Wednesday, May 27, 2020

From Ian:

Anti-Semitism examined as a social virus in new PBS documentary
Meanwhile, on our shores, Goldberg, who lost extended family members in the Holocaust, takes note of how anti-Semitism in the US has been getting worse over the past dozen years. By the time 11 Jews were gunned down in October 2018 in a synagogue in Pittsburgh — “the most anti-Semitic act I’d seen in this country in my two decades as a journalist,” he said — this film project was already underway. In his view, anti-Jewish sentiment in the non-Jewish world is always “only a couple of centimeters below the surface” at any given time, though social forces may push it down.

In ‘Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations,’ Rabbi Elisar Admon shows the hole where a bullet pierced his prayer book during the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. “It went right through the word for God,” he said. (PBS via JTA)

“The biggest mute button on anti-Semitism was the Holocaust itself,” he said, adding that it led to “better behavior” toward Jews in most of the Western world for more than 50 years. “And the precursor [to those prejudices surfacing] is societies becoming more polarized.” Another factor, he said, is that fewer Holocaust survivors are around to give firsthand testimony about how unchecked anti-Semitism branches off into utter horror.

In the France portion of “Viral,” Goldberg interviews a brother of the shooter in the 2015 assault on the Hyper Cacher kosher grocery in Paris. Asked to describe the motivations of his jihadist brother, Abdel Ghani Merah describes the North African immigrant milieu of their parents, who brought to France a post-colonial belief that Western nations, Israel and global Jewry were allied against the Arab world.

“Hatred of Jews was legitimate in my parents’ eyes,” he says, while distancing himself from that view (in fact, he has committed his life to countering anti-Semitism). “If they failed at something or were rejected, right away it was somehow a Jew’s fault. They owned the world.”

A final word is given to the widow of Philippe Braham, one of four French Jews killed in the attack on Hyper Cacher, a kosher supermarket in Paris.

“We don’t walk in the streets easily like we used to,” she says. “I won’t let my sons wear the kippah. I won’t say their names out loud.”

Valerie Braham then adds: “For me it’s just pointless hatred of the Jews. There are no real reasons.”

For those who see it, will this film provide some kind of vaccine, so to speak, against anti-Semitism?

That is the perennial hope — the panacea we are all waiting for.
Discrimination Can Be Rewarding
This year, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), gave Abdulhadi its Georgina M. Smith Award. The award is for a “person or persons who provided exceptional leadership in a given year in improving the status of academic women or in academic collective bargaining and through that work improved the profession in general.” The AAUP’s statement makes it clear that Abdulhadi received the award not despite but because of her approach to advancing “social change in Palestine” and elsewhere.

Perversely, she who would exclude Zionists from campus and who, as far as I can tell, has never encountered a specific charge of anti-Semitism on the left that she has not dismissed as an invention of the “Israel lobby,” is now honored by the AAUP as a builder of coalitions and a champion of human rights. She for whom the boycott of Israel is the very center of her “pro-Palestinian” activism is honored for that very activism by an organization that explicitly opposes academic boycotts.

The AAUP has been at many times in its history a vital voice in the defense of academic freedom and a thoughtful contributor to discussions of the professional standards academics can be expected to honor. As colleges and universities, facing greater and lesser financial problems as a result of the pandemic, move to eliminate faculty positions, the AAUP will be an important resource for faculty members looking to safeguard their rights. The AAUP has also struggled with, from early on, a tendency to let its commitment to academic freedom, the free exchange of ideas, and the distinctive vocation of the scholar be overshadowed by the attachment of members to the progressive cause of the day. This tendency reaches its zenith in the AAUP’s praise of Abdulhadi, who “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.”

In fact, as the AAUP’s own 1915 Declaration of Principles avers, the defense of academic freedom greatly depends on the perception and reality of the university as a “nonpartisan institution of learning” and on the willingness of professors themselves to police the boundaries between the spirit of scholarship and the spirit of “uncritical and intemperate partisanship.”

In offering an award to professor Abdulhadi, the AAUP has damaged its credibility at a moment when it can use every shred. Somehow, in the course of spitting in the face of those who, with good reason, consider Abdulhabi deserving of censure, not awards, the AAUP has spit in its own face.
David Collier: L’Chaim – Israel – To Haim – a story of so many lives lost
Listing Jews named Haim who were innocent victims of terrorism and the conflict. Not soldiers, but family men and children going about their day. How many can there be? Like all my research, the tragic truth is always heartbreakingly worse than the imagination.

