Thursday, August 23, 2018

From Ian:

The grave danger of media bias
This past May, the Los Angeles Times ran the headline “A Baby Girl Dies in the Haze of Gaza,” which told a story about eight-month-old Palestinian Layla Ghandour, who was allegedly killed by inhaling tear gas used by Israeli defense forces. This story was tragic and upsetting. It was also untrue. The New York Times and other major outlets published similar stories, framing Israel and Israeli soldiers as child-killing villains, amplifying Hamas’s false narrative about Layla’s death.

Following this wave of coverage, Layla’s cousin admitted that Hamas paid his relatives to lie to the media about Layla’s cause of death. In reality, Layla died from a preexisting blood condition. Of course, the family of a deceased baby deserves any rational person’s sympathy, but when the media falls prey to Hamas propaganda that uses the death of an innocent baby to degrade Israel, no one, except for Hamas, wins. Even today, this story continues to be available for a wide audience to read and reference, without any disclaimer that it is based on falsified information.

Then, amid this summer’s Great March of Return protests, each one a violent attempts to cross into Israel’s borders and kill civilians, the LA Times reported on June 18 that “about 130 protesters have been killed by Israeli troops.” In fact, the group of “protesters” consisted of a significant number of armed and active Hamas combatants. The Times ignored this fact and the intent of this march, as prior to this coverage, a senior Hamas official had admitted that most of the Gazans who died in the protests were Hamas members, terrorist operatives with the intention of killing innocent Israeli men, women and children.

This misinformation matters because media outlets have great power. They shape the way we understand the world and, ultimately, drive our behavior. It is no exaggeration to say that their activity can have life-and-death implications. The pattern in coverage of the New York Times and LA Times is a case study that drives home a critical point for society.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the New York Times, Washington Post and other media outlets neglected their obligation to disseminate truth and remained virtually silent as Nazi Germany carried out the mass murder of Jews in Europe, relegating stories about Jewish genocide to short briefs on their back pages. While Jews starved in ghettos and concentration camps, watched their family members perish and were stripped of their humanity, they wondered where the world was. The press remained largely indifferent and the reluctance of editors of major outlets to report widely and consistently on these horrors contributed to consequences that the world will never forget. Newspapers and radio news broadcasts failed to fulfill their part in educating the American public about the horrific crimes committed by the Germans.
IDF: Gaza terrorist worked for Doctors Without Borders
Israel said on Thursday that a Palestinian gunman killed by its forces on the Gaza Strip border this week was a nurse working for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) and that it was seeking an explanation from the international aid group.

Israel's liaison office for Gaza, Cogat, named the Palestinian as Hani Majdalawi and said he was shot dead on Monday after shooting and throwing a grenade at soldiers.

"We have reached out to Doctors without Borders for clarification regarding the matter," a Cogat spokesman said.

The organization did not immediately reply to phone and email queries by Reuters. Its website says that the group runs three burns and trauma centers in Gaza, whose Islamist Hamas rulers have fought three wars against Israel in the last decade.

Gaza authorities did not confirm Majdalawi's death, saying that would require having his body, which they believed was being held by Israel. The Israeli military said they could not immediately confirm this.

No armed Palestinian factions claimed Majdalawi as a member.

Responding to Israeli media reports on Majdalawi's killing, his brother, Osama, described the married 28-year-old on Facebook as a "martyr" who had "bought the weapon with his own money" and acted "completely independently".

The Facebook post said Hani Majdalawi had worked for Doctors Without Borders and that he had been "the most socially, psychologically and economically stable among his brothers". (h/t Yenta Press)

'Corbyn Is A Virulent Anti-Semite'
Last night’s Channel 4 News didn’t exactly go to plan. First they wrongly introduced Hillary supporting, Democrat voting, Harvard Law School Emeritus Professor Alan Dershowitz as an ‘adviser to Donald Trump’, before he demolished their holier than thou attitude towards the state of U.S. politics.

