Tuesday, February 04, 2020

From Ian:

80 percent of US Jews say they are pro-Israel, study finds
The overwhelming majority of American Jews describe themselves as pro-Israel, and similar numbers say their attachment to Israel is as strong or stronger than it was five years ago, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted for the Ruderman Family Foundation by the Mellman Group on a sample of 2,500 US Jews, found that more than half of the respondents defined themselves as pro-Israel but also critical of Israeli policy.

According to the survey, eight out of 10 Jews identified themselves as “pro-Israel,” and two-thirds (67%) said they were “attached” or “very attached” to Israel on an emotional level.

Additionally, more than 70% of the respondents said their personal relationship with Israel is the same or stronger than it was five years ago.
Although 80% identified as pro-Israel, more than half of American Jews, some 57%, identified as “pro-Israel but also critical of Israeli policy.”

There was a split between those who are critical of “some” policies (28%) and those critical of “many” policies (29%).
Less than a quarter (23%) are “pro-Israel and supportive of the current Israeli government policies.”
Melanie Phillips: Britain is losing the fight against extremism
For the second time in just over two months, terrorism on Britain’s streets has descended into lethal farce. On Sunday Sudesh Amman, an Islamist who had just been released from prison even though he was considered so dangerous that he was being shadowed by armed police officers, seized a knife from a shop in Streatham and stabbed two people before those officers shot him dead.

Last November Usman Khan, an Islamist released from prison 11 months earlier, murdered two people at a conference that he was attending on London Bridge organised by a prisoners’ rehabilitation project.

This provoked much head-shaking about the risks of letting terrorists out of jail too early and accepting too easily that they’d been de-radicalised. Now, some are saying we can’t go on like this.

Easier said than done. For what’s required is a step-change in attitudes which Britain has been unwilling to make.

For all the evidence suggests that de-radicalisation programmes both inside and outside prison are singularly ineffectual. That’s not just because of the chaos in the under-resourced prison and probation system. It’s because of a conceptual error: the belief that the power of reason can be used against fanatics who believe in killing infidels and “martyring” themselves in the name of God, and wear mocked-up bomb-belts to encourage the police to kill them.

Islam’s history features holy war and conquest, punctuated over the centuries by attempts at enlightenment and reformation that were suppressed. So could it be that these charismatic prisoners, who further radicalise other Muslim inmates, are more faithful to Islam than the hapless imams sent in to persuade them of the error of their ways?
MEMRI: Egyptian Liberal: Britain, Which Shelters And Cultivates Islamic Extremists, Shouldn't Be Surprised To Find Itself A Target Of Terror
On February 2, 2020, a 20-year-old named Sudesh Amman perpetrated a stabbing attack in London, injuring three people. Amman had been released from prison several days earlier, after serving three years on terrorism charges. This attack bears a close resemblance to the November 29, 2019 London Bridge attack, perpetrated by Usman Khan, also a released prisoner who had been jailed for involvement in terror.

Following the London Bridge attack, in which two people were killed, Egyptian liberal journalist Khaled Montasser published an article titled "Can a Terrorist Repent." In it, he wrote that terrorists are incapable of repenting since they are motivated by extremist ideas such as a rejection of nation-states, isolation from society and a desire to establish the Islamic Caliphate, and they rejoice at terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims in the West. He accused Europe, and especially Britain, of sheltering and cultivating Islamic extremists, including Salafis and activists of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is supported by Qatar, and allowing them to establish unsupervised schools and religious centers that become "bastions of backwardness" and "incubators of terror and extremism." He therefore urged Europe and Britain to wake up before they are overrun by the extremists and become extinct.

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]
"London woke up to a disaster: British police confirm that two people were killed and three were wounded in a stabbing attack against passersby near London Bridge on Friday [November 29, 2019]... The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: 'We will not let terror threaten our city and our unity... or disrupt our daily lives.'[2]

"I [regret to] inform you, dear Mr. Mayor, that you are deluded. These people will threaten your city whether you like it or not, and take your daily lives back to the stone age if you continue to delude yourself that the scorpion will carry the frog on its back and bring it safely to the shore.

