Monday, May 18, 2020

From Ian:

The Unlearned ‘Nakba’ Lesson About Compromise
The war that would decide the fate of the country began the morning after the UN’s adoption of the partition resolution. Local Arabs, as well as others who came from surrounding countries, began a campaign of terrorism, attacking isolated Jewish communities and besieging Jewish Jerusalem. Their goal was to drive out the Jews, hoping that once the armies of five neighboring countries invaded the country on May 15, 1948, they would do just that.

Of course, that’s not the way things worked out, and the embattled Jewish state won this fight for its life. And far from celebrating the demise of the Jews, approximately 700,000 Arabs fled their homes, either because they feared what would happen to them under Jewish rule or in a few cases because they were driven out.

Rather than being resettled in the surrounding Arab nations or elsewhere in the Muslim world, they were kept in place in refugee camps. The United Nations created a refugee agency to deal with them — UNRWA — distinct from the single agency that helped the many millions of other homeless peoples throughout the world so as to aid the effort to use them as a weapon against Israel’s legitimacy. Meanwhile, approximately 800,000 Jews fled or were forced to flee their homes in the Arab world and found new lives in Israel or the West.

The Palestinian Arabs could have compromised and gotten a state. But they refused to accept anything less than their maximal demands, and as the years went by, their options in terms of territory and support from the rest of the Arab world dwindled. Not even after Israel repeatedly offered the Palestinian Authority a state would they agree to end their century-old war.

At any point in this narrative, the Palestinians could have accepted one of the deals offered them. If so, there wouldn’t be any Jewish communities in the territories for Israel to seek to annex.

But even now, with their cause largely abandoned by much of the Arab world, they refused to negotiate with the administration of President Donald Trump over its “Peace to Prosperity” proposal that would also give them a state, albeit not as large a one as they could have gotten in 2000 or 2008, let alone 1948. And the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority this week published a front-page article again vowing Israel’s destruction as a religious imperative.

The lesson of the nakba is not one of the world’s indifference, Israel’s alleged sins or even the suffering of the Palestinians. It is, instead, the folly of maximalism, in which by seeking everything, they consistently wind up with nothing. What will happen this year with the settlements is just more proof of the fact that if all you care about is preserving a victim status, the price of intransigence will continue to rise.
Nakbacide - the failed genocidal war against the Jews
Imagine if every year on the 7th of May, Germans held an annual commemoration of the defeat of the Nazi state, complete with Swastikas, anti-Semitic chants and slogans, and claims that the Volksdeutsche expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were the real victims.

That's the spectacle that takes place every May as Muslims in Israel chant and riot to protest their unsuccessful genocide of the indigenous Jewish minority.

And the media sympathetically covers this repulsive spectacle of historical obliviousness, of a regional majority responsible for multiple genocides, dressing up as the victims because their invasion of Israel ended in a stalemate, rather than the intended genocidal purge of the Jews.

The revisionist Muslim history of Israel ethnically cleanses the thousands of years of history of the original Jewish inhabitants and a thousand years of persecution under Muslim rule.

It leaves out the massacres and atrocities carried out by the Muslim invaders against the Jewish inhabitants in the 20th century, including the Hebron Massacre, and the Nazi collaboration of their leader, the Mufti of Jerusalem. Instead it begins and ends with Deir Yassin and angry old women holding up oversized housekeys while reminiscing about the good times they had massacring Jews.

There are about as many Jewish refugees from the Muslim world, as there are Muslim refugees from Israel. The difference is that the Jewish refugees were a minority fleeing the violence of a brutal majority, while the Muslim refugees were a regional majority making a strategic withdrawal in response to calls from the leaders of invading Arab countries to pull out so they could kill the Jews.