“Where is the moral backbone of Great Britain to have as the head of the Labour Party a virulent anti-Semite, a virulent hater of Jews and the nation state of the Jewish people.

Don’t lecture us about our political system as long as you have Jeremy Corbyn who may potentially become the next Prime Minister of England. Shame on Great Britain for allowing that to come to pass.”

You’ll want to watch this…

What’s in a hyphen? Why writing anti-Semitism with a dash distorts its meaning
In April of 2015, Microsoft received an unusual memo. Crafted on behalf of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a group of scholars issued a “Memo on Spelling of Antisemitism,” urging a change to the mammoth hi-tech company’s auto-correct spelling policy. Until then, a hyphen had been perfunctorily added between “anti” and “Semitism” in the word commonly used for hatred and prejudice against Jews.

Far from being an innocuous debate over semantics, the IHRA claimed that a hyphened “anti-Semitism” gave credence to discredited Nazi racial theories, wherein humanity was divided into superior and inferior subcategories. Additionally, claimed the scholars, a hyphen dilutes and distorts the term’s meaning by implying that groups other than Jews are included within the supposed “Semites” being opposed.

Case in point is a 2015 speech given by consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader: “[Supporters of Israel] know how to accuse people of anti-Semitism if any issue on Israel is criticized, even though the worst anti-Semitism in the world today is against Arabs and Arab-Americans,” he said.

Addressing a gathering of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the five-time presidential nominee’s remarks focused heavily on Jews and Israel.

According to Nader, a longtime critic of the Jewish state, “The Semitic race is Arabs and Jews and Jews do not own the phrase anti-Semitism.” For this and other remarks, Nader was accused of “linguistically hijacking” the term anti-Semitism by some critics.

Like the word “Aryan,” the term “Semitism” is based on a mythical conglomeration of languages and race, as opposed to science. “Semites” were people who spoke one of several related languages, all of whom traced their roots to the Bible’s Shem, Noah’s son.

The term “antisemitism,” coined in 1879, was not a reference to groups of people who spoke similar Levant-based languages. Rather, as “invented” by German journalist Wilhelm Marr, “antisemitism” was intended to give an air of modernity and science to old-fashioned Jew-hatred.
Is South America turning pro-Israel?
According to Prof. Emmanuel Navon, a lecturer in international relations at Tel Aviv University and a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, the approach of countries to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict “very much depends on who is in power.

The Right in Latin America seems to be more like the Evangelical community in the United States, whereas the Left seems to be getting more radical.

“So depending on who wins elections, Israel must take a targeted approach,” he told The Media Line. “Also, the countries in question don’t have much of a democratic culture, so it is the leaders who make decisions without necessarily needing to sway public opinion. It is not something that voters care about anyway.

Navon emphasized that one of the main reasons for Israel’s diplomatic foray into the Americas is to thwart Iranian expansionism.

“Hezbollah and Iran have a big presence in that region. Argentina is a good example, with the cover-up of by former leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Tehran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.”

Today, President Mauricio Macri is trying to hold those responsible to account.

While many South American countries remain firmly in the anti-Israel camp, foremost Venezuela, a close Iranian ally, as well as Bolivia under Evo Morales, things seem to be trending in the other direction.

As such, the southern hemisphere could very well become the next major diplomatic battleground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PepsiCo—From Boycotting Israel to Buying SodaStream for Billions
Growing up in Israel in the 1980s, Coca-Cola was the beverage of the everyday. Coke was what you reached for when you got back home from school. It was what you were served with Shabbat dinner. It was synonymous with soda, second only to water in the pantheon of drink. But it wasn’t what we yearned for: That honor was reserved for Pepsi.