Dore Gold: Israel Comes Full Circle with Sudan
On Sep. 1, 1967, just after Israel's victory in the Six-Day War, an Arab League Summit convened in Khartoum, Sudan, and issued what became known as the Khartoum Declaration, which stated: "No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel." Today that declaration has been reversed.

People forget that Sudan actually is an Arab state and a member of the Arab League. It decided that the time had arrived for its new president to meet openly with the prime minister of Israel. Precisely when the Palestinian Authority was trying to incite the Arab states against the U.S. peace plan, one of the largest Arab countries was thawing its relationship with Israel.

In the past, the Sudanese had brought together many of the main Islamist militant organizations and supplied them with training camps, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Algerian GIA, Hizbullah, and even the PLO. It was one of the earliest places that hosted the Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden.

Tehran gained access to Port Sudan on the Red Sea for its naval forces. Frequently they carried shipments of Iranian weapons that were transported northward into Egypt, destined for Sinai and Gaza. This was one of the key supply routes for Hamas as it built up its capacity to wage war against Israel.

Then Sudan changed its pro-Iranian orientation and aligned its foreign policy with Saudi Arabia, severing Hamas' Sudanese supply line.
Sudan was part of the joint front against Israel in many significant ways. With Sudan exploring new ties with Israel, that front has been split. And the forces that waged war against the West over the last two decades have lost one of their most important bases of operations.
JPost Editorial: Netanyahu's Uganda visit represents Israel's growing ties with Africa
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Uganda on Monday was an important trip and represents the growing Israeli relationship with African states. This is a historic area where Israel has – in the past – had many friends. In the 1950s and 1960s Israel opened its doors to Africa, helping the newly independent states there and seeking to share knowledge with them.

However, the relationships soured in the 1970s due to pressure from Arab and Islamic states. Now a new era seems to be arriving. The prime minister says that Israelis are “returning to Africa in a big way. Africa already returned to Israel. These are very important ties for diplomacy, for the economy, for security – and more will be revealed.”

Africa is a burgeoning continent that is growing at a rapid pace, although it faces many struggles. Many countries there can benefit from Israeli technology and know-how. They benefit because Israel is not just a “start-up nation” but it is also a state that grew from the desert and had to become self-sufficient without major resources like oil. Like many sub-Saharan African states, Israel was a victim of the colonial era and foreign attempts to draw arbitrary borders that have saddled it with conflicts.

How might Israeli relations with African countries benefit both? First of all, African states are increasingly becoming linked to other economies such as China, Russia, Turkey and India. This rise of the global south is important because it is essentially in these places that Israeli technology and security expertise can help. In the Sahel in Africa, rising Islamist insurgencies are killing hundreds every month. From Somalia to Mali there are threats. States such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Kenya and even Uganda are threatened. Israel knows these threats well, having suffered from terrorism for more than 70 years. Much more can be done – not just through defense sales, which are only 2% of the total compared to other continents due to controversy as to whether countries commit human rights abuses, but through civil trade and hands-on training.

Netanyahu and his governments have set a priority on Africa relations. This goes back to 2009 with then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s 2009 and 2014 trips. This has seen increased trips and a number of firsts.

Sudan-Israel normalization meeting 'stabbed Palestinians in the back'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting on Monday in Uganda to discuss normalizing Israeli-Sudanese diplomatic ties with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of Sudan's transitional government, sparked a wave of critical reactions from Palestinians.

"This meeting is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a blatant departure from the Arab Peace Initiative at a time when the administration of [US] President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are trying to liquidate the Palestinian cause," said Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization and chief PA negotiator, in a statement carried on official news agency WAFA.

Erekat also condemned Uganda's announcement, made alongside the Israel-Sudan development, that it will consider opening an embassy in Jerusalem.

He called on all members of the African Union, which includes Uganda, to uphold their previous decisions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that will see the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Erekat continued: "No one can barter on their own behalf at the expense of the national rights of the Palestinian people."
Confusion, protests in Sudan after leader meets with Netanyahu
The Sudanese government was not informed of the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudan’s leader, Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, which drew a muted response from other top officials and calls for public protests on Tuesday.

The meeting was seen in Sudan as a way to improve ties with the US, which has classified the Muslim African country as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.

