Wednesday, May 20, 2020

From Ian:

Israel’s Miracle — 100 Years Later
The San Remo Conference recognized, in a way unprecedented in modern times, the idea of a connection between the Land of Israel and the Jewish people, and certified it as part of the Mandate charter. This documentation contradicts later invidious claims that try to break the umbilical cord connecting the Jewish people to their historic homeland, and declare Jewish settlements in the mandated territories to be a violation of international law or even a “war crime.” Even George Orwell could not have articulated better such artfully groundless accusations.

A century after the San Remo Conference, the Middle East is in the midst of substantial changes. Examining the Allied resolutions regarding the three Mandates in the Middle East from a contemporary perspective, it seems evident that the Mandates over Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq did not bring about the expected peace and prosperity, even after a century. Only violence, poverty, and continuing violations of fundamental human rights have governed these territories for the past 100 years. The future of the nation-states in these territories is as yet unclear, given the geopolitical turmoil erupting before our very eyes in the past decade, better known as the “Arab Spring.”

However, one case was different: The Jewish people established their nation-state in the Middle East 28 years after the San Remo Conference. This month also marks the 72nd anniversary of Israeli independence. The vision depicted by the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, his French counterpart Alexandre Millerand, Italian Prime Minister Francesco Saverio Nitti, and the other delegates to the conference coincided with the two-millennia old yearning of the Jewish people for a return to their land, resulting in a state worthy of its name.

The boldest of ideas envisaged in San Remo, to establish a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, was the one that measured up to historical expectations and proved to be a success. Indeed, of all the many resolutions by the international community pertaining to the Middle East during the past century, establishing the Jewish state has been by far the most successful, corresponding exactly to the vision and the hopes of the allied leaders gathered in San Remo.

Palestinian Myths and Israeli Realities
I like to deal in truth and reality, so here are some facts: Israel has never been called “Palestine,” at least not as a national political entity. And up until 1,420 years ago, there was no significant Arab population in this land — the ancient history of this land is demonstrably Jewish, Aramaic, and Syriac.

One need only consider the many “Palestinian” towns and villages that still carry Aramaic, Hebrew, and Syrian names.

Another truth is that Islam occupied the Levant by force, and imposed its own religion and culture in an effort to erase the region’s true Judeo-Christian heritage.

They call Israel and the Jews occupiers and colonizers — but it is Muslim Arabs who conquered, occupied, and colonized this territory, and over the course of 1,400 years, gradually transformed it into Arab Islamic lands.

But no matter what your views of the past are, Israel is today a reality. And we must recognize it for what it is — a nation working to restore its historic roots in this land. We as Arabs must stop relating to Israel by way of the antisemitic saying: “The Jews are the only people who have a history, but not a nation.”
Why isn't there an UNWRA for Jewish refugees from the Arab countries?
Last Friday, the Palestinians commemorated “Nakba Day,” as they do every year to describe the “disaster” of the founding of the State of Israel, especially the birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, a result of the war instigated by the Arab states against Israel on the eve of the declaration of its independence.

According to official data of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, in the early 1950s, UNRWA took upon itself to resolve the needs of approximately 750,000 Palestinian refugees, despite this number being debatable. The UN coordinator numbered only 427,000 in Israel at the time, of which 360,000 required assistance.

Do you know the number of Jewish refugees who was expelled or escaped from Arab countries in the wake of that same Declaration of Independence? Eight hundred and fifty thousand.

I am not participating in the “Oppression Olympics” here, rather I’m pointing out the conflicting narratives. Even though in ‘48 there already existed a UN agency whose role was to protect and assist refugees (the UNHCR), a new and exclusive refugee agency was created for the Palestinians.

The reason for this was the immense pressure applied by the Arab countries on the UN, with the purpose of immortalizing the refugee crisis as part of the struggle against the State of Israel. This, is in spite of the fact that in a research report by the Institute of Palestinian Studies in Beirut, it was raised that the majority of the Arab refugees were not exiled during the war, and that approximately 68% of them left their home without so much as seeing an Israeli soldier.

The number of Palestinian refugees continued to grow with the years, and today stand at approximately 6.5 million people scattered between the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, according to UNRWA. Contrary to other refugees, in a method that is unprecedented, the status of Palestinian Refugee is passed on as an inheritance from generation to generation, and prevents any opportunity of a pragmatic agreement with them.

This, then, is the key to understanding the narrative: Israel’s enemies never intended to assist those refugees overcome their misery.
In order to fully grasp the absurdity, we must become familiar with the parallel story of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. In 1945, there lived across the Middle East approximately one million Jews in Arab countries. Only a few years later, there remained just a few thousand.

