Friday, January 26, 2018

From Ian:

President Rivlin to foreign envoys: Israel ‘not compensation for Holocaust’
President Reuven Rivlin is not a lone voice in the wilderness when he insists the creation of the State of Israel was not compensation for the Holocaust.

He is supported in this belief by Prof. Dina Porat, the chief historian at Yad Vashem.

Rivlin was speaking on Thursday to foreign diplomats who braved the inclement weather to attend the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event for the diplomatic corps at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Rivlin noted that his own family came to the Land of Israel well over a century before the Holocaust and said other Jewish families were already living here long before the arrival of his own ancestors. “The State of Israel is not a colonial project, and not compensation for the Holocaust,” he declared. “The State of Israel came into being from the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in its own homeland.”

Porat, in a video presentation, explained how Holocaust denial can be manipulated to delegitimize Israel’s existence. She said former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust ever happened as a pretext for saying if there was no Holocaust there was no legitimacy for the State of Israel.

Then, endorsing Rivlin’s contention, Porat stated: “The State of Israel did not come out of the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad ignores the fact that the State of Israel came out of Zionism that was there 70 years before the Holocaust.”
UK Parliament Passes Resolution Deeming Hezbollah in Its Entirety a Terrorist Organization
Members of Parliament on Thursday supported a non-binding resolution in the House of Commons to proscribe Hezbollah as a terrorist organization under UK terrorism legislation.

There was widespread support for the move to proscribe the political wing of Hezbollah. Currently, only the military wing is defined as a terrorist organization in UK law. The full text of the resolution said: “This House believes that Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation driven by an antisemitic ideology that seeks the destruction of Israel; notes that Hezbollah declares itself to be one organisation without distinguishable political or military wings; is concerned that the military wing of that organisation is proscribed, but its political wing is not; and calls on the Government to include Hezbollah in its entirety on the list of proscribed organisations.”

During the debate, Labour MP Joan Ryan, who proposed the motion, said: “Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation, driven by antisemitic ideology, which seeks the destruction of Israel. It has wreaked death and destruction throughout the middle east, aiding and abetting the Assad regime’s butchery in Syria and helping to drive Iran’s expansionism throughout the region. It makes no distinction between its political and military wings, and nor should the British Government.”

Ahead of the debate, the Labour Party sent a briefing note to Labour MPs urging them to oppose the motion, claiming it would hinder peace talks in the Middle East. The briefing made no mention of Hezbollah’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Syria or its long history of carrying out terrorist attacks. The briefing said: “There is a balance between making absolutely clear our abhorrence of using violence to achieve political ends and at the same time encouraging organisations down an effective democratic path.”
The Photo That Never Saw The Light of Day: Obama With Farrakhan In 2005
A journalist announced last week that he will publish a photograph of then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that he took in 2005 at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting, but did not make public because he believed it would have “made a difference” to Obama’s political future.

The photographer, Askia Muhammad, told the Trice Edney News Wire that he “gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy.”

“But after the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover,” Muhammad said.

Asked whether he thought the photo’s release would have affected Obama’s presidential campaign, Muhammad said, “I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.”

Reached by TPM on Thursday, Muhammad said a “staff member” for the CBC contacted him “sort of in a panic” after he took the photo at a caucus meeting in 2005. TPM has published the photo above with Muhammad’s permission.

“I sort of understood what was going on,” Muhammad told TPM. “I promised and made arrangements to give the picture to Leonard Farrakhan,” the minister’s son-in-law and chief of staff.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Holocaust Memorial Day Statement Leaves Out the Jews
Last January, Donald Trump infamously omitted mention of the Jews from his Holocaust Memorial Day statement, provoking a national scandal and withering criticism from liberals. Today, Jeremy Corbyn, the leftist leader of the U.K. Labour party, released his Holocaust Memorial Day statement—and did the exact same thing.

As has been widely reported, Labour under Corbyn has been rocked by escalating anti-Semitism scandals, leading to the suspension of dozens of officials, and extending all the way up to Corbyn himself. Before the 2017 U.K. election, just 13 percent of British Jews said they would vote for Corbyn’s Labour, the same as the percentage of Muslims who voted for Donald Trump. This Holocaust statement, then, offered Corbyn an easy opportunity to mend some fences with British Jews and show that he takes their concerns into account.

