Friday, May 22, 2020

From Ian:

David Collier: Fighting the academic demonisation of Israel in schools
How do you deal with historical distortion in academic textbooks and propaganda in schools and universities? I would argue that if you want to really fight this fight, then you have to begin by understanding just how widespread the problem really is.

(On Wednesday I spoke as part of a panel on anti-Zionist, antisemitic propaganda in schools. The event was organised and chaired by UK Lawyers for Israel. Also on the panel were Noru Tsalic, Marcus Sheff and Nomi Benari. You can now view a recording of the event online.)
A battle for academic minds

The issue of historical distortion in academic textbooks and propaganda in schools and universities is as important – if not more important – than any of the other battles taking place for accuracy and truth. The children sitting in school will have their minds shaped by the information they are given. And if we take all the classrooms in the UK – including the universities – then sitting in those rooms is almost every single politician who will be lawmaking in the coming generations, alongside every future councillor, union leader, lawyer and teacher.

If lies are told to them unchecked, then we lose the battle for minds even before it is started.

How big a problem is it
In the last few months, two seperate UK textbooks (1 , 2) were checked and were removed from the shelves because of historical innacuracies and anti-Israel bias.

If we seek to put all the blame on the academic author or the publisher we are missing the point. These two books were written by different authors, did not rely on the same source material and went through the editorial checks of two seperate publishing houses.

We are dealing with an ideology, a narrative, a world vision – and much of the modern academic landscape has been swallowed whole.

Whilst I have access to some of what is taking place on campus – much of what is occuring in schools is beyond me. Not only are Jews a tiny minority group in the UK – but we are also highly concentrated in certain areas. This means that outside of our bubble are 1000s of schools which have no Jewish presence at all. Our eyes and ears simply do not reach very far.

What we see is only the tip of the iceberg and the problem extends far beyond textbooks.
Jonathan S. Tobin: Who Really Represents America’s Jews?
The notion that any single organization could represent the views or the interests of American Jews on Israel—or any other issue—has always been risible. Yet this dubious assertion has been the raison d’être of one of the more successful experiments in political activism in American Jewish history.

Born seven decades ago out of a hostile administration’s impatience with the myriad Jewish groups lobbying the State Department about Israel, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has thrived by claiming to be the central address for American Jewish political interests.

But while the Conference has enjoyed a unique perch in the organized Jewish world, many of the groups who compose its membership are neither “major” in any real sense or, by themselves, particularly influential—let alone representative of American Jewry.

Nor can it be considered the public face of the pro-Israel community. That distinction belongs to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Unlike AIPAC, the Conference can’t mobilize tens of thousands of activists to lobby Congress, attend an annual conference, or help direct campaign donations to friends of Israel or foes of the Jewish state’s critics.

Despite its title, the Conference has also lacked the ability to command its member groups to take action on even the most anodyne issues. All 53 organizations retain complete autonomy of action and are divided along political and ideological lines that allow little room for cooperation.

Yet by cloaking itself in a mythical consensus, the Conference has skillfully inserted itself into policy discussions at the highest level both in Washington and abroad. Its ability to not merely be heard but to have its bland but still assertive brand of advocacy be treated as an important factor in rallying support for the State of Israel in Washington has made it the go-to place for anyone—especially foreign governments—who wishes to sound out the views of American Jewish influencers.

Under the leadership of Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein, who assumed the role in 1986, the Conference became less of a club of organizational leaders and more of an aggressive collective putting forward the views of the Jewish community on issues concerning Israel and anti-Semitism at home and abroad.
Gerald M. Steinberg: Jerusalem: 1948, 1967, 2020
As a Jerusalemite, the degree to which the modern history of our city is mangled, distorted, and rewritten by journalists, foreign politicians and diplomats, and less-than-rigorous academics is a major source of frustration, particularly around the celebration of Jerusalem Day.

Almost inevitably, we are told that “East Jerusalem” and the “Old City were captured by Israel from Jordan during the 1967 war, without reference to the status of this city between 1948 and 1967. Outside of Israel, the false narrative portraying Palestinians exclusively as victims and Israel as “occupiers” has replaced the actual history, and substituted propaganda for justice.