To Haim. To all of them.

On October 13 2015 Haim Haviv was sitting on a bus in Jerusalem. He was out shopping with his wife Shoshana. He was 78 years old. Chaim had arrived in Israel from Iraq with his parents and ten siblings at the age of 11. Two Palestinian terrorists got onto the bus and started shooting and stabbing passengers. Haim was murdered by the terrorists. The attack took four lives. Haim’s wife was left seriously injured.

Chaim Yechiel Rothman was an orthodox Jew. On the morning of November 17 2014 he was praying in the Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue in Jerusalem. Two Palestinian terrorists entered the synagogue, shouted ‘allahu akbar’ and began slaughtering the Jewish congregation. One of the terrorists was shooting at point blank range, the other was hacking at people with a meat cleaver. Rabbi Chaim Rothman battled hard but never recovered. He died whilst still in a coma from his injuries in late October 2015 – almost a whole year after the attack. The attack also claimed five other victims.

On Aug 31, 2010 thirty-seven year old Kochava Even Chaim from Beit Hagai caught a lift home with her friends Yitzhak and Talya Ames. Their vehicle was attacked by Palestinian terrorists in a drive by shooting. All four passengers of the vehicle were hit by numerous shots from close range and pronounced dead at the scene. Kochava’s husband was in the initial response medical team that arrived to help the victims, only to discover his wife was amongst them.

On January 9 2007, Emi Haim Elmaliah went to work in his bakery in Eilat, the city he was born and raised in. He had opened the bakery just six months before. A Palestinian terrorist chose the bakery as a soft target for a suicide attack. The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. At the time these factions were fighting each other, and they reasoned that by joining together to kill Jews, they would help heal their own wounds. Emi was one of three civilians who died at the scene.

December 5 2005 Haim Amram, 26, went to the shopping mall in Netanya where he worked as a security guard. Haim would never return home again. A Palestinian suicide bomber attempted to enter the mall to inflict maximum carnage but alert security guards became suspicious and approached the terrorist. Haim paid with his life for his bravery. Five people died in that attack – but for Haim’s actions, it could have been many more.

On February 2 2004, Yehuda Haim, 48, got onto a 14A bus in Jerusalem. Haim was a disabled veteran. Nobody noticed the Palestinian terrorist who got on the bus. The suicide attack took place at about 8:30 a.m. as the crowded, rush-hour bus was making its way downtown. The terrorist murdered eight people, including Haim. Haim is survived by his wife and three children.

Revealed: These are the corona supplies the Mossad hunted down for Israel
The full list of medical supplies, including some 80 million surgical masks, that the Mossad hunted down and brought to Israel during the coronavirus crisis was revealed by the Hebrew website Ynet on Tuesday.

Information about the supplies the Mossad secured for the Jewish state came on the same day that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, outgoing Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov and other top officials attended a ceremony marking the end of the IDF’s involvement with the National Coronavirus Control Center at Sheba Medical Center.

There are 14 million more masks on their way to Israel, Ynet said.

In addition, the Mossad brought 180 million pairs of gloves and hundreds of millions of medical drugs to help ailing persons and 1,300 ventilators. Another 4,700 ventilators have been ordered and are expected to arrive in the country by October, in time for a potential second wave.

Finally, the spy agency brought around two million coronavirus test kits.

At the parting ceremony, Cohen said that while he and his agents "don’t have any medical expertise,” they were able to bring “the spirit of the Mossad” into the daily operations undertaken to curb the the coronavirus health threat.

On Tuesday, the responsibility over coordinating the delivery of supplies to Israel was transferred from the Mossad to the Health Ministry.
Diaspora Affairs minister: Israel to support Jews abroad hit by COVID-19
New Diaspora Affairs Minister MK Omer Yankelevich pledged the “unconditional commitment” of the State of Israel to Jewish communities in the Diaspora, and said that both Israelis and Diaspora Jews must work with mutual respect towards each other.

Yankelevich made her comments Tuesday afternoon during a roundtable discussion conducted between officials of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and the Jewish Agency, including its chairman Isaac Herzog, to discuss ways to assist Jewish communities around the world who have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The discussion in which representatives from other government ministries as well as major Jewish organizations looked at five issues of concern for Jewish communities around the world in light of the public health crisis, including the need for rehabilitation and assistance, effectively collecting and distributing aid, promoting unity and mutual responsibility assessing educational needs, and tackling antisemitism.