Instead, he managed to erase Jews from the story of their own genocide. Here is Corbyn’s statement in its entirety:

We should never forget the Holocaust: The millions who died, the millions displaced and cruel hurt their descendants have suffered.
We should understand the way fascism arose in Germany and the circumstances that gave space for the Nazis to grow.
At this, and at all other times, we should reflect and make sure succeeding generations understand the power of words.
Their power to do immense good and inspire; and their power to promote hate and division.
Let us use their power to educate to inspire but above all to build values of trust and respect.

Corbyn was seemingly unaware of the irony of calling for people to be circumspect in using their “power of words” while utterly effacing the Holocaust’s primary victims from his account of their murder. The Times columnist Hugo Rifkind, among others, expressed his disbelief: (h/t Elder of Lobby)

The inevitable politicization of International Holocaust Remembrance Day
When President Donald Trump left Jews out of his remarks for International Holocaust Remembrance Day last year, he inadvertently gave the relatively new commemoration an unprecedented amount of publicity. Ahead of this Saturday’s observance, the annual tribute is already drawing headlines, from an Israel-related show-down in South Carolina’s legislature to Jewish leaders preparing to boycott Austria’s official observance in parliament.

The day of Holocaust memory was proposed at the United Nations by Israel in 2005. In addition to encouraging education about the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust, the authors of Resolution 60/7 sought to push back against denial of the genocide. January 27 was chosen because on that date in 1945, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews from all over Europe were murdered during World War II.

With last year’s tribute notable for what was not said, activists around the world are drawing battle-lines in anticipation of this Saturday’s observance. In a climate of far-right political parties gaining sway across Europe, leaders of Austria’s tiny Jewish community said they will not attend the parliament’s Shoah observance because legislators of the Freedom Party are set to participate. Founded by a former Nazi SS officer in 1956, the party is opposed to anti-Nazi legislation and has sparked protests among Austrians alarmed by its nationalist agenda.

“If there will be ministers there from the Freedom Party, and I’m sure there will be, I will not be able to shake their hands, so the Jewish community will not attend,” said Oskar Deutsch, president of Vienna’s Jewish community, in an interview last week.

Austria has punished very few Nazi perpetrators compared to Germany and other countries, and there is not a strong culture of “memory work” with regards to the past, as in Germany. The Freedom Party has been in power before, and the Jewish community has officially maintained a no-contact policy with it for 17 years.

Across the pond in South Carolina, Saturday’s commemoration has been declared the deadline to pass a bill that would codify a universal definition of anti-Semitism among state institutions. For several weeks, Governor Henry McMaster has been calling on the senate to pass the codification measure before January 27. The bill would make South Carolina the first state to define anti-Semitism as per the US State Department’s guidelines, which include Holocaust denial and the rejection of Israel’s right to exist among forms of anti-Semitic expression.
Trump releases 2018 Holocaust day statement, this time mentions Jews
US President Donald Trump released on Friday the second International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement of his presidency. This time, however, he mentioned anti-Semitism and the Jews.

“We take this opportunity to recall the Nazis’ systematic persecution and brutal murder of six million Jewish people,” he said for the annual day of remembrance that is marked January 27.

It marked a stark difference from last year, in which he failed mention that six million of the victims of the Holocaust were Jewish.

Trump’s 2017 omission prompted widespread criticism and anger. The Anti-Defamation League’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called it “puzzling and troubling,” while the White House rationalized that it was more inclusive of other communities who were also targeted by the Nazi regime.

Trump’s 2018 statement also mentioned the other groups beyond Jews who were victims of the the Holocaust.
Melania Trump skips Davos, visits Holocaust museum
First lady Melania Trump remembered the millions of victims of the Nazis, with a visit Thursday to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the people whose lives and families were broken by the horrors of the Holocaust,” the first lady said in a statement. “My heart is with you, and we remember.”

The first lady later tweeted that the visit was “a powerful & moving tour that honors the millions of innocent lives lost, and educates us on the tragedies and effects of the holocaust.”

US President Donald Trump was at a global economic summit in Davos, Switzerland.

Mrs. Trump was originally scheduled to accompany her husband to Davos for the World Economic Forum. But Tuesday, her chief of staff said Mrs. Trump would not make the trip to the summit, citing unspecified scheduling and logistical issues.

Mrs. Trump on Thursday said she was visiting the museum in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday to honor millions of people who were victims of the Nazis. Accompanied by Director Sara Bloomfield, Mrs. Trump visited exhibits that recounted the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, its policies toward Jewish people and the liberation of concentration camps in 1945.
Saudi-based group: ‘Who in his right mind’ could deny the Holocaust?
The Saudi Arabia-based Muslim World League this week characterized the Holocaust as “among the worst human atrocities ever,” and condemned efforts to deny the Nazi crimes.

