Friday, May 15, 2020

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: A portrait of viral antisemitism
If history has taught us anything, it is that antisemitism is not simply a mild psychiatric disorder – since Jews are a tiny minority in every country in the world other than Israel, which itself is minuscule in relative terms; it is, rather, a symptom of Stage Four societal cancer. No amount of alcogel can sanitize that dirty little secret.

Which brings us back to the other plague – the one that has most of humanity living in limbo, keeping what is deemed a safe, six-foot distance from strangers, friends and family alike. Oh, and scrubbing our hands like Lady Macbeth, while draped in accessories befitting a brain surgeon.

Whether panic over the coronavirus was or still is warranted remains to be seen. This is something that will not be determined fully until the wave has blown over and/or a vaccine is available. It is difficult, if not impossible, to analyze the data properly in the midst of the commotion.

The same cannot be said about antisemitism. No, hatred of Jews and Israel has a proven record of death and destruction on a mass scale. All additional statistics on that score are the fault of new perpetrators and the passive response to them on the part of the willfully ignorant, apathetic or criminally negligent ostriches among us.

It is hard to fathom how Hitlerian rhetoric and Holocaust imagery elicit less of a reaction than a virus that appears to be running its course.
A common mantra these days is that “We’re all in this together.” Well, if enabling antisemites to disperse their poison beyond borders forbidden to travelers with the sniffles constitutes solidarity, the world really is in the throes of a fatal illness. And that’s not a cartoon characterization of the situation.

Nor is the fact that Jewish scientists in Israel and abroad are working tirelessly around the clock to come up with an antidote to the coronavirus. The rest of us would do well, in the meantime, to focus on finding a remedy for a far greater killer – one that mutates and metastasizes exponentially with each passing minute.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Greatest threat to Jewish existence | J-TV's Ollie Anisfeld and Joseph Cohen

What If Israel Vanished?
There are three main factions within the anti-Zionist, pro-Palestine camp: The Muslim Brotherhood and neo-Ottoman Islamist camp, the Iranian revolutionaries and their “resistance camp” and the Arab nationalists and leftist camp. All have close links with various Palestinian groups.

All three factions, of course, share the anti-Israel rhetoric and dream of regaining Al-Aqsa mosque. Nevertheless, each faction within this eclectic camp has a different outlook for the future of Palestine. Some advocate a future Islamist Palestine that would be part of a grand Ottoman caliphate. Others dream of a revolutionary Palestine loyal to the Iranian Islamic regime. The third group dreams of a leftist nationalist Palestinian utopia.

None of them, however, will ever address the tough questions about their future beloved Palestine. How will they reconcile their conflicting views on the future Palestinian state? How will post-Israel Palestine avoid the fate of post-Saddam Iraq or post Arab Spring Syria? Will the allies of the various Palestinian factions leave the Palestinian people to decide their fate, or will they try to impose their vision in exchange for financial and political support?

Will Hamas, Fatah and the other Palestinian factions that failed to unite under occupation reconcile their differences after “liberation”? Will the Islamists in post-Israel Palestine accept the secularists and liberals, or turn against them as the Mullahs did in Iran, and as Erdogan did in Turkey? How will Islamists treat minorities, such as the Bahai community in Israel? What will the future of their beautiful Temple in Haifa? be? Will the prominent Palestinian diaspora, including Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and activist Linda Sarsour, leave their prestigious careers in the US and “return” to campaign relentlessly for the “right to return to Palestine” and serve their beloved new state?

These are tough questions, so let’s ask an easier one: Who will control the Al-Aqsa Mosque after the imaginary end of Israel? Hamas? Fatah? Jordan? Turkey? Iran? Will the mostly Sunni Palestinians allow Shia Muslims to practice and celebrate the death of Hussein inside Al-Aqsa Mosque? Or will Shia be labelled “apostates”?

I once asked a hardcore pro-Palestine Islamist those questions. He was angrily dismissive. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “What matters is that we destroy the Zionist State first, then think of the day after.”

StandWithUs: A Light Unto the Nations: Israel’s Lifesaving Aid in the Face of Global Crises
Join Rachel Wallace, IsraAID's director of outreach and engagement, for a stimulating conversation on IsraAID's life-saving work, worldwide projects, and response to COVID-19.