"We will smash the country with our guns and obliterate every place the Jews seek shelter in. The Arabs should conduct their wives and children to safe areas until the fighting has died down," Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Said had promised

There's your Nakba. Go wave your fake giant housekeys in Baghdad.
Moderna’s Israeli top medical officer: We’ve shown today that our vaccine works
The Israeli chief medical officer of US biotech firm Moderna said Monday that its experimental anti-COVID-19 vaccine “actually works,” after tests on a small number volunteers, and that it will start Phase 3 testing on thousands of people in July.

“We got the first results today… and today we are showing that it actually works… we are able to stimulate the immune system,” Dr. Tal Zaks said.

In an interview with Israeli television, Zaks said he was confident that, toward the end of the year, “we’ll be able to present first results that prove that our vaccine indeed prevents the disease.”

“By about the end of the year, the start of next year, there’s a reasonable likelihood that we’ll see this vaccine on the market, at least on the American market,” he said in the Channel 12 interview from Moderna’s headquarters in Massachusetts.

Zaks said the battle against COVID-19 marked the firm’s ninth bid to develop vaccines against viruses, “and we succeeded with the previous eight.” Thus, he said, “the degree of confidence within the company was always high” that it would succeed this time, too.

News of the company’s progress, revealed in a release earlier Monday, lifted shares of Moderna more than 22 percent, and helped drive the broader stock market higher.

The company said the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, appeared to produce an immune response in eight people who received it, similar to that seen in people convalescing from the virus.

Virus cases continue to fall, but small increase in patients on ventilators
The Health Ministry said no new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed on Monday morning as of 11 a.m., though there were four new cases during the night, bringing the total number of infections to 16,621, an increase of 14 cases since Sunday morning.

However, only 905 tests were performed as of 11 a.m., fewer than half of the number administered over the same period on most other days. Israel has the lab capacity to test up to 15,000 people for coronavirus daily but demand has gone down as fewer suspected cases show up to have swabs taken, the Health Ministry said last month.

No new deaths were reported Sunday night or Monday morning, keeping the death toll steady at 272.

However, the number of people on ventilators increased from 44 on Sunday night to 47 on Monday morning.

Of the 3,335 people who still have the virus, 57 are in serious condition, an increase of two since Sunday evening, and 39 are in moderate condition, with the rest showing only mild symptoms. So far, 13,014 people have recovered from the virus.

The number of new infections has slowed dramatically in recent weeks and the government has increasingly rolled back restrictions meant to curb the outbreak, aiming to fully reopen schools this week after two months of closure.

However, since Friday, three staff members at schools in the central cities of Rehovot and Tel Aviv have been diagnosed with the virus, sending dozens of teachers and students into quarantine.
Israel backs international push for independent probe of COVID-19’s origin
Israel will back a push for an independent evaluation of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including an inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

The motion, which has been condemned by China as an attempt to scapegoat it, has the support of more than half of the member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) and will be discussed this week at the decision-making body of the UN health agency, which is being held virtually this year.

The European Union has drafted the resolution, cosponsored by dozens of countries. It has been gaining support and is expected to be approved in a vote at the World Health Assembly.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson told The Times of Israel on Monday that Israel will be among the countries supporting the motion.

The resolution calls on WHO’s director general to continue efforts to “identify the zoonotic source of the virus and the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts,” in order to curb its spread and “to reduce the risk of similar events.”

The proposal is also intended to initiate “a stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” with the purpose being “to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19.”

The probe would include an evaluation of the functioning of international health laws and WHO’s actions within the greater UN health system, and would aim “to improve global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response capacity, including through strengthening… WHO’s Health Emergencies Program.”

Australia has been seen as a leader in rallying global support for the inquiry, attracting Chinese criticism that it is parroting the United States and inviting a Chinese boycott of exports and services.
Israeli scientists develop long-lasting 'smart' coronavirus disinfectant
Researchers from Technion's Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering have developed "smart disinfectants" specially formulated to destroy the coronavirus infection that remain chemically active over an extended period of time.

The research team, headed by Asst. Prof. Shady Farah, was awarded a European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health COVID-19 Rapid Response grant in order to accelerate the disinfectants into market in the shortest span of time.

