Sunday, January 19, 2020

  • Sunday, January 19, 2020
From Ian:

PMW: PA daily calls for murder to stop Holocaust ceremony in Jerusalem
“One shot will disrupt the [Holocaust] ceremony and one dead body will cancel the ceremony” – call for murder in op-ed in official PA daily

As over 40 world leaders gather in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at the event Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism, the Palestinian Authority wants to disrupt the ceremony. The official PA daily published an op-ed yesterday literally calling for murder in order to ruin the ceremony:

“One shot will disrupt the ceremony and one dead body will cancel the ceremony.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 18, 2020]

Before calling for murder, regular PA daily columnist Yahya Rabah criticized the international community for recognizing that the “Jews' Holocaust is terrible” while accepting as “insignificant, beautiful, [and] spectacular” what he called the “Palestinian holocaust by Israel that still continues.” Rabah warned: “It can be assumed that they [Palestinians] will resist the ceremony being held in Jerusalem itself, as Jerusalem is theirs.” His suggested solution to stopping the international ceremony from taking place – and which the official PA daily printed - is murder.

Palestinian Media Watch has reported on Palestinian Authority justification of terror and murder to achieve political goals.
Jonathan Tobin: Holocaust Politics Is Bad for the Jews
Poles suffered more cruelly at the hands of the Nazis than any other occupied country, save the Soviet Union. But while the Poles were horribly persecuted, the fate of the Jews was far worse. Approximately 18 percent of all Poles were killed during the war compared with a mind-boggling 90 percent of all Polish Jews.

But there’s more at stake here than a natural desire on the part of many Jews to express anger about revisionist history. As is true of other Eastern European governments, Poland does not share the antipathy towards Israel that is so common in Western Europe. Promoting warm relations between Israel and Poland isn’t so much a matter of Netanyahu practicing realpolitik but a policy based in the realization that the conflicts of the past should not doom Jews and Poles to conflict in the present and future.

Moreover, the politics behind the decision to exclude the Polish president from the list of Yad Vashem speakers is particularly troubling.

Moshe Kantor, head of the European Jewish Congress, chairs the Yad Vashem event. Kantor is a Jewish philanthropist. But he’s also a Russian business oligarch who is close to Putin. That authoritarian leader is clearly interested in undermining Poland and separating it from allies like Israel. It’s likely that the insult to Poland was orchestrated by Moscow.

Russia is also guilty of its own outrageous revisionism. The invasion of Poland and the start of World War II were made possible by the Soviet-Nazi pact of August 1939, in which the two totalitarian governments divided up their neighbor. But Putin’s foreign ministry has the chutzpah to claim it was the Poles’ fault, and that Stalin was justified in collaborating with the Nazis.

Kantor could have been overruled by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, but he failed to heed Netanyahu’s plea to avoid the dispute. The only explanation for that is that Rivlin’s antipathy for Netanyahu and a desire to thwart the prime minister’s policy goal prevailed over common sense. And it has created an incident that hurts Israel and helps no one but Putin. Indeed, the absurdity of the decision is one that has created a rare agreement between columnists from the right-wing Israel Hayom and the left-wing Haaretz.

Poles and Jews shouldn’t be doomed to continued enmity by a shared tragic history. Nor should the interests of Putin or the absurd rivalries of Israeli politics determine how the Holocaust is remembered.
Israel Advocacy Movement: Bernie Sanders is the American Corbyn… and this isn't good.

Apple’s Siri says Israeli president is ‘President of the Zionist occupation state’
Apple users from around the world were surprised to learn overnight Saturday that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is the “President of the Zionist occupation state,” according to the giant tech’s vastly popular Siri app.

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After the story broke on social media, angering many people in the process, it was understood that Rivlin’s English Wikipedia page was hacked which caused the unpleasant malfunction.

Siri is a built-in “intelligent assistant” application that enables users of Apple devices to voice commands to the app in order to perform a string of tasks.

When Siri is asked about a public figure, the answer is usually extracted from the person's Wikipedia page. (h/t vwVwwVwv)

Daphne Anson: "Racism and Apartheid are intrinsic to the Zionist doctrine": More Hatred of Israel on "Your ABC"
The ABC, Australia's equivalent of the BBC, is publicly funded by the taxpayer, and in consequence is obligated, like the BBC, to be impartial and balanced on its coverage and commentary.