Israeli gov't research center files patents for 8 coronavirus antibodies
The Israel Institute for Biological Research has filed patent requests for eight types of coronavirus antibodies that it has isolated, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Friday. The antibodies will be used for the development of a future drug to treat the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Bennett said he was briefed on the development by Shmuel Shapira, who heads IIBR’s Ness Ziona facility. He called the move “another important step in developing a cure. IIBR is working around the clock to find a life-saving solution.”

Earlier this month, the Defense Ministry revealed that IIBR had completed a groundbreaking scientific development, identifying an antibody that neutralizes the coronavirus, a development that Bennett called “a major breakthrough.”

That scientific breakthrough had three key parameters: The antibody is monoclonal, new and refined, and contains an exceptionally low proportion of harmful proteins; the institute has demonstrated the ability of the antibody to neutralize the novel coronavirus; and the antibody was specifically tested on the aggressive coronavirus.

“Based on comprehensive scientific publications from around the globe, it appears that the IIBR is the first institution to achieve a scientific breakthrough that meets all three of the aforementioned parameters simultaneously,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement on behalf of the institute.
Israeli scientists think they know why virus is severe for some, mild for others
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, one of the greatest mysteries to confound researchers has been figuring out why the disease leaves some people almost completely unharmed, while others suffer serious conditions and die.

The answer, according to Israeli scientists, is that lungs of the worst-affected patients become riddled with immune cells that exacerbate the pathogen’s impact instead of fighting it. In patients who are less affected by the disease, this doesn’t happen, says the team from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

“In most cases the immune system helps recovery,” said Amir Giladi of Weizmann’s Department of Immunology. “But for some reason, and this represents the real mystery of coronavirus, this is turned around, and the immune system is not your helper, but rather makes the disease more intense.”

He is part of a Weizmann team that set out to pinpoint when things start to go downhill for the worst-stricken patients, hoping that drug companies will be able to use their research to develop therapies to stop the disease.

The pharmaceutical industry is currently struggling to understand the best way to counter COVID-19’s impact, but Giladi is “hopeful” that his research will move things forward by “providing a ‘target’ in the body for intervention.”

The team worked with Zheng Zhang from Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital in Shenzhen, China, who provided data, and has concluded that lungs of the worst-affected patients have been cleared of normal, helpful, immune cells and colonized by immune cells that instead cause harm. Findings have been peer reviewed and published in the journal Cell.
Danon leads UN innovation conference combating coronavirus
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon found another alternative in place of the UN's Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum that Israel was appointed to lead this year, but was later cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Before the coronavirus outbreak took hold, Israel and Ghana were elected to head the UN's STI Forum. However, once the coronavirus pandemic became an issue, the UN cancelled all high-level forums, leading the Israeli ambassador to find a new, more relevant alternative.

With the goal of combating the coronavirus, Danon decided to initiate a refocused digital conference on aiding innovation and technological tools. The two-day conference began on Thursday and continued through Friday, during which world renowned experts spoke on the connections between technological innovation, the fight against coronavirus and the fulfillment of UN development goals.

"This initiative is widely supported by the United Nations, mainly because of groundbreaking Israeli innovation, and I have no doubt that it will contribute to the global struggle against the coronavirus, and further strengthen Israel’s position within the UN," Danon said.

The forum held a session on "The Science of COVID-19" lead by Israeli Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Ada Yonat, as well as another session on technological response to the virus, which was attended by Israeli scientist Dr. Kira Radinsky, recognized worldwide for technological advancements in predictive analysis.

Commenting on the global cooperation that the event ignited, Danon said, "in a time of global crisis, uniting to share knowledge with the international community is important and the right thing to do."
Senate legislation would expand COVID-19 medical projects with Israel
The US Senate has introduced legislation to enhance partnerships between American and Israeli companies on COVID-19 projects, thus lessening US dependence on China for life-saving medications and treatments.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced on Wednesday as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on a whirlwind eight-hour visit to Israel, criticized China while praising Israel.