“We are currently producing potential substances and testing them. We plan to select the optimal substance and begin mass production in the next few months,” Farah said.

Considering to date there are no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, effective disinfectants are deemed crucial for stymieing the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a study published in The Journal of Hospital Infection, coronavirus may be able to survive on surfaces for as long as nine days, potentially increasing the risk of spread if not treated with disinfectant agents. Technion points to evidence stemming from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked off the coast of the Japan early on in the pandemic, in which medical officials revealed that the coronavirus can survive on inanimate surfaces for over 17 days. Conflicting results, as initial studies on the novel coronavirus have been prone to produce, for various reasons.
Tel Aviv to convert 11 city center streets into pedestrian zones
The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality will convert 11 popular streets into pedestrian zones shut to vehicles in the coming weeks, seeking to encourage local trade and make the city more pedestrian-friendly.

During the next month, segments of Ashtori Hafarhi Street, Nahalat Binyamin, HaArba’a Street, Florentin Street, HaAliya HaShniya Street, Daniel Street, Aluf Batslut Street, Najara Street, Simtat Beit HaBad (evening and overnight only), Yossi Ben Yossi Street and Sgula Street (in Jaffa) will be converted into pedestrian areas.

Chairs and street furniture will be rolled out on some of the newly-pedestrianized streets, which will join the municipality’s existing car-free zones on Sheinkin Street which will be shut to vehicles for extended hours on Fridays, and on Levinsky Street, which will soon be restricted to pedestrians and cyclists at all times.

“Creating pedestrian zones in the city is part of an overall outlook placing pedestrians, personal transportation vehicles and public transportation at the center,” said Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai.

“In the past year, we have converted Levinsky Street into a pedestrian zone and shut Sheinkin Street to traffic on Fridays, and the public has voted with their feet – in both senses of the phrase.”
70% of coronavirus cases in Israel started in the US - new study
More than 70% of coronavirus ppatients in Israel were infected by a strain that originated in the United States, according to a new study published Monday by Tel Aviv University.

“Those who returned from the US created transmission chains,” Dr. Adi Stern of the School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology at TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, told The Jerusalem Post.

Flights from Europe and other parts of the world began to be halted between February 26 and March 4 – but not from the US. Only beginning on March 9 did Israel block its borders to Americans and require any Israeli travelers entering the country from the US to complete 14 days of quarantine.

“There was this gap in policy, and this gap allowed people to return from the US who thought that they could go wherever they wanted, so they probably spread the virus that way,” Stern said.

The Health Ministry began considering adding American states to the list of places from which travelers were required to quarantine as early as March 5, but it was only after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a conference call with US Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday, May 8 that he decided to close the country’s borders to all countries, including the US.

“We take action as we understand it to be necessary,” the prime minister confirmed at the time, “and everyone accepts it – obviously the United States, too.”

The remaining nearly 30% of infections in Israel were imported from Europe and elsewhere: Belgium (8%), France (6%), England (5%), Spain (3%), and 2% each from Italy, the Philippines, Australia and Russia.
New York may allow limited religious services by Shavuot, says Cuomo
Jews in New York State may be able to gather legally for small-scale religious services during the next holiday, Shavuot.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his daily coronavirus briefing Sunday that his office planned to release guidance early this week about what New Yorkers can do over Memorial Day weekend and beyond.

Shavuot, which is traditionally celebrated with all-night study, begins three days later on May 28.

“Can we find a way to do a ceremony — a religious ceremony, or a ceremony that honors Memorial Day? I think we can,” Cuomo said, responding to a question specifically about observance outside of New York City.

He said services would be limited in size and would require social distancing to be practiced.