I was right, says prof who predicted pandemic would play itself out in 70 days
An Israeli professor who made waves in early April for insisting that the coronavirus will play itself out after 70 days regardless of intervention levels says that he has been proved right, and that claims the virus will return in force for a second wave are just speculation.

“It’s very amusing that people talk about a second wave,” Isaac Ben-Israel, a prominent mathematician, chairman of Israel’s Space Agency, and a former general, told The Times of Israel. “How do they know there will be a second wave? And how do they know that it will come in the winter?”

However, a public health expert disputed Ben-Israel’s claims and said he “has no clue about epidemiology and public health.”

Ben-Israel said that since he crunched figures on the pandemic some six weeks ago and publicized his theory that COVID-19 peaks after about 40 days and declines to almost zero after 70 days, he has been vindicated — and concluded that the “hysteria” he sees around him is “as contagious as biological diseases.”

What is more, he is now arguing that surprise over the radically different mortality rates among infected people in different countries is misplaced, and is putting forward a counterintuitive claim.

“There is a natural assumption that fewer infections means fewer deaths but it’s not correct,” he said, arguing: “There is no explainable relationship between the number of people infected and the number of people who die. The ratio between deaths and infections differs sometimes by a factor of 100 or more between different countries.”

He asserted that mortality rates are unfathomable by any understood logic.

In a study published in Hebrew on April 8 and in English on April 16, Ben-Israel, head of the Security Studies program at Tel Aviv University and chairman of the National Council for Research and Development, claimed that the duration of a country’s COVID-19 outbreak is set and won’t vary based on what actions it takes.

On April 19 he wrote of Israel: “It turns out that the peak of the virus’s spread has been behind us for about two weeks now, and will probably fade within two more weeks.”
Israel, five countries mull formation of quarantine-free travel bloc
As restrictions on international travel are steadily lifted amid a steady drop in the coronavirus infection rate, Israel is considering removing self-isolation requirements for travelers from five countries.

The countries are Greece, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Georgia and Montenegro.

The initiative was discussed at a meeting Tuesday attended by officials from the Health Ministry, Tourism Ministry and Airports Authority, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

The plan, which has not yet received final approval, would have a pilot stage over the summer during which officials would carefully track the effects of an open-border policy from the five nations, all of which have a very low rate of infection for the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talks are also underway with Austria about adding it to the list.

Israel still has a ban on non-citizens entering Israel and requires a 14-day self-isolation for Israelis arriving from abroad.
Scientists: New Israeli disinfectant en route to keep all surfaces virus-free
Israeli scientists said Tuesday they are in the advanced stages of developing a disinfectant that works for months, and claim it will be a “game changer” for hygiene during the pandemic, finally making it possible to disinfect surfaces in public places and keep them virus-free.

“You see pictures in the news everywhere of people in white suits spraying disinfectant, but they have to repeat this several times a day because the disinfectant doesn’t stay active,” said Shady Farah of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. “With our material you only need to spray once, and protection stays for several months.”

The research behind the new disinfectant has not yet been submitted for peer review.

The polymer can be used in cleaning products for all sorts of surfaces, including floors, fabrics and metals, said Farah. He added that it has been designed especially to attack the novel coronavirus, but will kill various other viruses too, and can be adjusted to target microorganisms that cause future health crises.

Most existing disinfectants only kill microorganisms that are on surfaces at the time of use, or for a few minutes afterwards. When sprayed on a virus they tend to attack it, but not break the “viral envelope,” which protects its genetic material, said Farah.

He stated that his polymer “destabilizes” the viral envelope, and then alters and destroys its structure so that its infection capability is impaired. It then forms a layer on the surface, and the disinfectant is released continuously for months, so that the effect is long-lasting. He said: “Current disinfection has so many limitations, but this polymer can have very long-lasting benefits.”

Farah said he is confident that his disinfectant will be brought to market, in cooperation with hygiene companies, by the end of the year. He said that the principles have been established, and his lab is working on details.
Hydroxychloroquine trials set to begin at hospitals in Australia
A medical institute in Australia will administer a trial at hospitals across the country to determine if the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine can prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research is spearheading the study on frontline workers in an effort to find a preventative measure to stop the spread of the virus.

“The trial is focused on our frontline and allied healthcare workers who are at an increased risk of infection due to repeated exposure caring for sick patients,” said Professor Ian Wicks, joint head of clinical translation at the Institute.

“Our aim is to help people stay safe, well, and able to continue in their vital roles.”

A total of 2,250 workers from hospitals in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia will participate in the study, which will last four months. Half of the participants will be given hydroxychloroquine, while the other half will receive a placebo.
US-based Jewish crowdfunding sites raise millions for virus victims
After the coronavirus killed Lipa Friedrich, a 39-year-old bus driver from Monsey, New York, in March, his wife and 11 children were left without a breadwinner.