“True Islam is against these crimes. It classifies them in the highest degree of penal sanctions and among the worst human atrocities ever,” wrote Dr. Mohammad Alissa, secretary general of the Muslim World League, to Sara Bloomfield, director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, on Monday.

“One would ask, who in his right mind would accept, sympathize, or even diminish the extent of this brutal crime,” he wrote.

The letter to the museum director, which came ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, did not explicitly mention the murder of Jews.

But Alissa expressed “our great sympathy with the victims of the Holocaust, an incident that shook humanity to the core, and created an event whose horrors could not be denied or underrated by any fair-minded or peace-loving person.”

The Muslim World League is a non-government organization of Sunni scholars, based in Mecca. Its primary donor is the Saudi Arabian kingdom, according to its website.
JPost Editorial: Remembering fascism
International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which falls on Saturday, was designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005 to commemorate the Allied Forces’ victory over the fascist Axis nations. It was on January 27, 1945, that Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest German concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army. It was chosen as a fitting date for the world to remember the dangers of fascism as an ideology capable of justifying and carrying out genocide.

The battle against the fascist Germany, Italy and Japan is what brought together a totalitarian Soviet Union and the democracies of America, Britain and other Anglo nations, which otherwise were deeply divided ideologically.

Yet, 73 years after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, far-right and radical-right parties are enjoying a resurgence on the same continent that so recently fought the deadliest war in human history to eradicate fascism.

Of course, the vast majority of popular right-wing parties that have taken power in Hungary, Poland and Austria and that have seriously challenged ruling parties in Germany, France and the Netherlands are hardly comparable to oldschool German or Italian fascism. They do not profess an anti-democratic ideology, let alone advocate genocide.

Rather, they tend to receive most of their support from (mostly white) Europeans who are concerned about (a mostly Muslim) immigration threat.

Right-wing leaders of Europe talk of strengthening “Christian values.” They tend to advance a “nativist” agenda that strives to ensure the state remains inhabited by ethnic natives and that views aliens as a threat.

And in reaction to the Brussels-based elitist EU rule, they tend to be populist, which means they portray their societies as composed of two warring groups: a corrupt elite, and honest and good common folk.

What’s more, many of these right-wing parties are pro-Israel, due in large part to the perception that Israel and Europe confront a common radical Islamist threat.

This is not to say that right-wing antisemitism has passed from Europe. There are occasional reminders that prominent right-wing European leaders can be prone to espousing classical antisemitic tropes.
No, Israel Isn’t on the Brink of Fascism
Not satisfied with proclaiming the imminent death of Israeli democracy, some on the Israeli left have begun warning that the country is sliding into fascism. One recent headline read, “In Israel, Growing Fascism and a Racism Akin to Early Nazism.” To Ofir Haivry, these arguments are nonsense, and not only because they confuse off-the-cuff statements of fringe politicians with actual policy or depict fairly modest proposals as outrages against human decency:

Israel is certainly not a perfect place. Like any democratic state, it has its fair share of problems, conflicts, and quirks. But a democratic society with problems is a far, far cry from a non-democratic one; and an even farther cry from a fascistic one. But this basic category error—that a democracy with a few problems is equivalent to fascism—is not [new]. In fact, those who oppose democracy have often used a democracy’s compromises to claim a moral equivalence between those democracies and the deliberate evil of dictatorships.

The actions of democracies during World War II, such as the British “area bombing” of German cities and the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans, were and still are used quite often by spokesmen for dictatorships to allege a moral equivalence between the Western democracies and the Nazis. Maybe, so the narrative goes, the Nazis weren’t so bad if Churchill and Roosevelt were just as bad as Hitler? This equivalence is not only a misunderstanding of history; it’s a misunderstanding of what morality is.

To try to claim moral equivalence between the Nazis and even the most controversial actions taken by democracies defending themselves against mortal attacks—actions that, however misguided, are altogether of another order of magnitude than the deliberate planning and executing of genocide—is to erase the distinctions that make some humans into murderers. . . .
Brendan O’Neill: One year on: the lethal folly of calling Trump Hitler
The use and abuse of the Holocaust era, the exploitation of the Nazi experience to dent Trump’s legitimacy, was widespread. It could be seen on demos against Trump, too, on which placards depicted him in a Hitler moustache or warned us against ‘a repeat of the 1930s’. On a London march, one group of people held placards showing Trump dressed like Hitler alongside the words: ‘We’re history teachers — we know how this ends.’