Religious services have been barred since mid-March, when Cuomo issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings of any size in a bid to slow the coronavirus’ spread. Recently, as the number of new cases have slowed, rabbis on Long Island have been openly sparring over whether to permit in-person prayer services.
One Professor’s Anti-Israel Fantasy
Of the laceration of Israel there is no end. The most recent contributor to this favored pastime is Noura Erakat, a Rutgers University professor and human rights attorney. Her impeccable left-wing credentials include legal advocacy for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Her new book, Justice For Some, is an attempt to implant her political bias within a scholarly framework of Israeli “colonial domination” based on “racial and ethnic discrimination” as the Jewish state becomes “a de jure apartheid regime.” Why go any further with a diatribe that embraces every current cliché about a malevolent Jewish state? Because it exposes, if inadvertently, the politicized distortions about Israel that currently pass for academic scholarship.

Erakat’s rendition of history begins after World War I with “the settler-colonial framework” that reveals “the colonial nature of the Palestinian struggle.” There had been no mention of a distinctive “Palestinian” identity or community in the Balfour Declaration, which “justified the juridical erasure of a Palestinian community” — a community that did not yet exist. “British policy,” she writes, “demanded that Palestinians not exist as a people in order to pave the way for British colonial ambitions in the Middle East.”

But her narrative includes the contradictory (and erroneous) claim that Palestine nationalism emerged following World War I — unless “following” means decades later. As she recognizes, the earliest expressions of Palestinian nationalism “reflected a broad Arab nationalist consciousness,” expressed “in the form of a Greater Syria.”

For Professor Erakat, the transformation of “Palestine” into Israel in 1948 illustrated “international law’s utility in advancing settler-colonial ambitions.” To fulfill its national aspirations, Israel would embrace “the legal fiction of Palestinian nonexistence.” Yet she ignores the reality of “Palestinian nonexistence” in national terms until two decades later, following the Six-Day War, when Israel regained the Biblical land known as Judea and Samaria. Only then, she concedes, did a distinctive “Palestinian” people begin to emerge, claiming the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean as its own.

U. of Florida Pro-Palestine Club Posts Antisemitic Messages to Social Media
The University of Florida’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine posted several antisemitic messages on Instagram this week. The group previously came under fire after they were accused of hurling antisemitic remarks at a campus guest lecturer from the Israeli Defense Force.

The Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Florida came under fire this week for a post on Instagram that accused “Zionist forces” of engaging in an “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians between 1947 and 1949.

“Rooted in 19th century Zionist thought that called for the est. of a Jewish state on indigenous Palestinian land. Passed in Nov. 1947, UN Resolution 181 divided land between Palestinians and Jews. In March 1948, the Plan Dalet military strategy enforced by Israeli Parliamentary force that called for the “destruction of villages,'” the Instagram post from Friday reads.

Student protesters from the Students for Justice in Palestine reported hurled anti-semitic remarks at guest lecturer Yoni Michanie, an Israeli Defense Force reserve member during an event in November. The protesters reported called Michanie a “Nazi” and a “war criminal” during the event. Michanie shared a video from the event on Twitter in November.

“I’m extremely disappointed that they were not willing or able to challenge their preconceived notions by sitting in on a 45-minute discussion with someone they may or may not disagree with,” Michanie said in November. “If we cannot do that on college campuses, where can we do it?”

Honest Reporting: NYT ‘Crusades’ Against Ramadan on Temple Mount
We’d like to assume the New York Times editors who came up with a headline for a dispatch describing Ramadan in Jerusalem were referring to the Crusades as a time frame, and not comparing Israel to the Crusaders.

Jews tend to be sensitive to even a whiff of comparison between the two.

The Crusades were a religious war between Christians and Muslims. Each hated the other. And Jews, being everybody’s “other” were despised even more.

How exactly does this headline pick at the festering scars of traumas old and new?

The word crusade comes from the French word, croisade (literally, way of the cross), referring to a holy war. Thousands of European Jews in places like Speyer, Mainz, Worms and Cologne were massacred by Christian mobs en route to the Holy Land. In 1099, following a weeks-long siege, the Jews of Jerusalem were massacred by the Crusader knights and the survivors sold into slavery.

The equivalent term in Arabic is the better known word, jihad. In our time, an unimaginable amount of Jewish blood has been shed by radical Islam in the name of jihad.