Sudan’s cabinet discussed that meeting on Tuesday, despite still not receiving updates from Burhan. The cabinet summoned leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change, an alliance that fronted protests that toppled notorious dictator Omar al-Bashir last year, for consultations, FFC sources said.

The meeting was held in secret, with the IDF censoring early reports of it in Israel and only a small number of Sudanese officials knowing of it in advance. After the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Israel and Sudan would work towards normalization. No photos were released from the summit.

The United Arab Emirates organized Monday’s meeting between Netanyahu and Burhan, the AP reported. The meeting took place in Entebbe, Uganda; Saudi Arabian and Egyptian officials were also informed about it.

“We learnt through the media about the meeting,” Sudanese government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh told Sudanese media, adding that the country’s Council of Ministers was not informed about it. “We will wait for clarifications after the return of the President of the Sovereign Council.”

BBC news prises Palestinians into item about Israeli talks with Uganda and Sudan
Readers then came across the 23.7% of this report which shoehorns the Palestinians into a story about the Israeli prime minister’s talks with the leaders of two African countries:
“Only the US and Guatemala have opened embassies in the disputed city of Jerusalem, despite strong condemnation from Palestinians.

The decision put the US and Guatemala at odds with the rest of the international community’s view on Jerusalem’s status.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

But the latest peace plan from US President Donald Trump promised to keep Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

The Palestinian leadership has rejected this.”

The item closes:
“Mr Museveni has been under pressure from a lobby group, the Uganda Christian Coalition for Israel, to resume full diplomatic ties between the two nations, including the opening of embassies in Kampala and Jerusalem.

“Many Ugandans go to Israel to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. Having full diplomatic relations would make it easier,” said Rev Canon Rebecca Nyegenyehe, Uganda’s state-owned New Vision newspaper reported.

Uganda enjoyed full diplomatic relations with Israel until they were cut by Idi Amin’s regime in 1972.”

So as we see, while BBC audiences learned nothing at all about the Sudanese shifting regional alliances which are the context to this story, they did hear – yet again – about the Palestinian wish-list concerning Jerusalem.

So much for that “range and depth of analysis” promised to BBC licence fee payers.
Sanders Touts Endorsement From Iowa Dem Who Defended Convicted Terrorist
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders touted the endorsement of Ako Abdul-Samad, who once defended an al Qaeda propagandist and runs a Muslim-American organization so controversial that other Democrats have returned its donations.

"I'm honored to have Rep. Abdul-Samad's endorsement," Sen. Sanders (I., Vt.) tweeted ahead of Monday's Iowa caucuses. "Together we're going to win in Iowa, win the primary, defeat Trump, and build a nation that works for the working people of this country."

Abdul-Samad is an Iowa state representative and serves as chairman of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), which has defended terrorist groups and domestic radicals. Other Democrats have returned AMA donations, rather than promote its endorsement. Hillary Clinton returned $50,000 in political contributions from the group after AMA founder Agha Saeed said Palestinians were justified in the use of violence against Israelis. "The statements that are attributed to the organization and some of its members are offensive and outrageous," Clinton said at the time.

The New York Times story on the Clinton controversy noted that several other members of AMA had been accused of making anti-Semitic comments, including Holocaust denial. After being informed of Clinton's decision to return the donations, AMA's Massachusetts chairman told the Times that the "Jewish community lobby" was "trying to intimidate her."

The Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Abdul-Samad took control of the AMA in 2017 and moved the organization's headquarters to Iowa. The imam had previously worked with AMA to demand the freedom of Aafia Siddiqui, the infamous "Lady al Qaeda" operative convicted of attempted murder of U.S. officials in Afghanistan. Throughout her trial, Siddiqui objected to her Jewish lawyers and tried to exclude Jews from the jury pool.

"This is a verdict coming from Israel, not America," she said following her conviction.
Yad Vashem Apologizes for Wholesale Incorporation of Putin’s Holocaust Narrative
Yad Vashem on Tuesday apologized for distorting historical facts at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem last month, essentially presenting the Soviet Union as the only power that defeated Nazism, while ignoring the Russians’ involvement in enabling Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

In a letter to Haaretz, signed by Professor Dan Michman, head of Yad Vashem’s International Institute of Holocaust Research, the organization admits that the information it presented to some 75 world leaders—along with the rest of the world—contained “inaccuracies” and a “partial presentation of facts,” which “created an unbalanced impression.”

