Thursday, February 20, 2020

From Ian:

David Collier: Funded by the EU, driven by Palestinians. BDS activism in EU clothing.
Those of us involved in fighting back against spreading antisemitism and the lies about Israel understand that the deeper we dig – the more unbelievable the situation becomes. As I said to someone yesterday when news broke of a UK KS3 schoolbook which suggests the creation of Israel may be behind the 9/11 attacks – nothing surprises me anymore. There are no limits to the level of conspiracy and disinformation – no place that the lies do not exist. The EU have also just provided another example – here is what I found.
The EU photographers

Recently the EU advertised an EU ‘Photo marathon’. An opportunity open to young European photographers to spend a week ‘capturing different aspects of Palestinian life’. The week-long trip, flights, accommodation and meals is fully funded by the EU. As part of the process, there is a request to write a ‘motivation letter’, explaining why the applicant wants to participate and they are asked how they intend to ‘spread the word’ upon their return. The EU Press Team in charge of this process consists of two people – Inas Abu Shirbi and Shadi Othman:

EU spokespeople or BDS activists.
Before being an ‘EU spokesperson’ Inas Abu Shirbi spent some time at the Sharek Youth Forum. She was there when Boris Johnson made remarks about BDS during a 2015 trip to Israel. Soon after Boris ridiculed BDS activists, several Palestinian NGOs who had been due to meet Johnson – cancelled – including the Sharek Youth Forum. At the time Abu Shirbi was the public face of the NGO (she even spoke on LBC). In the public statement, the group put out – there is clear and unequivocal support for BDS.

That means at least one of those leading this ‘photo marathon’ is a Palestinian with a history of support for BDS. We have here a similar issue to the one uncovered at Amnesty International where Amnesty’s ‘Deputy Regional Director turned out to be an obsessive Palestinian activist. Inas Abu Shibri is still active with other Palestinian NGOs – inclduing the pro-BDS ‘Sharek’. How is there not a conflict of interest? When someone references an ‘EU Communications Officer’ – don’t people assume they are from the EU?

Most people never read beyond headlines. Often they tell you all you need to know. Like this headline: that has the EU ‘slamming’ Israel:

EU Slams

Yet when you read the article, you realise the only EU employee mentioned is a Palestinian – Shadi Othman. That article was shared 500 times. Or this one – which becomes almost laughable. The Palestine News and Info Agency report that the EU ‘will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders’. Is it any surprise if the ‘EU spokesman’ is our Palestinian friend from Ramallah – Shadi Othman?

Beware: Communist paper that praised Hebron Massacre gets makeover
Now Jewish Currents is going back to its roots by bringing in Peter Beinart, who had called the murder of Jews by Islamic terrorists, “violent resistance”.

Terrorism, he had argued, was a “response to Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights.” And he suggested that, “the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed."

Beinart is certainly reaping what he sowed as his career tumbles down into the media sewer.

In 2012, Beinart had partnered with the Daily Beast to launch Open Zion, an anti-Israel blog. It closed a year later after failing to find an audience for its hate. Beinart moved on to Haaretz, a red rag whose racist publisher urged “international pressure” to end, “Israeli apartheid”, whose world news editor boasted that he is an anti-Zionist, and whose former editor had urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to “rape” Israel. "It had always been my wet dream to see this happen," the leftist told her.

Is there anywhere lower Beinart could go?

After Haaretz, he appeared at The Forward, the Morgen Freitheit’s old rival, which runs headlines like, "3 Jewish Moguls Among Eight Who Own as Much as Half the Human Race” and "Why We Should Applaud The Politician Who Said Jews Control The Weather."

There, he accused Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel of being “blind to the harm Jews cause.”

Last year, The Forward dumped its editor and cut 40% of its staff. Instead of taking the advice of Haman’s wife, Beinart doubled down and joined its old even more anti-Semitic Commie rival.

"I think a tremendous need for a kind of American progressive Jewish publication," Beinart babbled, explaining that he wanted to "confront what I see as the kind of moral corruption of the American Jewish establishment and its complicity in various ways with some of the things that Trump is doing and the direction that Netanyahu is taking Israel.”

