Wednesday, April 29, 2020

From Ian:

For first time, Israelis recovered from coronavirus outnumber those still sick
For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country earlier this year, the number of people in Israel who have recovered from the virus surpassed the number of those who are still sick, according to Health Ministry figures published Wednesday.

There have been a total of 15,782 confirmed carriers of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, of whom 7,929 have recovered. Of the 7,641 still sick, 120 have serious symptoms, 91 of them on ventilators, and 85 are in moderate condition.

The coronavirus has so far claimed 212 lives, with two people dying overnight, the Health Ministry said.

Since its Tuesday morning update, another 193 cases were confirmed, the ministry said.

One of the new fatalities was identified by Hebrew-language media as Rabbi Yaakov Koldetsky, 70, from Bnei Brak, an associate of ultra-Orthodox spiritual leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and a former Torah study partner of the late spiritual leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv.

He had been hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv a month ago, after being diagnosed with COVID-19 following his return from the United States. His situation deteriorated several weeks ago, and he died Tuesday night.

Top public health expert compared 'Zionists' to Nazis
A public health expert at the centre of criticism of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has a long history of making inflammatory statements, comparing "Zionists" to Nazis and wrote that "Jews" should reflect on the actions of the Israeli military, the JC can reveal.

Professor John Ashton, a former regional director of public health for north-west England, appeared on BBC Panorama on Monday to discuss the findings of an investigation into the failure to stockpile personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff.

But aside from offering his advice over health issues, Professor Ashton, who has been a long-time member of the Labour Party, regularly posts on social media on issues involving Israel and Zionism. In one tweet he suggested it was, "Time to isolate Zionists and all religious fundamentalists whatever colour of black."

An analysis of social media posts made by the former President of the Faculty of Public Health from 2012 until 2018 shows that he has frequently equated Zionism with Nazism.

Writing in November 2012 in response to Israeli military actions in Gaza, he stated: "Sickening to see Zionists behave like Nazis."

When challenged by former Labour MP John Woodcock over allegations that Hamas terrorists were using Palestinian families as human shields in the same conflict, Professor Ashton wrote: "The Nazi thing was not a distraction to the Jews in Europe. The Zionist thing is not a distraction to the Palestinians."

Following comments made in 2013 by Ed Miliband, the then Labour leader, that he would consider himself to be a Zionist, Mr Ashton, one of the initiators of the World Health Organisation's Healthy Cities Project, again went on the attack. In March 2013 he wrote: "Is this true? If Miliband is a Zionist what are the humanistic internationalists to do? Is this Labour Party policy?"



MiddleEastMonitor: HSBC blocks donations to British charity despite deadly pandemic
Standing orders for donations to British charity Interpal, which has been providing humanitarian and development aid to Palestinians since 1994, have been cancelled by HSBC Bank.

Donors have been instructed that their standing order payments to the London-based charity will no longer be processed. HSBC has provided no explanation for cancelling the payments, and admitted that such donations to the charity do not contravene “local” — British — law.

The bank’s move came to light when one donor used social media to publicise the letter that he had received.

It is the latest in a series of attacks by the financial and media sectors against Interpal, whose chair of trustees is MEMO’s senior editor, Ibrahim Hewitt. The only bank account that the charity has is being closed by Al Rayan Bank at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in under four weeks.

HSBC’s decision was met with dismay. “This is more than disappointing for us, our donors and indeed our beneficiaries in the field given that HSBC has chosen the middle of a deadly pandemic and the month of Ramadan to block these payments” said Interpal in a statement. “Ramadan is a time when British Muslim communities are at their most generous and ready to help people in desperate need who need even more support due to the coronavirus Covid-19.” The charity said that it is “a disgrace that a major bank should take such a decision at this time.”
Jew-Tagging @Wikipedia
I’ve had a Wikipedia entry for years and never (well, hardly ever) look at it. It’s a straightforward account of my career as a journalist and editor with a couple of paragraphs about my early life and education and the requisite accounting of marriage, children, and grandchildren. As far as I know, the entry had never been fiddled with since it was originally published in the open-sourced encyclopedia that, along with Google, is the modern resource of choice for checking each other out. Then, not long ago, I clicked on my page and suddenly read that I was a Jew.