The videos shown at the forum “did not include any reference to the partition of Poland between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany in 1939, or the occupation of western Europe in 1940,” Yad Vashem wrote.

In the letterYad Vashem admits distorting historical facts about the Holocaust, in service of the political interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We apologize for the very regrettable mishap that occurred… These videos do not represent the perspective of Yad Vashem’s research on these issues,” Michman’s letter says. “As an institution, our obligation to Israel and the Jewish people… is – and will continue to be – to stick to historical fact as far as it may be ascertained, and to investigate in order to oppose attempts to blur and distort the political discourse in various countries.”
David Collier: Amazon – profiting from calls to isolate Jews and follow Hitler’s ‘blueprint’
Amazon must not legitimise hate

This isn’t a casual argument. We can see the rise of extremism and hate on our streets – and it logical to assume that the ease of access the internet provides plays no small part. I have a master’s degree in ethics. These companies boast about social responsibility but how can Amazon claim to care about social responsibility at all – if it is distributing material that calls for Jews to be ‘identified, isolated, sanctioned and removed from positions of power’ and in which people are called on to follow Hitler’s ‘blueprint’.

Amazon have dealt with Holocaust material before. We complain, they take minor action and carry on as normal. They have already flagged and removed Holocaust denial material from the Castle Hill Publishers. So how can the author sell a book from a publishing house they already know should be blacklisted?

It is not enough just to remove this book
I searched other Holocaust-denying authors, there are dozens if not hundreds of books and other Holocaust denial publications sold on Amazon. I am Jewish and I should not be able to see a book on Amazon that calls for another Holocaust of Jews. No one’s free speech should stretch that far.

A top hotel in London will not knowingly permit its brand to be tarnished by letting its venue be used by hate speakers. Waterstones are unlikely to want to stock hate material on its shelves. The brand is vulnerable. Amazon get away with it because they have no fear. Nobody is suggesting that these people are not allowed to find a sewer to swim in somewhere. Cigarettes are out there – but are sold behind closed doors and come with a warning. Selling hate through a top name brand – legitimises it and increases its circulation. As a society we cannot look at the rise of extremism and hate and simply ignore it. If organisations such as Amazon cannot be responsible out of choice, they need to be forced to take responsibility.

It is not enough just to remove the book from their listing. Amazon are selling a Nazi ‘call to arms’ and delegating the war on antisemitism and extremism to the very minority being targeted. ‘If’ we find it, ‘if’ we see it, then we pressure them to act. This is not good enough. Amazon are one of the richest organisations on the planet – they can afford to ensure they are not spreading hatred. It is their duty – not ours.
IfNotNow Heckler Says Trump Is ‘Killing American Jews’
Donald Trump Jr. was delivering a speech at a “Keep Iowa Great” event in West Des Moines on Monday, with his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle at his side, when he was interrupted by a heckler named Elon Glickman, from the anti-Israel group IfNotNow, who said President Donald Trump was responsible for the rise in anti-Semitism in the US.

“I’m an American Jew, and ever since your father was elected president, more and more Jews are being gunned down,” Elon shouted while approaching the podium.

As security personnel moved in and were pulling the heckler out of the room, the president’s son said, “I don’t think anyone’s done more for Israel and American Jews than my father.”

The crowd started chanting, USA, USA, while Trump Jr. used the opportunity to promote his new book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.

“This is why I wrote the book Triggered, folks! Who here has read New York Times number one bestseller Triggered?” the president’s son said..

Elon Glickman later tweeted: “They can drag me out but I’ll never stop fighting for Jewish people. Donald J. Trump Jr. spreads anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that are killing American Jews. He and the GOP can’t hide their anti-Semitism behind support for Israel. Jews are rising up to fight white nationalists.”