The only moral corruption is 91 years of Communists, Marxists, and Lefties justifying the murder of Jews.



Marathon Man for Idiots
If Al Pacino is doing a TV series, it should be worth watching. Alas, many things that should be so are not. Pacino’s first series is Hunters, on Amazon Prime video, and the more you love Pacino, the more you’ll cringe. “The Americans, but with Nazis” seems to have been the idea. It came out more like “Marathon Man for idiots.”

Created by David Weil, who serves as showrunner with Nikki Toscano (though Jordan Peele, one of the executive producers, is mentioned more prominently than either of these in ads), Hunters is a case study in how an adolescent imagination shrunken and enfeebled by comic-book tropes can be disastrously misapplied when considering history’s gravest events. Pacino plays a Jewish Holocaust survivor turned Bruce Wayne-style mystery millionaire vigilante in 1977 New York City. Pacino’s Meyer Offerman assembles a Super Friends squad of spy/assassin/codebreaker/con artist/bank robber types with the aid of, erm, a yenta (Jewish matchmaker, not ordinarily associated with hired killing). Guided by Offerman, the hunters set to work tracking down surviving Nazi war criminals living in America under assumed names.

On the other side of the chess board, because the Nazis were noted for their enlightened views on sex roles, their surviving ranks are now led by a woman called “Frau Colonel” (Lena Olin) whose minions include a war criminal (Dylan Baker) posing as a Southern pol who works in Jimmy Carter’s State Department and a neo-Nazi assassin in his twenties (Greg Austin) who does exactly what the hunters do — sneak around in various disguises murdering people. Each episode finds the hunters tracking down one Special Guest Nazi to administer ironic torture and, often, painful execution. A death-camp classical-music lover gets subjected to ear-splitting levels of American rock and roll, for instance, and a Nazi propagandist gets forced to eat horse manure. All of the cat-and-mouse stuff is realized with maximum stupidity. Hint for any Third Reich officials trying to live quietly in the U.S.: If you happen to have any pictures of you shaking hands with the Fuehrer, try not to leave them lying around your condo. Also, try to cool it on the “Yep, I sure love Nazism!” speeches like the one delivered by a guy whose response to a remark about a child’s peanut allergy is to say, “Once upon a time we let nature reign, and it weeded out the sick and the weak from our gene pool. It kept us pure.”
Get ready for Jewsploitation as kill squad chases Nazis in Amazon’s ‘Hunters’
It’s a fairly typical horror movie sequence but, honestly, weren’t the crimes of Auschwitz enough? Do you have to dress up Auschwitz of all places with silly exploitation movie tropes? And if you do want to go that route, how are we supposed to take the other would-be touching scenes at the camps seriously? The air is out of the balloon.

Despite this misstep (and others like it) “Hunters” has no shortage of finely-observed Jewish moments. Carol Kane and Saul Rubinek are part of the team (gadgets experts) and each of their scenes are funny and tender. One of their children has died (it’s a little vague how) and Rubinek has rejected religion while Kane still has faith. A rabbi visits their home and the plate of black and white cookies they offer is a nice touch.

There’s plenty else that’s crafty, too, like the Hunters trapping one of their victims in a glass shower that suddenly resembles Adolf Eichmann’s booth during his trial in Jerusalem. Or calling their fake plumbing company “Abraham and Sons.”

Then there’s the whole storyline that we might wish was far-fetched, but unfortunately isn’t: recalling just how rife with Nazis NASA was during the space race, and how willing the American government was to ignore their crimes against humanity in the drive to get to the moon. “Hunters” got me Googling about Hubertus Strughold, who performed heinous medical torture experiments on human subjects at Dachau. NASA later dubbed Strughold “The Father of Space Medicine” and gave an annual award in his name UP UNTIL SEVEN YEARS AGO.

With half the season left, I’m definitely curious enough to see how things end up. I’ll keep watching. A whole secondary plot involving an FBI agent on their tail will, I suspect, take a twist, and she’ll probably end up joining their cause. There are also other members of the group whose backstories we haven’t gotten to yet.