The New York Times dispatch is otherwise well-written, making clear that the Temple Mount was closed by the Islamic Wakf for reasons of public health, not because of the tyranny of Israeli bureaucracy. Mosque director Omar Kiswane is quoted saying he doesn’t begrudge 300 Jews worshiping at the Western Wall under looser restrictions even as Muslims pray at home because otherwise, “we risk infecting our whole society.”
The New York Times, Jesus and Palestine
After twice in the past having corrected articles which erroneously associated Jesus and Palestine, The New York Times once again peddles this ahistorical falsehood. In an article about a novel featuring Jesus’ fictional wife, The Times’ Elisabeth Egan writes of “The Book of Longing” author Sue Monk Kidd:
For the first 14 months, Kidd did an exhaustive amount of research, a process she describes as “both tedious and wondrous.” She watched documentaries and immersed herself in books on Jesus and Palestine. (“Did Jesus Ever Tie the Knot? A New Novel Considers the Question“)

According to the website of Penguin Random House, which published Kidd’s book:
Though a work of fiction, this novel is grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life.

In her own words, Kidd tells her Penguin Random House interviewer:
Researching a world that existed two thousand years ago was both overwhelming and exhilarating. For over a year, I filled notebook after notebook with research notes. I created storyboards, watched documentaries and videotaped lectures, and gathered and read a tiny library of books on a multitude of topics: the historical Jesus; ancient Jewish betrothal and marriage; the religious, cultural, political, and geographical background of first-century Palestine; scriptural commentary; biblical figures; biblical archeology; Egypt, the Roman Empire; and so on.

But for all her research, lost is the fact that during the time of Jesus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem were in what was commonly called Judea and Nazareth was in what was commonly called the Galilee. The land where Jesus lived did not take on the name Palestine until the second century, well after his death. Thus, the notion of “first-century Palestine,” as Kidd puts it, is totally fictional, despite her declared deep research on what she calls “historical Jesus.”

One only has to flip open the Christian bible to see references to Judea and Galilee. For example, in Luke 1:5, Herod (the Great) is “King of Judea.” In Luke 2:4, “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.” In Luke 3:1, Pontius Pilate, “governor of Judea.” Not once in her lengthy interview with her publisher, though, does Kidd refer to Judea.
Contradicting Its Own Archives, New York Times Cites Expulsion of Haifa’s Arabs
Just over a year after The New York Times completely fabricated the history of the 1948 exodus of many of Jaffa’s Arabs, falsely claiming “most” “were forcibly removed,” the Gray Lady turns its inventive sights to another large city whose Arab residents evacuated due to the actions of their own leadership: Haifa. Thus, in a feature about Israeli painter Naomi Safron-Hon, whose textured works focus on abandoned homes, Seph Rodney wrote for The Times:
The images document where [Safron-Hon] grew up: Haifa, a coastal town on the Mediterranean in Israel where Palestinian and Arab citizens of the town were forced to leave or escaped during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. (“Paintings that Demolish the Myths of What a Home Should Be“)

Safron-Hon, a conscientious objector who refused to join the Israeli army (“I wanted to leave; I didn’t like Israel, I didn’t like the politics there; I felt the oppression, the conflict,” is someone who has given a lot of thought to the question of myths versus truth.

In terms of the painting, there’s a sense of an illusion. I’m interested in the myth. The creation of a world within a canvas. I take photographs from this neighborhood in Haifa and bring it back to my studio in Brooklyn and I destroy the photograph in the process of making my paintings. I mix this idea of what is the truth with cement and lace, so if I’m using the real material in the painting, then what is the truth? Where is the fiction?

Where I come from, there’s so much myth building. In building a nation, you have to create a sense of mythology. How do we manipulate the story in order to create an ideology? And I think the paintings try to question the viewer, what do you see as real?