Here’s the thing, though: the wave of anti-Semitic attacks over the last three months was carried out exclusively by African-Americans, individuals and in packs. It is doubtful they were inspired by the president. As to the GOP hiding its anti-Semitism behind their support for Israel – grow up, man, EVERYBODY is hiding their anti-Semitism behind their support for Israel. IfNotNow is the only group that hides its anti-Semitism behind its attacks on Israel…

Columbia's Joseph Massad Uses Holocaust Inversion to Sully Holocaust Memorial Day
In a January 27 Holocaust Memorial Day interview with RT, a Russian TV network funded by the Russian government, Columbia University's Joseph Massad used Holocaust inversion – the depiction of Jews and Israelis as contemporary Nazis – to turn the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) working definition of the historic hatred against its victims.

Using convoluted sentences embellished by dubious factoids to make his case, at 2:02 in the video, embedded below, Massad launches his distortions: "My understanding, also, from the Israeli press is that Netanyahu is seeking to impose on world leaders the adoption of the new definition by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has recently, in its definition of antisemitism, included any criticism of the state of Israel or Zionism."

In fact, the IHRA definition states explicitly contradicts Massad's vicious claim, stating plainly that "criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic."

A little later we reach the nadir of his comments: "So to use this occasion today to try to impose, sort of, Israel's will, to whitewash its crimes, rather than seeing this occasion as the instance that should remind us all that criminals, those who commit war crimes, those who commit wars of aggression, should be opposed, should be brought to justice, is quite ironic."
Northwestern U Qatar campus cancels Lebanese band after anti-gay backlash
An American university canceled an event at its Qatar campus featuring a prominent Middle East band whose singer is openly gay, after an online backlash in the conservative Gulf Arab state sparked safety concerns.

Members of Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou' Leila were scheduled to take part in a discussion about "media revolutions in the Middle East" at Northwestern University's Qatar campus on Tuesday.

But after hostile online comments against Mashrou' Leila's appearance, Northwestern said it had mutually agreed with the band to move the event to its US campus.

"The decision to relocate was made out of abundance of caution due to several factors, including safety concerns for the band and our community," Northwestern's Director of Media Relations Jon Yates told Reuters by email.

Yates said the university is committed to academic freedom both in Qatar and the United States, and that moving the event would ensure Mashrou' Leila's "ideas and art could be heard."

The band's management did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Adam Milstein: New approach to fight the new antisemites
There is no silver bullet to fight and defeat antisemitism. Hundreds of millions, maybe billions of dollars and hundreds of organizations are devoted to this issue, but the age-old hatred is rising faster than ever in America.

Too many of these responses to Jew-hatred are reactionary and risk-averse. Organizations that aim to fight antisemitism frequently address general trends or individual instances of hate when such instances occur, rather than develop a broad, coordinated strategy to combat the groups that promotes hatred and violence toward Jews.

This is a crisis. We need to invest in new and unique approaches in the same way venture capitalists and start-ups find innovative solutions to dynamic and developing challenges. We need to invest our scarce resources in stopping Jew-hatred with the same commitment and devotion which the governments of Iran, Turkey and the Gulf states, as well as other enemies of the Jewish people, invest billions in spreading antisemitism.
It’s time to go on the offensive, think outside the box, fund and use cutting-edge research, and create collaborative models that drive dynamic impact.

The model I have been implementing to fight antisemitism in the United States brings together a network of philanthropists with three networks of nonprofit organizations: research and analysis groups, boots-on-the-ground organizations, and media outlets including social media. The model ensures that each group has enough autonomy to function without being bogged down by lack of funds, in-depth research, and collaboration with other complementing organizations.
Church service gathers in High Wycombe to apologise for historic anti-Semitism
Civic leaders and representatives of faith groups came together for a service of reconciliation on January 29, remembering the expulsion of Jewish residents from High Wycombe in 1234 and anti-Jewish theology over many centuries.

The Rev Hugh Ellis, who conducted the service at All Saints Church High Wycombe, explains: “Henry III signed an order in 1234 requiring High Wycombe to expel its Jews. This civic occasion, titled ‘Changing the Future by Confronting our Past’, was dedicated to remembering the church’s sad history of anti-Semitism, confession for these past wrongs and reconciliation with representatives of today’s Jewish community. We also pledged to stand together against all forms of prejudice in this town.”