Right there in the first sentence of the Early Life section, the entry now reported that I “was born to a Jewish family.” I’m a proud if non-observant Jew, but my religious origin had never been mentioned in the many articles that have been written about me over the years. The exception is a snarky review of my memoir, It’s News to Me, in the New York Times Book Review back in 2006. The reviewer called me a “ham-eating Jew” because I’d mentioned that my American-born and fiercely assimilationist mother had occasionally served us a slab of grilled ham from Safeway topped with a slice of pineapple—that midcentury delicacy “Ham Steak Hawaiian.”

I felt that the introduction of my religion in Wikipedia was intrusive since I’d edited topical magazines like Newsweek and New York, not Jewish-oriented ones like, say, Commentary. I’d written and edited stories about the Arab–Israeli conflict, of course, but never from a sectarian point of view. Besides, I rarely if ever came across religious affiliation noted in Wikipedia biographies of other secular journalists and writers. So I set about stripping the reference from my entry, only to find that I’d been barred by Wikipedia from editing my own biography.

One of my sons is a member of the West Coast digerati, and I put him to work finding out what had happened and fixing it. He promptly reported that a volunteer Wikipedia “editor” had been inserting Jewish origin in the entries of prominent journalists and writers, but that he, too, was unable to delete the intrusion in my page. I decided we’d done all we could and dropped the matter. Then I came across a solicitation from Wikipedia seeking a contribution to support its operations. It turned out to be a key to the cloaked world of the digital reference trove that contains, by one count, over 46 million articles in more than 300 languages. I simply replied to the fundraising pitch that I’d be much more inclined to contribute had Wikipedia made it possible to deal with my problem, which I described. Shazam! I quickly got an email from one of the 250,000 volunteer Wiki editors.

Wikipedia’s labyrinthine processes can seem impenetrable to the uninitiated.
Have Jews who support Biden looked at his record on Israel?
On April 20, 2020 Arutz 7 reported "The J Street organization announced that it endorses former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 presidential bid. This is the organization's first ever presidential endorsement..."

How is it possible that some Jews support Biden? In 2016 Biden convinced Ukraine to vote in favor of UNSC 2334. UNSC 2334 ruled that even the Western Wall is in "occupied Palestinian territories". How is it possible that Jews who care about the Western Wall support Biden?

Jews in Jerusalem
Until 1948 Jews were a majority of the population in Jerusalem. On December 11, 2017 Amb. Dore Gold wrote (the accompanying video is highly recommended) in the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs: "By the mid-19th century, the British Consulate in Jerusalem made the following determination, according to this report, which I found in the Public Record Office in Kew, it states that Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, when? already in 1863 – that’s long before Theodor Herzl, before the Britt’s arrived, or Lord Balfour."

"See the guy on the right, William Seward, he was Secretary of State of the United States during the American civil war, under President Abraham Lincoln.

"When Seward’s term ended, he visited the holy land, he visited Jerusalem. And he wrote a memoir. And in his memoir, it is written, 'There is a Jewish majority in Jerusalem'.” (See William Seward, Travels Around the World (1873))

The Jews were a majority of the population in Jerusalem until 1948 when British General Glubb led the Jordanian Arab Legion to expel all the Jews from Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter.
Biden opposes West Bank annexation, will keep US embassy in Jerusalem, says aide
Former US vice president Joe Biden’s senior foreign policy adviser said Tuesday that the presidential candidate opposes unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank, a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to implement as early as July.

However, he also said Biden would keep the US embassy in Jerusalem, rather than reverse President Donald Trump’s decision to move the mission from Tel Aviv.

Speaking on a webinar hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Tony Blinken said Biden had been “on the record several times [that] unilateral steps taken by either side that make the prospect of a negotiated two-state outcome less likely is something he opposes, and that includes annexation,” according to Jewish Insider.

He said annexation of settlements or the Jordan Valley would be “bad” for Israel.

Blinken said that a potential Biden administration would aim to revive and “ultimately advance” the two-state solution.

“In many ways, pulling the plug on a two-state solution is pulling the plug, potentially, on an Israel that is not only secure but is Jewish and democratic — for the future. That’s not something any of us, who are ardent supporters of Israel, would want to see,” said Blinken.

But he said he was “not going to prejudge what we might do or not do in the context of a Biden administration” since much could change before then.
Linda Sarsour Campaigns to Oust Pro-Israel Dem
A leftist candidate has enlisted the help of his friend and radical activist, Linda Sarsour, to oust Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), the leading pro-Israel Democrat on the Hill.

Andom Ghebreghiorgis, an anti-Israel activist, cohosted a virtual town hall with Sarsour to attack Engel, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel has been a consistent defender of Israel during his 27-year tenure in Congress—a policy record that his left-wing primary challengers see as a vulnerability.