Let’s hope these people aren’t teaching your kids. For it is hard to think of anything more historically illiterate, and more dangerously cynical, than the casual branding of Trump as Hitler and the widespread hints over the past year — the predictions, even — that his rule would end the same way Hitler’s did: with death camps, presumably, and millions dead, and global war, and the absolute destruction of liberty, political freedom and the rule of law. None of that has happened, of course. The Hitler talk was so much steam, with observers rummaging around in history for the strongest political terms with which Trump might be branded and condemned. This has made it more difficult to see what is new and different and, yes, problematic about Trump’s administration. The unhinged Nazi talk discourages reasoned analysis in favour of chasing the cheap thrill of yelling ‘fascist!’ at someone you don’t like. It is profoundly anti-intellectual.

But it does something worse than muddy the present and harm rational debate about politics today; it also ravages the past; it relativises the Nazi experience and, unwittingly no doubt, dilutes the savagery of the Holocaust through comparing that immense crime with what is simply an elected American administration many people don’t like. This might not be Holocaust denial, but it is certainly Holocaust dilution. It is Holocaust relativism. And as some historians have been pointing out since the 1970s, Holocaust relativism, the treatment of the Nazi era as just a wicked brand of politics that crops up every now and then, including now, is the foundation stone of the vile prejudices that underpin actual Holocaust denial. It ‘minimises Nazi atrocities’, as one guide to the Holocaust put it, which in turns fuels the conviction of many Jew-haters: that the Holocaust and the events that nurtured it were not that a big deal. Calm down, Jews.

This is why we cannot forget or forgive what they said about Trump — not because we need to protect Trump from insult, but because we need to protect historical memory from destruction. This is the terrible irony of the worst outbursts of anti-Trump hysteria over the past year: it presented itself as a challenge to an ascendant neo-Nazism, yet its casual, thoughtless use of the Nazi spectre promoted a history-rewriting view of the Nazi era that benefits no one except neo-Nazis.
'In 10 years, the Muslim Brotherhood will dictate the tone'
Just as his new television series "B'zehut B'duyah" ("under a false identity") was wrapping up, reality became stranger than any fiction Zvi Yehezkeli, a veteran Arab affairs correspondent, could ever have imagined when he and his crew were arrested in Turkey.

"When we were shooting the show, I changed clothes in the car and passersby reported seeing someone go into a vehicle wearing one thing and come out wearing something different," he recalls. "Turns out that we were covertly put under surveillance since then, culminating in our arrest on our last day in Istanbul. We were arrested by the local counterterrorism unit."

Q: Were you scared?
"My friend, it wasn't easy. I also had a fake Syrian passport, which I had used to enter Germany while impersonating a refugee for the show. Our vehicle was full of disguises, and they came looking for terrorists. I was scared they would confiscate all the footage we had shot.

Q: Forget about the footage. What about prison?
"There were thoughts about what a bummer it would be to end up in a Turkish prison. One of my crew members said to me, 'That's it. We're done. We're going to rot in jail and no one is going to get us out of here.'" (h/t Elder of Lobby)
David Collier: The BDS cult and the dancing Jewish students – a night at UCL
Last night, 25 Jan, Hen Mazzig returned to University College London (UCL) for a talk. Hen has uploaded his discussion with the UCL Provost on Facebook. Hen had been invited there following the disgraceful scenes that faced him upon his first visit in 2016. For those that do not remember, anti-Israel protestors attempted to no-platform Hen. The event went ahead in a different room, with Jewish students penned inside and surrounded by screaming haters. The protest was intimidating, violent in places, and the Jewish students needed to be escorted off campus by police. The University brought some students up on disciplinary charges (the demonstrators yesterday, kept referencing ‘five Muslim students’ – I am assuming this is accurate).

The ‘Return of Hen’, to UCL has not been without controversy. Worried about another demonstration, either through a deliberate disruption inside, or mass protest outside, the University clamped down on both attendance and advertising. Even Jewish students from another campus were not permitted to register.

As was predicted, the anti-Israel crowd organised a protest. ‘UCL Friends of Palestine Society’ uploaded a call to their Facebook page. And followed up with some hard-hitting adverts, trying to drum up support:

In truth, it didn’t seem to have as much of an impact within anti-Israel groups as last time. Many of the ‘shares’ were from Zionists, who were discussing this activity on their own pages. Many of the comments were from Hen and his supporters. Pro-Israeli students, arranged a counter protest at UCL, wavering between a simple counter demonstration or a more positive ‘Tel Aviv takes the Quad‘ event, that would see them hold a small party and share food and drink with other students.