Statements were given by Dominic McDermott on the root of anti-Semitism, Dr James Patrick on its history from Luther to the Holocaust, Rabbi Janet Darley on anti-Semitism today, and Sheikh Dr Ramzy on Islamophobia today. Speakers also referred to more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur as well as prejudices against other minority groups.

Christians in the audience were invited to join in a declaration of repentance for past racial and religious hatred. Edwin Shuker from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a former refugee from persecution, gave a moving response of gratitude.

Among the several hundred people present were representatives of Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups, as well Wycombe MP Steve Baker, Mayor of High Wycombe Cllr Mazamal Hussain, Prof Ruth Farwell a Deputy Lord Lieutenant and Julia Upton the High Sheriff.
StandWithUs and the Mizel Family Foundation Offers Cash Reward to Catch Perpetrators of Hate Crimes
StandWithUs and the Mizel Family Foundation are proud to announce the launch of a fund dedicated to combating antisemitic hate crimes. Effective immediately, StandWithUs will offer cash rewards to individuals who provide law enforcement with information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who engage in hate crimes against Jewish people.

”The time for complacency in the face of antisemitism is over,” said StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein. ”As the child of Holocaust survivors, I refuse to sit idly by as violent hate crimes against Jews go unpunished. This new fund, provided by Steven M. Mizel of the Mizel Family Foundation, will encourage good people of all backgrounds to join the fight against the rising number of hateful acts against Jews we are seeing in communities around the world.”

Rewards for information will be $2,500 but may be higher depending on the severity of the crime. StandWithUs will work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure the success of this new initiative.

”Those who are thinking about attacking Jews need to know we are serious about taking action against antisemitic hatred, and this effort will help ensure those individuals are held accountable,” stated Carly Gammill, director of the StandWithUs Center for Combating Antisemitism.
Sweden announces adoption of International Definition of Antisemitism
Sweden has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds this decision at a time of rising antisemitism in Europe.

The decision was announced by the Swedish Prime Minister in a newspaper article in which he wrote that “Sweden endorses the [D]efinition and the list of examples of antisemitism that serve as illustrations.” The article also outlined other steps that Sweden was taking to tackle antisemitism, which has reached worrying levels in his country.

The UK was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Lord Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street. Italy joins a growing list of countries to use the Definition, including Italy, France, Greece, and Cyprus, which recently adopted it.
Anti-Semitic incidents fall to 15-year low in South Africa
Anti-Semitic incidents fell to a 15-year low in South Africa, the country’s Jewish umbrella group said.

There were 36 recorded incidents of anti-Semitism in 2019, compared with 62 the previous year, according to the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, which collects the statistics. Only one of the incidents involved physical assault, and there were no cases of damage and desecration to Jewish property.

The statistics buck a global trend of increasing anti-Semitic activity in countries with significant Jewish populations. Some 75,000 Jews live in South Africa, with most concentrated in Johannesburg.

“We can be proud that at a time when attacks against Jews are everywhere growing both in number and severity, our country has consistently bucked the trend,” Shaun Zagnoev, the Jewish Board’s national chairman, said in a statement. “As a result, South Africa continues to be a country where Jews can fully identify with and practice their religion without fear.”

This comes despite widespread anti-Israel sentiment in the country and in the South African government.
Portuguese politician sorry for calling Holocaust rescuer of Jews a ‘loan shark’
A Portuguese politician apologized for calling a Holocaust-era rescuer of Jews their “loan shark.”

Abel Matos Santos, the newly-elected vice president of the small, right-wing CDS People’s Party, made the apology last week in a statement after the Jewish Community of Lisbon protested his remarks following his appointment as the party’s number two leader.

In 2012, Matos Santos wrote on Facebook about Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a former Portuguese consul general who during the Holocaust disobeyed his superiors and issued thousands of visas to Jews fleeing Nazi-occupied France.

“[W]hy defend Sousa Mendes, who was a loan shark of Jews?” Matos Santos wrote.

Matos Santos said his word choice was “unfortunate,” but added that he believes his comment reflects an ongoing debate about de Sousa Mendes’ motives. Nevertheless, the debate is “completely irrelevant in light of the lives saved,” Matos Santos added.