Ghebreghiorgis, who first met Sarsour while working as an English teacher in the West Bank, called Engel an "uncritical and reflexive supporter of Israel" while painting himself as a loyal Palestine supporter aligned with Sarsour, a top anti-Israel activist.

"[Engel] has said that conditioning military aid to Israel is one of the stupidest things ever. To me, that is just a wild statement," Ghebreghiorgis said. "Those are actually integral parts of our campaign, ending military aid to not just Israel and Egypt but also Saudi Arabia, UAE, [and] the Philippines."

Sarsour lavished praise for the leftist challenger, telling viewers that "the kids loved him" while he taught overseas. The controversial activist, who has faced accusations of anti-Semitism, also sharply criticized Engel's pro-Israel stance as "not acceptable for any member of Congress."

Engel has been a reliable defender of Israel on the Hill since he assumed office in 1993 and has broken with fellow Democrats to support the Jewish state on occasion. The New York congressman praised the Trump administration for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem even as fellow Democrats criticized the decision. He has opposed blanket condemnations of Israeli settlements in contested territories and drafted a bill condemning a U.N. resolution that denounced Israeli settlements in 2017.
The Squad Wishes Israelis Happy Memorial Day (satire)
The progressive US congresswomen collectively known as “The Squad” published Memorial Day greetings to Israelis this week. The messages published on Twitter and their official sites have led many to wonder if the congresswomen knew that it’s the day Israelis commemorate soldiers killed in combat and civilians killed in terror attacks.

It was apparent that some were not aware of the meaning of Memorial Day in Israel after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Wishing all my Jewish friends a Happy Memorial Day”.

Rashida Talib’s office published a press release that she joined with all her Jewish constituents in celebrating Israel’s Memorial Day, especially her supporters in organizations like If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace. This wouldn’t be the first time Congresswomen Talib has come under scrutiny for oddly worded tweets. Last week she failed to mention Jews in her message commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day.

Some said that perhaps it had been an oversight while others felt that forgetting Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day is probably worse than leaving them out on purpose. Ilhan Omar, who has arguably had the most trouble with Jews on Twitter since that time a tourist tweeted that New York Bagels were “meh”, posted a photo of her smiling from ear-to-ear saying she was looking forward to celebrating Israel’s Memorial Day for years to come.
UK Labour party vows quick probe into leaking of anti-Semitism report
The UK Labour party said Thursday that it will quickly investigate how an internal report was leaked on Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism within its ranks.

The party’s ruling body laid out a timeline for the probe to be completed by mid-July.

Supporters of former party leader Jeremy Corbyn had attempted to stop an inquiry into the matter, the Times reported, but their failure was seen by some as proof that new party leader Sir Keir Starmer has consolidated his power within the party.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Starmer said those named in the report for breaking the rules could face disciplinary action.

The internal report found fault in the party’s handling of anti-Semitic incidents between 2014 and 2019, acknowledging that complaints were not properly logged and often ignored. But it mostly blamed “a hyper-factional atmosphere” and hostility to former leader Jeremy Corbyn within the party as derailing efforts to combat Jew hatred.

Critics of the report said it was leaked in an attempt to smear the whistleblowers who raised the alarm about levels of anti-Semitism within the party.
CAA calls on Sir Keir Starmer to condemn MPs for event claiming that addressing antisemitism can be to the detriment of other minorities
Following the leak of the Labour report into alleged factionalism in the Party’s headquarters during the era of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, a new narrative has developed in the far-left faction of the Labour Party and among its external allies, namely that addressing Labour’s institutional antisemitism is somehow racist against BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) people.

The essence of the new narrative is that the leaked factional report on antisemitism confirms that “institutional racism” does indeed exist in the Labour Party, but that it is against BAME people rather than Jews, and that the fixation on spurious antisemitism charges has come at the cost of recognising the Labour Party’s real institutional racism crisis.

The leaked report is thus being used to preempt and undermine the investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The EHRC launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party on 28th May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. In the new narrative, the leaked report has supposedly beaten the EHRC to it, by purportedly confirming that the Labour Party is indeed institutionally racist – but against BAME people. The EHRC report into antisemitism is therefore little more than a distraction fuelled by allegations which were designed to damage Mr Corbyn.