Except for those of us fortunate enough to travel abroad, none of us had ever tasted Pepsi, as the company, succumbing to the Arab League’s boycott of Israel, did not make its goods available in the Jewish state. Absence made the heart grow fonder: Pepsi, we told each other in hushed voices over recess sometime in the fourth or fifth or sixth grade, was so much better than Coke. Like all mythical creatures, it was comfortably both one thing and its diametrical opposite: Sweet and not-so-sweet, bubblier and flatter, richer in sugar and, somehow, healthier for you. One lucky friend, whisked away to London for a week one summer break, even brought back an empty can he’d enjoyed while abroad, placing it on his desk the way big game hunters mount their trophies.

Then came 1992, when, following the Madrid peace conference a year earlier, Pepsi magically appeared in our quarters. It was promoted by an ad campaign that featured the evolution of the species, from Cro-Magnon man to Homo erectus to Homo Pepsicus, that proudest and most evolved of creatures, never in doubt as for what to drink. Pepsi, the ads confidently declared, was the choice of a new generation. And, for a while, it was.

To the surprise of no one who had ever sipped from the red, white, and blue can, Pepsi turned out to be no magical elixir. When the allure of the forbidden wore off, most of us reached right back for our Cokes, giving no more thought to the boycott and its impact on our lives.
Who Is Linda Sarsour’s Mentor?
Linda Sarsour’s Mentor Called for Armed Jihad

In 1992, Wahhaj gave a sermon in which he advocated for armed jihad in streets for the benefit of Islam. Is it a stretch to hypothesize that Ibn Wahhaj’s actions were in some way influenced by his father and MOA members at his mosque?

Sarsour has been a steadfast “mentee” of Siraj Wahhaj. This is not to suggest that one day we’ll find Sarsour running a compound in New Mexico, but Sarsour has a long history of distasteful views and associations with extremist figures.

In 2017, for example, she attended a summit run by the radical left-wing group Jewish Voice for Peace, where she sat alongside the convicted Palestinian terrorist, Rasmea Odeh, and gave her a warm embrace. While speaking, Sarsour said she was “honored and privileged to be here in this space, and honored to be on this stage with Rasmea.”

Sarsour has also called for people to show solidarity with Muhammad Allan, a member of the terror group Islamic Jihad. Allan has a history of recruiting suicide bombers.

Sarsour also associates with the organization Al-Awda and its co-founder (an open and unapologetic Hezbollah supporter) Abbas Hamideh. Sarsour has attended numerous rallies sponsored by Al-Awda, promoted and solicited donations for their events, and spoken at their rallies.

Community leaders and imams are supposed to set a good example for their flocks. Imam Siraj Wahhaj and his mentee, Linda Sarsour, are examples of a failure of leadership. Muslims deserve better than these two.
JPost Editorial: Oust Corbyn
It wasn’t just Corbyn’s attendance at the wreath ceremony, though – it was who also was there. Standing next to Corbyn is Maher al-Taher, leader-in-exile of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), officially designated as a terrorist organization by the EU.

Also attending was Fatima Bernawi, sentenced to life for trying to blow up the Zion Cinema in downtown Jerusalem in October 1967.

This was not the only event where Corbyn got caught palling around with terrorists. He does it all the time.

He attended a conference with Hamas terrorists, including fellow speaker Osama Hamdan, who said that the antisemitic myth that Jews drank blood was “not a figment of imagination or something taken from a film. It is fact.”
Also sharing a platform was the former Tunisian foreign minister Othman Jerandi, who claimed that “Israel and ISIS are the same thing.”

Corbyn has also spoken at a rally alongside Leila Khaled, the world’s first female plane hijacker who blew up a passenger jet on the runway in 1969, then had plastic surgery and joined Black September to stage a second hostage-taking the following year.

The problem isn’t just Corbyn overseas, but his own party in his own backyard. Jim Sheridan, a former MP and Corbyn ally, was suspended from the party last weekend after writing a Facebook post accusing Jews of plotting against Corbyn.

Sheridan wrote that he has lost “respect and empathy” for the Jewish community over the antisemitism row that the daily revelations about Corbyn has engendered. One wonders what kind of respect and empathy Sheridan had for the Jews to begin with; but putting that aside, we were heartened to see the party suspend Sheridan.