“I’d like to sincerely apologize for the distress caused by words I wrote years ago, which were now opportunistically taken out of context,” Matos Santos wrote in an open letter he sent Friday to José Oulman Carp, the president of the Jewish Community in Lisbon.
Swedish-Jewish woman, 60, fights off 3 purse snatchers
A Jewish woman about 60 years old was robbed of her Star of David pendant and insulted for being Jewish after fighting off three purse snatchers near an ATM in Sweden.

The Expressen report on Friday afternoon’s incident in Nybro named neither the woman nor described the three male assailants, but it did say they were in their 20s.

After the woman fought off the attackers, one of them tore off the pendant and “mocked her religion,” according to the police description of the incident based on the woman’s complaint. The men fled and entered a parked car nearby.

Police are treating the incident as a hate crime, Expressen reported.

The number of anti-Semitic hate crimes recorded in Sweden rose to a record high in 2018, jumping 53 percent over the 2016 figures, government statistics show. (h/t Zvi)
Paris metro passengers stop Arab men from harassing Jewish man
Passengers aboard a metro train in Paris stopped four Arab men from pursuing a Jewish man they were harassing over his faith, the victim said.

The incident late Saturday night unfolded as the train approached the Jaures station in northeast Paris, the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, or BNVCA, reported Sunday.

The four men asked a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke for a cigarette, said the report based on the man’s testimony. When he said he didn’t have one, one of the men told him: “You Jews have enough money to buy some.”

The Arab men then cornered the man against the wall of the train car, but he escaped. The men pursued him but were blocked by other passengers.
Jews make up less than one percent of the French population, were they were targets of most of the documented racist hate crimes 2019. The French Interior Ministry published the data last month in a report that counted 687 anti-Semitic incidents last year out of a total of 1,142 racist hate crimes. (h/t Zvi)
KFC returns to Israel with Nazareth branch
Kentucky Fried Chicken on Monday tried to crack the Israeli market for a fourth time with the opening of a restaurant in Nazareth.

KFC opened and closed in Israel in the 1980s and 90s, and then remained open between 2003 and 2012. In all three previous cases the brand was operated by local franchises rather than the parent company itself.

However, unlike previous iterations of the chain in Israel, the newest restaurant in Nazareth is not kosher.

In previous cases the famous fried chicken recipe was modified to hew to Jewish dietary laws, but these changes made the food more expensive and, according to some consumers, less tasty than the American original.

“We are excited to bring our delicious finger lickin’ good chicken, prepared the hard way, to Israel,” said Omer Zeidner, CEO of KFC in Israel. “Israelis have waited a long time for KFC’s freshly prepared Original Recipe fried chicken.”

Zeidner said they would soon open the KFC flagship restaurant in Tel Aviv. The restaurant in Nazareth is the first of dozens of KFC locations set to open across the country in the coming years.
Robyn Hitchcock shines in Tel Aviv
Quirky British songwriting legend Robyn Hitchcock was summoned from his glass bottle sitting on a mantle in his Nashville home for two shows in Tel Aviv over the weekend.

That was how the 67-year-old guitarist/pianist explained his sold-out appearances at the cozy Tel Aviv basement club Levontin 7 on Saturday and Sunday after an absence of seven years from an Israel stage.

The master psychedelic folkster mesmerized the rapt audience for nearly two-hours of impassioned renditions of his alternate universe of hits and oddities, dotted with hilarious, rambling between-song fables, including reminiscences of spending time as a kibbutz volunteer on Givat Haim in 1971 as an 18-year-old, and missing a visit to the kibbutz by Bob Dylan and his family because he decided to take a rare shower before lunch.

Dylan is who Hitchcock aspires to, if the American bard had grown up in a rundown British industrial town and been a Monty Python disciple. Hitchcock puts his unique signature on any lyric, melodic turn or vocal arrangement. His rock & roll acoustic guitar sounds like a wall of sound and his strong, high voice cascades over his songs.
At Launch of New York Cyber Center, Gwyneth Paltrow Says She Would Like to Visit Israel
Something that a Kabbalistic rabbi once told Gwyneth Paltrow has always stuck with the actress: “Jerusalem is the energetic center of the world. If a good deed is done in Israel, its power is amplified across the world.”