The new narrative also suggests that the EHRC is itself part of the problem, as it has privileged antisemitism over other forms of racism, for example by not investigating the circumstances of the ‘Windrush’ scandal or the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.
British history textbook withdrawn over anti-Israeli bias
A British publisher has withdrawn a history textbook for GCSE students on the Arab-Israeli conflict, after a number of inaccuracies and biases were found within the first chapter alone.

Conflict in the Middle East, 1945-95 is marketed by the publisher, Hodder, as covering "all three key topics" in the GCSE Edexcel syllabus: The birth of the state of Israel, 1945-63; The escalating conflict, 1964-73; Attempts at a solution, 1974-95."

According to the marketing description on Amazon, the title was endorsed by exam board Edexcel for students taking its syllabus.

However, a detailed analysis of the first chapter by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) has found a number of inaccuracies and a general lack of context within the book, leading overall to a lop-sided presentation of the Arab-Israeli conflict to British school children.

The analysis's author, Noru Tsalic, argues that, indeed, the very title of the text is problematic. "The book focuses exclusively on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which was neither the only, nor – arguably – the main Middle East conflict," he wrote in his report. A better title, he suggested, would be: The Arab-Israeli conflict, 1945-1995.

Similar inaccuracies include references to Arabs but not Jews as "Palestinians" when discussing the era of the British mandate, during which all residents, Arab and Jew alike, would have been understood to be "Palestinian," while the Kingdom of Judea is referred to as "Palestine" when the Romans had not yet named it such.


Southern Poverty Law Center Now Has $162 Million Stashed in Offshore Accounts
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which last year faced accusations of racism among its highest ranks, reported $162 million stashed in offshore investments and paid its disgraced former leaders over $1 million.

The controversial group has continued to build its massive war chest by tens of millions of dollars even after employees claimed that the group's leadership allowed sexual harassment and racial discrimination against its minority staffers. The ensuing media firestorm ultimately led to the ousting of cofounder Morris Dees, longtime president Richard Cohen, and legal director Rhonda Brownstein from the group in March 2019. New forms, covering a period beginning Nov. 1, 2018, and ending on Oct. 31, 2019, show that Cohen and Brownstein each received six-figure severance packages.

Critics of the SPLC in recent years have characterized the group as a money racket that labels conservative organizations as "hate groups" to fundraise, and its most recent financial forms may fuel that criticism. The SPLC achieved numerous civil rights victories decades ago but has since veered far left, partnering with numerous tech and media giants to expand its influence.

The SPLC experienced a drastic uptick in assets even as its contributions and grants have declined. Its most recent tax forms reported annual contributions of $97 million, down from the $132 million it reported in October 2017. Despite that decline, it reported $570 million in assets between its main organization and its action fund, a $52 million increase over what it reported the prior year. The jump can largely be attributed to the SPLC's vast investment portfolio, which now includes $162 million stashed in offshore accounts, $41 million more than the group previously reported.

The financial records also reveal that amid the cash influx, Dees, Cohen, and Brownstein collected over $1 million from the group despite being forced out early in the year over a workplace culture that allegedly fostered racial discrimination and sexual harassment.


Radio-Canada Blames Israel for Gaza’s Plight in Fighting Coronavirus
On April 28, HonestReporting Canada filled the following complaint directly with Radio-Canada Ombudsman Guy Gendron calling for immediate corrective action after our public broadcaster published a report blaming Israel exclusively for Gaza’s plight in fighting the Coronavirus. Stay tuned to this page for future updates.

Dear Mr. Gendron,

I hope this note finds you well. My name is Mike Fegelman and I’m the Executive Director of HonestReporting Canada. If you’re not familiar with our efforts, we ensure fair and accurate Canadian media coverage of Israel.

I’m writing to bring our concerns to your attention regarding an April 24 Radio-Canada.ca report by Kamel Bouzeboudjen that we felt contravenes CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices. The report is entitled: COVID-19 : Gaza, le « double confinement »

In an article about the impact the Coronavirus is having on blockaded Gaza, the author maligned Israel as vital context was omitted which rendered the report unfair and unbalanced and as the article was replete with errors.
Antisemitic incidents in Canada rise to record high for fourth straight year
The number of antisemitic incidents in Canada rose to a record high for the fourth consecutive year mainly due to online harassment.
The League for Human Rights, part of B’nai Brith Canada, recorded 2,207 antisemitic incidents in its 2019 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. That’s an 8% increase over the 2,041 incidents from the previous year and an average of more than six per day.

Ontario had the greatest increase and Quebec saw the largest number of incidents for the second year in a row. Ontario and Quebec are home to the largest Jewish communities in Canada.