The continuing impact of the 1948-1967 Jordanian occupation is central to understanding the broad Israeli rejection of grand peace plans to re-divide this city, including the mirages of “shared sovereignty” and internationalization. While such creative political architecture may sound good, the history of this period should remind us that in practice, such visions will return us to the bad old days,

Jews have lived in Jerusalem continuously, and were the majority population in the decades before the 1948 war. The destruction and ethnic cleansing of the ancient Jewish Quarter in the Old City began following the UN Partition Resolution on November 27 1947. Arab forces blocked the access road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and numerous Israeli efforts to end this blockade failed, with major casualties. As a result, few reinforcements were available, and on May 28, the Jordanian army (also known as the “Arab Legion”) completed the capture of the Jewish Quarter.

The Jordanian commander, Abdallah el-Tal, boasted that “The operations of calculated destruction were set in motion… Only four days after our entry into Jerusalem the Jewish Quarter had become a graveyard.” (Disaster of Palestine, Cairo 1959) All of the Jewish inhabitants were exiled — the ethnic cleansing was complete. Jews were prohibited from accessing the Temple Mount, destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 AD, or at the Western Wall, which survived the destruction. (These were and remain the holiest sites in the Jewish religion.)

Even after the fall of the Jewish Quarter, the conquerors systematically desecrated all remnants of 3000 years of Jewish Jerusalem. 57 ancient synagogues, libraries and centers of religious study were ransacked and 12 were totally and deliberately destroyed. Those that remained standing were defaced, and turned into barns for goats, sheep and donkeys. Appeals were made to the United Nations and in the international community to declare the Old City to be an ‘open city’ and stop this destruction, but there was no response.

Latma 2020, Episode 8
Suspect who threatened Yair Netanyahu gets the third degree, Latma Geographic explores a reporter in the wild and Tawil Fadiha is back big time (h/t Yerushalimey)

Real-life twist to HBO's 'Plot Against America'
Long after becoming president, FDR continued to view immigrants, and especially Jewish immigrants, as problematic and in need of dispersal.

At a private White House luncheon on May 22, 1943, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill discussed their plans for the postwar world. The status of the Jews came up in the conversation. FDR sympathetically cited a plan that his senior adviser on population issues, Isaiah Bowman, had concocted for dealing with the Jews.

Vice President Henry Wallace, who was present, wrote in his diary that Roosevelt told Churchill "the best way to settle the Jewish question" was "to spread the Jews thin all over the world." Wallace continued: "The president said he had tried this out in [Meriwether] County, Georgia and at Hyde Park on the basis of adding four or five Jewish families at each place. He claimed that the local population would have no objection if there were no more than that."

The Jews were not the only immigrants whom President Roosevelt thought should be "spread thin." He was also deeply concerned about what he saw as the inability of Asians to become fully American. "Japanese immigrants are not capable of assimilation into the American population," he wrote in that Georgia newspaper in 1925." Anyone who has traveled in the Far East knows that the mingling of Asiatic blood with European or American blood produces, in nine cases out of ten, the most unfortunate results."

At a press conference on November 21, 1944, FDR was asked by a reporter whether the 130,000 Japanese-Americans whom he had put in detention camps would be permitted to return their homes when the war ended.

"A good deal of progress has been made in scattering [Japanese-origin citizens] through the country, and that is going on almost every day," Roosevelt replied. In language almost identical to that which he used when discussing the Jews, he said: "[I]n the Hudson River Valley or in western Georgia which we all know, in one of those countries, probably half a dozen or a dozen families could be scattered around on the farms and worked into the community. . . . And they wouldn't – what's my favorite word? – discombobulate the existing population of those particular countries very much."

In The Plot Against America, it is Franklin Roosevelt, as leader of the opposition, who eventually saves America from Lindbergh's creeping fascism. It makes for entertaining television, but it's fiction.

Mark Twain famously remarked that "truth is stranger than fiction." In this case, the truth of what the liberal FDR had in mind for Jews as strange, if not stranger, than what the reactionary Lindbergh carried out in Phillip Roth's fiction.
Is Israel heading for a second coronavirus wave?
Tightfisted testing policies and logistical delays may lead to a second wave of coronavirus infection in Israel sooner than most people expect, senior health officials told The Jerusalem Post.