Herzog lauded the discussion held via an online video conference, saying that it was “the first time in the history of the State of Israel, we established a formal forum to assist Jewish communities around the world,” and described it as a “paradigm shift.”

Herzog said the session was not an ad hoc emergency response to help a specific community, but rather an initiative “to assist communities through a rehabilitation period that is expected to be long and, in some cases, grueling.”

Speaking in introductory remarks, Yankelevich said generally that “There is no place for divisiveness in our Jewish world today,” during the video-conference roundtable discussion.
In virtual international hackathon, teams to tackle coronavirus challenges
Some 500 software developers from around the world are expected to work online together for 24 hours to seek ways to meet the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Hackathon Day, to be held on May 29-31, has been organized by Julien van Dorland from the Netherlands and Nir Kouris from Israel.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is backing the initiative with the support of partners, startups, and firms from Israel, UK, The Netherlands, Poland, Italy, and other countries. Participants will use artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, robots and drones to try and solve a variety of challenges in a variety of fields, including health and fitness, work and economy, education, music and entertainment, travel and mobility, sustaining the elderly and protecting the environment. Microsoft is one of the sponsors of the event.

Teams will be asked to find ways to help reduce the spread of the virus, boost remote work or help small businesses with the economic challenges they are facing as a side effect of the pandemic. Creating better educational online tools will also be one of the challenges, along with finding ways for artists and musicians to find alternative ways to perform, as concerts are cancelled because of infection concerns. Finding ways to help travelers reach their destinations safely and finding ideas to help the elderly overcome isolation requirements will also be part of the challenges.
Japanese interest in Israeli startups escalates
Hosted from Tel Aviv, the "Big in Japan" webinar discussed how despite Covid-19 and perhaps because of it, Japanese interest in Israeli startups is growing.

"The need of corporations to save on costs during the coronavirus, might lead to a certain slowdown and the appetite for innovation might shrink, or on the other hand, this is an excellent time to find out who is really thinking like a major player in working with startups and who is a player that's faking it and disappears at the moment of truth," said Nobuyuki Akimoto, Managing Director of AT Partners, a Japanese venture capital fund that invests in Israeli funds. He was talking at the "Big in Japan" webinar hosted from Tel Aviv.

Akimoto added, "The money for the most part comes from corporations to venture capital funds, and so the corporations are the very important players in the Japanese ecosystem."

Yinnon Dolev, Head of the Israel Digital Lab of Japanese insurance giant Sompo, said, "There will now be pressure on the corporations to cut expenditure and to become more efficient, and consequently startups will be required to show their economic advantages and especially how with their help it is possible to streamline work and cut costs. Unfortunately, most presentations by Israeli startups focus on what we can do and how we can increase your ability and that's great. But what is your ability to help me as a corporation to cut costs? A large corporation will find it difficult to adopt any new technology without the strong marketing value and so the key to entering Japan is the need to create this effectiveness and present it to the corporations."

Dolev continued, "During the coronavirus period, there began an increase in interest by the Japanese in innovation in the health system. This is different from what we see in the American health system, which is working under pressure and must speed up regulatory procedures in order to bring things to market as swiftly as possible. Compared with the US, the cost of a home visit from the doctor in Japan is not high and so they are generally conducted face to face but at the moment, the system understands that there are efficiencies in health services through digital means. In this context, we see an increase in demand by Japan for technologies in the health sector and I assume that this will only continue to grow." (h/t Zvi)
Greece to welcome Israelis, Germans, Cypriots in first wave of visitors
Greece will allow travellers from around two dozen countries including Germany, Cyprus and Israel to visit from mid-June without having to be quarantined, government officials said, part of a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Tourism accounts for about 20% of the Greek economy and the government sees the sector as a major engine of its recovery from a lockdown that has brought business to a virtual standstill.

“There will be some 20-25 countries whose nationals will be allowed to come,” a government source said, adding that the list would include Cyprus, Israel and countries in central Europe and the Balkans. The full list would be announced this week.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has said Germans will be allowed to visit Greece from June 15. He has also said that international flights to the northern city of Thessaloniki would resume on June 15, sooner than an initial planned date of July 1.