Like the BBC, however, it is unashamedly leftwing, and its current affairs programs, as well as its website, is the domain increasingly of activists and journalist-activists pushing their own leftist barrows, on a range of issues. Theirs is a world in which traditional western values are derided and scorned, a world in which the whackiest of gender bending is applauded and promoted, where racism and misogyny are fiercely condemned so long as the racism emanates from white people, and the sexism from men of "white privilege".

Such leftist extremism, needless to say, is a domain in which the national liberation movement of the Jewish People is depicted as colonialism and lsrael routinely demonised. And nowhere is the latter calumny on the ABC's part better illustrated than in an excruciatingly biased piece of political propaganda on the ABC a few days ago (planted, sleight of hand, in, of all things, its Religion & Ethics page,) beginning:
'Can there really be any doubt that the creation of the State of Israel was, at its heart, a colonialist act of dispossession, and has established an “apartheid regime” that systematically discriminates against and subjugates its own citizens? The evidence is overwhelming.'

The author, Salman Abu Sitta, described by the ABC as "the Founder and President of the Palestine Land Society", is, inter alia, a member of the Palestine National Council.

Now 83, he is given carte blanche by the odoous ABC to declare in the rant that
"It was a Zionist plan to convert Palestine into a land without (its) people. Hence the dispossession of Palestine carried out in 1948, in which 560 towns and villages were depopulated and largely destroyed. This major crime has continued to this day.

Racism and apartheid are intrinsic to the Zionist doctrine. Without the forcible expulsion of Palestinians, Israel could not have existed as it is today. There is not a single acre of land acquired by Israel in 1948 that was gained without recourse to military force...
How the Women’s March made itself irrelevant
As the Women’s March gears up for its fourth go on Saturday, the skepticism and disenchantment are palpable. Articles questioning the relevance of the Women’s March in 2020 abound, comparing its expected low number of 10,000 marchers against the estimated 4 million in 2017. I, too, am strongly skeptical of the Women’s March of 2020 — as a feminist, but also as a Jew and as a Zionist.

There are plenty of reasons why I — and many other feminists — question the relevancy of the 2020 Women’s March that have nothing to do with antisemitism or anti-Zionism. For one, there’s less of a need for expressive displays in 2020 and a greater one for concrete, pragmatic action — be it registering voters, volunteering for local and national campaigns or writing amicus briefs for the critical abortion case before the Supreme Court this year. As University of Maryland professor Dana Fisher told The Washington Post, “Nobody needs another pink hat.”

Top Women’s March leadership has also left some questioning how much of a grassroots, big tent movement it actually was in the first place. There was a protracted battle between national and local chapters about who owned the brand, according to The Daily Beast. In September, the Women’s March announced a new board, replacing three of the four original leaders: Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour (Carmen Perez stayed on).

Over the last three years, I have become acutely aware that the leading voices in modern feminism, as embodied in the Women’s March leadership, were hostile to my presence — as both a Jew and a Jew who believes in our right to self-determination, Zionism. At one point,Sarsour implied that women like me were not welcome in the Women’s March.

In 2018, Tablet magazine and The New York Times reported that the Women’s March leadership made concerted efforts to push out an activist because she was Jewish, as well as promoted Louis Farrakhan’s “The Secret Relationship Between Jews and Black,” which Henry Louis Gates Jr. called “the bible of the new antisemitism.” The news wasn’t exactly shocking, considering that in the months leading up to those revelations, the Women’s March leaders demonstrated a disturbing practice of defending support for and ties with Farrakhan — a notorious antisemite, homophobe and sexist.

Twitter suspends and later reinstates Louis Farrakhan's account
Twitter accidentally suspended the account of Louis Farrakhan, the infamous head of the Nation of Islam, an African-American political and religious movement that has also had a strong documented history of antisemitism, in addition to discrimination against other groups, according to the Washington Examiner.

Following the brief suspension, Farrakhan's Twitter timeline disappeared while also being replaced with a message notified visitors to his account of its suspension.

Twitter later reinstated Farrakhan's account in the afternoon, which was also confirmed by a Twitter representative commenting to the Washington Examiner, saying that the initial suspension was an error. After the Twitter account was reinstated, Farrakhan's number of followers were skewed, later returning to normal.

Other social media sites have blocked or removed Farrakhan's profiles before, including Facebook in May 2019, due to antisemitic and homophobic rhetoric. A Facebook representative noted in the past to CNN Business that social media platform has "always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive."