I can’t deny that Al Pacino shouting in his inimitable fashion about Jewish persecution “from Masada to Munich!” has a certain charm. I will, however, keep in mind not to take any of it too seriously. “The Torah is the ultimate comic book!” Pacino barks at one point. And, as with most comic books, they can be a little childish.
Exclusive Interview Avi Issacharoff, Co-Creator of the Hit Series 'Fauda'
English speaking Fauda fans eagerly awaiting the Netflix release of the hit Israeli series got a taste of what's to come at the English premiere event in Tel Aviv.

The 3rd season of the Hebrew and Arabic speaking series debuted in Israel in December.
The screening at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art featured the first two episodes of Season 3 with English subtitles, returning to main character Doron, played by series co-creator Lior Raz, who is undercover in the West Bank, before the plot shifts into Gaza.
Since the series debuted in 2015, it has been a global hit, and made the top ten of the New York Times list of Best International TV Shows of the Decade.
There's still a small wait until the full season drops on Netflix, expected this spring. In the meantime, fans can get excited that season 4 is in the works.
i24NEWS was able to catch up with members of the cast and crew, including Fauda co-creator and journalist Avi Issacharoff.


Yes, Democrats, It Can Happen Here
If what transpired in Britain sounds eerily familiar to liberals and Democrats on this side of the pond, Austin has a warning. “Five years ago, six years ago, nobody would have thought that what happened to the Labour Party was possible,” he said. “The idea that an institution as robust as the Labour Party and as important to Britain’s democracy could be so vulnerable to takeover by extremists and racists was unthinkable. But that should serve as a stark warning to people in the States that if that can happen to the Labour Party in the U.K., it can happen here.”

The far left, he said, “can’t be engaged with or tolerated in the way one normally deals with people with whom one disagrees.” The hallmarks of the hard left—the “secretive, closed, doctrinaire” methods, the “obsession with purity” and “rooting out internal enemies,” the “factionalism”—make compromise futile. (“It’s very important for us to create a black list of every operative who works on the bloomberg campaign,” an American progressive organizer with a large following declared in a since-deleted tweet, aping the Corbynista-style pronunciamento with a Stalinoid threat.) Furthermore, “it’s not good enough to say the hard left can’t win, you’ve got to argue why they shouldn’t win, why they’re wrong.” Austin points to the 2017 snap general election in which Corbyn, while losing, exceeded expectations. Because Corbyn’s critics had focused on electability rather than fitness, their case against his leadership was weakened.

Over two years later, however, Corbyn is on his way back to the parliamentary backbenches, not least because Austin did what practically no one in politics today had the guts to do: He acted in accordance with his professed values. In the summer of 2016, soon after Corbyn became leader, 75% of his fellow Labour MPs tried to remove him via a vote of no confidence. What they were in effect telling the country was that their own leader was unfit to lead Her Majesty’s Opposition, much less the nation. Yet at the moment of truth, when the electorate was presented with the chance to make Corbyn prime minister, hardly any of these MPs took the next logical step and withheld their endorsement.

Back in 2016, when Donald Trump was slandering Muslims and Mexicans, threatening to dissolve NATO, promising to “lock up” his political opponent, inciting his followers to violence, and generally rubbing salt in the country’s deepest collective wounds, many elected Republicans declined to endorse his presidential aspirations. But when the once-far-fetched prospect of political power suddenly became attainable, they too fell into line, which is where they have dutifully remained through each and every indignity, crime, and moral outrage of his presidency. “The appeal for unity is a powerful one,” Austin replied when I asked him why so few of his colleagues followed his courageous example. “The tribal loyalty. The desire for a quiet life. The hope that you can keep your head down and survive.”

Ian Austin did the right thing. Perhaps that’s why his political career is over.
New Sinn Féin parliamentarian apologises after comparing Israeli embassy staff to monkeys
A newly-elected Sinn Féin parliamentarian has apologised “unreservedly and wholeheartedly” for a string of antisemitic tweets, saying that the remarks were “glib” and “off-the-cuff”.

Réada Cronin, 46, who was elected to represent Kildare North in the Dáil following the Irish general election on February 8, was found to have made a string of offensive tweets between 2012 and 2015.

The messages included comparing Israeli embassy staff to monkeys, alleging that Jeremy Corbyn had been targeted by Mossad, and retweeting a post saying that Hitler was a pawn of a Rothschild-owned bank.

