Thursday, May 28, 2020

From Ian:

Questioning the Legitimacy of Israel's Existence Is Anti-Semitic
Does the U.S. have a right to exist? Is the U.S. military a terrorist organization? Most Americans would reject these questions as unreasonable and unfair. Yet the Stanford community widely accepts these questions as justified when "U.S." is replaced with "Israel."

As an Israeli-American student, I'm constantly asked to defend my nationality. Mentioning Israel, or even Hebrew, on campus immediately eliminates any of the social norms that empower us to respectfully engage in conversation. But questioning the legitimacy of Israel's very existence is anti-Semitic. Jews have a right to self-determination and national aspirations, just like all other people.

Jewish nationalism stems from the constant marginalization and forced migration Jews have faced. I am a Zionist because my grandfather deserved a safe home after he was forced to flee Iraq in 1936, because my grandmother needed security after escaping Nazi-controlled Austria, and because my other grandmother has the right to continue her ninth-generation lineage of living in Jerusalem.

The increasingly common belief that Zionism fundamentally denies Palestinians humanity or a homeland is both inaccurate and anti-Semitic. If the slander or abhorrent language were directed toward any other nationality, it would never be tolerated. Denying me, an Israeli citizen, protection from harassment and ignorance at Stanford is a tremendous oversight on the part of a community that prides itself on diversity, tolerance and open scholarly discourse.

Honest Reporting: The Guardian Ignores Intifada’s Role in Ending Two-State Solution Hopes
When it comes to media bias against Israel, often enough the problem isn’t simply in the content, but what is not in the content.

Take for example a puff piece published in the Guardian on 25 May, entitled “What else happened as coronavirus swept the globe.” The article, written by Michael Safi, brings together a variety of big stories from the last few months and attempts to repackage them so as to provide the Guardian with fresh content.

The final main item, entitled “The end of the two-state solution?” frames the impending partial annexation of areas in Samaria and in Judea, as the death knell for hopes of a peace resulting from a Palestinian state arising in coexistence alongside Israel.

The Guardian’s writers have every right to their perspective – but theirs is not the only one. One held by many Israelis, and the driving force behind the current Israeli administration’s moves to annex these lands, is that the two-state solution is already long dead.
What Really Killed A Two-State Solution?

The peace process of the 1990s initially generated huge optimism in parts of Israeli society and much of the West, especially when it resulted in Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat ceremoniously signing the Oslo Accords on 13 September 1993.

However, it’s often noted that the heady days of the mid-90s, when the hope that Israelis and Palestinians could finally move forward and make peace was pervasive, gave way to the shock and horror of the early 2000s, when wave after bloody wave of Palestinian terror left millions in Israel in utter despair.

Simplification that may be, but it neatly encapsulates the feeling in Israel after seemingly making so much headway in the pursuit of peace, only to be violently rebuffed. The prospect of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, once so tangible, faded into the ether and came to be treated by many as a dangerous, alluring mirage.
Without Communist China, Would Palestinian Terrorism Have Become Such a Menace?
Brief history: communists under Mao Zedong consolidate control of China by 1952. The surviving nationalists retreat to Taiwan and set up shop there as a separate country. At the same time, China was fighting on the side of communist North Korea against the United States/United Nations.

Israel recognized the People’s Republic in 1950; China did not reciprocate until 1992. In 1964, China was tilting heavily in favor of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

Tilting is too weak a description. Communist China was the PLO’s greatest supporter outside the Middle East, according to captured files Haaretz’s Shaina Oppenheimer wrote about last August.

A few paragraphs out of Oppenheimer’s long and fascinating story drive the point home of how pivotal communist China was to the PLO and to fomenting chaos around the world.
(Historian Lillian Craig) Harris suggested that the aid provided was an overlooked point in history in which China — unlike other “half-hearted” nations such as the Soviet Union — consistently advised the Palestinians and truly invested in their revolutionary cause.

In the late ’60s, the attention given by the Chinese to the Palestinian struggle was the most significant of any nation other than neighboring Arab states.

