Monday, December 16, 2019

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Don’t fall for bogus claims of 'Islamophobia'
At last Sunday’s rally against antisemitism in Westminster, more than 3,000 people listened to a range of speakers denounce anti-Jewish bigotry.

Beyond that rally, however, reaction among the general public to the hatred in the Labour party directed at Israel and the Jewish people does not seem to reflect its eye-watering scale and viciousness.

Leaked evidence collected by the Jewish Labour Movement exposed a virtual tsunami of crazed venom, with statements that Jews were “subhuman” and should “be grateful we don’t make them eat bacon for breakfast every day”, that they were connected to Isis or 9/11, or they were traitors and “bent-nosed manipulative liars”.

Despite all this, there’s still a failure to grasp the full dimensions of this horror. For there are two issues over which widespread moral confusion is hampering proper acknowledgment of this onslaught against the Jews.

The first is support for the Palestinian cause and the related belief that, while antisemitism is a loathsome prejudice against Jews as people, anti-Zionism and Israel-bashing are legitimate attacks on a political project. This distinction is bogus.

Anti-Zionism is the modern mutation of antisemitism with which it shares the same, unique characteristics of deranged and obsessive falsehoods, demonic conspiracy theory and double standards. It is furthermore an attack on Judaism itself, in which the land of Israel is an inseparable element.

Toxic mutation of an ancient hatred: Left-wing Antisemitism
When the postmodern left emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, its worldview absorbed much of this Soviet propaganda, with a key tenet remaining a commitment to anti-Zionism — the view that the State of Israel is illegitimate and should not exist. Added to the anti-Zionist denial of Israel’s claim to an ancestral homeland was “a contradictory claim that the Jews sought to maintain a ‘racial state’ in Israel.”[15]

In historical terms, anti-Zionism has been quite distinct from antisemitism. Whereas the racist prejudice of antisemitism was largely a phenomenon of the political right, anti-Zionism was based on what Australian scholar Philip Mendes has described as “a relatively objective assessment of the prospects for success for some Jews in Israel/Palestine.”[16] In recent decades, however, as anti-Zionism has developed into a rejection of the legitimacy of the State of Israel, anti-Zionism and antisemitism have converged.

The postmodern left’s anti-Zionism was certainly influenced by Soviet hostility to Israel. However, it is a phenomenon which owes even more to the determination among the post-World War II generation to oppose racism and colonialism. Israel, according to the postmodern left, is an illegitimate remnant of western colonialism in the Middle East — a view increasingly endorsed by the United Nations as it added newly decolonised states to its membership.

Postmodern left anti-Zionists invariably insist their target is neither Jews nor individual Israeli citizens going about their ordinary lives. Rather, their target is the State of Israel itself, which they hold to be a political regime promulgating illegal, coercive, and dehumanizing treatment of Palestinians. It is a line of argument that attempts to defend the distinction between anti-Jewish remarks and criticism of Israeli government policy.
Commentary Magazine Podcast: Yes, It’s OK to Ask About Bernie and Anti-Semitism
A piece we published on Friday by our own Noah Rothman kicked up a social-media dust storm over the weekend—the view of Noah’s critics being that it is illegitimate to question associations between Bernie Sanders, his campaign, and anti-Semites. We disagree. At length. Give a listen. (h/t IsaacStorm)

A Lawsuit Exposes the Chain Linking U.S. “Charities,” BDS, and Terrorists in Gaza
The Jewish National Fund (JNF)—which owns much of the land in Israel—together with a few Israeli families who live near the Gaza Strip, has filed suit in an American court against organizations that, they allege, support arson attacks on southwestern Israel, often accomplished by attaching makeshift incendiary devices to kites and balloons. In doing so, writes Nadav Shragai, the plaintiffs have an opportunity to shed light on the how Palestinian terrorist groups raise funds in the United States:

If the details of the suit are found to have a legal basis, it will be possible to point to three links in the money chain, the first of which are the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces (PNIF). The group was established by the former PLO leader Yasir Arafat during the second intifada [to] coordinate among the various organizations fighting against Israel. . . . It turns out that the PNIF was never dismantled and in fact helped establish the Supreme National Authority of the Return Marches and Lifting the Siege, [which coordinates attacks from Gaza and attempts to breach the border fence]

A total of twelve religious and nationalist Palestinian factions belong to the PNIF, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, [and] the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. . . . All of them are recognized as terrorist groups by Israel, the U.S., and Europe.