Israelis need to be cautious, Cyrille Cohen, the head of the immunotherapy laboratory at Bar-Ilan University told the Post, as the number of children and educational staff who entered isolation reached into the dozens on Thursday.

“It is hard to say if we are seeing the beginning of a second wave” of the novel coronavirus, he said, “but we have to be cautious. The numbers are very low, but the numbers were very low when we started this pandemic.”

As of Thursday, at press time, there were 2,680 active cases of coronavirus, including 36 people on ventilators. Some 279 people have died.
Cohen warned that if Israel starts to see infection rates spike in “school after school, it will be a second wave. People can behave like everything is okay, but it does not mean that COVID-19 has disappeared. We should not be alarmed, but we should be alert.”

Cohen made his comments on the same day that a particularly high number of students and teachers across the country entered isolation after a number of educational faculty and staff were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
Kids with COVID-19 may have lower infectivity than adults - UK scientists
Children have milder COVID-19 symptoms than adults and the balance of evidence suggests they may also have lower susceptibility and infectivity than adults, scientists advising the British government have said.

As Europe and the United States start to return to work after lockdowns imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, world leaders are trying to work out when it is safe for children and students to get back to their studies.

Cautioning that there is a significant lack of high-quality evidence on children, the scientists concluded in a paper submitted to the British government that: "There was some evidence that children had milder symptoms than adults but that evidence on susceptibility and transmission was as yet unclear."

In another paper submitted to the government, scientists said: "Evidence remains inconclusive on both the susceptibility and infectivity of children, but the balance of evidence suggests that both may be lower than in adults."

In a third, April 29, document, Professor Russell Viner of University College London and Dr Rosalind Eggo of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said UK clinical data confirmed that children have notably less symptomatic disease and of lower severity than adults.

"Evidence remains inconclusive on both susceptibility and transmissibility of children, but balance of evidence suggesting both may be lower," Viner and Eggo said.
Cyprus gives green light for Israeli tourists amid coronavirus
Cyprus announced on Friday, that starting on June 9 Israelis will be able to the enter country without being requested to enter quarantine, KAN News reported.

In order to fly to Cyprus between the dates June 9 and 19, Israeli citizens will first need to take a coronavirus test within the 72 hours leading up to their arrival, which must come back with negative results.

After June 19, the test will no longer be required according to KAN.

Cyprus has cumulatively had fewer than a 1,000 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the outbreak, and only 17 deaths according to John Hopkins University's coronavirus tally.

Israel has started to return to a new normal with the reopening of the economy as the rate of infection continues to drop by the day. As of Friday afternoon, Israel had just over 2,600 cases.
Netanyahu: We want to resume flights and tourism with Greece
Israel is working on opening up tourist exchanges with Greece, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a call on Thursday with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Greece.

“There is enormous demand from the citizens of Israel. We see people on talk shows saying ‘when are we off to Greece?’” Netanyahu said. “We really want to resume flights and tourism connections with countries in a similar situation, and the most evident one is Greece and we are working on it now.

“I hope we can bring it to completion quickly,” he added.

Netanyahu’s remarks come two weeks after the Tourism Ministry began talks with Greece and Cyprus to create a safe zone for tourism between the countries, which have had relative success in curbing the spread of the coronavirus and keeping the number of severe cases low.

Greece is considering allowing tourists from countries considered safe without a coronavirus test, and they will only check temperatures upon entry.

Israel still has a two-week mandatory self-quarantine period for anyone arriving from abroad.

Netanyahu and Mitsotakis also discussed the EastMed gas pipeline project between Israel and Europe, which would involve the construction of a 1,900 km. offshore and onshore pipeline from Israeli economic waters to the Greek mainland via Cyprus and Crete.
British Jews are Dying from COVID-19 and the UK is Doing Nothing
More than 70 public figures in the UK have sent a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a public inquiry into the COVID-19 BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) fatality rate.

Will that inquiry include Jews?

BAME communities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Despite being 13% of the total population, they make up 16% of total deaths, and 30% of the intensive care patients.