But within days of the launch of an online fundraiser to benefit the Orthodox Jewish family, the Friedrich family faced a dramatically different financial picture. The campaign has netted more than $1 million, most within the first 48 hours, and another fundraiser brought in even more.

“We didn’t expect that we will reach such an amount,” said Shlomo Spitzer, who organized the larger campaign for the Friedrich family. “But obviously the vibe was very good. People got very involved.”

Spitzer created the campaign through DryveUp, one of several platforms used by Orthodox Jews to crowdfund for community members in crisis. While the platforms have existed for years, the coronavirus pandemic has made clear how powerful they are for generating massive amounts of donations from a relatively small community even at a time of economic upheaval.

“I’m not surprised — it has been tried and proven over and over and over again,” Moshe Hecht, the chief innovation officer at Charidy, another fundraising site, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I am surprised that it’s still working in this environment, where people are holding onto their wallets and seemingly so frugal.”

The fundraising drives take place on a handful of crowdfunding websites that mainly serve Orthodox clients. Campaigns often feature glossy ads, emotionally overwrought copy and dramatic videos, and they are often heavily promoted on Orthodox websites that closely track coronavirus deaths in the community. Not infrequently, they manage to raise six-figure sums within days.
Days after yeshiva raid, Brooklyn police disperse crowd at synagogue
In the latest dustup between New York authorities and Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, police broke up a gathering of at least several dozen men at a Hasidic synagogue on Wednesday morning.

Videos circulating on the messaging app WhatsApp showed police officers holding the doors of a synagogue on South 8th Street in Williamsburg as dozens of men exited the building.

It is unclear if the men had gathered for services or for yeshiva studies, but several of the men carried tefillin, a ritual object used during morning prayers. Both kinds of gatherings are barred under an executive order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

The gathering comes as New Yorkers grow increasingly weary of social distancing after two months under a stay-at-home order, and as other parts of the state begin to reopen. Within the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn, several breaches of social distancing, including a large Hasidic funeral that drew thousands into the streets, have led to tensions with city authorities.

This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called out Jewish violators of distancing rules for a second time in a tweet that his political adversaries, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, are criticizing as unfairly targeting Jews at a time when many New Yorkers are breaking the rules. The mayor also vowed Tuesday to shut down underground schools that he said tipsters had been warning city officials about.

Several parents told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency this week that yeshivas have reopened with altered schedules and sometimes in different locations, apparently to evade notice. On Monday, police shut down one yeshiva after officers found more than 60 students in the school, many of whom were without masks and not practicing social distancing.
PreOccupiedTerritory: De Blasio Getting Flak For PSA With Image Of Yarmulke-Wearing Virus (satire)
The mayor of the US’s largest city faced criticism today after the release of a graphic on City Hall’s official social media sites and on public transit facilities that shows the pathogen behind the current pandemic wearing a Jewish skullcap.

Bill De Blasio found himself at the center of an outrage storm Wednesday following the publication and posting of the city’s latest guidelines and admonishments informing residents and businesses what enforcement measures face violators of his coronavirus-containment measures, a set of posters and infographics that contain stylized images of the virus with the garment known in Yiddish as a yarmulke and Hebrew as a kippah. The controversy swelled after several other rhetorical moves by the mayor to single out Jews and Jewish communities in warnings about public health, despite scant evidence that violation of lockdown and social distancing restrictions occurs with any more frequency among Jews in New York than any other group.

A spokeswoman for the mayor sought to convey De Blasio’s confusion at the hubbub. “The mayor wants to know why people are so upset,” demanded Linda Sarsour, a close ally. “These professionally-offended activists must not care about public health, or are exploiting the ongoing crisis for political messaging, which is, I might add on a personal note, such a low, low move. Now we should be coming together to combat this virus and the kikes who spread it, not playing the blame game over racial tensions that wouldn’t exist in this city without those greedy Hasidic landlords gouging minorities on rent.”

Sarsour disclosed that the PSA series – which reminds citizens to wash hands with soap, wear masks, and maintain at least six feet of space between people not of the same household – was produced by a graphic design team she recommended to De Blasio. “I’ve used them before – they’re quite good,” she stated. “Choo-Bates is my go-to firm for all my sisters in the Women’s March who also idolize Louis Farrakhan and Rasmeah Odeh.”
Anti-Extremism Group Launches Campaign Against Congressional Candidate Tainted by Antisemitism
A new anti-extremism group has launched a campaign against the congressional candidacy of a former CIA agent who has faced antisemitism allegations.

Valerie Plame, a Democrat, is running for the US House of Representatives in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. She shot to fame in 2003 when she was “outed” as a CIA agent and became the center of a series of scandals and legal cases. She would later become a major public critic of the Iraq War and neoconservatism.