Maurice Cohen, the head of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, told Jewish News that the comments were “inaccurate, antisemitic and racist” and that it was “disappointing that her offensive comments have neither been criticised nor condemned by Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald”.

Ms Cronin apologised “unreservedly and wholeheartedly”, saying that the tweets were “glib” and “off-the-cuff”.

The Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the comments were “not acceptable” but that “there’s nobody sitting in the party looking at the accounts of every Sinn Féin member or gagging people in relation to what they’re saying. What is important is if it comes to our attention that these are comments that are inappropriate, that they are withdrawn and they are apologised for.”
Sorry, but Bernie Sanders is no Zionist
Living on a Communist kibbutz 60 years ago, being born to Jewish parents or having a Jewish last name does not make you pro-Israel. Being Jewish doesn’t give you greater legitimacy to be a critic of Israel.

Bernie unapologetically uses Omar, an antisemite and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions supporter, as an official spokesman, along with Linda Sarsour and Tlaib. Palestinian-American Tlaib compared the antisemitic BDS movement to the quintessential American event, the Boston Tea Party.

Bernie, there is an accepted definition of when anti-Israel rhetoric crosses over to antisemitism called the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which is used by our State Department and 30 other nations. Omar, Sarsour, and Tlaib meet the test. Will you direct your State Department to not consider a double standard against Israel as antisemitism or will you appoint to senior positions those who claim “the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor?”

Let’s be clear, the definition of what makes someone pro-Israel is not confined to those who support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as progressive anti-Israel advocates claim. Only a plurality of Israelis support his Likud party. Anyone supporting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, while not characterizing it as apartheid, racist or fascist is certainly within the pro-Israel tent.

But “Jewish” groups that gravitate to Bernie, like IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, do fall far outside the tent as illiberal anti-Zionists who use their Jewish genes to claim a higher standing to defame Israel.

There is a world of difference between liberal Zionists, like the Democratic Majority for Israel, and progressive anti-Zionists. It is the choice between people like Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer and progressive darling Ilhan Omar.

So the question must be asked, can anyone who cares about the survival of the Jewish state and the US-Israel relationship, trust Sanders to change his spots and vote for him?
UK school textbook asks how creation of Israel caused 9/11 attacks
Following media inquiries, Hodder Education issued a statement on Twitter saying it was removing the textbook from sale.

“We appreciate the phrasing of the question is not as precise as it might have been, and we are very sorry for any offense this has caused. We have removed the book from sale. We will have the content reviewed, and will then reissue a revised edition,” the company said.

Marcus Sheff, CEO of the Impact SE education watchdog group, said Hodder Education had “dropped the ball in the most embarrassing way possible, putting Jews in the UK at risk in the process.”

“This is the kind of conspiratorial nonsense and delegitimization of Israel we are used to seeing in Middle East textbooks, not in British educational materials,” he said.

“It breaches at least four UNESCO declarations signed by the UK government in relation to school materials, including no hate, no incitement, unbiased information and respect for the other.

“Hate gets into textbooks because an extremist puts it there, and it can slip through without proper review. Obviously, this needs to be removed. But more fundamentally, more care needs to be taken in reviewing teaching materials before they are published,” Sheff said.


UC Berkeley Chancellor Pens Letters Censuring Pro-Palestinian Display, Chaos on Campus
Chancellor Carol Christ of the University of California, Berkeley, said on Tuesday that she was “deeply troubled” by the actions of pro-Palestinian students who caused a student government meeting on Feb. 3 to erupt into chaos, delaying a vote on a measure to censure a Bears for Palestine display in December featuring convicted Palestinian terrorists Rasmieh Odeh, Fatima Bernawi and Leila Khaled.

The separate, though similar, letters that Christ sent to those for and against the resolution, which was rejected last week, appears to demonstrate the chancellor walking back her reaction on Feb. 5, when she said she was not “interested” in blaming pro-Palestinian students for allegedly verbally and physically intimidating pro-Israel students.

In both letters, Christ said that each side of the issue is being heard.