Greece currently allows citizens from all EU countries except Italy, Spain and the Netherlands to fly into Athens but they are then subject to a 14-day confinement. Visitors from Britain and other non-EU countries are also currently barred from entering Greece.

Italy, Spain and Britain have all seen high rates of infection from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. Greece has weathered the coronavirus crisis relatively well, with just 2,892 confirmed cases and 173 deaths.
Fake Israeli coronavirus vaccine being sold in South America
A fake and potentially dangerous coronavirus vaccine is being sold in South America, MIGAL (The Galilee Research Institute) said late Tuesday.

Boxes with MIGAL’s Hebrew logo that contain small sealed vials of the fake vaccine and a set of counterfeit instructions for use - also in Hebrew - were discovered, a company release said.

The institute immediately informed the Foreign and Health ministries of the issue, which immediately intervened. The World Health Organization was contacted, as well as the health ministries in several South American countries.

An in-depth investigation is underway. Already, according to MIGAL CEO David Zigdon, one seller in Ecuador was found to be selling the fake vaccines for $380 each.

The release added that MIGAL’s website was recently also the target of a massive cyberattack.

The research institute has been in the headlines over the past several months of the coronavirus crisis because it is working on developing a novel COVID-19 vaccine. (h/t Zvi)
SNP MSP Richard Lyle ‘insults all Palestinians’
AN SNP MSP has been accused of “vile” behaviour after he described the 1948 exodus of 750,000 Palestinians, or Nakba, as a “self-inflicted tragedy”.

Richard Lyle, deputy convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Building Bridges With Israel group, made the controversial claim in a Holyrood motion. The Scottish Greens’ Ross Greer accused Lyle of “blaming the victims of ethnic cleansing for the crimes committed against them”.

The Morning Star revealed the Uddingston and Bellshill MSP had tried to attach the phrase to a motion condemning the Nakba tabled by fellow SNP MSP Sandra White. Lyle claimed his amendment was “designed to provoke discussion”.

Nakba, meaning “catastrophe”, refers to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fleeing or being expelled from their homes in 1948 after Israel declared independence.

Earlier this month, White lodged a parliamentary motion to mark the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba on May 15.

It said the “mass eviction of over 750,000 people from historic Palestine land, which included the destruction of over 500 towns and villages ... led to generations of pain for the Palestinian people, who continue to live under a state of occupation”.

Last week, Lyle tabled an amendment to the motion which said Nabka was “a self-inflicted tragedy, which must, after all these years, be finally resolved by peaceful means and discussions between the parties involved”.

The amendment has so far been supported by Tory MSP Adam Tomkins, and fellow SNP MSP David Torrance.

Nadia El-Nakla, convenor of SNP Friends of Palestine, said Lyle’s remarks were “not just a revision of history but also an insult to every Palestinian worldwide”.
Starmer 'ready to launch Wavertree inquiry' after Labour MP is criticised for expressing regret over Berger exit
Sir Keir Starmer is expected to launch an investigation into Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party after an email was circulated by local officials attacking their own MP for telling a Jewish newspaper that she regretted the fact that her predecessor Luciana Berger had left the party.

Paula Barker, who replaced Ms Berger as the Wavertree MP at the last general election, wrote an article in the local Jewish Telegraph newspaper last week in which she said: “Luciana leaving the Labour Party was a shock to many and I find it deeply regrettable that she felt she could no longer stay…”

The Labour MP also wrote of her hope that the relationship between her party and the local Jewish community could start to improve.

But in a furious response, published in the Wavertree CLP Members Bulletin, four members of the local executive committee put their names to a statement which accuses Ms Barker of reiterating an “inaccurate and factionally motivated position on antisemitism”.

They also write of their “disappointment and hurt” over Ms Barker’s position, accusing her of failing to mention Jewish critics of Israel in her article which they say “reflected the influence of a partial view that claims to speak for all Jewish people.”

The email - signed by CLP chair Nina Houghton, secretary Kevin Bean, and two other officials - states that the four are “deeply dismayed to be placed in the position of needing to correct the misleading impressions fostered by Paula’s article and, yet again, set the record straight about Ms Berger’s departure from our party.”

Denying any suggestion of anti-Jewish racism with the local Labour party in relation to Ms Berger, they claim “our political disagreement with her was cynically attributed to bullying, harassment and antisemitism on our part.”