Farrakhan has a long history of making racist and antisemitic comments. In 1990, Farrakhan said, "The Jews, a small handful, control the movement of this great nation, like a radar controls the movement of a great ship in the waters… The Jews got a stranglehold on the Congress,” during a speech. In 2018, he tweeted, "I'm not an anti-Semite. I'm anti-Termite."

Man arrested in harassment of Jewish couple in Midtown hate crime
A man was arrested for yelling and cursing at a Jewish couple in Manhattan —the latest in a troubling surge of anti-Semitic hate crimes, sources told The Post Saturday.

Vernon Stevens, 55, was walking on 7th Avenue near W. 47th Street in Midtown at about 10 p.m. Friday when he suddenly began yelling at the pair, police said.

When a 16-year-old witness went to alert patrol cops, Stevens allegedly turned his ire toward him, police said.

“F***ing Jews!” he allegedly screamed at the pair, according to sources.

He continued his alleged tirade, waving his fingers in their faces until a 16-year-old witness alerted nearby officers who were on patrol, and who quickly arrested him.

Stevens, who had at least five prior arrests, was charged with aggravated harassment and a hate crime, police said.

The incident comes after a 26% spike over the last year in anti-Semitic hate crimes—including a Hanukkah machete attack that injured five in Monsey, the NYPD said.
Israeli FM, US top diplomat urge more countries to blacklist Hezbollah entirely
Foreign Minister Israel Katz and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued separate remarks on Saturday calling on more countries to add Lebanon’s entire Hezbollah movement to their terror blacklists after the UK announced that it did so this week.

Britain’s finance ministry said on Friday that it added Hezbollah’s political wing to its list of terrorist groups subject to asset freezing. The ministry previously only targeted the Shiite organization’s military wing but has now listed the whole group after the government designated it a terrorist organization last March.

The change requires any individual or institution in Britain with accounts or financial services connected to Hezbollah to suspend them or face prosecution.

Katz said in a statement Saturday that he applauded the British government for “its decision to include all Hezbollah organizations, including the political echelon, under the legislation enabling asset freezing for terror organizations.”

The foreign minister said the move was “an achievement for Israel in its struggle against Iran and its proxies in the region, chiefly Hezbollah.”

Ukraine’s Zelensky confirms he’ll attend Holocaust forum in Jerusalem
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky will be attending this week’s events in Jerusalem commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, his office confirmed on Sunday.

Zelensky told The Times of Israel that he had always wanted and intended to attend. He had, however, delayed his final confirmation because he needed to be sure that all matters would first be handled relating to the return by Iran to Ukraine of the bodies of Ukrainian nationals killed when Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner on January 8.

It had been rumored that Zelensky might follow the lead of his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and boycott the gathering; neither leader has been invited to speak at the main January 23 event at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem. Duda criticized the fact that representatives of the US, Russia, France, the UK and Germany would all speak while his request to address the forum was denied. The Polish announcement came amid an escalating dispute between Warsaw and Moscow over allegations of collaboration with the Nazis and responsibility for the outbreak of World War II.

In an extensive interview on Saturday, Zelensky said he thought it would be “fair” for the president of Ukraine to be asked to speak at the event. “The statistical information that we have shows that one in four of the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust were Ukrainian,” he noted.

But “the most important thing for each country is to honor the memory of its Holocaust victims. It’s very important to go, whether we [leaders] speak or not,” he said. “I know the Israeli side has a different format; we were not invited to speak. But in any case, I will attend this ceremony.”
German envoy ‘horrified and ashamed’ anti-Semitism still persists after Shoah
The upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is a “very difficult date” for her, Germany’s ambassador to Israel said this week, acknowledging her country’s responsibility for the atrocities that occurred at the Nazi death camp.

“I feel deep shame given the unspeakable crimes committed by Germans. I also think how important it is that Germany assumed the responsibility for the crimes of the past and is committed to maintain the memory for our children and future generations,” Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer said. “We owe that ‘culture of remembrance’ to the millions of innocent victims of Nazi persecution. We owe it also us, Germans.”

In an email interview with The Times of Israel ahead of this week’s commemoration, Berlin’s top diplomat discussed her nation’s effort to grapple with a difficult past and to ensure that rising Jew hatred is kept in check.

“I was horrified and deeply ashamed,” she said of the October 9 Yom Kippur shooting at a synagogue in the city of Halle, during which two people outside the synagogue were killed.

