well as on letters and other contemporaneous documents, most of them previously unpublished.
Israel – A Successful Powerhouse in the Collapsing Middle East
Economic indicators for Israel showed another successful year in 2017 as, for the first time ever, Israel’s GDP per capita has surpassed that of major industrialized countries such as Britain, Japan and France.

Israel stands out among the nations that won their independence after the Second World War. Despite facing more challenges than virtually any other country, Israel has transformed from a poor and fragile socialist backwater to a first world Start-Up nation of cutting-edge technologies and knowledge during seven brief decades, while fighting for its existence.

The failures of the Arab boycott and later the Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) campaign movement to destroy Israel’s economy are no less spectacular than the Muslim Arab failures to defeat Israel in the military battlefields. Israel’s economy is far stronger today than when BDS was launched in 2005.

The Economist publishes an annual global report with numerous data on the countries of the world. In its newly released report, Israel’s GDP per capita has, for the first time ever, surpassed $40,000. According to the Economist’s data, Israel’s GDP per capita grew from $38,127 in 2016 to $44,019 in 2017.

Israel’s economy expanded by 4.4 % during 2017, the highest growth rate among advanced economies. By contrast, the GDP per capita of France was almost $41,000 and nearly $40,000 for Japan.
650 works from NY Jewish Museum’s private stockpile on show in massive exhibit
Stepping into the third floor gallery of New York’s Jewish Museum is like walking into a life size curio cabinet where hundreds of objects, some never before seen, beckon.

Here a model of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem in a bottle, there a newly acquired Torah case donated to the museum from the JFK International Synagogue. There’s a beer stein decorated with a Star of David, and a tiny gold heart given from a son to his mother.

It’s a curators’ conundrum: how to decide what goes on display and what stays boxed away. Ironically, for the staff at the Jewish Museum, knowing there are more than 30,000 objects spanning 4,000 years of history in the museum’s permanent collection makes the process harder.

Curators must avoid repetition — how many pairs of Shabbat candlesticks are just enough to get the point across? And they aim to tell stories through artifacts — so as rare as an object might be, if it doesn’t fit into a particular narrative it won’t be added to the exhibit. All this means only a fraction of the museum’s permanent collection is on display at any given time.

Until now.

For the next year the third floor of the museum will serve as a Jewish cultural attic of sorts, as over 650 works from antiquities to contemporary art are on display — many for the first time.
A model of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, in a bottle. (Jewish Museum)

But the new exhibition is about more than the sheer number and breadth of objects in the museum’s inventory. “Scenes from the Collection” reveals how these items fit in to the larger story of how Jewish culture intersects with art.

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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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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