As relations with the PLO were cemented, Beijing also began cultivating national liberation movements as part of a local, strategic front against imperialism, aiming to revolutionize both China and neighboring countries. Communist parties influenced by Chairman Mao Zedong began to emerge in Malaysia, Vietnam, India and, most notably, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Vietnam…the Khmer Rouge… The Khmer Rouge alone killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians in the 1960s and 1970s, making China responsible for murders by the millions beyond the estimated 65 million of its own people Mao’s communists murdered during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Add North Korea into that too. China enables that regime.

Why did China support the Palestinians?
In March 1965, Mao famously told a PLO delegation: “Imperialism is afraid of China and of the Arabs. Israel and Formosa [Taiwan] are bases of imperialism in Asia. You are the front gate of the great continent, and we are the rear. They created Israel for you, and Formosa for us. … The West does not like us, and we must understand this fact. The Arab battle against the West is the battle against Israel. So boycott Europe and America, O Arabs!”
(h/t jzaik)

Coronavirus and the Middle East
The collateral damage of the pandemic will be extremely meaningful for the Middle East beyond the direct medical implications. The sharp fall in oil prices resulting from reduced demand has badly hit the economies of oil-producing Arab countries. Countries that rely heavily on tourism (Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and, to a lesser extent, Israel) have suffered severely from the total halt in visitors.

Government credibility all over the region has been challenged because of suspiciously low official figures on coronavirus victims. In Lebanon, unemployment has passed 40%, and there is a general expectation of a Hizbullah takeover. The Turkish lira has fallen again, and President Erdogan's popularity is in sharp decline. It is almost certain that Turkey's economic problems will have a significant influence on its intervention in Syria and Libya.

The Palestinian issue has been pushed to the sidelines. One sees more and more people - mainly on social media - saying openly that they no longer care about the "Palestinian cause." The Arabic hashtag "Palestine is not my problem" has spread all over social media, though many oppose it.

Every state in the region stands alone in its struggle against the virus and its ramifications. No one speaks of an Arab - let alone an Islamic - fraternity or solidarity, ideas that have been revealed once again as hollow rhetorical slogans.
One-Minute Electro-Optical Coronavirus Test Developed at Ben-Gurion University
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Prof. Gabby Sarusi has developed a one-minute electro-optical test of nose, throat or breath samples that will identify both asymptomatic and affected carriers of the COVID-19 virus in under one minute with greater than 90% accuracy.

Each test kit will cost approximately $50, which is far less costly than standard, laboratory-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. The BGU test is based on an electro-optical system that detects and identifies biological samples. It does not require a lab environment so it can be deployed at critical locations such as airports, border crossings, stadiums, and other environments, as well as healthcare facilities where rapid testing is required.

Initial clinical trials completed with the Israel Defense Ministry on more than 150 Israelis had a better than 90% success rate. The ongoing trials will compare samples from COVID-19 patients with samples of patients with other diseases to detect the presence as well as the specific stage of COVID-19 infection.

"Right from the beginning of the trials, we received statistically significant results in line with our simulations and actual PCR tests that were conducted in parallel," says Prof. Sarusi, deputy head of research at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a faculty member of the Electro-Optical Engineering Unit at BGU. "We are now validating the robustness of the test and preparing to submit for FDA accelerated approval."
Tel Aviv restaurants, bars packed on first night open since virus shutdown
Thousands of Israelis flocked to Tel Aviv’s restaurants and bars on Wednesday evening, their first chance to do so since the coronavirus shutdown in mid-March.

Wednesday marked the first day since mid-March that restaurants and cafes were allowed to open after the lockdown, and virus fears remained present in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv earlier in the day, leaving some locations half empty.

But by nightfall, things picked up, with many taking the advice of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who urged people to celebrate, but responsibly.

“We want to make your life easier, to allow you to go out and get life back to normal, to have a cup of coffee and to drink a beer,” he said in a video Tuesday announcing the reopening.

More than 120,000 Israelis made reservations to ensure they got a spot on the first night, Channel 12 reported, noting that in Tel Aviv, many bars and restaurants said they were operating at 95% capacity and no reservations were to be had until after the weekend.
Higher education institutions, youth groups to restart Sunday with restrictions
Higher education institutions will reopen on a wider basis from Sunday and youth movements will also be permitted to resume operations, it was decided Thursday.