US Jewish Leaders Praise Oklahoma’s Adoption of Anti-BDS Law
The passage of a bill in Oklahoma to counter the campaign to subject Israel to boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) was warmly praised by the umbrella organization representing US Jewish advocacy groups on Tuesday.

“We welcome Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s signing of legislation that prohibits Oklahoma from contracting with companies that boycott Israel,” a statement from Arthur Stark, chairman, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations declared.

Oklahoma became the 30th US state to adopt an anti-BDS law when it passed the bill on May 15 — a few days after legislators in the Missouri state assembly passed a similar measure.

In their statement, the Conference of Presidents executives added that they “look forward to the remaining states rejecting the pernicious BDS campaign in the days ahead.”

Israel is Oklahoma’s 12th-largest trading partner, accounting for nearly $104 million of the state’s exports.
Irish parties consider Occupied Territories Bill in gov't coalition talks
Fianna Fáil, a center-right political party in Ireland, and the center-left Green Party are being urged by political figures in Ireland to include the Occupied Territories Bill in its agenda, which would ban and criminalize trade and economic support of Israeli West Bank settlements, according to a Irish Examiner report.

Meanwhile, the report noted that Fine Gael, a centrist political party and coalition partner of Fianna Fáil under a rotational agreement, is opposed to the bill, saying such bans need to be implemented at the level of the European Union.

Betty Purcell, a representative Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, has suggested that public support for the bill may push the centrist party to support the Occupied Territories Bill in its current form.

"If the EU wishes to increase pressure, then that could be a 'let-out' for Fine Gael, that they may be prepared to allow progress on the bill, but up to now we have not seen any sign of that," Purcell said.

"Their policy seems to be about Europe, and we need to depend on the Irish population, and hopefully principled people within Fianna Fáil and The Greens," she added.

The Occupied Territories Bill was originally passed in the Seanad (Irish Senate) in July of 2018 by 25 votes to 20, after getting support from Independent, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour party senators.

Renewed discussions of the Occupied Territories Bill comes following the 2020 Irish general election in February that saw a surge in support for the left-wing Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, raising concerns in Israel due to the party's close historical support of the Palestinian positions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the former military wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Canadian tax dollars may be funding groups with terrorist links through UN relief package
Canadian tax dollars may be funding non-governmental organizations that have ties to Canadian designated terrorist organizations and anti-Israel projects.

In a report prepared by the organization NGO Monitor, the Trudeau government is shown to have given nearly $1.9 million dollars to the United Nation's botched COVID-19 response plan.

With this money, the UN and the WHO have funded several groups with ties to the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine: a group that is recognized as a terrorist organization by Israel, the EU, the US and Canada.

As well as this, NGO Monitor claims that in some instances "existing NGO advocacy ventures, which often involve anti-Israel rhetoric and agendas, have been relabeled 'COVID- 19,' without a substantive contribution to emergency humanitarian aid."

This money was instead used to fund "anti-Israel advocacy ventures" without any substantive contributions given to people within their communities.

As a result of this, the Canadian public are indirectly funding groups that either employ anti-Israel rhetoric, or who have overt ties to terrorist organizations.

Addressing this issue, Senator Linda Frum said that "UN coronavirus aid is going to Palestinian terror-linked groups including money from Canada—for purposes not necessarily to do with virus relief but rather political activity."
ADL blames anti-Zionist student group for anti-Israel radicalism on campus
The Anti-Defamation League has pointed to the radical, anti-Zionist Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization as being responsible for some of the most severe incidents of vilification and demonization of Israel on US campuses in a new report released on Wednesday.

During the course of 2019, Jewish students frequently encountered allegations that Zionism is racist, a form of white supremacism, and akin to various other extremist ideologies by groups such as SJP, as well as others such as the hard left Jewish Voice for Peace group.

And college professors and lecturers were also been involved in the vilification of Israel and Zionism, contributing to Jewish students’ unease at times on their campuses.

The ADL report called on campus administrators and faculty to take a series of steps to address anti-Israel incidents and antisemitism on campus, including accurate charting of trends in the ways bias manifests on campus, establishing a reporting mechanism to assist administrators and campus leaders in preventing incidents that rise to the level of criminal or civilly liable behavior and programming to create a more equitable and inclusive campus.

The demonization of Zionism was one of the most common themes in anti-Israel incidents on college campuses during 2019.

In November 2019, SJP at California State University at Fullerton erected an “apartheid wall” exhibit that included a panel with a message reading “Zionism=racism.”