“It was a nightmare for me, following it as a German citizen but also seeing it through Israeli eyes: An attack on a synagogue in the middle of Germany, where the community had gathered to mark the holiest day of Judaism, Yom Kippur.”
Anti-war activists disinvite Jewish councilor, sparking antisemitism row
“Peace activists are boycotting not only Israel, but also Jews in Germany,” a Jewish member of Munich City Council has told German media website Taz after he was disinvited from addressing an anti-war event.

Marian Offman was due to give the opening greeting at the annual Munich Peace Conference at the city's Old Town Hall in February in his capacity as a representative of the city, but just before Christmas the SDP council member received an email from organizers telling him that he was not welcome.

The reason? Event organizer Thomas Rödl accused Offman of having "aggressively and polarizingly dealt with political groups and events that critically assess the policies of the government of Israel" in the past, according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.

"I was completely perplexed," Offman told Taz. "As far as I know there has never been anything like this."
Germany's Left Party blocks ban on burning of Israeli flag
The largely anti-Israel party Die Linke (The Left) has torpedoed a bill in the Berlin senate, which would have banned the burning of the Israeli flag in Germany’s capital city.

Berlin-based B.Z. newspaper first reported on Saturday that the Left Party, a part of the ruling governing coalition in the city-state of Berlin, along with the Social Democratic Party and Green Party, blocked the pro-Israel bill.

Left Party politician Sebastian Schlüsselburg told B.Z. that “No faction wants Israel flags or Jewish symbols to be burned in Berlin. But a ban in criminal law, as demanded by the CDU, is the wrong way.”

The Christian Democratic Union introduced the pro-Israel legislation in the Berlin parliament after Israeli flags were burned in demonstrations in the capital following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem
in 2017. Most of the anti-Israel activists who burned the flags were German Muslims.

Schlüsselburg defended his party’s move because the German court declared that the burning of a flag is protected by free speech.
Jordanian parliament demands ban on gas imports from Israel
Jordan’s parliament Sunday voted in favor of a law to ban gas imports from Israel, weeks after the Jewish state began pumping it to the kingdom in a $10 billion deal.

It remained unclear, however, whether the government in Amman would back the legislative push against an agreement that it has said improves energy security for Jordanians.

Earlier this month Israel began exporting gas from the offshore Leviathan field to neighbors Jordan and Egypt — the only two Arab countries it has peace treaties with — under a 15-year agreement.

The deal struck with the Amman government sparked streets protests in Jordan, where many consider Israel an enemy.

“The majority has voted to send an urgent motion to the government” requesting a law banning Israeli gas imports to Jordan, parliamentary speaker Atef Tarawneh said, in remarks carried live by state television.

TV footage showed a majority of MPs in parliament’s lower house stand up to back the motion, which was decided after 58 out of the 130-strong legislature last month demanded such a ban in a letter to the legislature.
Jordanians protest gas deal with Israel
Hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in downtown Amman on Friday, calling on the government to cancel an agreement in which Israel began pumping natural gas to the kingdom this year.

Jordanian security forces prevented the protesters from reaching symbolic Al-Nakheel Square in the capital, where the turnout had been expected to grow larger.

Earlier this month, Jordan’s National Electric Power Co., said gas pumping had started as part of a multi-billion-dollar deal with Texas-based Noble Energy aimed at lowering the cost of power in the energy-poor kingdom.

Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group are, among others, partners in the newly operational Leviathan gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

In a statement then, NEPCO said importing the gas from Israel was "the last option" after supplies of Egyptian gas came to an end after its pipeline was repeatedly targeted by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Sinai. NEPCO said Israel was "the only available source."

At odds with the kingdom’s official policy, many Jordanians still see Israel as an enemy and often meet steps toward normalization with great public backlash. Over half the population are believed to be Palestinian refugees or their descendants.
IDF said to strike Hamas border post after apparent balloon attack from Gaza
The Israeli military fired a shell at a Hamas observation post along the Gaza border Sunday afternoon, apparently in response to the launching of a balloon-borne explosive device from the Strip, Palestinian media reported Sunday.

There were no immediate reports of Palestinian injuries.

An explosives-laden balloon had earlier detonated over Sderot in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage, according to Israeli media reports. The Sderot municipality said it was aware of the reports regarding the explosion, but was unable to locate the source of the blast.

The reported Israeli retaliatory attack was not immediately confirmed by the military.

On Friday, police sappers were scrambled in the coastal city of Ashdod after an explosive device tied to a bunch of balloons was found near the town’s promenade.