“You’re a great partner,” Pompeo said in an appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before their meeting in Jerusalem. “You share your information, unlike some other countries that try and obfuscate and hide information. And we’ll talk about that country, too.”

The US has pressed Israel to reconsider allowing Chinese investment in national projects, including work on the Haifa Port, where the US Sixth Fleet is anchored, and building the Sorek 2 water desalination plant on the Mediterranean coast in central Israel.

Following Pompeo’s visit to Israel, a senior State Department official told reporters that China is “not a reliable partner,” and that while Pompeo doesn’t have a problem with countries having relationships or trading with China, the pandemic is different.

“I think COVID sort of highlights the dangers of dealing with states that are not transparent, that don’t have fair trade practices, that really leverage and torque their trade to leverage certain things out of their trade partners,” the official said.
The Ari Fuld Project Donates Masks to Ari’s Reserve Paratrooper Unit
Mefaked Ilan, Ari Fuld’s HY”D commander in an elite reserves paratrooper unit, reminisced about Ari with Ari’s wife Miriam, on Friday.

Ilan came to the town of Efrat to receive a donation of custom-designed masks for all the soldier’s in Ari’s paratrooper unit. The masks were donated by The Ari Fuld Project and have the logo of the unit imprinted on them.

Ilan told the, “Ari’s family and friends will never forget him and his legacy for a moment. What better represents Ari’s ideals than donating comfortable Corona defense masks that allow the soldiers to continue their mission during these days of the Coronavirus, as well as expressing the magnitude of Ari’s personality to the Orev paratrooper platoon which he served in and loved so much.”

This past Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, The Ari Fuld Project donated masks to the counter-terrorist unit in Efrat where Ari also served.

Also on this past Yom HaZikaron, an archivist for the Israeli government discovered a letter written by Ari Fuld to Minister Rechavam “Gandhi” Ze’evi, who was a retired IDF Major General.
Israel offers peek at new normal for air travel during pandemic
Arrive four hours early, in a mask and without any escort. Get checked for a fever, disinfect your hands, watch out for the fleet of robotic cleaners, and again disinfect your hands.

This is what passengers leaving Israel should expect to encounter, according to a pilot program launched on Thursday, as air travel slowly returns to normal after weeks of very few flights.

The idea, the Airport Authority said, is to create a "coronavirus-free area" at Ben Gurion Airport, already well-known for its rigid security.
Similar measures aimed at preventing contagion could be adopted by airports around the world, and Israel has been conferring about them with authorities in Europe and the United States, said Shmuel Zakai, Ben Gurion's managing director.

Representatives from the French embassy, for example, were checking documents of French passengers at check-in so they would not have to enter quarantine after returning home.

"This kind of process we will see more and more," Zakai said.

The challenge will be enacting policies that are not too much of a burden.

A Slap in the Face from George Washington University
In December 2013, after the American Studies Association endorsed a boycott of Israel, George Washington University joined many other institutions in opposing the boycott. The language was rather tepid, to be sure: the University affirmed that it would continue its “multiple academic, research and programmatic relationships with Israeli institutions” and “explore new ones,” on the grounds that “academic exchanges and conversations lead to better understanding between nations and people of differing views.”

Why, then, has George Washington University appointed a vocal supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as interim dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs? Ilana Feldman has said that calls for a conversation of the sort GWU issued in 2013 are contemptible, “a call for inaction and support of the status quo under the guise of “moderate” action.” At the same time, she has indicated that opposition of the sort BDS has encountered—well over 200 colleges and universities issued statements against the boycott—has to do with “more money . . . being devoted to shutting down criticism of Israel.” Feldman not only supported the ultimately failed effort to win the American Anthropological Association for BDS. She was among the organizers of the effort.

Colleges and universities have many good reasons to reject the BDS movement, quite apart from its willingness regularly to swim in anti-Semitic waters. Academic supporters of BDS are expected to oppose study abroad programs based at Israeli universities and to refuse to write letters of recommendation for students who choose to participate in them. They should shun conferences based at Israeli universities, faculty exchange programs that involve those universities, and research projects funded in whole or in part by Israel or what boycott guidelines call Israel’s lobby groups.