On May 4, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at the daily Downing Street briefing: “We recognize that there has been a disproportionately high number of people from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds who have passed away especially among care workers and those in the NHS (National Health Service).”

Early explanations found that BAME populations are more likely to live in urban areas such as London and Birmingham. Moreover, people of Indian descent are 150 percent more likely to work in health or social work and Bangladeshi men over 60 years of age are 60 percent more likely to have long-term health conditions than their White British counterparts. During the pandemic, Black African and Black Caribbean men are experiencing an economic standstill, and are 50 percent more likely to be employed in shutdown sectors of the workforce.

However, these statistics also affect the Jewish community, and we’re being left out of the conversation — falling through the cracks of race — again. According to the Race Relations act, Jews are a protected ethnic minority in the UK, being classified as a BAME community. However, Jews are often mistaken for a solely religious, not ethnic, minority by the general public and corporations, such as the BBC (ּBritish Broadcasting Corporation). This was apparent when Savid Javid was hailed as the first BAME Home Secretary in the UK, when there had previously been Jewish Home Secretaries.

Despite being 0.3% of the total population, the latest reports state Jews make up 2.1% of COVID-19 fatalities. We are over four times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the general public.

There are explanations similar to those of other BAME backgrounds. Three out of five Jews live in London, the epicenter of the pandemic. Twenty-one percent of Jews are aged 65 and above, compared to 16 percent of the general public. However, Jews are healthier than the general population and are less likely to be impacted economically than Black African and Black Caribbean people, as over a third are self-employed.
One-fifth of English people believe Jews created COVID-19 to collapse the economy for financial gain, according to Oxford University survey
A survey carried out by the University of Oxford polling attitudes towards conspiracy theories relating to COVID-19 showed that around twenty percent of respondents believed that ”Jews have created the virus to collapse the economy for financial gain.”

While almost 81% of respondents disagreed with the statement, 5.9% said that they “agree a little”; 7.0% said that they “agree moderately”; 4.6% said that they “agree a lot”; and 2.4% said that they “agree completely”.

The research, called Oxford Coronavirus Explanations, Attitudes, and Narratives Survey, polled a representative sample of 2,500 English adults from 4th to 11th May 2020. Other conspiracy theories included ideas about the source of the virus, claims about Muslims, Bill Gates and celebrities, and the suggestion that the Prime Minister faked having contracted the virus.

According to the researchers, the “results indicate that half of the nation is excessively mistrustful and that this reduces the following of government coronavirus guidance.”

It comes after a previous report claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic is “amplifying” far-right voices, while another poll showed the sustained popularity of antisemitic conspiracy myths.
The way to fight antisemitism and anti-Israelism
A second huge warning sign came the following year. In 2001 in Durban South Africa, the first UN World Conference against Racism took place. It became an antisemitic hatefest. Israel was lampooned. The NGO conference there was even worse. Among its participants were many fake humanists, humanitarian racists and other progressive perverts.

What lessons did the Israeli government draw from this disastrous conference? The main conclusion seems to be an incidental response. With the help of Jewish organizations, Israel prepared for the 2009 Geneva review conference. As a result, there was a massive Israeli and Jewish presence there. The NGO maligners of Israel were pushed into the margins. Despite these efforts, this had no structural impact.

The new century led to a flood of antisemitic and anti-Israeli incitement. Among the latest manifestations of anti-Israelism is the largely political decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate Israeli "war crimes." It is improbable that she would have dared to go ahead with this case if Israel had an anti-propaganda agency. Both she and the ICC are vulnerable to ongoing exposure. Bensouda was a minister of justice in a dictatorial government in Gambia. The ICC is a failure which has wasted well over a billion dollars for barely any condemnations.

A few months ago, I had a brief talk with a former Israeli minister. In all sincerity this Minister believed that some Israeli ministries deal competently with antisemitism and anti-Israelism. They have been given funds to do so. The idea that ministerial employees and ministries with all their constraints can possibly deal with a complex problem like this is however absurd.