Terror groups in the Gaza Strip have flown in numerous bombs and incendiary devices into Israeli territory from the enclave with the aid of helium-filled balloons.

Police called on the public to alert authorities to any suspicious-looking objects and refrain from approaching them.
IDF begins installing tunnel-detecting sensors along Lebanese border
The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday began installing a series of underground sensors along the northern border in order to detect any new subterranean tunnels entering Israeli territory from Lebanon. The effort comes a year after the military discovered and destroyed six such passages dug by the Hezbollah terror group.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the decision to install the sensors near Misgav Am now was not based on fresh intelligence that Hezbollah was digging a cross-border tunnel there, but was in light of the fact that the sensor technology being used had recently been declared operational, following a series of tests.

“The installation of this system is a preventative infrastructure step, it is not based on new intelligence,” the military said.

On Sunday morning, the IDF began digging the holes needed to install the detection system, which was recently deemed fully operational. The first of these sensors, which collect both acoustic and seismic data, will be installed near the community of Misgav Am in the northern Galilee. The process was expected to take several weeks, Conricus said.

The military appeared to be widely publicizing this new effort in order to prevent confusion or panic on both sides.

“This is an action that will be seen and heard both in our territory and on the Lebanese side — we want to prevent a miscalculation,” said IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Hidai Zilberman.
What’s so funny about Saeb Erekat’s call for “peace”, “rights” and “international law”?
Media Line reported on Jan. 6th about new terms added by the European Union in 2019 which merely “obligate Palestinian institutions to ensure that no beneficiaries of their projects or programs are affiliated with groups listed on the European Union’s terrorist organisations list”.

However, it wasn’t merely representatives of Palestinian NGOs who rejected the requirement.

Saeb Erekat also weighed in.
On December 3, Saeb Erekat, the secretary of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, in a letter addressed to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, called on the EU to reconsider the new conditions and to ensure equal, impartial and transparent access to funding for all.

According to a publication sent to The Media line by Erekat’s office, Erekat denounced such restrictions, which, it was claimed, directly affect Palestinian rights pursuant to international law, in particular the right to self-determination, stressing that it is not in line with the European Union’s commitment to a two-state solution and peace and stability in the region.

Let’s briefly unpack this. Erekat is defending the “right” of Palestinian NGOs supported by the EU to use their funds to benefit groups listed by the EU as terrorist entities, and that to preclude the “right” of groups which call for Israel’s destruction and the murder of Israeli civilians to receive this money is inconsistent with “peace”, “self-determination” and “international law”.

So, Guardian readers should – but, of course, won’t – take note: For Saeb Erekat, words and lofty, progressive rhetoric don’t have objective meanings. They mean, as Humpty Dumpty said, just what he chooses them to mean, neither more nor less.

Iranian nuclear weapon plans go back to 2002, secret documents reveal
A secret Iranian document revealed in a Daily Mail report bolsters the argument that Iran intended to develop nuclear warheads.
The document, which was one of a massive treasure trove taken by a Mossad raid on Tehran in January 2018, outlines the proposals of several scientists for a nuclear warhead, which were approved by the Iranian regime's top nuclear official, Moshen Fakhrizadeh.

Until the Mossad obtained the documents, there were EU countries and other nations who believed, or gave lip-service, to Iran’s claims that its nuclear program was peaceful, and not military.

The document and blueprints will be the focus of a new report by the Friends of Israel Initiative (FOII), an NGO of several foreign policy experts and former presidents and prime ministers, currently chaired by former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper.

According to the report, Israeli officials briefed and provided FOII with the document in order to prove the military ambitions of Iran's nuclear studies, despite official regime statements to the contrary.

"Iran intended to become a fully operational nuclear state," the report states, according to the Daily Mail.

Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine
The Iranian official leading the investigation into the Ukrainian jetliner that was accidentally shot down by the Revolutionary Guard appeared to backtrack Sunday on plans to send the flight recorders abroad for analysis, a day after saying they would be sent to Kyiv.

Hassan Rezaeifar was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency as saying “the flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out.”

He said Iran is working to recover the data and cabin recordings, and that it may send the flight recorders — commonly known as black boxes — to Ukraine or France. “But as of yet, we have made no decision.”

The same official was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday as saying the recorders would be sent to Ukraine, where French, American and Canadian experts would help analyze them. Iranian officials previously said the black boxes were damaged but are usable.