Our commitment to academic freedom requires us to tolerate such views among our faculty members, even if they would corrode our universities. They do not require us to accept supporters of BDS as high-level administrators of schools of international affairs. Indeed, David Bernstein at the Volokh conspiracy argues that supporters of BDS should, if they are to be deans, “publicly and contractually disavow any intention of adhering to BDS position while serving as administrators: no boycotting Israeli academic institutions, no discrimination against students or faculty who have ties to Israeli institutions or academic journals.”
George Washington University stands by appointment of interim dean who backs BDS
George Washington University is standing by an interim dean at its foreign policy school who has come under fire for past actions supporting the boycott Israel movement.

A campus group, GW for Israel, launched a petition this week calling for the university to reconsider its recent naming of Ilana Feldman as the interim dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, the prestigious private Washington, D.C., university’s training school for diplomats and other foreign policy specialists.

Feldman, an anthropology scholar, is currently the school’s vice dean and will serve until a replacement is named. She has joined in calling on the American Anthropological Association to boycott Israeli academic institutions, most recently in 2018.

“Dr. Ilana Feldman has been an active faculty member at the Elliott School of International Affairs since 2007,” the University’s provost, Brian Blake, said Thursday in an email to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “As vice dean, Dr. Feldman has demonstrated her leadership ability and her respect for and commitment to all students, faculty and staff of the Elliott School community. Dr. Feldman’s appointment as interim dean was made based on strong support within the Elliott School, including from the current dean, the Dean’s Council, as well as a number of faculty.”

George Washington University is on the record as opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, or BDS.

The GW for Israel group named a number of instances that Feldman has backed the boycott Israel movement and argued that her past involvement has the effect of isolating Israeli and pro-Israel students at the university.
Missouri lawmakers pass bill against boycotting Israel
Missouri lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill to ban the state from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

The GOP-led House approved the measure 95-40 on Thursday, the day before their Friday deadline to pass bills this year.

Lawmakers are rushing to pass as many bills as possible after taking several weeks off over concerns about spreading the coronavirus. They returned to the Capitol days before Gov. Mike Parson's statewide stay-at-home order expired May 3.

Many are not wearing masks, but some are.

The boycott bill is in response to a Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel.

The BDS movement promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israeli institutions and businesses in what it says is a nonviolent campaign against Israeli abuses against Palestinians. Israel says the campaign masks a deeper goal of delegitimizing and even destroying the country.

The Missouri bill would require companies to sign a contract pledging not to boycott Israel in order to do business with Missouri. It wouldn't apply to contracts worth less than $100,000 or companies with fewer than 10 employees.

At least 27 other states have passed similar policies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Republican Rep. Holly Rehder led the Senate bill through the House. She said doing anything to support the boycott movement goes against Missouri's economic policies and would be "absurd."

"The legislature has taken bold action to combat the insidious and hateful BDS movement that singles out Israel and encourages punitive actions against its economy and citizens, said Nancy Lisker, director of the American Jewish Committee St. Louis Region.

Tariq Ramadan supporters paid French spy to steal rape accuser's identity
The ongoing case against Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan became mired in even more controversy when one of his accusers filed a complaint over her identity being stolen and illegally published by a rogue French intelligence agent, Le Parisien reported.

Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford’s St. Anthony’s College and grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is currently facing four charges of rape in France. The two initial charges were made by feminist activist Henda Ayari, with the other one being a disabled woman identified only as "Christelle."

However, Ramadan's supporters reportedly uncovered Christelle's identity in 2018 after hiring an active member of France's internal intelligence agency Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure (DGSE), identified only as "Haurus," to comb through the Dark Web for information. This agent has reportedly fallen into disgrace for selling information, according to a report accessed by Le Parisien, and the agent has since been indicted.

In 2019, Christelle sought legal action to stop Ramadan from publicizing her identity in his book, titled Devoir de vérité or Duty of Truth, which mentions her name no less than 84 times. However, her first name and birthdate was reportedly released to, and published by, the Muslim Post, a Tunis-based news outlet that has published many articles in Ramadan's defense.

Christelle's lawyer, Eric Morain, now wants to request the admission of evidence from the Haurus case into the case against Ramadan.
Speaking to Le Parisien, Morain referred to the actions as "foul-smelling" and said that it was part of an effort to pressure and scare his client with threats into silence.