“There is no greater priority than our commitment to foster and sustain a campus community where everyone feels safe, respected and welcome at all times, in all places; where everyone feels a true sense of belonging,” she wrote. “Even as we in the administration reflect on our own ability to improve the quality of discourse, I can only hope that all involved will do the same.”

Christ noted that while “students have a constitutionally protected right to display the posters in question, using a campus location to honor those who killed unarmed Jewish civilians and/or bombed, or planned to bomb places frequented by unarmed Jewish civilians, is an affront to our Principles of Community. So, too, were the words of a speaker at the latest ASUC meeting who proclaimed a desire to ‘eliminate Palestinians from the world.’ ”

“I understand why these kinds of actions and words have created fear and safety concerns among our Palestinian and Muslim communities, and I am telling you—our Israeli students, as well as Jewish students from the United States and elsewhere—the very same thing regarding your understandable fears and concerns about the poster’s implications,” she continued. “I am reaffirming to all involved that threats or acts of violence and harassment are unacceptable as per our Student Code of Conduct and/or the law.”






NPR Conceals Abbas’s Rejection of Peace Offer, Blames Olmert
Earlier this month, NPR’s Michele Kelemen told her audience that Palestinian-Israeli peace talks failed in 2008 when Israel’s prime minster was indicted for bribery. It is true that peace talks fell apart in 2008, but the demise of the talks couldn’t have been a consequence of Olmert’s indictment, which only happened a year later, in 2009.

Kelemen’s chronological shuffle is an example, though a subtle one, of a widespread journalistic phenomenon: the erasure of Palestinian rejections of peace offers, or even of the existence of the offers themselves.

The history rejected peace offers, including Israel’s offer in 2008, is an inconvenient truth for those who prefer the narrative that Israel alone is to blame for the continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. After all, if Palestinians leaders have repeatedly turned their backs on peace treaties that would give them a state, what does it say about the often-heard claim that those leaders seek only freedom, self-determination, and statehood for their people?

It’s a question better avoided by those who prefer to view Palestinians as lacking any agency. And so those peace rejections have become the Big Omission of Western reporting on the conflict, meant to protect the peace rejectionists who’ve needlessly prolonged the conflict.
CAMERA Prompts Reuters Correction of Inflated Numbers in ICC Allegations
A Reuters article by Dan Williams and Stephanie van den Berg (“Israel hopes Germany, other ICC members will help stave off Palestinian investigation,” Feb. 16, 2020) concerned the opposition to an ICC investigation of politically motivated, Palestinian accusations against Israel. But it falsely claimed that “The court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in December there was enough evidence for an investigation into thousands of killings…”

In fact, nowhere in the prosecutor’s December statement had there been any mention of “thousands of killings” or indeed of any “killings” at all. The prosecutor had said in that that “there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine” and that she believes that “war crimes have been or are being committed”. She neither quantified the “war crimes” she believes took place, nor said how many she believes were “killings”. (Watch or read the statement by Fatou Bensouda.)

Nor was there any reference to “thousands of killings” in Bensouda’s court motion a month later, in January. The only mention of any specified number of people killed in that longer document were the number of people who Palestinians claimed were killed in hostilities at the Gaza border — a number specified as “200 individuals” — far from the “thousands” claimed in the article.
BBC News once again misleads on Egyptian Jews
On February 18th another report made for the BBC’s ‘Crossing Divides’ season appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page.

Produced by Nagham Kasem, the filmed report is titled “The unlikely friendship saving Egypt’s synagogues” and its synopsis reads:

“Two Egyptian women have come together to save the country’s lost Jewish heritage.

Magda, who is Jewish and Marwa, who is Palestinian and Muslim, meet weekly to clean, rescue and repair books, synagogues and cemeteries.

The Jewish community in Egypt shrank after the Israeli-Arab conflict in 1948. Many were exiled or felt forced to leave. With hardly any Jewish people left, the friends are battling to preserve the country’s lost Jewish heritage before it disappears forever.”


That messaging is repeated in the film itself:

“Egypt once had a thriving Jewish community. But after the Arab-Israeli conflict began in 1948 the number of Jewish people fell from 80,000 to just a handful.

Magda Haroun: “After the establishment of Israel the attitude of Egyptians towards Jews changed.”