But it’s not enough. We call on the British Labour Party to clean up its act. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said this week that Corbyn was not fit to be leader. We concur. Corbyn must go. It is time for the Labour Party to declare where it stands. It would be tragic if it were to become known as the party of antisemites.
Board President: 'It's like Jeremy Corbyn has declared war on the Jews'
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has claimed in an Israeli TV interview that Jeremy Corbyn has “declared war on the Jews”.

In an appearance on i24NEWS Spin Room show, Mrs van der Zyl also suggested that the Labour leader’s “hatred of Israel and Zionism runs so deep he cannot separate that from antisemitism.”

She also told the show that a Corbyn government could represent a “threat to world security.”

Asked about the recent flurry of revelations about the Labour leader’s visits to the Middle East to meet with senior Hamas figures, while he was still a backbencher, the Board President said: “Every day you think surely it cannot get any worse – but every day it does.

“We are learning he is spending more and more time with terrorists, with extremists. His credibility surely is blown, but the ratings at home are quite alarming. Despite his dramatic personal drop in the opinion polls Labour are still ahead if there was an election tomorrow.”

Mrs van der Zyl said she could not explain why “good people” did not recognise that Mr Corbyn’s meetings with “terrorists and extremists” ultimately “threaten the security of Britain – not just Jews.”

She said she feared that his “cult” like status amongst young voters was particular problem.
Is Corbyn's Bid for UK Prime Minister a Serious Concern for Jews?
THE SPIN ROOM | It appears that not a day goes by without Jeremy Corbyn running into controversy regarding anti-Semitism. Is his candidacy for prime minister of the UK a serious threat to Jews in the country? Marie Van Der Zyl of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and our Eylon Aslan-Levy discuss.

Corbyn under fresh fire for saying in 2013 ‘Zionists’ don’t get English culture
Video footage from 2013 has surfaced of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is battling allegations of anti-Semitism, implying that Zionists were unable to understand British ways of thinking despite growing up in the country.

In a clip of Corbyn’s speech published by The Daily Mail, Corbyn told attendees at a London conference that “Zionists … clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. They needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.”

The conference, which was promoted on the Hamas terror organization’s English language website, featured several controversial speakers, including one who had advocated boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day and another who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks.

Garda Kharmi, who also addressed the conference, was quoted by the Daily Mail as having said in a 2017 lecture that “the Jews were not wanted in Europe” and that they were “an unpopular, unloved people who were off-loaded into the [Middle East].”

Stephen Pollard, the editor of London’s Jewish Chronicle newspaper and a staunch Corbyn critic, tweeted that Corbyn “doubtless thinks he’s using the antisemite’s ‘get out of jail free card’ by saying Zionist rather than Jew. But it’s almost impossible to read this as anything other than a reference to Jews.

He also said: “Read this with Jew, rather than Zionist.”

Corbyn Did What He Said He'd Never Do
Jeremy Corbyn speaking today in Edinburgh said that comparing Israel to the Nazis is “completely out of bounds.” Guido gently reminds him of when he appeared to do just that in 2013.

Perhaps forgetful Jeremy again misremembered that he hosted, opened, and spoke at an event on Holocaust Memorial Day in 2010, which was part of a UK tour called ‘Never Again for Anyone – Auschwitz to Gaza’. Corbyn has also compared Israel’s blockade of Gaza to “the siege of Leningrad and Stalingrad“ by Nazi Germany. Jezza has some cheek…

IsraellyCool: Antisemitism Most Horrid at ‘Corbyn, Antisemitism & Palestine’ Event
Last night, our friends from the Israel Advocacy Movement tried to enter an event called “Corbyn, Antisemitism and Justice For Palestine’ in central London.” You won’t believe what happened next.

Just kidding, you will. They were barred from entering, because visibly Jewish, and subject to the the worst kind of antisemitism the entire event was supposed to deny exists.