The second link is the BDS National Committee (BNC), a leading player in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement that was founded in Ramallah. BNC sees itself as an umbrella organization that heads the international movement to boycott Israel.

The third link is the specific group named in the lawsuit: the American charity Education for Just Peace in the Middle East U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR). According to the lawsuit, at least as far back as 2017 the group has functioned as a pipeline to transfer donations to terrorist organizations, utilizing the BNC [for that purpose]. The funds USCPR transfers to the BNC are designated charitable donations, and are therefore tax-exempt. The lawsuit argues that starting in 2018, the USCPR has been involved in a conspiracy to support, promote, and encourage the marches of return, which are directed [and] led by a terrorist coalition. Therefore, the suit argues, the BNC receives tax-free donations and uses them to promote an agenda of hatred and the arson-balloon and kite attacks against Israel.

New York Times Misleads Over Antisemitism Definition
The recent US presidential order targeting antisemitism on campus has unleashed an enormous amount of debate both in the media and within the US Jewish community. The discussion has been multifaceted, touching on issues including: Jewish identity, partisan US politics, freedom of speech, defining antisemitism and where legitimate criticism of Israel begins and ends.

At HonestReporting, we endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism. We also support efforts to protect Jewish students from antisemitism on campus as defined by the IHRA definition. We do not support efforts to shut down legitimate discussion and debate surrounding Israel and we make it crystal clear that neither does the IHRA definition.

Issues surrounding how American Jews self-define is beyond the scope of HonestReporting’s remit. However, we will point out the bias inherent in a New York Times piece examining national identity and the roots of Jewish nationhood against the context of the Trump executive order.

Columnist Max Fisher writes:
Mr. Trump’s order, for purposes of monitoring educational institutions’ handling of discrimination, places Jews under Civil Rights Act protections based on race, color or national origin. The order also draws on a 2005 definition of anti-Semitism, one of whose authors has since said is overly broad, conflating hatred of Jews with criticism of Israel.

Fisher refers to an opinion piece by Kenneth Stern in The Guardian where, despite his role in drafting the original working definition of antisemitism that IHRA is based on, he opposes the Trump executive order. His argument however, is not that the definition is “overly broad, conflating hatred of Jews with criticism of Israel,” as Fisher claims.

Fisher has either misread Stern’s piece or deliberately distorted it to fit his own politics. Stern pointedly does not take issue with the definition itself but with how it is used. He argues that the definition was meant to be a means to monitor and collect data on antisemitism rather than a legal tool to be actively deployed to fight antisemitism. Stern doesn’t claim in his article that the IHRA definition could conflate hatred of Jews with criticism of Israel. It is Jewish organizations that he accuses of doing so. Indeed the definition itself that he had a hand in drafting clearly states that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

Antisemitism in the United States
Over the past week, Jewish communities in the United States have endured two vicious attacks.

According to the FBI, Jewish Americans were once again the religious group most targeted by religiously-motivated bias crimes.

Sanders, Appearing With Omar, Lauds Her: ‘One Of The Bravest Members Of The United States Congress.’ Ted Cruz Has A Comment.
On Friday, appearing with hard-left anti-Semitic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) at a campaign event at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called Omar “one of the most extraordinary people in American politics,” Fox News reported.

At another event on Friday at Nashua Community College, Sanders joined Omar on stage, where she had introduced him, took her by the hand, and crowed:
I want to thank all of you for coming out this evening and especially want to thank Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for coming all the way from Minneapolis. This Congresswoman is not only one of the most progressive members of the U.S. House, a leader on so many important issues; she is also one of the bravest members of the United States Congress. She has stood up to more ugliness coming from the highest levels of government than I have ever seen, and I am so impressed by all that she does and so honored to be able to work with her and have her here in New Hampshire tonight.