It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts. Iran may be hesitant to turn over the recorders for fear that more details from the crash — including the harrowing 20 seconds between when the first and second surface-to-air missiles hit the plane — will come to light.
UK's Johnson, France's Macron reiterate commitment to Iran nuclear deal
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated their commitment on Sunday to the Iran nuclear deal and agreed a long-term framework was needed, Downing Street said on Sunday.

"On Iran, the leaders reiterated their commitment to the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and also acknowledged the need to define a long-term framework to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon," a Downing Street spokeswoman said in a statement after the two met on the sidelines of a Libya summit in Berlin.

"They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions."
Report by Labour-affiliated group tries to blame Israel for stoking Labour's antisemitism crisis
A report by a Labour-affiliated group has tried to blame Israel for stoking the antisemitism crisis that engulfed Jeremy Corbyn's party.

Charles James, secretary of Labour International, makes the allegation to the group's 3,500 members in a new paper entitled “General Election Part Two: Why didn’t we win?”

In an argument which cited the much-criticised Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, Mr James writes: "Many of us believe that the row about antisemitism has been stoked by Israel and its helpers in the UK."

The Daily Telegraph, which had seen the report, reported that Mr James accused the Israeli government of “putting significant efforts and finances into influencing British politics” in order to “prevent the election of a Labour government that will recognise a Palestinian state”.

Arguing against the evidence of widespread antisemitism in Labour, Mr James cited the fact that Ed Miliband was elected previous leader of the party in a contest with his brother David.

In the report, Mr James claimed that when Jeremy Corbyn met two Jewish organisations – believed to be the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council - in 2018 to discuss antisemitism "many of these representatives had links to the Conservative Party".
Labour withdraws Ofcom complaint about Panorama expose of Party’s antisemitism
The Labour Party has apparently withdrawn its complaint to Ofcom over the Panorama investigation into antisemitism in the Party, which Labour had claimed was a “one-sided authored polemic”. Ofcom has also dismissed all other bias complaints made over the programme.

In the episode, which was titled “Is Labour Antisemitic?” and televised in July, former Labour Party employees spoke out publicly to reveal Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.

The Party submitted a 28-page complaint to the BBC, claiming that the programme failed to meet the BBC’s standards, but the BBC decided to back the makers of the episode and rejected the complaint. Labour was then able to make the complaint to Ofcom, which it did, but which it has now allegedly withdrawn.

Additionally, Ofcom has confirmed that it has dismissed all of the other bias complaints it has received over the programme. An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We assessed complaints from viewers who felt that this programme was factually inaccurate and biased. In our view, the programme was duly impartial. As well as highly critical personal testimonies, it included the Labour Party’s response prominently throughout, including in an interview with the Shadow Communities Secretary.”

The programme was shortlisted for two British Journalism Awards.
Are they fit to lead? CAA compares Labour Party leadership contenders’ records on antisemitism
Nominations for the position of leader of the Labour Party have closed, with five candidates securing sufficient support from fellow MPs to qualify for the race, which is expected to last three months.

The winner of the contest, who, as head of the largest opposition party, will also take the post of Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition, will become the head of an institutionally antisemitic party that is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), following a complaint by Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has analysed the records of the five leadership hopefuls in order to inform the public, which can determine whether any of the candidates are fit to lead.

The deepest stain on the records of each of the candidates is the fact that they stood by the Labour Party during the years of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership despite its descent into racism. They were bystanders when several Jewish colleagues were hounded out of the Party, and they stood by too when principled colleagues made the difficult decision to leave the Party because they could not countenance campaigning for the antisemite Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister, which all of the five candidates themselves did last month. Whether these candidates can ever reclaim any authority to speak out against antisemitism — or indeed any form of prejudice — is therefore doubtful.

The three candidates who served as senior figures in Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet and most actively campaigned to make him Prime Minister, in the face of polls that showed almost half of the Jewish community were considering leaving the country if they were successful in their campaign, are particularly unlikely ever to be able to provide a satisfactory justification for their collaboration.
Labour rally in support of Rebecca Long-Bailey marred by attack on 'Tory' Chief Rabbi
A rally in support of left-wing Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey was marred by an attack on the “Tory” Chief Rabbi and the Jewish Labour Movement.

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon and Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe both spoke at the post-general election gathering in central London on Thursday evening but Graham Durham, a Brent Central Labour Party member, was cheered by many in the audience as he ranted that Ms Long-Bailey did not deserve support because she was "cuddling up to the Jewish Labour Movement and the Chief Rabbi, a well-known Tory".