"Investigations must be carried out to find out if these foul-smelling practices are the work of Tariq Ramadan and his entourage, even if it seems obvious," he said.

"In this case, there have been many pressures and threats on the victims to scare them and silence them. The disclosure of identities and addresses is part of these methods."
Qatar Waging Stealth Influence Operations Across U.S. Academic System, Documents Show
Qatar is spending billions of dollars to infiltrate the American education system as part of a propaganda effort that legal advocates say violates federal statutes and warrants a full-scale investigation, according to a nonpublic memorandum sent from an investigative group to the State Department and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The Qatar Foundation (QF), a state-controlled entity tasked with promoting the country's interests, has spent at least $1.5 billion since 2012 to fund a range of educational initiatives at 28 universities across America, making it one of the education system's most prolific foreign funders, according to information obtained by the Lawfare Project, a U.S.-based legal group that has been petitioning American universities to turn over information about their financial relationships with Qatar.

Foreign funding of American universities has been a concern for some time, with countries such as Qatar, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and others injecting billions into their budgets. The Education Department found in late 2019 that several schools failed to report more than $1.3 billion in foreign funds. Qatar's emergence as one of the leading foreign funders has generated concerns about anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias working its way into the classroom.

The Lawfare Project's investigation, which has been provided to the Trump administration, "reveals considerable Qatari infiltration in the American education system and the media," according to a copy of the investigative materials viewed by the Free Beacon. "This infiltration, funded and organized through QF and [Qatar Foundation International], has turned American universities and primary and secondary school teachers into de facto agents of the Qatari government, conveying its political (and anti-Semitic) views to students and the general population without any acknowledgment of the origins of these views."
Burning of Israeli flag leads to German law to ban torching of all flags
An antisemitic rally where an Israeli flag was torched caused German lawmakers on Thursday to pass legislation outlawing the burning of all foreign flags within the borders of the federal republic.

The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 16-page change in German to law that imposes a criminal penalty that could lead to a three year prison term for flag burning.

The Social Democratic Party faction wrote in the proposed law ahead of its passage “that the draft law and the coalition factions' amendment were not about restricting freedom of expression. Rather, a clear criminal law barrier should be set and a gap in criminal law should be closed. It was unbearable and unacceptable for the flag of the State of Israel to be burned in public.”

The main triggering event for the legislation was a 2017 demonstration in Berlin, in which 2,500 people, most of whom were German Muslims, protested against US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the US embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. The protestors torched an Israeli flag, prompting police at the time to initiate investigations into 11 people in connection with the flag burning.

According to the “justification” section of the legislation, the law to criminalize flag burning was extended “to any disparaging destruction of flags of foreign countries.” According to the justification, this is intended to react to events in December 2017: “A public demonstration in Berlin in that participants burned the Israeli flag and chanted corresponding slogans had become an antisemitic rally.”

Mideast Expert Greta Thunberg to Host CNN Special on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (satire)
Looking to end the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all, CNN will give climate change activist and Middle East expert Greta Thunberg an hour of airtime to lay out her peace plan.

The network announced that the Special, which will air next week during prime time, will follow her appearance on an expert panel discussing COVID-19. Although she has never formally studied or worked in Israel or the Middle East, network executives are confident that she will have little trouble getting the two sides to a durable final status agreement.

“Countless world leaders, diplomats, kings, and businessmen have tried to broker a compromise between these two peoples and their seemingly intractable positions,” CNN President Jeffrey Zucker said in a statement. “But one thing has never been tried, and that is having an angry teenager pout at both nations’ leaders until a peace deal is signed, and we are pretty sure that is what has been missing.”

Already, Thunberg has come out swinging at both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Mr. Netanyahu keeps building illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territory on what will one day be a Palestinian state. How dare you?” Thunberg declared. “And Mr. Abbas, you say you want peace but refuse to negotiate without preconditions. You have stolen my future and ripped apart my childhood with your empty words!”
#COVID1948 trends as users compare coronavirus to Palestinian exodus
A new hashtag on Twitter gained popularity Thursday that appears to liken the coronavirus to the large-scale immigration of Jews to Mandate Palestine, prior to the onset of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence and the subsequent Palestinian exodus.