Large numbers were expelled or forced out of Egypt.”


Those portrayals would obviously lead BBC audiences to understand that prior to that prior to that unexplained “conflict”, which is inaccurately described as beginning in 1948, all was well for Egyptian Jews.

That, however, is not the case as this timeline of the measures which led to the eradication of Egypt’s Jewish community shows.
German shooter said he wanted to kill people from Israel, Asia and Africa
The shooter who murdered 10 people in the German city of Hanau was a far-right-wing extremist who reportedly said he wanted to exterminate people from Asia, North Africa and Israel.

Germany’s main Jewish organization expressed shock over the Wednesday night attack, which the country’s attorney general is investigating.

Police in Hanau said the shooter, identified in news reports as Tobias R., born in 1977, and his mother were found dead early Thursday morning in his home, not long after his reported shooting spree in two hookah bars. Among the dead were several Turkish nationals, as well as one Bosnian and another person from Poland.

The alleged shooter left behind a video and a 24-page manifesto in which he said certain peoples “must be completely destroyed,” according to German news reports. A spokesperson for the attorney general told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he could not confirm the existence of a manifesto or video, but that further information would be released later on Thursday.

The attack is the latest in a string of high-profile attacks by far-right extremists in recent months. Both the Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Halle last October and the assassination in June of a pro-refugee politician, Walter Lübcke, were carried out by assailants affiliated with the far right.
Frankfurt mayor: 'Antisemitism and hatred of Jews on the rise in Germany'
Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker spoke at Muni Expo 2020 in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, warning of the recent rise in antisemitic events and overall hatred of Jews in Germany.

During his speech, he posited that what may have caused this increase in antisemitism is a lack of knowledge among the German people, saying that "People don’t know about Jewish life, young people in Germany know about hate and the Shoah, but they don’t know about normal Jewish life in the 21st century."

Becker continued, laying blame on the German education system, saying that "the average German child learns that in 1933 Germans started killing Jews, and then by 1945 the war was over. Children don’t learn about Jewish life; they only know that Jews are victims.”

“But, we have a problem with the antisemitism of adults, not only children,” he added.

“Antisemitism exists from the far left to the far right, influenced by anti-Zionism which becomes antisemitism," Becker said, echoing that "from the guilt of the past, we bear responsibility for the future.”
Former Polish priest indicted for hate speech and Holocaust denial
A former priest involved in Poland’s nationalist movement has been indicted on hate speech and Holocaust denial charges.

The District Prosecutor’s Office in the city of Wrocław, in western Poland, brought three indictments against Jacek Miedlar. Another claims that he insulted the late prime minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki.

Miedlar, who pleaded not guilty, could face up to three years in prison if convicted on the charges.

“Dear ladies and gentlemen, that synagogues can stand here on our Polish soil in Wroclaw, and that Dutkiewicz [mayor of Wroclaw] and Jews can get drunk in them with Talmudic hatred, this is only the result of our tolerance,” Miedlar said at a nationalist march in Wroclaw on Nov. 11, 2017. The prosecutor’s office said the speech incited hatred.

About 3,000 people clapped and chanted slogans such as “Great Independent Poland” in response.
Belgian carnival to double down on antisemitic displays
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.

Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.

“Belgium as a Western democracy should be ashamed to allow such a vitriolic antisemitic display,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Thursday. “I call upon the authorities there to condemn and ban this hateful parade in Aalst.”

Ambassador to Belgium Emmanuel Nahshon has been outspoken against the parade.

“It is a great pity that such an antisemitic carnival is allowed,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “Aalst is the only city in Europe where such a carnival is allowed. We call upon Belgian authorities, including city authorities of Aalst, to change their mind. We still have [time] until the carnival and hope reason will prevail and the antisemitic floats will be taken away.”

If the parade goes as planned, “it will be a moral blot on Belgium,” Nahshon said.

“The fight against antisemitism is also an Israeli fight,” he said. “Israel has to be very clear on the issue.”

The Aalst carnival lost its place on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2019 after its mayor refused to remove antisemitic imagery from the parade.
Russian lawmakers call for relaxing rules on Nazi symbols
Russian lawmakers have voted to lift a legal ban on displays of Nazi symbols like swastikas as long as they are not intended to promote fascist ideology.