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took the unprecedented step during the General Election campaign to publicly attack Labour’s antisemitism and urge people to “vote with their conscience”.

On Thursday, more than 200 members of hard-left groups, including the Campaign For Labour Party Democracy, packed out the Indian YMCA meeting hall to hear a series of speeches in which Jeremy Corbyn was hailed as a heroic leader.
Watch Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announce all local councils will be required to adopt International Definition of Antisemitism
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced that he will be requiring all local councils to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism “forthwith”.

Robert Jenrick made the comment in the House of Commons in an answer to the Conservative MP, Stephen Morgan, who asked about the Government’s plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps. Mr Jenrick noted that although the camps were liberated, this did not bring an end to the “cancer of antisemitism”, and he announced that in addition to the policy on local councils, the Government was providing funding for Holocaust education and visits to Bergen Belsen.

Mr Jenrick also revealed that he plans to participate in the British delegation to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, later this month to mark the occasion.

The announcement comes after it was reported that Mr Jenrick had written to all local authorities in the country urging adoption of the Definition.
UK Labour Party Member Allegedly Called ‘Foreign Agent’ for Opposing Motion Attacking Jewish Advocacy Group
A Labour Party member in east London said he and others were called foreign agents during a party meeting on Monday evening for opposing a resolution condemning the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD), and heard members make “multiple antisemitic tropes.”

Alex Holmes, vice chairperson of the party’s Ilford South branch, said in a tweet on Monday that it had been “the worst Labour party meeting I have ever attended.”

“A member accused me and others of being ‘agents of a foreign power’ as they proposed a motion attacking the Board of Deputies of British Jews,” he recounted. “Me and a Jewish member spoke against the motion, but the motion passed.”

“Their motion claimed that there was ‘no antisemitism in the Labour Party’ and the proposers used multiple antisemitic tropes to make their point that the Board of Deputies is a ‘Tory organisation’ ‘illegally interfering in the Labour leadership contest,'” he added.

The incident came following the recent endorsement by a majority of Labour leadership hopefuls of “10 pledges” put forward by the BoD, the main representative body for British Jews. The initiative seeks to repair ties between the left-wing party and the British Jewish community, which frayed dramatically during the tenure of Labour’s socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn, who led it to a decisive defeat in December’s general elections.

Ukraine Jewish community outraged as online store sells anti-Semitic T-shirt
Ukraine’s Jewish community has expressed outrage after an online store marketed an anti-Semitic shirt, a local website reported Thursday.

The local store NU SHO recently uploaded an Instagram post advertising a black T-shirt with the writing: “Holy shit, are you a Yid?” according to the News Front website.

“Yid” means “Jew” in Yiddish, but the term has taken on an anti-Semitic connotation, particularly in Eastern Europe, where it is used by many non-Jews as a pejorative.

kraine’s Jewish community demanded that the shop remove the shirt from its website, stop selling it and publish an apology. It threatened to file a police complaint.

The store subsequently took down the ad and apologized to anyone who was offended, but also argued that the shirt is not anti-Semitic.
Greece experiences antisemitism ahead of Greek Holocaust Remembrance Day
With the new year, the shocking news spread in the social media: on the night of December 31, a night of celebration, antisemitic graffiti was painted on the wall of the Yavanim synagogue of Trikala in central Greece. Then, the next morning, on January 1, the Holocaust memorial of the city was vandalized, for the second time in two years.

“This is like a replay,” explains Iakovos Venouziou the President of the Jewish Community of Trikala. “We experience antisemitic vandalism in Trikala often. Our cemetery was the target of several such attacks in the 1990s that we hardly managed to fix the damage before a new attack took place! In 1999 the attack was so massive, that there was hardly one grave that was left undamaged. The cemetery was restored between 2000 and 2010 thanks to a great effort made by the Jewish community and local non-Jewish support.”

Venouziou was born in Trikala in 1941, just 10 days before Trikala was attacked by the German Air Force, and only 40 days before Trikala was occupied by the Nazis. His family was saved thanks to generous and courageous Greeks who hid them in their homes.