The basics of strategy is that attack is the best defense. Palestinian extreme hate mongers are an easy target. Their leading party, Hamas, is a genocide promoter and the second largest Fatah -- and the Palestinian Authority it controls -- are murder glorifiers. The employees of a new Israeli anti-propaganda agency in their first days of employment would only have to go through the Palestinian Media Watch website to get a rapid indication of how to expose the Palestinian Arabs. Hate speech, demonizing, antisemitic cartoons, and misuse of Western funding are just a few among many topics.

There is now finally a new government. The Knesset has become fully active. Perhaps there is one opposition MK who understands that the ongoing failure of Israeli governments in these areas is a topic where he or she can score by continuously exposing it.
Can we believe Ilhan Omar’s autobiography?
Political autobiographies are written to conceal, not to reveal. They come in two eminently pulpable forms. One is the twilight apologia of the retired or defeated politician, the other the resumé-polishing pitch of the rising star. Which category Ilhan Omar’s autobiography falls into depends on whether you, like her, think she’s a cruelly traduced beacon of hope in a land of benighted bigotry; or whether, as one investigative journalist concluded, she has committed the ‘worst spree of felonies by a congressperson in history’.

‘I’m not here to undo or rewrite history,’ Omar tells us. But the truth slips away from her like a greased pig. This is a slick and devious account, selective in memory, vague in detail and merciless in its play for praise. The persistent and credibly sourced claim that Omar committed immigration and education fraud with one Ahmed Said Elmi who, it is also claimed, may be her brother, is simply ignored. She doesn’t even name Elmi, and calls the man that she was married to for four years someone ‘whom I spent little time with that I wouldn’t even make him a footnote in my story if it weren’t for the fact that this event turned into the main headline later on’.

In fact, address records show that Omar was living with her first husband (‘Islamically married’) while still married to her second (civil marriage). In 2017, when she filed for divorce from her second husband, she claimed under penalty of perjury not to have been in contact with her first husband since 2011. Dozens of now-deleted social-media posts, photos and a 2016 interview suggest that she may have lied.

Nor does Omar address her conviction in 2019 for campaign finance violations, or disgraceful tweets from 2012 like ‘Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel’, or her conspiracy-mongering public claim in 2019 that pro-Israel organizations make ‘allegiance to a foreign country’ a precondition of serving in Congress. She doesn’t mention that she may currently be under investigation by the FBI, ICE, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, either.
Labour councillor who apologised for calling Israel a “racist state” then reacted to the antisemitism investigation by saying she “will not bow down to white supremacy”
It has emerged that a local Labour councillor who had previously apologised for calling Israel a “racist state” then reacted to the ensuing antisemitism investigation by saying she “will not bow down to white supremacy”.

Nichole Brennan, a councillor in Brighton and Hove, apologised and resigned from her role as deputy housing chairwoman and rough sleeping chief pending an investigation after pictures emerged showing her holding a sign calling Israel a “racist, apartheid state” in a protest two years before at Hove Town Hall against the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the local authority. The Definition lists “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”) as an example of antisemitism. Brighton and Hove City Council adopted the Definition. In a statement, Cllr Brennan apologised for her actions prior to becoming a councillor and declared her support for adoption of the Definition.

However, it has now emerged that just three days later she posted on Facebook: “Let me make something clear. 1. I have not resigned as a councillor and I will go on speaking up for the people who elected me. 2. I will not bow down to white supremacy and I will always challenge racism in ALL its forms as I always have.” She appeared to be referring to allegations of antisemitism and/or her own Party’s prospective investigation as “white supremacy”.

Koch-Soros Think Tank Features Defender of Chinese Censorship
A defender of internet censorship with ties to one of China's largest tech companies moderated a panel Thursday at a new think tank funded by Charles Koch and George Soros.

Kaiser Kuo, the former director of international communications for the Chinese search giant Baidu, led a panel discussion hosted by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft on "Anti-Asian Racism and its Implications for Civil Liberties and National Security."

Kuo has argued that the Chinese Communist Party's rigorous domestic censorship of unflattering facts and information about the regime has, at times, saved lives and that some cultures, including present-day China, are not ready for what is widely recognized as a core human right: the freedom of association.

"I would love to say that Chinese society has reached the point where we should have the right to free assembly," Kuo told iTnews, an Australian digital outlet, in 2010. "But in reality, today assembly in China can have violent consequences. … Perhaps, and I hate to say this, some cultures aren't ready for free assembly."