Currently the public display of Nazi symbols along with logos of extremist organizations is banned in Russia and punishable by a fine or up to 15 days behind bars.

A vote by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday backed lifting the ban, which was introduced in 2014. The amendment still has to be passed by the senate and signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lawmakers opposing the ban pointed out that it theoretically applies to documentaries about the Third Reich as well as World War II-related feature films, book illustrations and school textbooks.

They cited cases including a woman from the western city of Smolensk who was given a small fine in 2015 for posting a picture on social media of German soldiers in the courtyard of her home during the Nazi occupation of the Soviet Union.

The ban has also affected Russians who re-enact World War II battles.
Large swastika painted on Jewish-owned business in New Jersey
A large blue swastika and the words “white power” were spray-painted on a Jewish-owned business in Jackson, New Jersey.

The business, which police declined to name, is owned by a Jewish family that lives in nearby Lakewood, the Lakewood Scoop reported. Lakewood, in the southern part of the state, has a large ultra-Orthodox population.

The apparent vandal was captured on surveillance video, which showed a woman getting out of her vehicle and walking behind a trailer located on the businesses property, which was later vandalized, according to the Scoop.

Police did not say if the incident was being investigated as a hate crime, according to the report.


Israeli economy's performance bests major markets worldwide, review shows
The Israeli economy's solid performance is consistently besting other major economies worldwide, a recent macroeconomic review by a top analysis concluded.

Harel Insurance and Finance's Economic And Research Department Head Ofer Klein did, however, qualify his conclusion, saying that in light of the slowing global economy, he believes the Israeli economy will grow by only 3% in 2020.

Israel's initial growth figures for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2019 defeated estimates, with strong annual growth of 4.8% that, after deducting import duties, came to 3.3%.

For comparison, initial growth figures for the UK's Q4-2019 showed no economic growth at all, as the British economy avoided posting negative growth data only due to a rapid increase in inventories. The German gross domestic product reflected only 0.1% annual growth and Japan had a devastation Q4, as its GDP shrunk by an annualized 6.3%.

Klein believes a renewed interest in inflation rates may soon emerge, in part due to the coronavirus outbreak.

China is Israel's second-largest importer, with $6.7 billion in 2019, accounting for 8% of the total Israeli imports.
Wix.com sees 2020 revenue reaching almost $1 billion
Wix.com, which helps small businesses build and operate websites, reported a smaller-than-expected decline in fourth-quarter net profit and forecast a revenue rise of about 25% this year to nearly $1 billion as it expands into the professional web creator market.

Israel-based Wix reported on Thursday a quarterly net profit of 39 cents a share excluding one-time items (adjusted EPS), compared with 42 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 19% to $204.6 million.

Analysts were forecasting adjusted EPS of 31 cents on revenue of $205.6 million, according I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Wix offers free basic features for setting up websites but users must pay for extra services such as shopping carts, individual web addresses and site traffic analysis.

The company added a net 89,000 premium subscribers in the October-December period to reach 4.5 million paying customers, up 13% over a year earlier. Wix has 165 million registered users, up 16% from 2018.
This Israeli tech helped ‘grandpa’ stop spilling his drink
When the hand tremors of 72-year-old Will Irwin, the CEO and owner of a Rochester, New York-based telemedicine firm, got worse, he was tipped off by a friend about an Israeli technology that uses ultrasound to help reduce Parkinson’s tremors.

He scouted around in the US to see who was using the technology and through an acquaintance in Israel, Jonathan Wiesen, who’s in charge of medical investments at the Jerusalem-based VC fund OurCrowd, Irwin got in touch with Prof. Gordon Baltuch, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Baltuch was using the technology developed by Israeli startup Insightec to treat patients.

Insightec has developed a non-invasive technology that uses high-intensity focused ultrasound beams to help alleviate ailments like Essential tremor, which causes involuntary trembling of the head, hand and voice, and Parkinson’s disease, which causes uncontrolled movements in different parts of the body. Both illnesses affect the lives of millions of people around the world, turning easy and yet fundamental actions into tasks that are difficult to achieve or to complete efficiently.