In the end, about 50-60 anti-Israel activists showed up at the UCL Quad, which is a central area just inside the main gates onto the UCL campus. A group of about 20 Jewish students were there to meet them.
Qanta A. Ahmed: Jerusalem belongs to the Jews: Islam says so
The Eternal City may never have been more contested than it is today. As many across the globe continue to challenge Israel’s right to claim Jerusalem as its capital, US Vice President Mike Pence‘s delicate visit to the Middle East came at a critical time.

Palestinian rhetoric, triggered by US President Donald Trump’s announcement to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, has been magnified by the President’s recent decision to sever $65 million in US aid to the Palestinians. Elsewhere in the region, the leaders of Egypt and Jordan, staunch US allies, must acknowledge Palestinian outrage without alienating the United States.

In his 2011 book, Jerusalem: The Biography, historian Simon Sebag Montefiore captures the theological mystery within which Jerusalem remains suspended, describing it as “the house of one God, the capital of two peoples, the temple of three religions, and she is the only city to exist twice — in heaven and on earth.”

But as a believing Muslim observing Islam, I am compelled by the Quran to support Israel’s sole claim to the Holy Land; the Quran says it is so.

The 80,000-word document 1.6 billion Muslims accept as the revealed word of God, the Quran, is categorical about the destiny of Israel and the people who can claim its ownership.

The Quran states: “Moses said to his people: O my people! Remember the bounty of God upon you when He bestowed prophets upon you, and made you kings and gave you that which had not been given to anyone before you amongst the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.”
Islam’s Jewish dilemma revisited
In the aftermath of all three sermons, I want to stress, I came across some reassuring signs that in America, we deal with these issues with an honesty that is absent in much of Europe and certainly the Middle East. In the New Jersey case, Sen. Cory Booker quickly issued a thundering denunciation of Elkasaby’s anti-Semitism, at the same time telling his friend, Islamic Center President Ahmed Shedeed, to “publicly and unconditionally denounce Imam Elkasaby’s hateful rhetoric, which was delivered at your house of worship before your congregants.” In the case of Al-Rousan, the Islamic Society of Greater Houston condemned him for making “inflammatory remarks about our Jewish community in a deeply disturbing tone.” In the case of Khadra in Raleigh, an email exchange I had with him revealed some awareness on his part of the negative impact of his remark, and a desire to meet with local Jews to mend fences and restate the non-discriminatory principles of interfaith dialogue.

In each of these cases, I spoke to Muslim leaders who expressed some degree of remorse or condemnation, and did not deny—as would often be the case in Europe—that such rhetoric is judged in the American context as an actual threat to the Jews living here, and therefore a potential threat to most precious norms and conventions of the nation at large.

That this recognition exists strikes me as a decent enough foundation for a more transparent dialogue between Judaism and Islam in America. As a country with no official religion, whose citizens nonetheless embrace different faiths in vast numbers, America is the ideal location for such a conversation. And it needs to begin by recognizing that there is, as Nirenberg says in his book, a strong message in the Quran and in other key Muslim texts that “Islam, like Christianity, staked its claims in the name of Jewish truth, but guaranteed those claims with Jewish falsity.” Hence the temptation for Muslim preachers to address contemporary issues like Jerusalem through the filter of Jewish deceit and Jewish disobedience—“they believed, then disbelieved, therefore a seal was set on their hearts so they do not understand,” the Quran says—that permeated the depiction of the Jews in the early world of Islam.

Nobody can pretend that these anti-Jewish texts, beliefs and traditions do not exist. But the experience of Jews with the Catholic Church during the last half-century—in which fundamental doctrines about the demonic nature of the Jews dating to the time of St. Paul have been dispensed with—suggests that there is very little in this world that is immovable. Certainly, those of us who believe that Jewish-Muslim coexistence can only be achieved on the basis of mutual respect, as well as mutual commitment to civic, secular government and society, should aim for nothing less.
B Is for Boycott
“He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.” — Benjamin Franklin

Recently Columbia University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) launched a petition to boycott a small New York City bookstore chain called Book Culture. So far the petition has attracted the usual suspects, including SJP and JVP students and 18 anti-Israel Columbia/Barnard professors including Katherine Franke, Brinkley Messick, Joseph Massad and Hamid Dabashi.

It is a natural impulse of all people of good conscience to come to the aid of a bookstore attacked by bigots and radical extremists. However, I must urge all to consider the wider context before rushing to Book Culture’s defense.