Plame, 56, became embroiled in another scandal in 2017 when she tweeted a link to an antisemitic article titled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” One sentence from the article read, “For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up” and compared Jews to “rat poison.”

The article was from The Unz Review, a far-right journal that regularly publishes antisemitic material, as well as other racist and white supremacist articles.

Following criticism, Plame responded, “Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.”

Plame later apologized, claiming she had only “skimmed” the article in question and “zeroed in on the neocon criticism.”

The Washington Post later reported that Plame had tweeted links to eight other articles from The Unz Review since 2014.

David Collier: The CAABU letter, British MPs – hypocrisy, antisemitism and discrimination
The CAABU letter. How rancid and hypocritical can British MPs be? In the coming months Israel may or may not reclaim sovereignty of land along the Jordanian border.

Petitions are being signed advocating boycott, sanctions and other diplomatic penalties. Every anti-Israel group talks about it being the end of Israel’s democracy, proof of Apartheid and whatever other nonsensical term they seek to use.

Early May a letter was signed by 100 UK MPs. The letter stated that if Israel moves ahead with the annexation, there should be sanctions. It was written by the ‘Council for Arab-British Understanding‘ (CAABU), a well funded anti-Israel lobby group. The PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi is a patron.

I have gone through the list of names of those who signed the letter.

There are 100s of land-based disputes in the world, plenty of armed conflicts, untold despots, war crimes, persecutions and massacres. As I write there are over a million Muslims locked up in concentration camps. It is logical to assume that ANY of the British MPs that support sanctions as a strategic response, would have a long list of nations they support boycotting. Obviously, many nations would rank above Israel, if Israel were to rank anywhere at all.

After all, it couldn’t be possible that these MPs who seek sanctions on Israel are singling Israel out for special treatment. Could it?

Here is what I found.
Panorama, Labour antisemitism and the facts that Novara Media won't publish
John Ware's full responses to the Corbynite website Novara's allegations of bias in his Panorama film

In the dying days of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, those most loyal to him were determined to have the last word on the antisemitism crisis that stained his four and a half years as leader.

For months, in conditions of secrecy, aides had been combing through tens of thousands of emails, social media messaging and files.

The result? An 851-page report that shows the factional war between Labour Party HQ ( known as “Southside”) and the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (“LOTO”) – and how that war affected the party’s handling of the crisis.

The report’s aim? “To provide a full and thorough account” of how Corbyn’s Labour dealt with antisemitism – to exonerate the Corbynites and pin the blame on their opponents.

Its conclusion? An account that “thoroughly disproves any suggestion that antisemitism is not a problem in the party, or that it is all a smear or a ‘witch hunt.’”
Spanish gov't cancels tolerance seminar by group accused of antisemitism
A regional government in Spain canceled its teacher training contract with an organization that is widely regarded as antisemitic.

On Monday, the government of Valencia pulled offline the inscription form for the training by the BDS Pais Valencia organization titled “Solidarity and human rights. Learning to teach against hatred and racism (Judeophobia, Islamophobia, and Palestine-Israel).”

The 20-day online seminar for teachers was scheduled to begin on June 8.

The government did not explain its decision to cancel the seminar, which had provoked international protests by Jewish groups and ACOM, a pro-Israeli organization in Spain.

In 2015, BDS Pais Valencia initiated what resulted in the exclusion of the American singer Matisyahu from a music festival because he’s a “Zionist.”

ACOM on Twitter compared the seminar to having “a Nazi lecturing against racism, or a member of the Ku Klux Klan speaking on racial persecution.”
After Zionism Denounced as ‘Satanic’ at Virtual ‘Quds Day’ Event in Canada, Jewish Group Calls for All-Out Ban
An online video event in Canada hosted by virulently anti-Zionist activists to mark the Iranian regime’s annual “Quds Day” protest calling for the elimination of the State of Israel was distinguished by its antisemitic rhetoric, a leading Canadian Jewish advocacy organization said on Monday.

In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada noted that it was in the process of filing a complaint with Toronto Police “over this act of hatred against Israelis based on their nationality.”

The organization observed that while the mantra “Judaism yes, Zionism no” was repeatedly chanted during the event, “this did not prevent the use of antisemitic tropes during the rally.”

Organizers played a video entitled “The Palestine Pandemic,” which described Zionism as a “Satanic endeavor.” The video went on to identify Zionism with “the military-industrial complex, elite-run societies, corporatocracies” and “the 1% who rule this planet.” It concluded with the words: “Free Palestine, free Jerusalem, free the world.”

Meanwhile, one speaker alleged that “Apartheid Israel” was an “ally” of COVID-19, while another described Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, as “a cancer that has been growing, a cancer that has been spreading.”

Another speaker — Iranian-American political activist Paul Larudee — proclaimed, “Let us make Zionist citizens of so-called Israel unwelcome anywhere in the world.”