#Covid1948, an alleged reference to both the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the events of 1948 in Mandatory Palestine, seems to imply that the in-gathering and return of Jews to the region was akin to the spread of a virus for Palestinians in the area, with many Twitter users sharing a a highly-criticized map revealing a shrinking "Palestine" from 1947 to today.

The map has been criticized by academic experts as misleading by ignoring historical context, including that Britain ruled over Mandatory Palestine from 1917 to 1948, debates on the causes of the Palestinian exodus and territorial changes due to multiple wars between Israel and its neighbors.

Other Twitter users also shared pictures of Gaza following IDF Operation Protective Edge in 2014, in addition to memes, cartoons and drawings that show both anti-Zionist and antisemitic themes and caricatures.
AP Obscures Gaza Withdrawal
The Associated Press yesterday concealed from readers that Israel has fully withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, giving uninformed readers the false impression that Israel remains in control of the coastal territory. In the May 13 article, “Despite virus, Pompeo talks West Bank annexation in Israel,” Ilan Ben-Zion wrote:
Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians seek these territories as part of a future independent state. In the decades since, Israel has built settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that now house nearly 700,000 Israelis. Most of the international community considers these settlements a violation of international law and obstacles to peace.

Nowhere does the passage note that Israel completely withdrew every last soldier and civilian from the Gaza Strip in 2005, a fact quite relevant to aspirations of a independent Palestinian state.

Uninformed readers would have no way of knowing that Israel currently has no presence in the coastal territory (aside, of course, from the two mentally-ill civilians being held captive in a violation of international law, along with the bodies of two Israeli soldiers). Indeed, the language “Palestinians seek these territories” wrongly indicates that the Palestinians currently do not have the Gaza Strip, which is in fact ruled by the Palestinian Hamas organization, a designated terror group.

Separately, the same article opens by stating as fact that Israeli army fire killed a Palestinian teen yesterday in the West Bank, though the army has yet to confirm the Palestinian claim.

Paris prosecutors say murder of Holocaust survivor was anti-Semitic
Two men who allegedly killed and robbed a Holocaust survivor in her Paris apartment will stand trial for murder that was aggravated by anti-Semitic hatred, Paris prosecutors said.

The charred body of Mireille Knoll, 85, was discovered in her apartment on March 23, 2018.

Yacine Mihoub, 28, a son of Knol’s neighbor who had known her all his life, and his friend Alex Carrimbacus, 22, were indicted Thursday. Carrimbacus has a history of psychiatric problems.

Carrimbacus had said during questioning that he and Mihoub targeted Knoll for robbery because she was Jewish, a claim denied by Mihoub. Both men have pleaded not guilty, AFP reported.

Sammy Ghozlan, the head of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism, said his group was “satisfied” with the indictment.

Ghozlan was among many critics of a 2019 court ruling that found the killer of another Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, unfit to stand trial.

The suspected killer, Kobili Traore, was a Muslim who shouted about Allah and called Halimi, his neighbor, a “demon” as he pummeled her to death in her apartment in 2017. Halimi’s daughter said that in 2015, Traore had called the daughter “dirty Jewess” in the building’s elevator.

A judge accepted the prosecution’s position that anti-Semitism motivated Traore to kill Halimi, but found him unfit to stand trial, citing a “psychotic episode” shortly before the incident that was deemed to be caused by smoking too much marijuana. The decision was upheld on appeal.
“Zionist police state 2020” graffiti found in at least two locations in Hackney
Police are investigating after the words “Zionist police state 2020” were found graffitied in at least two locations in Hackney in North London.

The antisemitic vandalism – either an allusion to the racist meme that ‘Zionists’ have outsized power or an association of Zionism with the emergency draconian rules in place during the pandemic – was sighted on a boat called ‘Shalom’ (meaning ‘hello’, or ‘peace’) on the River Lea and on a local map.