The same day, Sanders tweeted, “Trump is a racist, a xenophobe, and a religious bigot. Our campaign is the strongest to defeat him because it is rooted in human solidarity. Join us live for our rally with @ilhanmn in Nashua, NH.”

Fox News reported that before the Manchester rally, GOP state representative Judy Aron asserted, “New Hampshire Democrats have really gone too far. By bringing noted anti-Semite and opponent of Israel Rep. Ilhan Omar to New Hampshire, Democrats are showing how anti-Israel the modern Democrat base is.”

It’s no wonder Sanders has no problem joining with Omar; not only do they share the same radical ideas about remaking America, they also share a hatred of Israel.

Ilhan Omar: ‘Hate, Sinful’ Rhetoric Is ‘Synonymous’ With GOP; GOP Inspires Terror Attacks
Anti-Semitic Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) attacked Republicans on Sunday during an interview on far-left MSNBC, claiming that the Republican Party is synonymous with hateful and “sinful” rhetoric.

“There’s a brand around you that has made you a target, even in your re-election,” host Joy Reid said. “We just had members of the Navy during the Army Navy football game were flashing what looked like the white power sign, like these are the things that we’re talking about in the news. How do you process that as somebody who is an elected official, and how do your constituents process it?”

“Yeah, I mean hate, sinful, [unintelligible] rhetoric is very dangerous and it’s becoming synonymous with the Republican Party,” Omar responded. “They have refused to condemn and distance themselves from members within their party that have threatened my life and the lives of others, that have caused the deaths of people in this country who follow their message, and have put their names, the names of our president, and many of the Republican leaders in their manifestos as they have taken innocent lives.”

Omar added, “But what we have to remember is we don’t have to be that; we don’t have to be that country, and so my message has always been love trumps hate. We have a lot of compassion to go around.”

Extreme Left or Right: It's Still Antisemitism
Recently, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) hosted Linda Sarsour at its annual conference. AMP is known for hosting antisemitic speakers and even convicted terrorists. Echoing an age-old antisemitic trope commonly reiterated by white supremacists that Jews believe they are a "superior" race, Sarsour told her audience that Israel was founded on the idea of "Jewish supremacy."

Independent Arabia depicts Austro-Hungarian WWI soldiers as Jews immigrating to Palestine
A November 30th article at Independent Arabia – a joint venture of the UK based Independent and the Saudi media group SRMG – by their analyst and editor (Cairo-based) Ahmad ‘Abd al-Hakeem, included the following photo and caption:

The caption, under a photo depicting uniform-wearing men marching in perfect order while carrying rifles, claims they are in fact “Jews during their immigration to the State of Palestine”.

However, the photo (which originates in the Library of Congress collection) in fact depicts Austro-Hungarian soldiers marching next to the walls of Jerusalem during World War 1.

Apart from the erroneous photo, two issues arise here (the first more outrageous than the second):
Jewish civilian immigration into Israel and Jerusalem is presented to Arabic readers of the Independent as a well-organized and well-armed professional army. Whether done deliberately or not, this false presentation paints a grossly distorted history of the period.

Contrary to the language in the caption, a “State of Palestine” never existed at any point in history. Additionally, even the article itself observes that a Palestinian state doesn’t currently exist, in the very first words:
BBC News airbrushes Beirut clashes report
Here is how the BBC described what happened in Lebanon the previous day:

“Clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, have left dozens of people wounded, witnesses say.

The violence began as demonstrators, who had been attacked during a sit-in by masked counter-protesters, tried to move into a square near parliament.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while protesters threw stones. At least 20 officers were also wounded.”

Here is how AP reported the same story (along with the Guardian):

“The trouble started Saturday when dozens of men, some wearing masks, threw stones and firecrackers at security forces on one edge of the protest camp in central Beirut. They were supporters of the Shiite Hezbollah and Amal groups, angered by some of the criticism of their leaders by anti-government protesters.