Harassment accounted for the largest number of incidents at 2,011, or 91.1%, up from 1,809 the previous year. Of the incidents last year, 83.2% occurred online, including over social media and in threatening emails and text messages.

The number of vandalism incidents dropped to 182 from 221, but violent incidents, including assault, rose to 14 from 11.
New poll shows 13% of Britons believe Jews have unhealthy control of banking system, and 38% “couldn’t say” for sure
A new survey has shown that 13 percent of Britons believe that Jews have “undue control of banks”, with a whopping 38% who said in response to the same statement that they “couldn’t say” for sure or “don’t know”.

The anti-racism charity, Hope Not Hate, published its Trust No One report following three surveys conducted between February and April 2020 designed to “assess the British population’s relationship with conspiracy theories, their trust in the media and public institutions and their attitudes to political participation.”

With regard to antisemitism, the report noted that “while conspiracy theories do not inherently have to be antisemitic, it is remarkable how often Jewish people are explicitly or implicitly identified as the conspirators” and that “it is antisemitic ideas, more so than any other form of racism, that form the basis of modern conspiracy theories.”

The report said that respondents were asked whether the ‘official’ narrative of the Holocaust was exagerrated and whether Jews have an “unhealthy control of the banking system”, but noted that other statements tested can also be have antisemitic connotations, for example, the statement “Even though we live in what’s called a democracy, a few people will always run things in this country anyway”, which can be related to the claims surrounding the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or the ‘Zionist Occupation Government’ conspiracy, both of which claim that Jews strive for world domination and control most governments.

In 2019, our Antisemitism Barometer also found that 20% of British people believed that “British Jewish people chase money more than other British people.”
“Jews are racist! Heil Hitler”, screams woman arrested by police while trying to break down door of Jewish home
A woman has been arrested by police while screaming “Jews are racist! Heil Hitler” and trying to break down the front door of a Jewish home in Stamford Hill.

The incident took place on Lynmouth Road on 27th April 2020 and was reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.

If you have any more information, please contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: CAD7646 27/04/2020.

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.
Germany charges neo-Nazi with murder of pro-refugee politician
German prosecutors said Wednesday they had formally charged a known neo-Nazi with the June 2019 murder of a pro-refugee politician, the first in a string of recent far-right killings.

Federal investigators said 45-year-old Stephan Ernst drove to Walter Luebcke’s house in Wolfhagen, central Germany, on the evening of June 1, 2019.

He crept up under cover of darkness to the terrace where Luebcke sat before shooting him in the head with a revolver.

Ernst’s “racism and xenophobia founded on an ethnic-nationalist attitude were decisive in the act,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The suspect and his fellow accused, identified only as Markus H., had attended a political meeting in October 2015 where Luebcke argued in favor of accommodating refugees in the town of Lohfelden.

Ernst “from the time of the meeting increasingly projected his xenophobia onto Dr Walter Luebcke,” a regional politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU party, prosecutors said.
IDF, US Navy surprise Shoah survivor as independence, Dachau liberation coincide
The Israel Defense Forces and US Navy bands surprised an Israeli Holocaust survivor this week to mark both Israel’s 72nd Independence Day and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, playing for him a rendition of Israel’s national anthem, Hatikva.

Abba Naor, 92, had believed he was only going to tell the American and Israeli soldiers about his experiences in Dachau during the Holocaust. But when he logged on to the Zoom videoconferencing application from his home in Rehovot to speak to them, the troops took out their instruments and — from dozens of locations — played Hatikva, as Naor stood at attention and saluted.

“It was a big surprise for me,” he said.

Organizing the surprise for Naor presented major logistical challenges for the IDF and US Navy Europe bands. The soldier-musicians recorded their individual parts of the anthem separately so they could all be mixed together in advance and played for Naor in unison on Sunday night, when the call took place, so that the footage could be edited and released by the militaries on Tuesday for the anniversaries of Independence Day and the liberation of Dachau.

The IDF said it was its first joint social media project with the US.

After the anthem, Naor did tell the soldiers his story, from his time in a ghetto in Lithuania — where the walls not only kept the Jews in, but also kept anti-Semitic Lithuanians out — to his internment in Dachau in southern Germany, and finally the camp’s liberation by the US Army on April 29, 1945.

“The American GIs — I’ll never forget them. They saved my life. This is something you can never forget,” he said.

“The first American soldiers we saw were Japanese. We’d never seen people like that before,” Naor recalled.




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