The announcement was made by Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Education Minister Yoav Gallant and Higher Education Minister Ze’ev Elkin as the downward trend in nationwide infections continued despite an increase in cases in the reopened education system.

Universities and colleges will be permitted to operate if there are no more than 50 people at any one event or lecture, two meters distance is kept between people unless they are doing an activity requiring physical contact such as sport, and all must be wearing masks.

However, universities and colleges were said to be unhappy that the announcement that classes would resume on Sunday was made on the eve of the Shavuot holiday, meaning there would be no time to prepare.

The Haaretz daily reported that Beersheba’s Ben Gurion University said classes would continue online with the exception of laboratory work and practical training. Other universities were expected to make similar announcements.

In addition, schools and kindergartens are to reopen in areas where they remained shut due to previously being centers of outbreaks, some of which were under lockdown.
French lawmaker Claude Goasguen, staunch Israel supporter, dies of virus aged 75
Claude Goasguen, a Republican deputy and long-time right-wing Parisian figure, died Thursday morning of a heart attack brought on by coronavirus, his family told AFP.

In intensive care for the past 22 days because of coronavirus, the former mayor of Paris’s 16th arrondissement was said to have been in a “much better condition and was walking again,” but subsequently experienced cardiac complications and died at 9:00 a.m.

A supporter of an “uninhibited” right, Goasguen was chairman of the France-Israel parliamentary friendship group and was a long-time supporter of Israeli policies. In 2017, he called to transfer the French embassy to Jerusalem, aligning with the United States.

He repeatedly expressed his rejection of anti-Semitism and participated in numerous events held by the Parisian Jewish community.

“I am in total solidarity with Israel, my great regret is that I am not a Jew myself,” he said last year.
Israeli MDs fly to enemy Sudan in failed bid to save diplomat behind secret ties
Israel sent a plane with medical staff and equipment to Sudan in an attempt to save the life of a diplomat sick with COVID-19, who managed the clandestine ties between Jerusalem and Khartoum, Channel 13 reported Wednesday.

But 24 hours after their arrival, Najwa Gadaheldam passed away, just days after contracting the virus.

The plane landed in Khartoum on Tuesday carrying a senior official involved in ties with Sudan, medical staff and equipment, after hearing of her illness, according to the television report. The visiting team planned to transport Gadaheldam to Israel for treatment, but arrived too late, when she was already in critical condition.

The two countries are formally at war, and the story would likely have remained under wraps had the plane not been flagged on flight-tracking websites due to its unusual route.

During Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ministers that he had spoken on the phone with Sudan’s leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to send holiday wishes ahead of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Channel 13 speculated that Gadaheldam’s condition likely came up during the call as well.

Serving as al-Burhan’s political adviser Gadaheldam had been a key figure behind burgeoning clandestine relations between Khartoum and Jerusalem which climaxed in February with meeting between the Sudanese leader and Netanyahu and in Uganda, Channel 13 said.

Netanyahu touted his meeting with al-Burhan as a major foreign relations accomplishment ahead the March election.

Israel and Sudan are “discussing rapid normalization,” Netanyahu said at the time.
Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines to renew Israel flights in mid-June
Lufthansa Group subsidiaries Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines will renew flights to Israel from June 15, the company announced Thursday.

Both carriers will operate three flights a week to and from Ben-Gurion Airport as part of parent company Lufthansa's renewal of flights to 130 destinations by late June.

From the second half of June, flights operated by Brussels Airlines between Brussels Airport and Ben-Gurion Airport will arrive and depart every Sunday, Monday and Thursday.

Austrian Airlines flights between Vienna International Airport and Ben-Gurion Airport will fly every Sunday, Thursday and Saturday.

"The renewal of Lufthansa Group activity in June, even if partial, is another step in reviving the routine of trade and tourism - which are essential and important for the Israeli economy," said Lufthansa Group Israel general manager Ofer Kisch.

"This renewal also contributes to strengthening the aviation link between Israel, the rest of the company's destinations and the world. You can already see many people who want and need to fly again, whether for vacation or business purposes."