That’ll show everyone that Jew hatred is just a figment of our imagination or a tool to silence Israel critics!
Antisemitism at a 'Jeremy Corbyn isn't antisemitic' event (NSFW)

We’ve got a little list
There was a terrifying meeting in London last night (21 August).

Terrifying because Israel hate – much of which was antisemitic – flowed freely.

Terrifying because like a Nazi rally, there was no-one allowed in who might voice opposition to the hate- and no journalists!

Terrifying because of the thunderous applause that greeted each speaker.

Terrifying because EIGHT Jews who had waited patiently in the queue to enter were prevented from attending. They were: Ambrosine Shitrit , Mandy Blumenthal , Sharon Klaff , Joseph Cohen , Terri Spector , Mike Abramov, Melanie Gharial, me.

Terrifying because the organisers must have prepared a dossier – with photographs – of ‘Jews to be Refused Entry’ (WHO ELSE WAS IN THAT DOSSIER? HOW MANY JEWS? WAS CORBYN’S PERSONAL SECRETARY INVOLVED IN DRAWING UP THIS LIST TOO?)

Terrifying because this book was on open sale on the Communists’ table outside the venue (the home of the ‘Ethical Society’, what an irony) :

UCLA to Host Student Conference That Advocates ‘Destruction’ of Jewish Self-Determination
National Students for Justice in Palestine announced on Sunday that it will host its eighth annual conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, drawing concerns from some members of the school’s pro-Israel community.

The event, based on the theme of “resistance in the face of adversity,” will take place from November 16-18.

In a note explaining the conference’s goals, National SJP and its chapter at UCLA defined Zionism — a diverse national liberation movement that supports the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their historic homeland — as “ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid, and death.”

Prominent Jewish groups like the World Jewish Congress and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — whose umbrella includes the nation’s principal bodies of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism — have in the past described Zionism as “a longstanding and sincerely held religious belief central to the Jewish religion.”

The conference will seek to remind students “that Zionism is not an insurmountable force,” the organizers explained. “The reason we can have hope is that Zionism is a human ideology and a set of laws that have been challenged and can be destroyed.”

Participants will need to “work on reframing Zionism” as a concrete force “that can be broken down and dismantled,” particularly through local campaigns with “clear targets.”
Professor threatens to call police on The College Fix for asking about Palestine course
It’s also a women’s studies course

Tufts University is refusing to answer questions about a “Colonizing Palestine” course taught by an anti-Israel activist who is listed as a member of a group that supports violence against Israeli civilians.

Prof. Thomas Abowd doesn’t want to talk about his course either, telling The College Fix in an email that he would call the police if contacted again.

“Colonizing Palestine” shows up on the fall course list for two programs, Colonialism Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

While pro-Israel activists have criticized Tufts for offering the course, citing both its reading list and its instructor’s background, they have not questioned Abowd’s academic freedom to teach the subject.

Israel ‘illegally occupies Palestine’

“This course will explore the history and culture of modern Palestine and the centrality of colonialism in the making of this contested and symbolically potent territory,” the course description reads.
WATCH: California 'Progressive' Church Pastor Claims Jesus Was 'A Person of Color That Was Killed By White Supremacy'
A “progressive” church in Santa Cruz, California likes to think of itself as progressive, serving beer during services and opening a brewery, while its pastor claims Jesus was a feminist and a “person of color that was killed by white supremacy.”

The pastor of the Greater Purpose Church, Christopher VanHall, said, “What would it look like to be a church that looked like the movement that Jesus started and not like the church that we know in America today? Out of that consistent questioning came this model for a brewery church that generates funds for local charities.”

He continued:
We are open and affirm LGBTQ. We are feminists and I believe Jesus was, too. We are environmentalists, which I believe that’s the original mandate of the children of God to take care of the planet that we all know and enjoy. We are anti-war, which I believe Jesus was, too. We are all for racial justice, which Jesus was a Palestinian. Jewish rabbi. He was a person of color that was killed by white supremacy so we’re usually making every effort to be on the frontlines for racial justice. So that’s what sets us apart from many American churches.