While art by nature allows for subjective experience of myth versus reality, experimenting and blurring the two realms, journalism does not. Thus, The New York Times is not free to report in 2020 that “Arab citizens of [Haifa] were forced to leave or escaped during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War” if the historical record, including The Times’ own reports from that period, proves otherwise. (“Escaped,” of course, signals danger for those who stayed behind. While Haifa was the site of intense battle including bombings from both sides, and such violence naturally poses dangers to civilians on both sides, there was no danger uniquely targeting Arab residents forcing them to leave or escape.)

Indeed, an extensive review of New York Times coverage from that period turns up no indication of forced expulsion of Haifa’s Arabs, no Jewish effort to drive them out. Indeed, according to The Times reports, it was the Arab leadership which opted for the evacuation of the Arab residents of the northern city when the Haganah gained control of the city.
British Comedian Prompts Outrage for Mocking Last Name of Parliament Member of Jewish Heritage
A British comedian and columnist came under fire on Sunday after viciously mocking the last name of a member of parliament of Jewish descent in a column for The Guardian.

Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative MP and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, was skewered along with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the column written by comedian Stewart Lee.

At one point, Lee wrote, “Many names — Fisher, Cook, Smith — derive from ancient trades. But ‘Tugendhat’ is just different words put together, like Waspcupfinger, or Appendixhospitalwool, or Abortionmaqaquesymptom.”

Sajid Javid, the former Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, called the column racist, and compared it to a caricature of the Secretary of State for the Home Department that also appeared in The Guardian.

“@guardian published a racist cartoon of Priti Patel a couple of months ago, and now this. Asians, Jews….. who’s next?” he tweeted.

Dave Rich, head of policy at the Community Security Trust and a scholar of antisemitism, wrote, “Even if Stewart Lee doesn’t know this history and doesn’t know Tom Tugendhat’s Jewish ancestry — making fun of people for having foreign-sounding names is playground-level racism. It’s pathetic.”
Senior Indy editor accuses Jewish establishment of 'perpetuating rape culture'
Brown paints the entire Jewish establishment as perpetuating rape culture, based entirely on two incidents by two Jewish individuals – neither of which, by the way, have any merit. Pollard’s piece doesn’t even minimally try to minimize the seriousness of rape, but merely gives a positive review of Woody Allen’s autobiography whilst also noting the evidence undermining charges by Mia Farrow that the filmmaker raped her daughter.

The other example involves Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to the Reform Movement, who has been criticised for using her position to defend her late father, who was accused of rape.

Criticism of Janner-Klausner may or may not have merit, but the assertion that the actions of her and Pollard represent evidence that the Jewish establishment is “perpetuating rape culture” is preposterous. Brown’s charge is baseless, and maligns not only mainstream Jewish institutions as guilty of providing succor for the horror of sexual violence, but, arguably – especially in the minds of anti-Semites – the broader Jewish community as well.
Hey Indy! 2018 called, and they want their biased 'Nakba' article back
One of the first errors we noticed when reviewing a recent Independent article (“Nakba Day: What is the annual ‘Day of Catastrophe’ observed by Palestinians?”, May 15) was that the journalist seemed to think it was 2018, not 2020.

He also erred on the year of Israel’s anniversary. Israel was of course created 72 years ago, not 70.

We found that strange, so we did some searching and, lo and behold, we discovered that the article was – save for a few new sentences to note the impact of coronavirus on Nakba commemorations this year – a copy and paste from an Indy article published by the same journalist two years ago.

We tweeted this to the Indy journalist, Joe Sommerlad.