He added: “We must treat them as we would treat any thieves and murderers.” His remarks were welcomed by virtual rally host Farman Ali, who described them as “great words.”

Michael Mostyn — chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada — stated, “The hateful, antisemitic content of this event demonstrates exactly why it should never again be allowed on Toronto’s streets. Even after the COVID-19 restrictions pass, we expect the City of Toronto to follow the lead of world cities like Berlin in permanently banning physical al-Quds marches.”
PSC 'Nakba Day' broadcast includes tribute to Palestinian terrorist linked to Lod Airport massacre
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has paid tribute to a leading member of the terrorist organisation that carried out the Lod Airport massacre in Tel Aviv, which saw 26 people indiscriminately shot dead and another 80 injured.

Ghassan Kanafani was spokesman for George Habash’s Popular Front For The Liberation of Palestine at the time of the terrorist atrocity – and he was photographed in his office with one of the three men who carried out the 1972 attack.

But in last Friday’s online broadcast to mark Nakba Day – which commemorates Palestinian displacement after Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence - the PSC included a gushing tribute to Mr Kanafani, referencing his career as a journalist and writer.

Introduced during the near two-hour long broadcast as “one of foremost Palestinian writers”, Mr Kanafani was described on the stream by activist Alan Kolski Horwitz as an “example” of how to “combine our moral, artist and political objectives.”

Confirming that Mr Kanafani was indeed the “official spokesperson for the PFLP”, Mr Horwitz then told those watching the broadcast that he had been “murdered in Beirut in July 1972 by a bomb planted by Mossad.”

There was no reference at all to Mr Kanafani’s link to the terrorist atrocity only a few months earlier, which had been carried out by three members of the Japanese Red Army under the guidance of the PFLP.

The three Japanese students arrived at Israel's Lod airport in Tel Aviv on an Air France flight from Paris and once their luggage came through to the baggage hall, drew out automatic guns and hand grenades and began shooting people indiscriminately.
Roger Waters slams David Gilmour for “banning” him from Pink Floyd website
Former Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters has hit out at David Gilmour for “banning” him from the group’s website and social media accounts.

In a video message posted on social media, Waters also said the group should “just change the name of the band to Spinal Tap, and then everything will be hunky dory”, before adding: “All right, I’m not gonna get all weird and sarcastic, although as you know, that is a direction in which I am known to sometimes lean temperamentally.”

Waters posted the video on social media last night (May 18), and initially used the message to thank fans for their reaction to a new version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Mother’, which he recently recorded during lockdown.

He then began his attack on Gilmour, and said the performance “does bring up the question of why is this video not available on a website that calls itself the Pink Floyd website?”

He said: “The answer to that is because nothing from me is on the website. I am banned by David Gilmour from the website. About a year ago, I convened a sort of Camp David for the surviving members of Pink Floyd at a hotel at the airport in London, where I proposed all kinds of measures to get past this awful impasse that we have and predicament that we find ourselves in. It bore no fruit, I’m sorry to say.”
Facebook’s oversight board should defend liberal values - opinion
As a longtime advocate for reform in social media “community standards,” I was thrilled to see Facebook’s recent announcement of a content-advisory board. Unfortunately, my excitement rapidly dissipated once I read through the list and saw that among the first 20 names were Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Khalid Kamran, who also happens to be a supporter and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, a group designated as a terrorist organization by states such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.

Social media have a well-documented problem with extremism. Giving someone like Kamran, with her proven biases and alarming associations, the ability to shape content policy decisions is a big step in the wrong direction.

First, this oversight board, reportedly “independent” of Facebook, has been tasked with making “final and binding decisions on whether specific content should be allowed or removed from Facebook and Instagram.” Additionally, they’ve been given $130 million to do it. Once the oversight board rules, their decisions cannot be revoked by Facebook unless those decisions are found to violate the law.

Twitch, similar to Facebook, also selected a content-oversight board this month following repeated antisemitic incidents on its platform.

However, Twitch didn’t choose board members affiliated with extremist groups to decide on content policies, nor did it give the board the power to overrule existing content standards.

Giving a Muslim Brotherhood supporter the ability to decide what is and isn’t permitted on Facebook’s is a step in the wrong direction, not only for Jews and for Muslims opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, but also for free speech and minority rights in general.
Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit Against Facebook over Hamas Terrorism Posts
The Supreme Court has reportedly rejected a lawsuit alleging that social media giant Facebook provided “material support” to terrorists by hosting their content on Mark Zuckerberg’s platform.

The Verge reports that the Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit brought against Facebook which claims that the social media platform provided “material support” to terrorists by hosting their content. The court declined to hear Force v. Facebook which was brought by the families of five Americans who were hurt or killed by Palestinian attacks in Israel.