After five years of holding services, the church took over an old bookstore with the intention of turning it into a brewery and a restaurant.

Guardian promotes Hamas claim that Israel bombed a Gaza “cultural centre”
Tellingly, the article informed readers that targeting a building only used for cultural events, which Hamas accused the IDF of doing, is illegal under international law, but failed to note that, per the Third Geneva Convention, “utilizing the presence of a civilians…to render…military forces immune from military operations”, which is what Hamas is accused of, constitutes a war crime.

The other two Guardian articles on the attack consist of a letter, by anti-Israel UK playwrights, condemning the destruction of the “cultural centre”, and an article by Oliver Holmes promoting the playwrights’ letter.

Of course, the Guardian could have provided readers background to contextualise IDF claims that the building was used for both civilian and military uses, by noting, for instance, that during the 2014 war, it was well-known that Hamas’ main command bunkers was located beneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

But, of course, the possibility that Hamas put civilians at risk, and likely committed a war crime, by using the Said al-Mishal Centre as a base for its security forces, isn’t part of the Guardian narrative. So, their readers come away believing that the IDF intentionally attacked a civilian target, thus reinforcing their prejudices against Israel nurtured by the steady stream of misinformation by the Guardian and other hostile British media outlets.
PA TV executives reveal goals of station partnered by BBC charity
Recently two senior PBC officials provided some background (translated by Palestinian Media Watch) concerning the goals of the TV station with which BBC Media Action found it appropriate to collaborate over a period of several years.

In other words, a TV station that is described by its director as “a media outlet with a national cause” and portrayed by one of its senior executives as “a central part of the…struggle” was nevertheless chosen to partner a BBC charity funded to no small extent by the UK tax-payer.
Amsterdam Jewish mother and children told they ‘should all be shot’
A Jewish woman from Amsterdam told police that a man shouted at her and her children that they “should all be shot” and called them “cancer Jews” before he got into a taxicab.

The incident occurred Wednesday in the heavily Jewish Buitenveldert neighborhood of Amsterdam, the Het Parool daily reported based on a complaint to police made by the 28-year-old woman, who was not named in the media, with help from the Federative Jewish Netherlands organization.

A witness wrote down the taxi’s license plate and gave it to police, who are investigating the incident, the report said. Police would not say whether the suspect implicated in the incident is a taxi driver or passenger.

Federative Jewish Netherlands on Twitter wrote on Thursday that the taxi belongs to TCA, one of Amsterdam’s largest taxi companies. The firm is now also investigating the incident internally, the report said.

In 2010, a TCA driver, a Dutch citizen of Turkish descent, placed red stickers on the side of his Mercedes car reading “Israel = terror country/state.” He was fired following that action.
Second time in a month: Jewish cemetery in Poland vandalized
A Jewish cemetery near Krakow was vandalized for the second time in less than a month, resulting in damage to dozens of headstones.

At least 30 headstones were pushed over, some of them shattered, in the latest incident recorded at the cemetery in Mysłowice, a town located about 40 miles west of Krakow, the news site reported Tuesday on its Facebook page.

Some of the headstones toppled this week had been repaired following an earlier incident in which 20 headstones were shattered late last month, the report said. Police are investigating both incidents but have no suspects in custody.

In 2012, the Council of Europe adopted a nonbinding resolution placing responsibility for the care of Jewish cemeteries on national governments. The resolution was based in part on a report that said Jewish cemeteries are “probably” more vulnerable than other cemeteries.

In addition to frequent vandalism, including for anti-Semitic reasons, at Jewish cemeteries, the report also noted instances of cemeteries in Eastern Europe that have been turned into “residential areas, public gardens, leisure parks, army grounds and storage sites; some have been turned into lakes.”
Holocaust victim memorials vandalized in Estonia
National Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports sometime Saturday night or Sunday, days ahead of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, unidentified individuals vandalized multiple Holocaust memorials at Kalevi-Liiva, Harju County, the execution site of thousands of victims of Nazism.