In April 2019, the New York University chapter of SJP compared Zionism to hateful ideologies, tweeting “We are UNITED against racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, Zionism, and Islamophobia.”

German MP resigns from Palestinian NGO over support for BDS - EXCLUSIVE
The Jerusalem Post can confirm that German politician Olaf in der Beek resigned from the German-Palestinian Society on Tuesday because the organization’s advisory board did not reject the antisemitic boycott campaign against the Jewish state.

In der Beek’s office told the Post on Wednesday that the Free Democratic Party (FDP) MP announced to the FDP faction in the parliament that he resigned from the German-Palestinian Society because the advisory board refuses to reject BDS.

The Post learned from in der Beek’s office that members of the advisory board of the German-Palestinian Society showed no interest in distancing themselves from BDS.

In February, in der Beek introduced an anti-BDS resolution to the German-Palestinian advisory board that was identical to the anti-BDS measure passed by the Bundestag in May 2019. The resolution declared the BDS campaign an antisemitic movement.

In der Beek’s FDP has taken the lead within the German parliament in combating contemporary antisemitism targeting Israel.

There are currently three German MPs on the board of the German-Palestinian Society, from the Social Democratic party, the Green party and the Left party.

Private Eye is again clueless in Gaza
Further in the article, it asks: “Will [Israel] stop blocking foreign medical aid”?

However, other than the few exceptions mentioned by the writer (dual-use items, like radio isotopes used for certain x-ray scanners), there are no restrictions on medical aid to Gaza – and none whatsoever for COVID-19 related medical supplies. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, the United Nations reported that, as of late April, it had “delivered more than 1 million essential supplies such as lab equipment, personal protective gear and thousands of COVID-19 tests” to Gaza.

In the final paragraph, it’s suggested that Israel doesn’t allow seriously ill Palestinians in Gaza to enter Israel of the West Bank for hospitalization. But, again, this isn’t true. Even during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of patients (and their companions) from Gaza were permitted to cross the border to get medical care in Israel or the PA – according to the most recent data from the anti-Israel NGO GISHA.

The final sentence of the piece, imploring Israel to “allow NGOs, medical equipment and food” into Gaza, represents an even more egregious lie, as there are no restrictions whatsoever on the import of food into the Hamas-run territory.

In addition to these outright errors, the article misses a broader point: that, since the outbreak of the pandemic in the region, there’s been unprecedented cooperation between Israel and the PA and, to some degree, even between Israel and Gaza. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, praised the coordination between the Israeli and Palestine authorities in reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On its website, the UN wrote the following:
Since the beginning of the crisis, Israel has allowed the entry of critical supplies and equipment into Gaza: examples of critical supplies include swabs for collection of samples and other laboratory supplies required for COVID-19 testing, and Personal Protective Equipment to protect health workers. The statement also noted Israel’s cooperation in allowing health workers and other personnel involved in the COVID-19 response to move in and out of the West Bank and Gaza.

The central argument of the Private Eye piece, that Israel is putting Palestinian lives at risk by refusing to allow COVID-19 related medical supplies to Gaza, is completely untrue.
BBC News’ Gaza Strip healthcare messaging persists
When the Coronavirus pandemic became the BBC’s lead story back in mid-March audiences saw a spate of reports warning of catastrophe in the Gaza Strip due to factors including population density, poverty and an inadequate healthcare system.

As we observed at the time, many of those reports promoted the false notion that the state of healthcare in the Gaza Strip is primarily attributable to counter-terrorism measures imposed by Israel and Egypt following the 2007 violent take-over of the territory by the terrorist organisation Hamas. Notably, the same messaging was promoted at the time in campaigns run by political NGOs.

Audiences were however not given any significant information on how infighting between Hamas and Fatah – along with Hamas’ prioritisation of terror over civilian welfare – has affected the standard of living and services such as water, power and healthcare in the Gaza Strip.

Fortunately, the BBC’s stark predictions did not transpire and that wave of reporting waned after several weeks. However messaging concerning healthcare in the Gaza Strip has not completely disappeared from BBC content.
BBC News ignores potential outcome of Abbas declaration
May 20th saw the appearance of an article headlined “Palestinians ‘ending accords with Israel and US’ over annexation plan” on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page which opened as follows:
“Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has said he is ending “all agreements” with Israel and the United States in response to Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.”