Paltrow spoke as part of a fireside chat on Monday evening with Dr. Erel Margalit, the Israeli high-tech entrepreneur, who is founder and chairman of the Jerusalem-based global venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

The occasion was the launch of the JVP International Cyber Center in Manhattan’s SoHo district.

The center will help cybersecurity startups connect to investors, companies, business people, entrepreneurs and educational institutions in New York City.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation partnered with Jerusalem Venture Partners to bring the center into existence.

Women and business was one thread of Paltrow’s conversation with Margalit.

The 47-year-old Paltrow, who is Jewish, said the data analytics team of her lifestyle company goop.com mainly consisted of women. And Margalit noted that half of the partners in his company were females.
Israeli counter-drone company to provide system to FBI and US military
D-Fend Solutions, a Ra’anana-based counter-drone solution provider, has been selected by the United States Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to provide the EnforceAir c-UAS (counter unmanned aerial system) as the core radio-frequency system to be integrated into a counter-drone system.

EnforceAir c-UAS is an advanced autonomous system that automatically and passively detects, locates and identifies rogue drones as well as mitigates risk by taking control over them and landing them safely at a predefined safe zone, applying a non-jamming and non-kinetic technology that does not require line-of-sight, making it ideal for all complex environments, whether urban or rural.

The company has been working for the past two years with the US Assistant Secretary of Defense Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (ASD SO/LIC) Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) to co-develop D-Fend’s EnforceAir advanced C-sUAS (counter small unmanned aerial system) capabilities.

Over the course of 2019, EnforceAir was successfully deployed by more than 20 US Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) units and agencies against the growing threat of hostile commercial drones. Some of the agencies currently operating D-Fend’s EnforceAir are the US Special Operations Forces, US Army, FBI, US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and US Marshal Service.
Israel's flag flies on the International Space Station
The arrival of the flag coincides with the 17th anniversary of the death of Israel's first astronaut Ilan Ramon, who perished with his six crew members on the Columbia shuttle, as it broke upon reentering the Earth's atmosphere over Texas on February 1, 2003.

The suit was developed specifically to help protect female astronauts since they are more likely to suffer life-threatening conditions from the abundant radiation found in space.

As part of the tests, the suit will be worn by three female astronauts who will test the suit and its protection capabilities thoroughly in the zero-gravity conditions found on the space station itself.

If all goes well, the spacesuit will be used by the members of the Orion Spacecraft, which is designed to support crewed exploration beyond low Earth orbit, with real-time data and readings collected from the suit.

"We're breaking all records of actions, creativity, and Israeli innovation," said Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis.

"I'm proud of the developers of the very first Israeli spacesuit, which we are all seeing for the first time flying the Israeli flag, even in space."

Israel Space Agency (ISA) Director Avi Blasberger was touched by the fact the suit's unveiling coincided with the anniversary of Ramon's death.
"Today, the new Israeli-developed spacesuit was unveiled by the astronaut Jessica Meir. The suit, which was developed with the help of the ISA, was delivered to the International Space Station for further testing," said Blasberger. "There's nothing more symbolic than the fact the suit has been unveiled in the same week we remember the first Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon." (h/t Zvi)

Kinneret at highest level since 2013
Torrential rains in January of up to double the monthly average have pushed the lake up 1.6 meters, since the start of the rainy season.

Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is at its highest level since 2013. Aerial photographs from a drone this morning showed that the small island off the coast near Kibbutz Maagan cannot be seen for the first time since 2013. The Kinneret's level is -210.245 meters, the Kinneret Authority reports, up 1.6 meters since the start of the rainy season and up 1.27 meters in January alone when most parts of the country had between 1.5 and double their monthly average. The lake is 1.4 meters below its maximum level.

After last month's deluge, most part of the country have had most of their annual rainfall, according to Meteo-tech. 621 millimeters of rain has fallen in Safed this season (annual average 718), 481 millimeters in Haifa (550), 448 millimeters in Tel Aviv (560), 478 millimeters in Jerusalem (582) and 134 millimeters in Beersheva (205).

No major rainfall is seen in the coming days but heavy rain is forecast for much of the country from Thursday night.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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


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