The 2016 lawsuit claimed that Facebook knowingly hosted Facebook accounts belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas. The complaint contended that Facebook’s algorithm promoted terrorist content to people who liked similar pages or posts and as a result should not be protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which generally protects websites from being used for user-created content.

The Second Circuit appeals court disagreed and the complaint was shut down in 2019, with the court stating that there was “no basis” for making Facebook liable for arranging content on its platform using algorithms. The court stated that Facebook’s recommendation system was not unique to the site and displaying content to users based on their preferences “has been a fundamental result of publishing third‐party content on the Internet since its beginning.”

The Supreme Court did not release a statement on why the case was rejected but let the previous ruling stand. Force v. Facebook was one of many cases brought against social media platforms for allowing the spread of terrorism-related content, nearly all of these cases have been unsuccessful.
Financial Times downplays antisemitism of Lancet letter writer
A Financial Times interview last month with Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal Lancet, on Britain’s response to coronavirus (“Richard Horton: ‘It’s the biggest science policy failure in a generation’”, April 24) included the following paragraphs.

Horton has to be one of Britain’s longest-serving editors. He joined The Lancet in 1990 and was appointed editor-in-chief five years later, aged just 33. He makes no apology for being overtly political….The idea you can strip out politics from medicine or health is historically ignorant. The medical establishment should be much more politicised, not less, in attacking issues like health inequalities and poor access to care.”

Accordingly, Horton has shone the light of The Lancet on a range of political causes: he has praised the climate protest group Extinction Rebellion, urging healthcare workers to join non-violent protest; he published an emotively worded letter in support of the people of Gaza penned by a geneticist in Italy later accused of having anti-Semitic sympathies;

Leaving aside Horton’s extremely telling belief that the medical establishment should be “more politicised”, note that two of the signatories weren’t merely “accused” of having antisemitic sympathies, as the FT journalist writes. As we’ll demonstrate, they clearly demonstrated antisemitic sympathies.

Further, the way the sentence is worded, readers could reach the false conclusion that ‘accusations’ of antisemitism stemmed from their pro-Gaza letter, when, in fact, the row concerning two of the signatories, Dr Paola Manduca and Dr Swee Ang, centered around the fact they had shared antisemitic conspiracy videos.
School and pupil apologise for TikTok video mocking Holocaust victims while TikTok itself does absolutely nothing
A pupil and her school have apologised after she posted a video on the online platform Tik Tok that mocked Holocaust victims.

The video, which we are not showing in order to protect the child’s identity, featured the schoolgirl making gestures to music as the caption joked: “What is bald and 100 metres long? The queue outside aushtwich [sic]”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism brought the video to the school’s attention, and the pupil has expressed her “deep remorse” and “offered a sincere apology” as she removed the video, with a third party who shared the video on Twitter also having removed it. The schoolgirl will also be writing letters of apology to those who have complained.

Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds the school for its swift action and the pupil for recognising the problem and learning from the incident. We shall not be naming the school.

Regrettably, while the pupil showed the good sense to take responsibility, apologise and remove the video, TikTok, the online platform particularly popular with impressionable children, did not show similar acumen. This is just the latest in a series of videos mocking Holocaust victims and survivors found on the platform, and so far the company has refused to take action.

A spokesman for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “We applaud the pupil and her school for taking swift action to remove the video and apologise, but we condemn TikTok for allowing grotesque memes to continue to circulate among impressionable minors. How long will it take before social media companies begin to take social responsibility for what they permit to be published in their names?”
Reuters Arabic Stops Misidentifying Jerusalem As Part of ‘Palestinian Territories’
The reporters’ consistent description of Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic) as part of “the Palestinian territories” is inaccurate and deceptive. No part of Jerusalem, including disputed eastern Jerusalem, is under Palestinian control, unlike the Gaza Strip and Area A and Area B (under Palestinian civil but not security control) of the West Bank, which do fall under the category of “Palestinian territories.”

Numerous media outlets have corrected after having falsely labeled Jerusalem, or disputed parts of the West Bank, as “Palestinian,” including AP, DPA, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and most recently The Wall Street Journal.

Following CAMERA’s communication with Reuters editors concerning the long series of Arabic articles which falsely placed Jerusalem in the Palestinian territories, subsequent article commendably have not repeated the falsehood, and more accurate terminology about Jerusalem now prevails.

For instance, most of the recent articles refer to Covid-19 cases “among the Palestinians,” which does include Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem, as opposed to “in the Palestinian territories,” which does not include Jerusalem. For example, an April 23 article stated: “Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila said on Thursday that six new Coronavirus infections were recorded among the Palestinians, five of them in the city of Jerusalem.”