Such “plans” have of course yet to be presented to the cabinet (with the earliest date for doing so set at July 1st) and if approved would subsequently require further approval by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as well as the Knesset. The BBC’s report did rightly inform readers that:
“Similar warnings in the past have ultimately not been followed through.”

The article continued with a portrayal of the US ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan which excluded its proposed land swaps:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to apply Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley.

The move would be in line with US President Donald Trump’s “vision for peace” between Israel and the Palestinians, which was unveiled in January.

Mr Trump’s plan also envisages a Palestinian state in about 70% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and with its capital on the fringes of East Jerusalem.”

As has been the case in all its preemptive reporting (see ‘related articles’ below) on the topic of the as yet theoretical plan to apply Israeli civil law to parts of Area C, the BBC made no effort to provide audiences with the relevant background concerning that territory, including its allocation by the League of Nations for the establishment of a Jewish homeland and its occupation by Jordan in 1948. Instead, readers found the BBC’s standard mantra in which history begins in June 1967.
US Senate committee votes to upgrade status of anti-Semitism czar
The US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has approved upgrading the role of the US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism to that of an ambassador.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomes the move, which it says will provide the role “with additional prominence and visibility on the world stage.” It says the post “plays a critically important part in the global fight against the increasingly urgent threat of resurgent anti-Semitism around the world.”

The committee also passed the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2020, approving the allocation of $3.8 billion annually in US aid to Israel as part of a 2016 10-year memorandum of understanding between the countries.

The measures now move to the full Senate for approval.
Neo-Nazi Spotted With Antisemitic Sign at Ohio Protest Later Sought to Kill Jews at Kent State
An Ohio man who was seen brandishing an antisemitic sign at a protest in Columbus, Ohio, in April also threatened to kill Jews at Kent State University in a separate incident in early May.

The Cleveland Jewish News reported that Jackie Congedo – the director of the Cincinnati Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council — spoke about the incident during a webinar on coronavirus-related antisemitism last week.

Describing a man at the Columbus protest who was carrying a sign that portrayed a religious Jew as a rat under the words “the real plague,” Congedo said, “Fast forward several weeks after this protest and law enforcement is actually investigating a subsequent incident where we know that he entered a convenience store around the anniversary of the Kent State shooting in that area wearing a black T-shirt with a Nazi symbol and swastika, black tactical pants and boots, a Nazi tattoo on the back of his head.”

“And he had a hatchet and a machete, and he was asking where he could find Jews,” Congedo said. “He told the clerk he was an Aryan Brother, for those of you who may not be familiar with the Aryan Brotherhood, which is a Nazi organization, and he said that he intended to go to Kent State to find Jews.”

The incident apparently took place on May 3.

Kent State University Hillel’s executive director, Adam Hirsh, corroborated Congedo’s account, saying that his organization had been notified and law enforcement had taken appropriate action to ensure the safety of Jewish students.
More than 2,000 antisemitic crimes in Germany, highest rate since 2001
Antisemitic crime was at its highest since 2001 in Germany, authorities announced on Wednesday, with more than 2,000 crimes targeting Jews in 2019. The number of antisemitic crimes in 2019 was 13% higher than it was in 2018.

The Berlin paper Tagesspiegel reported, “most offenses against Jews are assigned to right-wing offenders. The most brutal attack was the attack by Stephan Balliet on the synagogue in Halle in October. Balliet tried unsuccessfully to open the door to the fully occupied synagogue and then, in his anger, killed two passersby.”

The neo-Nazi Balliet was wedded to an antisemitic world view that included the “Zionist-occupied government” theory.

Germany’s statistical data about the causes of antisemitism have faced criticism over the years.

In 2017, German paper Die Welt reported an outbreak of Islamic-animated antisemitism was registered as right-wing extremism. According to the report, “the Islamic share of antisemitic offenses is clearly under-counted in police statistics.”

German Parliament Poised to Appoint Military Rabbis for First Time in 100 Years
The German parliament is set to approve the appointment of rabbis to provide pastoral care to Jewish members of the country’s armed services for the first time in over a century.

The parliament is expected to back the measure in a vote on Thursday, the Jüdische Allgemeine news outlet reported on Tuesday.

The anticipated move follows an agreement reached last December between the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Ministry of Defense. Ten rabbis are expected to assume their posts later this year.

According to federal government estimates, there are approximately 300 Jews serving in the Bundeswehr, Germany’s unified defense force.