Even stranger is the fact that the original 2018 article disappeared. We were only able to find a cached version via the WayBack Machine.
BBC Arabic continues to showcase hateful social media comments
In an article about that Egyptian TV series published on the BBC Arabic website on April 27th, the writer chose to embed the following two Twitter comments:
“First day that I started watching An-Nehaya and for me it was very intelligible and good. What caught much of my attention, though, was that it has the Jerusalem Liberation War and the collapse of the Zionist entity, and that the Arab States will live together in the Levant. Here and now we say, Kudos Yousuf Al-Sharif ” (SHANDA_KH “Unicorn”, Egypt)

“#An_Nehaya is a series of global impact, we woke up and came across Israel as it objects the series’ events when it deals with the termination of the usurper entity after 100 years. One silent message from Yousuf Al-Sharif that all the governments fell short of [uttering]. I applaud you with all my heart, Yousuf” (Mohamaed Kareem, Egypt)

BBC Arabic chose to amplify both those Tweets despite their hateful nature and their promotion of the view that demise of the “Zionist entity” by the means of a war initiated by its Arab neighbours and the mass displacement of a sovereign people is a key part of a brighter future for the Arab world.

A similar approach was taken by BBC Arabic in relation to comments concerning another Ramadan series – “Um Haroun”, starring Kuwaiti actress Hayat al-Fahd. The series, which was filmed in Bahrain and the UAE and is currently being broadcast by Saudi MBC network, stirred a debate over its positive portrayal of a fictional Jewish community living in one of the Gulf States in the 1940s.

Even prior to the broadcast of the first episode, BBC Arabic had already amplified several bigoted social media comments relating to the show’s promotional video. The comments criticised “Um Haroun” because it features historical Jewish characters as a religious minority encountering hardships. The comments were aired on the network’s social-media-themed programme “BBC Trending”, hosted by Rania Alattar on April 14th:
Wall Street Journal Corrects on ‘Palestinian Territory’
Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 from the Kingdom of Jordan, which had occupied the territory since its 1948-49 war with Israel. Prior to 1948, the West Bank, like Israel, was administered by the United Kingdom.

In the 1990s, when Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo peace agreements, the sides agreed that the status of the West Bank would be decided in negotiations between the sides, and today its rightful and ultimate disposition remains under contention.

Thus, the West Bank areas under discussion are disputed and their ultimate disposition has yet to be decided. They are not “Palestinian territory” as numerous other leading publications have acknowledged. The New York Times recently corrected the error, as have The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post in the past.

In response to communication from CAMERA, editors commendably published the following correction in yesterday’s print edition:
A Trump administration Israeli-Palestinian peace plan would allow Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. In some editions Thursday, a caption with a Page One photo incorrectly referred to those parts of the West Bank as Palestinian territory. Under the Olso accords, sovereignty over the West Bank is disputed, pending a final peace settlement.
Two suspects arrested over antisemitic graffiti in Hampstead and Belsize Park
Two individuals have reportedly been arrested in connection with antisemitic graffiti that appeared in December 2019 in Hampstead and Belsize Park.

South Hampstead Synagogue and at least twelve other locations were targeted with graffiti commonly used by conspiracy theorists to suggest that the Jews were secretly behind the 9/11 terrorist atrocities.

The graffiti was discovered in the evening of 28th December 2019 and the following morning, and was reported to the Metropolitan Police at around 11:30pm on 28th December. On 14th May 2020 the police arrested a 26-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman on suspicion of a racially motivated hate crime.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “Police investigating a racially motivated hate crime in the Hampstead area have arrested two people. They were released from custody on bail to return on a date in late May.”

A few days after the vandalism occurred, a vigil was opportunistically held by two organisations that have themselves enabled antisemitism in the past. Stand up to Racism has consistently failed to stand with the Jewish community when the community was faced with antisemitism from the far-left and has regularly platformed Jeremy Corbyn. Stand up to Racism was joined in organising the “vigil” by Unite Against Fascism, which supported the so-called “Al Quds Day” in the past, a pro-Hizballah march which has platformed antisemites including Reverend Stephen Sizer, who has claimed that an Israeli conspiracy was behind 9/11, and in February 2015 was ordered by the Church of England to stop using social media.

Nevertheless, it is now being reported that the suspects have no known ties to the far-right or neo-Nazi organisations. The Community Security Trust, which provides security at Jewish community buildings said that it had assisted in the investigation.
CAA writes to employer of star of sick viral TikTok video mocking Holocaust victims
Campaign Against Antisemitism is writing to the employer of a man who uploaded a viral video to TikTok which appears to mock Holocaust survivors.