As it happens, Book Culture’s owners are far from being innocent victims in this widely-eported story. Ironically, they are in fact Palestinian sympathizers who actually financed and promoted the now notorious children’s book that started it all, P is for Palestine. Only when community backlash to the book threatened their business did they attempt to moderate their position in some clumsy damage control. It was in response to their subsequent disavowal of support for terrorism against Israeli civilians and their rejection of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel that SJP and JVP subsequently turned on them and initiated their boycott.
IsraellyCool: It’s Official: Richard Silverstein is One of Dumbest Israel Haters On The Planet
Ever since he got burned by the parody Mossad account, DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein has had a soft-on for them, and has tried to find get revenge against them for making him look as stupid as he actually is.

Over a month after the parody Mossad account made this (valid) point
(yes, a month later. He clearly has issues)

self-proclaimed “journalist” Silverstein responded

Dare challenge accepted. And actually, it took me about 2 seconds.

That photo of Leonard Cohen with the IDF is from the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Now kindly delete your account, Dicky. It is way past time.
New Orleans City Council rescinds BDS-backed resolution
The New Orleans City Council on Thursday unanimously rescinded a resolution concerning the city's investment policies after it sparked accusations that members had unwittingly played into the hands of international anti-Israel extremists.

The Jan. 11 resolution states that the city has "social and ethical obligations to take steps to avoid contracting with or investing in corporations whose practices consistently violate human rights, civil rights or labor rights" and it "encourages the creation of a process" to avoid such investments.

While the resolution did not name any specific nation, it was decried by the Anti-Defamation League and the Greater New Orleans Jewish Federation as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

Members of the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee and boycott, divestment and sanctions movement activists later admitted that the process targeted Israel, but said other nations would be affected by it as well.

Immediately after the measure was rescinded, demonstrators broke into songs of protest, prompting a half-hour recess. Outside the meeting room, resolution supporters who had been unable to enter because of space limitations held protest signs up against the glass wall while chanting.
Yisrael Medad: Another Letter That Didn't Get Published
This was sent to the NY Times:

Your editorial, "Mike Pence’s Self-Serving Trip to the Holy Land ​" (January 23), accused Vice-President Pence of choosing "to ignore Israelis’ shared history with the Palestinians" in his Knesset speech earlier this week.

Did you really want him to recount the murderous pogroms Arabs committed against Jews in Hebron, Gaza, Jerusalem during 1920-1947 which caused an ethnic-cleansing of those Jews from homes in which they resided, in some cases for centuries and over 1000 dead Jews? The war of aggression initiated by Arabs of Mandate Palestine in 1947 in violation of the UN's Partition recommendation? The decade of fedayeen terror until 1956? The founding of the PLO in 1964, three years prior to the so-called 1967 "occupation" and the construction of any Jewish civilian resettlement homes in Judea and Samaria or Gaza?

Tom Gross: Are the NY Times and BBC biased against Israel? Ignoring gas attacks on civilians in Syria

Tom Gross: Obsessive scrutiny of Israel, while 10,000 civilian deaths in 2017 by US and allies in Mosul ignored

Stats defy the BBC’s repeated portrayal of a ‘siege’ on Gaza
On January 24th Israel’s Ministry of Defence published a summary of its Crossings Authority’s activity during 2017. In the section relating to the Kerem Shalom crossing the report states:

“The movement of Israeli goods that entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing grew and reached some 160 thousand lorries. The peak of the year was recorded in April when in one day over 1,000 lorries carrying goods crossed the crossing.”

The report also states that in 2017 there was a rise of 15% in the amount of goods transported and in the number of people using the various crossings to the Gaza Strip and Judea & Samaria administered by the authority, with 15 million crossings by Palestinians recorded.

Obviously a media organisation seriously committed to accurate and impartial reporting would not portray, or facilitate portrayal of, 160,000 truckloads of supplies in one year as a “siege”. The BBC, however, continues to do just that.
Catholic school principal resigns for disparaging Jews, blacks
The principal of a Catholic high school in Rhode Island resigned after a short video surfaced showing him slurring Jews and blacks.

Jay Brennan, the longtime principal of Bishop Hendricken High School, resigned Friday over the video.

The all-boys school is 13% minority, WPRI TV reported, citing statistics released by a board member.

The six-second video that was secretly recorded in the principal’s office comprises one sentence that is disparaging of both Jews and blacks, according to the report.

Brennan said in an apology released on Friday: “I first apologize to our Hendricken families and in particular our young men who I have hurt. I love all the Hendricken students and tried to show that every day when I entered the school. I would never intend to hurt any of our young men, of any race, color or creed. I am so sorry for the hurt for which I am responsible. I wish there was a way that you could know that in my heart, I am not a racist, I am not an anti-Semite and that I truly care for each member of the Hendricken community.”