Around 3,000 Muslims are also believed to be serving, and similar plans are being made for the appointment of imams.

The 90,000 identified Christians in the armed forces are served by chaplains from several denominations.

Under German regulations, military personnel provide details of their religious affiliation on a voluntary basis only.
In memory of the El Al Captain who flew Adolf Eichmann to justice
Sixty years ago, at dawn on May 22, 1960, El Al captains Zvi Tohar and Shmuel Wedeles guided their four-engine Bristol Britannia passenger airliner out of the heavens toward Lod Airport near Tel Aviv. The plane was painted in brilliant white – dovelike. The royal blue Star of David on the tale rudder glistened in the morning sun.

When the wheels gripped the runway, both Tohar and Wedeles breathed a sigh of relief, after completing their long-distance flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a span filled with intrigue and danger.

Probably the most famous landing in world history was the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle’s touchdown on the moon, July 20, 1969. Just as the Eagle’s lunar landing was a triumph for technology, the landing of the aircraft piloted by Tohar and Wedeles on that May morning in 1960 was a triumph for justice; for seated aboard the plane in the first-class cabin was the notorious architect of the Nazi’s “Final Solution,” Adolf Eichmann.

The irony is that the Jews, systematically hunted down by Eichmann in every fissure and crack and ghetto in Europe, their gaunt bodies crammed and pressed by strong Aryan backs into cattle cars with no ventilation or light, not being afforded so much as a minimal mercy in their transport to the death camps, even offered Eichmann a seat at all, let alone one in first class.

The part the late Wedeles played in the Mossad’s dramatic capture of Eichmann is of particular interest to me because he was the husband of my father’s cousin, Pnina (Boxerman) Wedeles.
Texas Holocaust Survivor Celebrates 100th Birthday With Drive-By Car Parade
A Holocaust survivor in Texas was surprised with a parade of drive-by visitors on Sunday in honor of his 100th birthday.

A procession of cars and visitors — who were practicing social distancing and wearing masks — drove by Heinz Wallach’s home to help him celebrate the milestone.

The parade was organized by his daughter, Tamar Leventhal, with the help of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

The gesture left Wallach “speechless,” he told CBS DFW, while Leventhal said, “I’ve been emotional the last two weeks putting it all together and realizing how many people love my father.”

Born in Kassel, Germany, Wallach’s family home was destroyed during Kristallnacht, the pogrom carried out against Jews across Nazi Germany on Nov. 9, 1938. Wallach and his father were then sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. His mother, father and sister died in the Holocaust.

After being released from Buchenwald, Wallach joined a Zionist organization and on Aug. 15, 1940, he joined a group immigrating to pre-state Israel, according to the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

The journey by sea took several months, but ultimately Wallach’s ship was bombed when it was just off the coast of Haifa. More than 250 people died, but Wallach survived by jumping overboard and he was eventually rescued. After spending a year in a British detention camp, he went to live on a kibbutz.
Would-be Hitler assassin and Holocaust survivor Henry Wermuth dies aged 97
A Holocaust survivor who once attempted a solo mission to kill Germany’s Nazi wartime leader Adolf Hitler by derailing his train has died in London.

Henry Wermuth was 97 when he passed away from organ failure on May 19, the Times of London reported in an obituary. He had recently recovered from a suspected bout of COVID-19. He is survived by his wife Ilana, whom he met after the war, and their two daughters.

Wermuth was the sole survivor among his family. He eventually settled in London, where he built a successful real estate business. He was also a Holocaust educator, telling his story at schools across the UK.

He wrote his memoirs during the 1980s as well as four works of fiction.

Wermuth’s most famous escapade was his attempt on Hitler’s life, for which he was awarded a medal by the German government several decades after the end of the war.

Wermuth was a 19-year-old inmate at a labor camp in Poland in 1942 when he took upon himself to change the course of history, the elderly Holocaust survivor’s daughter Ilana Metzger told The Daily Mail.

At the time, Wermuth was imprisoned, along with his father, at the Klaj ammunition camp in Poland after having been deported from Frankfurt and separated from his mother and sister. Security was not as tight as in concentration camps and he managed to befriend a disgruntled German soldier, Metzger recounted.

One day, the soldier confided in him that Hitler was scheduled to pass through the small Polish village on a train bound for the Russian front, where he was planning to visit German troops in the wake of their devastating losses in their assault on Stalingrad.

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