It was the second time this week the groups tried to attack the protest camp.”
BBC News continues to under-report Palestinian affairs
Back in August we noted that a story concerning a Palestinian Authority ban on the activities of a LGBTQ group had received just two minutes of airtime on one domestic BBC radio station.

Earlier this month local media reported an incident in a Palestinian Authority controlled area.

“A transgender Palestinian woman and two friends were assaulted and robbed Tuesday by a group of men from a West Bank refugee camp.

Sammy, who today lives in Jaffa, was in the West Bank to attend a doctor’s appointment in the village of Kafr ‘Aqab near Ramallah.

She and her companions were attacked by a group from Kalandia refugee camp, who kicked and punched them, and stole tens of thousands of shekels. They also completely destroyed the vehicle in which the thee were travelling.

Sammy, who is originally from Hebron, was thrown out by her family when they discovered her gender identity. Today she lives in Jaffa and receives regular aid from the LGBQT Center in Tel Aviv.”
5,000 Tunisian Jews sent to Nazi labour camps, 77 years ago
Tunisia came under direct Nazi control for six months in 1942. December 9 marks the 77th anniversary of the round-up of Tunisian Jewish males who were sent to labour camps.

In 1941, a census of Jews and their property was carried out. On November 9, 1942, the Nazis invaded the country. The Jewish population was then targeted for forced labor. They organized round ups, the largest being in Tunis on December 9, 1942.

On the morning of December 9, 1942, 3,000 men over the age of 18 had to report for service to the Nazis, but only 125 men came forward.

Colonel S.S. Walter Rauff then went to the Great Synagogue of Tunis. He broke in and arrested those who are there, as well Jews nearby. The arrests of Jews continued throughout the day, including around the Alliance Israelite Universelle school. The Administrative Committee (representative body of the Jewish community of Tunis) therefore decided to call to work Jews aged 18 to 27 years.

In the meantime, Colonel Walter Rauff decided to arrest 100 notable Jews to serve as hostages and be shot in case of disobedience. In the afternoon, a thousand Jews turned up before being sent to labor camps throughout the country.
Antisemite Of The Week: Eliezer Valley - the Vile Cartoonist
Eliezer A. Valley, otherwise known as Eli Valley, is a self-hating Jewish cartoonist. Valley spreads antisemitic caricatures and demonizes pro-Israel leaders and the state of Israel through vile and grotesque imagery on social media and any publication that is willing to spread his antisemitic views.

Eliezer’s background is interesting; his father was a pro-Israel conservative Rabbi and his mother a secular Jew. Eliezer attended Hebrew Day School and spent a few summers at Camp Ramah. For the past two decades, while being employed by Jewish institutions, much of Valley's covert work was dedicated to attacking Pro-Israel people – Jewish and non-Jewish alike – in the most antisemitic and vile ways.

Not surprisingly, Valley is a member of IfNotNow, an anti-Israel “As A Jew” Hamas sympathizers hate group. In 2015 Valley participated in If Not Now demonstration in front of the Jewish Federation in New York and in 2018, he was arrested while protesting outside NYC’s Republican Club (pictured above).

Since the 2016 election, Valley's work centers around the current Presidential Administration and he frequently attacks any Jew that dares to support President Trump. Valley's vile products are being used by many antisemites as a powerful propaganda tool against Jews and the State of Israel.
In major deal, Intel buys Israeli chip maker Habana Labs for $2 billion
US tech giant Intel Corp. has signed a deal to acquire Israeli startup Habana Labs, a Caesarea-based chip maker, for $2 billion, the company announced on Monday.

The deal marks Intel’s second-largest acquisition in Israel after the US firm bought Mobileye, a maker of autonomous car technologies, in 2017.

Last year, Intel Capital, the investment arm of the US firm, invested in Habana Labs, a maker of artificial intelligence-based processors and chips, as part of a $75 million series B funding round for the startup.