The event coincides with signals from Chinese leadership on Thursday that the country is moving to strip Hong Kong citizens of their right to free assembly enshrined by the former British colony's Basic Law.

Kuo facilitated discussion between Stanford University professor Gordon H. Chang, Jewish Currents editor-at-large Peter Beinart, and Quincy Institute research fellow Jessica Lee.
NY Times Pushes Palestinian Narrative as Abbas Threatens End to Cooperation
Palestinian leaders are never responsible for the inflammatory actions they take.

That’s the overarching New York Times narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that’s the message again of today’s story, by reporters David M. Halbfinger, Adam Rasgon and Mohammed Najib, about Palestinian threats to cut off security cooperation with Israel.

The online title signals the arrival of yet another Times story framed to present Palestinians as lacking any agency: “Abbas, Cornered by Israeli Annexation, Opts for ‘Judgment Day’ Scenario.” Why would Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas stop cracking down on terrorists planning to attack Israel? It’s not his fault. It is because Israel has “cornered” him.

The rest of the story follows from there. Reporters quickly tell readers that “As long as he has led the Palestinian national movement, Mr. Abbas has opposed violence and espoused negotiations with Israel.”

But as CAMERA’s Tamar Sternthal explained yesterday, after the Associated Press likewise characterized Abbas as always opposing violence, the claim is patently untrue. In a January 2018 speech, for example, Abbas asserted that, while he wouldn’t send his military to go toe-to-toe with Israel, he welcomed individual Palestinian attacks:
Whoever has [weapons] – go ahead and do it. I say this out in the open. If you have weapons, go ahead. I’m with you, and I will help you. Anyone who has weapons can go ahead.

In a militant 2019 speech, he announced that Palestinians “will enter Jerusalem as fighters by the millions.”

“We will all enter it, all of the Palestinian people and all of the Arab and Islamic and Christian nations,” he continued. Prior to that, in 2015, Abbas praised violence by saying, “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr will reach paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”
Lawsuit accuses NJ of discriminating against Jews using zoning laws
The US Justice Department has filed a discrimination lawsuit against a New Jersey township over zoning restrictions that allegedly target the Orthodox Jewish community.

The lawsuit accuses the Township of Jackson and its Planning Board of violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Fair Housing Act by passing zoning ordinances that restrict religious schools and bar religious boarding schools.

Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, called it “antisemitic conduct.”

“Using zoning laws to target Orthodox Jewish individuals for intentional discrimination and exclude them from a community is illegal and utterly incompatible with this Nation’s values,” Dreiband said in a statement issued by the Justice Department. “Let me be clear. The Department of Justice will use the full force of its authority to stop such anti-Semitic conduct and prevent its recurrence.”

According to the complaint, two ordinances passed by the South Jersey township and its Planning Board expressly prohibit dormitories throughout Jackson, making it impossible for religious boarding schools such as Orthodox yeshivas to operate there. But the Planning Board has since approved, without requiring a variance, plans for two nonreligious projects with dorm-type housing.

The complaint further alleges that the township and Planning Board enacted the ordinances against a backdrop of extreme animus by some Jackson residents and township decision-makers toward the Orthodox community and a movement by residents to keep Orthodox Jews from settling in Jackson, according to the Justice Department.
Jewish Group Calls on Toronto Mosque to Denounce Antisemitic ‘Prayers’
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) on Tuesday called on a Toronto-area mosque to publicly denounce antisemitic remarks broadcasted on its property over the weekend.

A man using a loudspeaker at the Jaffari Center, a Shia mosque in Thornhill, recited the Islamic call to prayer and instructed followers to boycott “all the Zionist businesses,” claiming that it is “illegal” and “forbidden” for Muslims to do business with “Zionists.”

He also said the mosque and its followers stood with him against the “illegitimate Zionist regime,” the “betrayal of the holy land” and “whatever kind of evil things they [the Jews/Zionists] do.”

The eight-minute video shared on social media is called “Jaffari center Athan/Nakba 72 catastrophe anniversary. Praying for corona vaccine & free Palestine.”