Other articles which mention Coronavirus patients in Jerusalem avoid specifying that those cases are included in a total of cases “in the West Bank” or “in the Palestinian territories.”
US Names Deputy Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism
David Peyman has been tapped as the US State Department’s deputy special envoy to combat antisemitism for BDS, Eurasia and special projects.

“We are pleased to announce that David Peyman joined the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism (SEAS) as the Assistant Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs and Strategic Projects,” a State Department spokesperson told JNS on Tuesday. “In this role, he is the lead on antisemitism occurring in Europe and much of Asia. David will also serve as the lead on certain strategic projects, including the global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.”

Previously, Peyman, a lawyer, served as deputy assistant secretary of state for counter-threat finance and sanctions—a term that concluded on April 5, according to the State Department’s website.

He served as Jewish affairs and outreach director for the 2016 Trump-Pence campaign and on the presidential transition team.
Time to Abandon ‘Utopian’ Dream of German Society Free of Antisemitism, Jewish Leader Admits
The head of the German Jewish community said on Monday that he had abandoned hope of his country ever being free of antisemitism.

Speaking at an event in Frankfurt on Monday evening, Josef Schuster — president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany — said that recent protests against coronavirus restrictions, many of which have featured antisemitic tropes, had persuaded him to abandon the “utopian” notion that Germany society could shake off the pervasive influence of antisemitic beliefs.

“Unfortunately, what we are experiencing at the moment does not surprise me,” Schuster said.

At the same time, Schuster emphasized that the majority of Germans were resolutely opposed to antisemitic agitation. After the gun attack by a neo-Nazi at a synagogue in the city of Halle on Yom Kippur last October, the response of a wide swathe of German society had “very encouraging and compassionate,” Schuster noted.

Schuster’s comments came as the international human rights NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) fired a rare salvo against antisemitism specifically, noting that the coronavirus protests had been used by some Germans “as a pretext for displays of antisemitism, or open or thinly veiled support for neo-Nazi ideology.”

A statement from Hugh Williamson — the director of HRW’s Europe and Central Asia Division — argued that concern over the protests had to be understood in the broader context of rising antisemitism. Antisemitic attacks in Germany in 2019 increased by 13 percent on the previous year, with more than 2,000 incidents reported.
Beverly Hills condemns Lithuanian attempt to deny Holocaust involvement
The Beverly Hills City Council adopted a resolution Wednesday condemning any attempts by the Lithuanian government to deny involvement in the Holocaust.

The resolution was presented after a committee of the Lithuanian parliament began drafting legislation in January to declare that neither Lithuania nor its leaders had participated in the Holocaust.

“The Lithuanian state did not participate in the Holocaust because it was occupied, just as the Lithuanian nation could not participate in the Holocaust because it was enslaved, but individual representatives are obviously involved and it is up to the court to decide,” said Arunas Gumuliauskas, one of the Lithuanian lawmakers working on the legislation in parliament, in a quote referenced by the Beverly Hills resolution.
About 95% of the about 250,000 Jews in Lithuania in 1945 were killed in the Holocaust.

Lithuania’s Jewish community and members of the expatriate Lithuanian Jewish community in Israel have expressed serious concern about the possible legislation which would declare that the Lithuanian state and people did not collaborate in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.

In January, the Beverly Hills City Council adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism.

The resolution passed by the council stated that “the government of Lithuania is engaged in an active campaign to deny the culpability of Lithuanians who murdered Jews during the Holocaust, revising history, turning perpetrators into national heroes.”
Auschwitz renovation uncovers objects hidden by prisoners
Renovation works at Auschwitz have turned up spoons, forks, cobbler’s tools and other objects hidden beneath a chimney flue — some that might have been used to plan escapes, a national fund said Tuesday.

The objects, which also include knives, hooks, scissors, pieces of leather and parts of shoes, were found last month in block 17 of the main camp, Austria’s National Fund for Victims of National Socialism said. The fund commissioned the renovation and restoration works in the block at the former concentration camp in Poland in preparation for an exhibition.

“These utensils, kept out of sight of the SS guards, were perhaps used by shoemakers, or to prepare an escape or simply to be able to eat,” fund secretary general Hannah Lessing told AFP on Tuesday. The items were likely hidden in the chimney because block 17 was used to house manual workers.

“It is no coincidence that a chimney was used as a hiding place in the very building where chimney sweeps were accommodated,” the fund’s structural consultant Johannes Hofmeister said, according to a press release from the fund.

The objects are not expected to be on display at the exhibition, due to open in 2021, but instead have been handed over to the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum for conservation.
Israeli Instagram Holocaust series wins Webbys
Instagram story “Eva.Stories,” a series of 70 Instagram stories that chronicle the Holocaust-era tragedy of Eva Heyman, a teenager in Nazi-era Hungary, won two 2020 Webby Awards, considered the Oscars of the internet.