The Israeli firm has raised some $120 million to date, according to Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks Israel’s tech industry.

Habana Labs, founded in 2016 by David Dahan and Ran Halutz, uses artificial intelligence to improve the processing performance and power consumption of chips and lower the costs of producing them. The processors are aimed at the specific needs of training deep neural networks.
Israeli military helped find remains of crashed Chilean plane near Antarctica
Soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate were instrumental in finding and recovering parts of a Chilean military transport plane and human remains belonging to some of the 38 people aboard who vanished en route to Antarctica last week.

The C-130 Hercules, a military transport plane, departed Monday afternoon from a base in Punta Arenas in far-southern Chile on a regular maintenance flight for an Antarctic base. Radio contact was lost 70 minutes later.

Chilean officials said Thursday that searchers combing Antarctic seas had located the crash site, with Air Force Gen. Arturo Merino saying at a news conference that based on the condition of the remains, he believed it would be “practically impossible” that any survivors would be pulled from the water.

On Saturday, the Ynet news site reported that during the race against time to find signs of the location of the plane, Chilean authorities had asked Israel for help, and received it when an IDF intelligence unit analyzed satellite images and significantly reduced the search area.
IDF's Tavor is foreign armies' favorite rifle, magazine says
It is no secret that Israel builds its own military equipment, such as tanks, missiles, and drones, and it is certainly no secret that many nations worldwide turn to Israel when looking to outfit their defense forces or upgrade their weapons capabilities.

But according to a recent report in American bimonthly magazine The National Interest, an Israeli assault rifle is giving the classic American-made M-16 and Russia's famed AK-47 a run for their money.

This new rising star is not a reincarnation of what is perhaps Israel's most famous firearm – the iconic Uzi submachine gun, but a high-tech piece of equipment that special forces and police SWAT teams in almost 30 nations now swear by – the IWI Tavor.

According to the report, these include "several South American, Central American, African, and Asian nations, including Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Senegal, and Nepal. In addition, the nation of Georgia has replaced some of its AK-47s with Tavors. Vietnam and India also use them. As for the US, a few state and local police departments have opted for the Tavor."

Produced by Israel Weapon Industries, the Tavor rifle was introduced in 2001 and was chosen by the IDF in 2009 to replace the M-16 and M-4 as its first-line rifle, the report noted.

According to its specs, the Tavor is designed to maximize reliability, durability, simplicity of design, and ease of maintenance, particularly under adverse or battlefield conditions. It is waterproofed and its internal mechanism is sealed from outside elements, so that it can pass over-the-beach requirements.
Israel to start pumping gas from Leviathan, making country an energy powerhouse
Natural gas is set to start flowing from the massive Leviathan field off Israel’s shore any day now, an economic milestone for the country that will pave its way to “energy independence” and, via exports, to stronger ties with its neighbors.

Commercial production of natural gas from the field is set to begin before year’s end for the local market, with exports starting shortly thereafter. On Monday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz signed permits for the export of gas to Egypt, the ministry said in a statement. “This is a historic milestone for the State of Israel,” Steinitz said.

With the flow of the gas, “Israel will reach energy independence, and become an exporter of gas,”said George Hatfield, VP of Major Projects at Noble Energy, at an energy conference in Tel Aviv earlier this month, when the Leviathan partners confirmed that commercial supply would start “within two to three weeks.”

“These are exciting times for Israel,” Hatfield added.

Located in the Mediterranean Sea 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Haifa, the Leviathan field is estimated to hold 22 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, and a potential half a million barrels of oil, according to estimates provided by the partners in the field.
Israel develops 'breakthrough' method to identify thyroid cancer
Doctors at Hadassah University Medical Center have developed what they are calling a “breakthrough” new method to identify thyroid cancer at 94% accuracy.