In a statement released on Sunday, the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat (ISIJ) of Toronto, a charitable organization that operates the Jaffari Center, stated that the man broadcast his prayer from their property without their authorization. However, they offered no direct comment regarding the substance of his remarks.

Since March 3, all ISIJ of Toronto centers have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter written to Jaffari Centre Vice President Shafiq Ebrahim, FSWC called on the mosque to make a clear public statement that the remarks broadcast from their property were unacceptable.
Ukrainian police suspend officer who asked for a city’s list of Jews
A senior police officer in Ukraine has been suspended for asking a Jewish community for a list of its members.

Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov announced the suspension in a letter he sent to the head of the Jewish community of Kolomyya, in the country’s west. The suspended officer, Myhaylo Bank, wrote the community’s leader in February to request a full list of members.

Bank “has been suspended temporarily as an official investigation into his performance of official duties continues,” reads the letter, which Avakov’s office sent to other officials earlier this week.

The letter states that the investigation into Bank’s actions began on May 13 and is connected to his letter to the Jewish communal leader.

Bank’s letter provoked an international uproar. Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, called Bank’s request a case of “naked antisemitism.”
Charlesbank Invests $70 Million in Elbit Systems Subsidiary Cyberbit
Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems said on Tuesday the Charlesbank Technology Opportunities Fund invested $70 million in Elbit‘s commercial cybersecurity subsidiary Cyberbit.

Elbit said the fund, which is managed by Charlesbank Capital Partners, invested about $22 million directly in Cyberbit while $48 million was paid in exchange for a portion of Elbit’s shares in Cyberbit.

As a result of the investment and sale of equity holdings, Elbit became a minority shareholder in Cyberbit. Claridge Israel, which invested $30 million in Cyberbit in June 2018, also participated in this round of investment.

Cyberbit is engaged in commercial training systems for cybersecurity teams.

Based in Boston and New York, Charlesbank Capital Partners is a private equity investment firm managing more than $6 billion of capital.
Why are 4 US states building bridges to Israeli tech?
The United States and Israel have enjoyed mutually beneficial business relations for many years in the areas of defense, commerce and technology.

While Israel seems to be ahead of the curve in combating Covid-19, cooperation on the US state level has increased regarding relevant Israeli technology and solutions.

The relationship between Israel and states like New York and California are well known. But over the past few years, other states have looked to develop strong relationships with the Startup Nation in order to benefit from Israeli knowhow as well as entice Israeli startups to open local offices.

Even in this unstable economy, we see global companies like Intel continue to acquire Israeli startups such as Moovit for their data (data is also playing a major role in the fight against Covid-19).

There is a lot of activity happening as many states begin reopening their economies amid this crisis. Let’s explore how they are cooperating with Israel, and how these relationships are helping combat Covid-19.

119 Ethiopian olim welcomed by aliyah minister, Jewish Agency head
The Aliyah and Integration Ministry and the Jewish Agency both welcomed on Thursday 119 new olim from Ethiopia into Israel.

Due to the strict regulations put in place to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus by Israel's Health Ministry and by travel authorities, the Jewish Agency and the Aliyah and Integration Ministry brought the olim on a specially chartered aircraft.

Keeping in line with existing regulations, the Jewish Agency and Aliyah and Integration Ministry will work with the Defense Ministry to ensure the new olim stay in a government-provided youth hostel for their quarantine period.

This was the second such group of olim from Ethiopia since the coronavirus pandemic started, with 72 olim arriving in March.

The new immigrants were greeted upon arrival by Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and the new Aliyah and Integration Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata.
In first, 2 Ethiopian Israeli women become Border Police officers
In a first, two Ethiopian Israeli women have been promoted to the rank of officer in the Border Police, and will command platoons of new recruits.

Sub-Inspector Oshrat Negosa and Sub-Inspector Tikva Makonnen received their new ranks on Thursday from Acting Police Commissioner Moti Cohen and Border Police Commander Maj. Gen. Yaakov Shabtai at a ceremony at the Border Police training school at Beit Horon.

Negosa, 21, was selected to read a message from her graduating class and added a personal note: "How symbolic it is that this ceremony is being held just before Jerusalem Day. The same weight of morals and values is here that was there the day Jerusalem was liberated and in the deserts of Sudan on the way to the dream of Jerusalem.