The vandalism was discovered by local residents, who notified the police, the municipal government, and Estonia's Jewish community.

Jewish Community of Estonia Chairwoman Alla Jakobson was shaken and outraged by the news.

"I can't call these Nazi-sympathizers who attack the memory of innocent victims with such brutality and anger human," she said. "The memory of the dead has always been regarded with such great respect and honor in Estonia, regardless of ethnicity. An Estonian resident cannot act like this, which is why I am sure that the memorial was vandalized by people who hate Estonia, and this should also be seen as a provocation timed to coincide with the Day of Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Estonia."

Jakobson also thanked those who alerted the authorities and the Jewish community to the incident.
IsraAID Sending Team to Assist in Wake of Deadly Flooding in Indian State of Kerala
Israeli humanitarian NGO IsraAID announced today that it is sending an emergency response team to the southern Indian state of Kerala, which has been hit by the worst flooding in living memory.

More than 350 people have been killed since the monsoon began at the end of May, and at least 220 have died since the August 8, when the rains grew heavier.

About 725,000 people have fled their homes to emergency relief camps, and thousands have been left stranded in areas rendered inaccessible by the floodwaters. The monsoon rains have been significantly heavier than usual and have covered the region.

The emergency team traveling to Kerala this week consists of international and Nepali staff from IsraAID’s office in Nepal, who will distribute urgent relief items and assess the longer-term psychosocial and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) needs of the affected communities. Members of this same team responded to heavy flooding in the Terai region of southern Nepal last year.

“According to the Indian authorities, Kerala is facing its worst flooding in a century. In the face of this devastation, IsraAID will be partnering with local communities and NGOs to help meet the affected population’s pressing needs,” said Yotam Polizer and Navonel Glick, IsraAID’s co-CEOs.
Family of Ethiopian Bible quiz contestant immigrates to Israel
The family of a young Ethiopian Jew who competed in this year’s International Bible Contest but was told he could not stay in Israel was allowed to make aliyah this week after a private organization raised the money.

Sintayehu Shaparou took part in the Jerusalem-based competition in April when he was 18. Although his father and some of his siblings had made aliyah in the early 2000s, the remaining members of his family were never granted permission to move to Israel.

He was granted residency by the Interior Ministry in April after it became public that Sintayehu was forced to deposit money with immigration and border control officials as a guarantee that he would leave the country following the Bible contest.

Shaparou is a member of the Falash Mura community, descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity in the 19th century, many under duress. The Interior Ministry does not classify the Falash Mura as Jews and they are required to receive special legal dispensations to make aliyah, as they are not eligible under the Law of Return.

According to Heart of Israel, an activist group that raised the money for Shaparou’s family’s resettlement, the Shaparous have never learned the reason for the rejection of their immigration application. In a statement released to the media on Wednesday, the group announced that the remaining members of Shaparou’s family had been granted residency status after months of lobbying and are expected to arrive later this month.
Israeli dance comes to New York City's Central Park
Under the summer sky of New York City’s Central Park on Wednesday night, 1,000 people turned out for an evening of Israeli dance, according to the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan.

The event – part of the New York City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage series – began with a “Gaga” dance class taught by the Batsheva Dance Company’s Omri Drumlevich. Gaga is a movement developed in Israel by Batsheva’s director, Ohad Naharin, and is intended to be a improvisational practice and movement language which allows beginners to connect to dance.

The class was followed up by a performance from the Gallim contemporary dance company, which is based in Brooklyn and founded by Andrea Miller, a former Batsheva ensemble member.

Renee Schreiber, the director of performing arts and music at the Israeli Consulate in New York, said Central Park is the ideal venue to showcase Israeli culture.

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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