The study – led by Dr. Haggi Mazeh, head of the department of General Surgery at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mt. Scopus, and Dr. Iddo Ben-Dov, senior physician in the Department of Nephrology – was published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Mazeh explained to The Jerusalem Post that the thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, temperature regulation and more within the human body. However, the thyroid often develops small nodules or solid or fluid-filled lumps that have the potential to be cancerous.
“In some cases, a biopsy should be performed to determine if the lump is benign or malignant,” the doctor said.
Israeli pancreatic cancer treatment could extend lives of 3/4 of patients
More than three-fourths (77%) of patients suffering from stage IV metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma (pancreatic cancer) and treated with a protocol developed by an Israel-based biopharmaceutical company were able to get their disease under control, according to results of an ongoing study.

Modi’in-based BioLineRx revealed updated data from the triple combination arm of its ongoing Phase 2a COMBAT/KEYNOTE-202 study – which shows double the positive effect on the treatment of pancreatic cancer compared to the approved second-line chemotherapy treatment for the disease – at a conference in Geneva last week.

Almost a third (32%) of patients from the study who could be evaluated saw a reduction in tumor size (of more than 30% from baseline), as opposed to 17% of patients treated with chemotherapy, based on historical data. Furthermore, another 45% of patients were able to stabilize the disease, meaning that tumor size neither grew nor was reduced by much over the course of the trial.

“That means 77% of patients were able to achieve disease control rate,” said Philip Serlin, CEO of BioLineRx. This is compared to 52% of patients who are treated with chemotherapy alone.
Israelis develop 'self-healing' cars powered by machine learning and AI
Even before autonomous vehicles become a regular sight on our streets, modern cars are quickly resembling sophisticated computers on wheels.

Increasingly connected vehicles come with as many as 150 million lines of code, far exceeding the 145,000 lines of code required to land Apollo 11 on the Moon in 1969. Self-driving cars could require up to one billion lines of code.

For manufacturers, passengers and repair shops alike, vehicles running on software rather than just machines represent an unprecedented world of highly complex mobility. Checking the engine, tires and brakes to find a fault will certainly no longer suffice.

Seeking to build trust in the new generation of automotive innovation, Tel Aviv-based start-up Aurora Labs has developed software for what it calls the “self-healing car” – a proactive and remote system to detect and fix potential vehicle malfunctions, and update and validate in-car software without any downtime.
2,000-year-old Roman ‘ketchup factory’ uncovered in Askhelon
Almost two millennia before tomato ketchup made its appearance on American tables, ancient Romans had their own mouth-watering condiment that turned every dish into a delicacy: garum, a fermented fish sauce that bears some resemblance to the modern Asian one. A recent discovery revealed that the popular dressing was not only consumed but also produced in ancient Israel: fermenting vats employed for its preparation were discovered in Ashkelon, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Monday.

“This is a rare find in our region and very few installations of this kind have been found in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the IAA’s Tali Erickson-Gini explained in a statement. “Ancient sources even refer to the production of Jewish garum. The discovery of this kind of installation in Ashkelon evinces that the Roman tastes that spread throughout the empire were not confined to dress but also included dietary habits.”

The archaeologist suggested forgetting about more modern staples of Italian cuisine that have made it one of the most beloved across the world.

“Long before pasta and pizza, the ancient Roman diet was based largely on fish sauce. Historical sources refer to the production of special fish sauce, that was used as a basic condiment for food in the Roman and Byzantine eras throughout the Mediterranean basin. They report that the accompanying strong odors during its production required its being distanced from urban areas and this was found to be the case since the installations were discovered approximately 2 km. from ancient Ashkelon,” he explained.

Statistics Bureau: 3.3 million Jews Made Aliyah Since 1948
On the occasion of Migrant Day, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published a list of facts and figures about immigration to the Jewish State. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, about 3.3 million immigrants have arrived, 43.7% of whom immigrated after 1990.

In 2018, 37.2 thousand new immigrants arrived in Israel: 28.1 thousand immigrants and potential immigrants, 3.5 thousand returning Israelis, 4 thousand in family unification, and 1.6 thousand via new registration.

During the first ten months of 2019 (January-October), 27.3 thousand immigrants arrived in Israel, an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year.

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