"The families sitting here now, greatly restricted in light of the [corona] restrictions -- you are the ones who shaped, taught, and supported us all the way. You are our true source of pride and without you, we wouldn't be standing here," she said.

Negosa went on to say that "There are dozens of Ethiopian Israeli women in combat service in the Border Police, and for years there have also been plenty of male officers. It's thrilling to finish officers training along with Tikva. From a young age, I saw myself serving in a combat role, and I'm waiting for my first operation."
Israeli Embassy in Nigeria organizes aid for Muslims ahead of Eid al-Fitr
To mark the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria, together with Chabad and Nigeria's Jewish community, alongside several other organizations, donated hundreds of packages containing food and hygiene items to members of the Muslim communities in need due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Distributions were carried out in Internally displaced person (IDP) camps, orphanages and widow's shelters, according to the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria.

For the first time, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria Shimon Ben-Shoshan made a historic visit to the Abuja National Mosque in the country's capital, where the donation was given.

Ben-Shoshan, Consul Yotam Kreiman and Chabad Rabbi Israel Uzan were warmly welcomed by Imam Sheikh Dr. Kabir Muhammad Adam who warmly acknowledged the contribution to the needy families.

The initiative was carried out under the title "Love Your Neighbor As Yourself - From the Jewish Community to the Muslim Community in Nigeria."
"During the visit of the IDP camps and the orphanage, I expressed my hope that the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, will be over soon," Ben-Shoshan wrote on the embassy's website. "I hope to witness a direction of the humanity’s efforts to resolve the challenges of climate change, poverty and the water crisis that affects us all.
Presidents of Israel, Poland honor oldest surviving ‘Righteous Among Nations’
The presidents of Israel and Poland have sent birthday greetings to a 101-year-old Polish woman who is believed to be the be oldest living person recognized by Yad Vashem for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust.

Reuven Rivlin of Israel and Andrzej Duda of Poland praised Anna Kozminska in separate letters for her courage in risking her own life to help Jews during the German occupation of Poland.

Rivlin expressed admiration and gratitude “for your courageous acts of humanity and bravery during the dark days of the Second World War in Poland.” In his letter, Duda said he would bestow Kozminska with a special state medal.

The letters were delivered to her on her birthday Friday by Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, and the niece of a boy saved during the war by Kozminska and her step-mother, Maria Kozminska.
The 10 greatest mysteries in Israel
A land whose history stretches back millennia, Israel is bursting with intriguing mysteries. Some remain unsolved from thousands of years ago. New ones are uncovered in hundreds of archeological digs taking place in Israel every year.

1. The Ark of the Covenant
The missing gilded wooden Ark of the Covenant has fascinated adventurers, historians and Hollywood filmmakers for ages.

Topped with golden cherubim, this chest held the tablets of the Ten Commandments and occupied the Holy of Holies in the desert Tabernacle and the First Temple.

Babylonian invaders destroyed the Temple around 586 BCE. The list of treasures they took doesn’t include the ark. Most likely it had been hidden or sent away for safekeeping. By the time the Second Temple was built, nobody knew where it was.

Contrary to the Indiana Jones film “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” it has never been found. Some treasure-hunters believe it’s sealed in a Qumran cave near the Dead Sea, or that it’s far away in Ethiopia.

Others believe the Ark of the Covenant is hidden behind an ancient manmade stone wall of a cistern beneath Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Political-religious sensitivities have kept archeologists from investigating.
HonestReporting: Jerusalem Day: Celebrating the Return to Israel’s Ancient Capital
Jerusalem Day is one of the highlights of the Israeli and Jewish calendar. After 2,000 years of hoping to return to Zion, the Jewish State was re-established in 1948. But for 19 years, the city was divided, with a wall running down the middle of the city. Jews were unable to access their holiest sites, the Temple Mount and the adjacent Western Wall.

All that changed in 1967. After Israel's enemies threatened to annihilate the Jewish State, Israel saw off its foes and gained control over all of Jerusalem. To this day, we celebrate the wondrous turn of events which saw the city reunited under Israeli control.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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