The graffiti was noticed by a journalist, Sophie Wilkinson, who said: “Seeing ‘Zionist’ as a pejorative term truly upset me. As a Jew, I am under as much ‘state control’ as the next person, and to suggest Jews gain from this crisis is not only absurd but is part of seemingly never-ending racist conspiracy theories against us. That the Hebrew word for ‘peace’ has been interpreted as a threat to this vandal speaks volumes to their lazy presumptions about Jews and power.”

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.
Gap Fibs About the Reason It Took Down ‘Camp Shirt’ that Looked Like, Well, Camp Shirt
Are the folk over at the Gap catalog clueless about the events of 1939-1945?

Pitt Griffin was among many Twitter cowboys who spotted the new gray and white short-sleeved shirt on the store’s website that so resembled the death camp inmate uniforms.

Griffin announced: “The GAP has offered for sale a striped shirt that many have pointed out has distinct similarities to the shirt issued to concentration camp prisoners. And just to frost the stupidity they called it a ‘camp shirt.'”

Yes, they really did. The product’s name, I kid you not, is Camp Shirt in Poplin. In Hebrew, the name for Poland is Polin, so those of us who scanned the title quickly really did do a double take.

We looked it up, and Poplin is a fine but thick wool, cotton or silk fabric with a horizontal warp and a vertical weft made with twice the yarns.

So we can be certain the historic camp shirts probably weren’t poplin.

OK, so far the above is just a glitch that could happen to any corporate giant that hires copywriters who aren’t so strong in knowledge of 20th century atrocities. Indeed, the NY Post reminded us that in 2014, the clothing chain Zara apologized for its striped shirt that had a yellow Star of David emblazoned on the chest; and in 2007, Zara apologized for selling a handbag adorned by embroidered swastikas. If you say you’re sorry, you can probably get away with it.
An American Rabbi Enters Buchenwald
On April 11, 1945, U.S. Army chaplain Herschel Schacter was on the outskirts of Weimar, Germany, when he was told, "We just got word that our troops penetrated a place called Buchenwald. It's some kind of concentration camp." Schacter and his assistant, Pvt. Hyman Schulman, drove five miles to the site.

As he stepped through the front gate, his eye "caught a glimpse of a tall chimney with billowing smoke still curling upward." It was Buchenwald's crematorium. Schacter later recalled, "There I stood, face to face with piles of dead bodies strewn around, waiting to be shoveled into the furnace that was still hot."

A GI led the rabbi to a nearby prisoner barracks. "A foul odor hit me as I entered. I saw a series of shelves, hard cold planks of wood from floor to ceiling. There were hundreds of men and a few boys lying on stinking straw sacks, looking out at me from dazed and bewildered eyes, skin and bones, more dead than alive....Impulsively, instinctively, I shouted in Yiddish, 'Sholom aleichem Yidden, ihr zeit frei - Greetings, Jews, you are free!'"

Some 21,000 Jews remained alive in Buchenwald on its day of liberation. Prisoner Moshe Avital later recalled, "We crowded around him [Rabbi Schacter] and hugged and kissed him. And some asked him, 'Why did you take so long to come?'" At one point, Schacter found himself "paralyzed in front of a mound of corpses." He noticed a small movement from among the bodies and stepped closer. The eyes of a young boy stared out at him. The 8-year-old boy, known as "Lulek," was Israel Meir Lau, who grew up to become the chief rabbi of Israel.

With the permission of his superiors, Schacter returned to Buchenwald every day for the next 2 1/2 months, nursing the survivors back to life and serving as their liaison to the military authorities.
A Jewish School’s Muslim Students
King David Primary School is, in some ways, a typical Jewish school. Students learn Hebrew and recite Jewish prayers every morning. They celebrate Jewish festivals, sing Jewish songs, and eat meals cooked in a kosher kitchen. What makes it unique is that about 75% of the students are Muslim.

King David is located in Birmingham, Britain’s second-largest city, and has approximately 250 students aged 3 to 11, the age that virtually all U.K. schoolchildren move on to secondary school. It’s the only Jewish school for at least 100 miles, in a city that’s home to only 2,000 Jews, a significant fraction of whom do not practice.