Brennan has worked at the school for 40 years.
Anti-Semitic verbal abuse 'part of everyday life for Jews in Germany'
Anti-Semitic abuse is "part of everyday Jewish life in Germany", the head of the Central Council of Jews has said.

The council's president, Dr Josef Schuster, made the claim in an interview with the founder of the Faces of Democracy initiative, Sven Lilienström, published in The Local Germany.

Schuster said it was impossible to speak of "individual cases of verbal attacks" against Jewish people in Germany.

"It is part of everyday Jewish life that our institutions are under police protection, Jewish pupils are under police protection and we are increasingly reluctant to make ourselves known as Jews in public," he said.

Anti-Semitic views were more openly articulated now than several decades ago because of the internet. "In the social networks we find a verbal lack of inhibition which is dangerous, especially on the far-right of the political spectrum," he said.

An "anti-Israel attitude is spreading in society," he added.

"Israel's right to exist is called into question, or Jews in general are held liable for the policies of the Israeli government. That's anti-Semitism," he told Lilienström.
Italian Soccer club fined but avoids stadium ban for Anne Frank photo
Lazio has been fined 50,000 euros ($61,000) but avoided a stadium ban over posters created by their fans featuring Holocaust victim Anne Frank, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Thursday.

FIGC prosecutor Giuseppe Pecoraro had demanded a fine and for two games to be played behind closed doors after Lazio’s infamous ultra fans fly-posted photographs of Anne Frank on a shirt of bitter city rivals Roma during a game against Cagliari last October.

But the FIGC said in a statement Thursday that its sporting tribunal had decided on a “partial acceptance” of the prosecutor’s requests.
Remembering the Baghdad hangings, 49 years ago
Tomorrow is Holocaust Memorial Day. Although the event is not remotely comparable to the mass extermination of six million Jews, it is also 49 years since the Ba'ath party regime hanged nine innocent Jews in Baghdad's Liberation Square. Half a million Iraqis came to sing and dance under the corpses. Of the nine victims, four had their ages falsified because they were under the legal age for hanging of 18.

A few days ago, Richard Atrakchi appeared on the Israeli Arabic Channel to recall his memories of that fateful time. You can see his interview (Arabic) from 16:47 minutes into the video below. The clip has some rare footage of the scenes in Liberation Square on 27 January 1969.
Yad Vashem stages ambitious show of photos taken by Nazis and their victims
Near the end of Jerusalem-based exhibition “Flashes of Memory: Photography During the Holocaust,” is a glass case containing a loose pile of postcard-size photographs of scenes from the Dachau concentration camp. Some show inmates shoving dead bodies into crematoria. Others show torture scenes, with prisoners’ bodies hanging from nooses.

These images in Yad Vashem: The World Holocaust Remembrance Center’s new show are horrific, but they are not here merely to shock. Rather, they — like the other more than 1,500 others — are meant to provoke questions about who took them, where, when, how, and why.

The Dachau photos are authentic, but not in the usual sense of the word. They were taken by US Signal Corps troops who liberated the camp in April 1945, and the scenes depicted in them are reenactments staged with the help of former inmates. The images were captured, printed and disseminated widely throughout Allied-occupied Germany for the purpose of reeducating the German population.

They also ended up in the hands of historical commissions set up by Jews in displaced persons camps throughout Europe, and in those of US soldiers who took them home with them. More than 70 years later, people are still discovering them in old shoeboxes and albums and regularly offering them to Holocaust museums. Most of the donors are ignorant of, or mistaken about, the true context of the photos’ creation.

Virtually none of the still and moving images made by the Nazis, Jews and liberating Allied forces displayed in “Flashes of Memory” are revealed here for the first time. They were previously published or shown elsewhere, with some, like “The Warsaw Ghetto Boy” photo having achieved iconic status. Most are from Yad Vashem’s collection of over half a million Holocaust-related photographs (originals and copies).
With tribute by Israeli astronaut’s son, NASA honors 7 killed aboard Columbia
NASA honored the seven astronauts killed aboard shuttle Columbia 15 years ago, with a special musical tribute Thursday by the son of Israel’s first astronaut.

Singer and songwriter Tal Ramon joined a few hundred others at Kennedy Space Center to remember the Columbia crew and other astronauts killed in the line of duty over the decades.

Seven astronauts — including Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon — died Feb. 1, 2003, when Columbia shattered in the skies over Texas, just minutes before a Florida touchdown.