Posted on the popular video sharing platform recently with the hashtag “#darkhumour”, the short clip by Bradley Brooker, a traffic consultant and charity football player, has gone viral, attracting tens of thousands of ‘likes’ on the platform.

In the clip, Mr Brooker acts the parts of both a Jewish taxi passenger and the taxi driver. The clip begins beneath the caption: “Jewish guy getting in my taxi”, with Mr Brooker, as the taxi driver, asking “Hey, what’s your name”. Now playing the part of the passenger, Mr Brooker mimes checking his arm tattoo, before singing, now as the taxi driver, “No I don’t want your number” from the song No scrubs by TLC.

The number appears to be a reference to the Nazi practice of tattooing inmates at the Auschwitz concentration camp with a number.

When confronted over the grotesque video by a member of the public, Mr Brooker doubled down, insisting that it was both humorous and educational.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is now writing to Mr Brooker’s employer and to the charity he represents, seeking his removal. We have also asked TikTok to remove the video.
Red Hot Chili Peppers reschedule Israel show for next year
American rock superstars Red Hot Chili Peppers have rescheduled their canceled June 10 appearance in Israel for June 23, 2021. The rock/punk/funksters will headline the Funkyard Tel Aviv Festival at Park Hayarkon.

The organizers announced Monday that all tickets sold to this year’s show will be honored.

The Chili Peppers are returning to Tel Aviv for the first time since 2012. They performed at the pyramids in Egypt last year.

Nick Cave and Morrissey are two other international stars who have announced makeup dates next year for their corona-cancelled tours this year.

Also on Monday, a makeup date was announced for American singer/songwriter LP (Laura Pergolizzi). Her scheduled June show at the Caeserea Amphitheater will take place on June 28, 2021. LP has written songs for Rihanna, the Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion.
Porsche joins forces with Israeli smart car startup to ‘feel road’ better
Tactile Mobility, a Haifa-based startup that provides smart cars with the ability to “feel the road,” is joining forces with German sports car manufacturer Porsche to equip its cars with the company’s software and have the technology tested.

The collaboration was announced on Monday as part of EcoMotion 2020, a smart mobility conference that this year will take place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the deal between Tactile Mobility and Porsche, the Israeli startup will provide the German car maker with software that will be installed in cars to make them “smarter, and more enjoyable and safer to drive,” said Amit Nisenbaum, the startup’s CEO.

The firm develops software that uses an autonomous vehicle’s built-in, non-visual sensors, analyzing input such as wheel speed, wheel angle, revolutions per minute, and gear position, to help it “feel” the vehicle-road dynamic — the intersection between the road and the vehicle and the conditions of the road beneath its tires — like human drivers do.

In 2019, Tactile announced an investment from Porsche and Union Tech Ventures, the technology investment arm of the Union Group, to help it develop its tactile virtual sensing technology.

Manuel Hoell, the general manager of Chassis SW-Development, a unit of the German car maker, said at the press conference on Monday that this kind of road-feel information is a key part of understanding how cars drive and is necessary information for smart cars to get a fuller picture of their environment. The data will be useful both for autonomous cars and for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), he said.
Israeli author's hit novel to get the Hollywood treatment
Israeli author David Grossman's bestselling novel A Horse Walks into a Bar is being made into a Hollywood film by actor-director Mark Duplass (Cyrus, Baghead) for Village Roadshow Pictures.

Grossman's 2014 novel describes a surreal stand-up performance in which an aging comic uses the performance to take a look at his life and reveal some chilling information about his past. It is told from the point of view of one of the audience members, an old acquaintance of the comic who was invited out of the blue to see him on stage.

In 2017, the book was adapted into a play for The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv. The play won a prize for the best new Israeli drama and Dror Keren, the actor who played the comic, won a prize for best actor.

Grossman won the Israel Prize for literature in 2018 and the Man Booker International Prize in 2017.

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