Despite its small numbers today, Birmingham has one of the oldest Jewish communities in the U.K., present in the city since the early 1700s. In this period, Birmingham was an attractive destination for European Jews fleeing persecution on the continent; the church had comparatively little sway here, making it popular with nonconformists of all creeds. More Jews came to Britain during the 1800s, and Birmingham’s community continued to grow—albeit not as quickly as communities in the north and south, swelled by migrants attempting to reach America via Liverpool or London only to run out of money before they could get there.

But that didn’t stop a vibrant community from developing. The Hebrew National School opened in 1843, 37 years before primary school education became compulsory. It continued to grow alongside a Jewish community thriving by the 1930s. A wealth of Jewish clubs and events were dotted across the city, including an arts society, drama clubs, and a Jewish Lads’ Brigade, as well as several synagogues.

Just two decades later, it was clear there would be challenges ahead. An extract from the 1952 Birmingham Jewish Recorder describes an “image of a community emerging so widely scattered geographically, and so diversified in its group associations, that it is scarcely possible to see the wood from the trees.”

The next 10 years saw the Jewish population in the city decline from an estimated 10,000 to around 6,000, and the Hebrew National School, which moved sites in 1965, was renamed King David Primary School. The next 20 years saw the city’s Jewish population decline further, to just 3,000. “A lot of people made aliyah … that’s been a steady thing over the years,” explained Mark Gee, who owned the last kosher butcher shop in Birmingham, which closed in 2013. “And children go off to university and don’t come back to Birmingham.” But the city is not an anomaly. “We used to deliver to Jewish shops in Nottingham, Leicester, Cardiff, and Oxford,” said Gee. “All of these places used to have kosher butchers. Birmingham has lasted a lot longer than other communities outside of London and Manchester.”

As the city’s Jewish community shrank over the next 30 years, other religious groups saw their numbers increase, none more so than Birmingham’s Islamic community. According to the most recent census data, by 2011, 1 in 5 Birmingham residents identified as Muslim—around half of whom were born overseas. Most of Birmingham’s Islamic community is of Pakistani or Bangladeshi descent, but Muslims from a variety of different countries in Africa and the Middle East—including Yemen, Iran, and Somalia—also call Birmingham home.
100-year-old Jewish war hero first centenarian to make UK billionaire list
A British-Jewish businessman and war hero is the first centenarian to appear in the Sunday Times Rich List of the richest individuals in the United Kingdom.

Tony Murray escaped Nazi-occupied France during World War II, joining Polish forces that headed to the United Kingdom.

Serving in the Royal Air Force as a navigator, Murray, who was born Gaston Jacques Kalifa in Paris in 1920, flew dozens of missions in North Africa, according to an article about him Monday in the Jewish Chronicle.

Murray returned to France after World War II, during which his father was murdered at Auschwitz. He took control of the family’s construction firm, accumulating an estimated wealth of $2.8 billion. Later he moved back to the United Kingdom.

His family businesses include London Security, a fire extinguisher firm, and Andrew Sykes Group, a heating giant.

Murray, who has been on the list for many consecutive years, is the oldest person on the list since 2014. But he is not high up on the list of 1,000 wealthy Britons.
Teenager uses coronavirus lockdown to develop app for diabetics
While most of the country's youth are confined to their homes because of the coronavirus outbreak, an Israeli teen took the extra free time on his hands to develop an app helping dieting youngsters or those fighting conditions, such as diabetes or celiac, to monitor their daily calorie intake.

Thirteen-year-old Ido Kalman from Herzliya has recently launched an app called "Pahme-Kama", which roughly translates to "how many calories."

Users can simply type the kind of food they wish to eat and the app will provide them with information about its nutritional value.

"I have been dealing with diabetes for years," said Kalman. "I never knew exactly how many calories there were in what I ate. Now, if I want to grab some fruit and cannot remember how many calories there are in it, the app provides me with that information on the spot."

The teenager said that the prolonged shelter-in-place orders, which left schools nationwide shuttered, have given him much free time to work on his app.

"My schedule is more flexible now that I don't have to spend six to seven hours a day at school, and I can focus on developing the app," said Kalman. The youngster said that he spends most of his time watching television with his family.
A Celebration of Israel's 72nd Independence Day | #Israel72

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