“Eva.Stories,” which won a Webby for Best Use of Stories (alongside beloved comedy show “Saturday Night Live”) and another Webby for Best Campaigns on Social Media, was created by tech billionaire Mati Kochavi and his daughter, Maya.

“The Israeli nation made the story of Eva in that they adopted her, loved her and followed her,” said Mati and Maya Kochavi in a statement. “After them, came millions of viewers around the world.”

The Kochavis said the Webby win offered another opportunity for the public to pay attention to Eva, a 13-year-old girl who suffered and was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp because she was a Jewish girl.

The two embarked on the project to help spread the memory of the Holocaust among the younger generation, and figured the best place to do that was on Instagram.
The Kaifeng Torah Scroll: A British Library Treasure
Theories abound on the date that Jews arrived in China. Some point to the period following Moses’ birth, others to the dispersion of the Ten Lost Tribes by the Assyrians in 720 BCE, and others to the Diaspora following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Although evidence to support any of these theories is lacking, there is also the likelihood that Jews reached China in the centuries following the Babylonian exile (6 th century BCE). It is known that descendants of the exiles from the Land of Israel moved progressively eastward as they engaged in a thriving commerce by sea and along the trade routes of the Silk Road. Some who had lived in Persia, India and Bukhara may have settled in China. Research work on the Chinese Jewry undertaken particularly in the second half of the 20th century by scholars such as William Charles White, Donald Daniel Leslie, and Michael Pollak, have weighed heavily in favour of Persian roots; however, the exact origin of the Chinese Jews is still shrouded in mystery.

The earliest tangible proof of Jewish presence on Chinese soil comes from a fragment of a Judeo-Persian letter dating from the end of the 8th century (British Library Or. 8212/166), which was found by the Hungarian born British explorer Sir Aurel Stein in 1901 near Dandan-Uiliq, an important Buddhist trading centre on the Silk Road in Chinese Turkestan. This letter (which was obviously en route, being a surface find) was written in Judeo-Persian (Persian in Hebrew script) by a Jewish merchant to a coreligionist in Persia with whom he was engaged in business, and discusses the sale of an inferior flock of sheep. It was written on locally-manufactured paper.

Historians concur that one of the oldest Jewish communities in China is K’ae-fung-foo (Kaifeng, formerly known as P'ien-Liang), on the banks of the Yellow River, in the province of Henan, which was founded by Jewish traders who settled there by the mid-tenth century. Kaifeng had been the thriving capital of the emperors of the Song Dynasty, who ruled China for 166 years beginning in 960 CE.

The Jewish community flourished until the 18th century, but by the mid-19th century, it was already in a state of decline (and barely survived into the 20th century). In 1850, some 200 Jewish souls lived in Kaifeng. Not having had a rabbi for almost fifty years, the Kaifeng Jews lacked but the most basic knowledge of Judaism, and could no longer read and write Hebrew. Their magnificent synagogue, first built in 1163 and rebuilt on at least two occasions since, stood neglected and dilapidated. It nonetheless provided a safe shelter to hapless and impoverished members of the community who, in order to earn a meagre living, sold bricks and wood from its ruins to their non-Jewish neighbours.
‘Shabbat’ revealed: UK’s ‘blank’ Dead Sea Scroll fragments yield a holy surprise
A British university has discovered that “blank” pieces of leather parchment taken from the famed Qumran caves are not blank at all.

Instead, they are now considered to be authentic Dead Sea Scroll fragments — the only ones in Britain. And their newly elevated status stands in stark contrast to artifacts held by a growing number of prominent United States institutions who this year learned that their very expensive Dead Sea Scroll fragments were frauds.

The discovery that the British parchment pieces were not blank was made at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library, by King’s College London Prof. Joan Taylor.

“Looking at one of the fragments with a magnifying glass, I thought I saw a small, faded letter — a lamed, the Hebrew letter ‘L,'” said Taylor in a press release.

Examining dozens of fragments, her multidisciplinary team would eventually find many more letters on four of them — “readable Hebrew/Aramaic text written in carbon-based ink.” And the most substantial fragment yielded the remains of four lines of text — possibly from the Book of Ezekiel — including one clear word: “Shabbat.”

When she first saw the letters, said Taylor, “I thought I might be imagining things.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a cache of some 950 scrolls of scriptures and other religious writings dating from 3rd century BCE to 1st century CE that were found in 12 caves near Qumran in Israel’s Judaean Desert beginning in 1947. Qumran, located in the West Bank on the shores of the Dead Sea, has been under Israeli control since 1967 and modern excavations are still taking place there.

Many of the scrolls were discovered by Bedouin, who sold them on the antiquities market. In the 1950s, a series of excavations uncovered most of the rest.

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