Essential tremor, a neurological disorder that commonly has a hereditary nature, affects more than 41 million people around the world and is thought to originate from a part of the brain called the VIM point — the ventral intermediate nucleus — which is responsible for coordinating and controlling muscle activity.

To reduce the symptoms, Insightec has developed a treatment that allows neurosurgeons to perform an incisionless brain surgery to ease tremors associated with Essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease.

It is performed using the company’s device, Exablate Neuro, which combines two technologies: high-intensity ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
One-on-one with Reuven Rivlin
THE Australian Jewish community “is the living bridge between our two countries”, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told The AJN this week ahead of his visit.

Rivlin arrives in Australia on Friday as a guest of Governor-General David Hurley, the highest level of visit Australia affords foreign dignitaries.

In addition to a day of meetings in Canberra, he will be the guest of honour at UIA’s major campaign events in Sydney and Melbourne and will also visit Melbourne’s Mount Scopus Memorial College.

“It is a tremendous honour to be here,” Rivlin said, adding that despite the “enormous geographical distance, there are many things that connect us and create a relationship of true friendship”, including a shared commitment to democracy and equality.

“Our government-to-government relations are already strong, and I am sure that my meetings with the Governor-General, as well with leaders at federal and state levels, will allow us to explore further areas of cooperation.”

While in Australia, Rivlin will thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Governor-General for Australia’s support at the United Nations and other international forums.

Commenting on Australia’s recent submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which raises questions over its authority to prosecute Israel for alleged war crimes against the Palestinians, he remarked, “This is an attempt to turn the IDF, our children and our grandchildren, into war criminals.

“Today, the target is the State of Israel, but every country should know that it could be them tomorrow and speak out now, as Australia and many others have.”
In Fiji, Rivlin asks island nation to be an ally on ‘biased’ UN rights council
President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday visited Fiji for a summit with local leaders, where he expressed hopes that the Pacific Island nation would stand with Israel against what he said was strong anti-Israel bias on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Rivlin met with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and led the “first of its kind” summit with Pacific Island states, the president’s office said in a statement. It was attended by leaders from Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga and Palau.

At a press conference after the summit, held in the city of Nadi, Rivlin thanked the prime minister for Fiji’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, and noted the dangers facing Israel in particular.

“Today Iran and its proxies are threatening Israel while spreading terror throughout the region, and around the world,” Rivlin said. “Israel will do all that is necessary to defend its citizens from the Iranian threat, and we will continue to work with international peacekeeping forces to ensure that our borders remain quiet.”

“We were also happy to support Fiji’s election to the UN Human Rights Council, and your presidency of the UN’s Climate Change conference,” Rivlin said. “We hope that Fiji will stand with Israel against the gross anti-Israel discrimination at the UN, especially at the Human Rights Council.“
Israeli President Announces Scholarship Opportunities for the Pacific
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the President of Israeli Reuven Rivlin held a bilateral meeting following the traditional welcome ceremony in Nadi today.

Bainimarama says that discussions between the two centered on climate change, sustainable development, smart agriculture, women and youth empowerment.

“Fiji and Israel have young, dynamic populations. Our youth know the value of innovative, entrepreneurial thinking and they are the potential of partnerships to generate prosperity. Today, my discussions with President Rivlin centered on empowering these future leaders to strengthen the ties that connect our societies and build a partnership that serves our people for generations.”

The Prime Minister also stated that despite Fiji’s small size, our country and Israel have no qualms about using their voices in big ways to drive global conversations.

Bainimarama says Fiji’s doors to Israeli students that are willing to study in Fiji especially in the areas of oceans protection, climate action and cultural preservation is open.

Meanwhile, President of Israeli Reuven Rivlin announced more assistance for the Pacific which will benefit Fiji greatly.

Rivlin says this is on top of the assistance they provide in disaster relief, medical care and airport security.
Netanyahu is Allowing 8,000 Ethiopian Jews to Come to Israel
The Falash Mura are Ethiopian Jews whose ancestors converted to Christianity generations ago...often under the threat of torture or family violence.
Netanyahu is vowing to allow 8-thousand Ethiopian members of this community to come to Israel — a few hundred are expected to arrive within the next few weeks.




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