Ramon performed two of his own songs, singing in Hebrew and playing the keyboard. Later, he and relatives of other astronauts killed in action, placed long-stemmed, yellow, orange and pink roses at the Space Mirror Memorial. In all, 24 names are engraved in the large granite monument.

“I’m just so emotional to be here with you,” Ramon told the crowd before performing at the first Kennedy memorial he’s attended.

It was also difficult for forest ranger Gregory Cohrs, who was among the first on the accident scene in Hemphill, Texas. Cohrs worked for three months scouring the area for shuttle debris and the astronauts’ remains. He now serves at Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana.
British family in final push to bring daughter to Israel for leg-saving operation
A British family has launched a final appeal to raise funds to bring their six-year-old daughter to Israel for special surgery that will allow her to keep her leg.

Kyra Warrell of Brighton, located on the south coast of England, is afflicted with proximal focal femoral deficiency, which will leave her left leg about 8 inches shorter than her right if left untreated.

A crowdfunding campaign, Step-By-Step with Kyra: The First Hurdle, has so far raised nearly £44,000 ($62,000) out of £58,000 ($82,000) needed for the critical surgery due to take place next week, the first of three procedures that will take place before Kyra is 16.

Doctors at Britain’s National Health Service decided that an above-the-knee amputation, to allow for a prosthetic limb, is the best option.

But Kyra’s parents, Rima and Neil Warrell, want their daughter, who loves dancing and gymnastics, to be able to keep her leg and have turned to the internet for assistance in funding a unique medical procedure.

They have discovered a special leg-lengthening surgery performed by an Israeli-born physician, Dror Paley, who is internationally recognized for his expertise in limb lengthening and reconstruction. Paley, the director of the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, has performed more than 20,000 limb lengthening and reconstruction-related procedures, according to the institute’s website.
Israel, Croatia agree to push forward with $500m. F-16 fighter jet deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic have agreed to push forward with a sale of Israel Air Force F-16 fighter jets to Croatia which has been upgrading its air force.

Croatia has been considering plans to purchase the Israeli jets in order to replace their fleet of 12 Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21 fighter jets to be delivered by late 2020.

The value of the deal is worth some $500 million subject to the conditions of the tender. The final decision on the bid winner is set to be made by the end of the year.

“This development is another expression of the deep ties between the two countries,” read a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Other contenders for the design deal include secondhand Lockheed Martin's F-16 offered by the US and Greece, or Saab's JAS-39 Gripen from Sweden. A report by the Defense News website said that Croatian government had initially considered purchasing the French Mirage and a variant of South Korea's T-50 when the plan was first unveiled in 2015.
Number of Arab students in Israeli universities grows 78% in 7 years
The number of Arab students in Israeli universities grew by 78.5% over the past seven years, according to new research by Israel’s Council for Higher Education (CHE).

According to the survey, Arab students accounted for 16.1% of undergraduate students in Israeli universities, up from 10.2 % in 2010.

This increase has carried over to graduate programs, where the percentage of Arab students since 2010 has doubled from 6.2% to 13%. In postgraduate programs, the proportion of Arab students rose 60% from 3.9% to 6.3%.

The survey, which was reported Wednesday in the Marker business daily, was tracking the success of a CHE program aimed at better integrating the Arab Israeli community into higher education. The government spent NIS 300 million ($88 million) on the program in 2012-2016.

Jawbone fossil found in Israeli cave resets clock for modern human evolution
A jawbone found in a cave in Israel’s Mount Carmel region has reset the clock on human evolution.

The fossil, the earliest known record of Homo sapiens outside of Africa, was discovered in 2002 during an excavation of the prehistoric Misliya Cave. After 15 years of intensive research by an international team of multidisciplinary scientists, the unique remains of an adult upper jawbone, complete with several teeth, has been dated to 170,000-200,000 years ago.

“This has changed the whole concept of modern human evolution,” said Prof. Israel Hershkovitz of the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The research was published Thursday in the prestigious Science magazine.
Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Israel Hershkovitz (left) and University of Haifa’s Prof. Mina Weinstein-Evron. (courtesy)

Based on fossils found in Ethiopia, for the past 50 years scientists have believed that modern humans appeared in Africa, the “cradle of humanity,” roughly 160,000-200,000 years ago. The earliest record of migration outside of Africa was dated to around 90,000-120,000 years ago, through fossils discovered at digs in Israel’s Skhul and Qafzeh caves almost 90 years ago.

With this Misliya cave jawbone, however, the history of human evolution is being rewritten.

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