“Jewish snakes out!” was the inscription written with spray on the synagogue wall, according to the Greek Helsinki Monitor and the Humanist Union of Greece press announcement. The Central Board of the Jewish Communities of Greece (KISE) condemned the act and called for the Greek authorities “to take all necessary measures to arrest and punish the perpetrators and for the protection of the Jewish sites in the city of Trikala, which has shown zero tolerance to racism.”
Hungary commemorates 1945 liberation of Budapest ghetto
Hungary’s Jewish community on Sunday commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation by Soviet troops of the Budapest ghetto, where over 70,000 Jews were confined near the end of World War II.

While some 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust in Nazi-run death camps, in forced labor battalions or by the Nazis’ Hungarian allies, many Budapest Jews survived the war. Many were forced into the ghetto, others hid around the city under assumed identities or were helped by sympathetic foreign diplomats like Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg.

Hundreds of people attended the commemoration at Budapest’s Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest in Europe, including Holocaust survivors, diplomats and politicians.

Robert Frolich, the synagogue’s chief rabbi, spoke of “ambivalent feelings” surrounding the commemoration, which contains pain and mourning, but also the “celebration of life.”

“Seventy-five years ago, Europe’s last ghetto, the Budapest ghetto, was liberated. This is what we remember today,” Frolich said. “Ambivalent feelings gather inside us, because the reason for the event, the liberation of the ghetto, is itself ambivalent.”
Tel Aviv start-up gets FDA approval for ‘stroke of genius’ AI package
Tel Aviv-based start-up Aidoc, a leading provider of artificial-intelligence solutions for radiologists, has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for its AI solution that spots strokes (large-vessel occlusion) in the brain during head CTA scans.
An LVO is the blockage of vessels in the brain. According to Ariella Shoham, Aidoc’s vice president of marketing, the AI technology “uses deep learning to automatically look at every head CT before a patient has even left the imaging room.”

“It investigates the images to see if they show blocked blood vessels in the brain or bleeding [intracranial hemorrhages],” she said. “If one of these time-critical conditions is found, Aidoc re-prioritizes the work lists of radiologists so that the urgent scan is looked at immediately and the patient can be treated quickly.”

Shoham said Aidoc already received FDA clearances to identify and flag pulmonary embolism (blockages in the lungs) and cervical spine fractures (broken neck).

“Other Aidoc solutions currently in clinical testing include identifying air in the abdomen,” she said. “Altogether, Aidoc is targeting the most common, critical life-threatening conditions that make up 80% of all urgent cases on CT scans. These are the conditions where every minute counts and where moving a patient to the top of a radiologist’s work list can save a life.”

The company said this was Aidoc’s fourth FDA-cleared AI package.
Top reasons 2019 was a record-breaking year for Israel’s economy
The year 2019 broke records across Israel’s economy. From tourism to tech, exports to the illusive “unicorn,” Israel scored higher in many categories than it ever had.

Unicorns are a good place to start. We’re not talking about mythical one-horned beasts. Rather, a technology unicorn refers to a privately held company with a valuation of over $1 billion.

In 2019, Israel doubled its number of companies hitting that mark to 20. Israel now has more unicorns than France, Germany and Australia combined. Only the US, UK and China have more.

Among the high-profile new companies Israel welcomed into unicorn playground last year: taxi-hailing company Gett, cybersecurity experts Cybereason, and team management systems developer Monday.

Additional companies are on their way to unicorn status: 3D sensor company Vayyar Imaging, fraud protection firm Riskified, software developer JFrog, and insure-tech company Lemonade all had financing rounds of over $100 million in 2019.

According to a list compiled by TechCrunch, out of some 500 unicorns around the world, 30 were founded by Israelis though not all of them are based in Israel.
Billionaire Len Blavatnik Aims for the Moon With $1 Million SpaceIL Grant
Billionaire businessman Len Blavatnik has given a $1 million grant to SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit organization behind Beresheet, the unmanned spacecraft that crashed on the moon’s surface in April. The Blavatnik Family Foundation made the announcement Wednesday. The grant is intended to advance the goal of landing an unmanned Israeli spacecraft on the moon through the Beresheet 2.0 spacecraft program, according to the foundation’s statement.

Blavatnik’s grant is intended to allow SpaceIL to hire a new CEO, the statement said. SpaceIL has not made any announcements regarding the replacement of its current CEO, Ido Anteby.

In June, SpaceIL said that it regarded its first moon venture a success, as it made Israel the seventh country to reach the moon’s orbit. SpaceIL also said that Beresheet 2.0 will not be going forward with its previously declared second moon mission, but instead will seek out “another, significant objective” for Beresheet 2.0.

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