MEMRI: Member Of Qatar-Supported IUMS: Coronavirus Is Divine Retribution For Oppression Of Muslims In China And Elsewhere
On March 9, 2020, the International Union of Muslims Scholars (IUMS), which is supported by Qatar, posted on its website an article by one of its members, Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Razzaq Qassoum, who is also chair of the Association of Algerian Muslim ‘Ulama. In the article he described the coronavirus pandemic as a sign heralding Judgement Day and as divine punishment for the oppression of Muslims in China, Palestine and other parts of the world. He expressed puzzlement at what he called the silence of the Muslims and their leaders in the face of the persecution of their brothers around the world, and even accused some of these leaders of encouraging and abetting this oppression.

The following are translated excerpts from his article.[1]
“These days the world and the people are shaken… by the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which killed thousands of people in China and [then] spread like wildfire to every part of the world. The pandemic confounded hospital doctors and kept laboratory workers awake at night. All of China’s abilities, economic power and technologies did not avail it, and neither did its ideologies. The pandemic confounded the planes in the skies and the harbors and airports on the ground. It forced people to wear masks, forced travelers from China to go into quarantine, and made holiday resorts irrelevant…

“The world was shaken by the appearance of the Chinese virus, as the panic spread to every country and every laboratory in the hospitals and clinics mobilized to stop it. But ideological China has suffered another plague, an ideological one, manifest in the quiet political persecution of millions of Chinese Muslims who did nothing wrong, other than be Muslim.

“Bless you, Allah, for [branding] the body of the Chinese giant with signs heralding the coming of Judgement Day. You exposed the helplessness [of this giant], as opposed to your immense power, and avenged the oppressed Chinese Muslims. Today China has two faces: the face of the Chinese plague that afflicts its body, and the face of religious persecution, which sentenced the Chinese Muslims to isolation, oppression and even arrests. So why is it that the world, with all its [different] faiths and ideologies, was outraged by this disease and set forth [to fight it] in the air and on the ground, yet did not bat an eyelash at the torment of the downtrodden Muslims?

“This is a world full of contrasts, whose power-balances, formulas and standards are awry. It is preoccupied with the ‘Deal of the Century’ instead of the ‘Trial of the Century.’ This Deal of the Century denies the rights of the oppressed Palestinians, for it robs them of their land and rips it to shreds… while pleasing the aggressive, occupying Zionists, welcoming the oppression they commit, strengthening them and encouraging their erosion [of the Palestinian land]. The ‘free’ and ‘civilized’ world also ignores all the corruption, tyranny and oppression that take place in various [other] places, in more than one country.
Is There a Campus Antisemitism Pandemic?
When Tufts SJP won the Collaboration Award for the antisemitic “Deadly Exchange” campaign, which claims that Israel’s training of US police forces in anti-terror operations harms people of color, the school’s president Anthony Monaco, Provost Nadine Aubry, and Deans James Glaser, Jianmin Qu, and Nancy Thompson issued this statement: “We strongly disapprove of this award in light of SJP’s concerning policy positions, including its association with the BDS movement, elements of which we view as antisemitic.”

Meanwhile, the BDS movement has had zero success off-campus and created a backlash, with Oklahoma this week becoming the 30th state to adopt an anti-BDS law.

Beyond BDS, certain groups have promoted the idea that Jewish students are in physical danger when only a handful of physical altercations affecting Jews have occurred in the last several years. Most incidents on campus are one-off occurrences, such as a swastika drawn on a Hillel building. These are disturbing but have little or no impact on the campus over the course of a year. Also, even as the number of antisemitic incidents surged 12% in our wider community over the last year, the number declined on campus by 7% according to the ADL.

The 186 incidents occurred in a population of 200,000 Jewish students attending hundreds of colleges across the United States, and were spread over the course of a school year. A much higher percentage of students have told pollsters that they have experienced some form of antisemitism; nevertheless, should we regard this as a pandemic?

Even the flu seems a bit of a stretch since the antisemitism virus is not physically hurting students. The current version has some distinctive aspects but differs little from the strain students have suffered with for decades. Sadly, there is no vaccine for the disease of antisemitism. We can treat it with therapeutics like education and attack it with legal measures, but we know it will strike again next year.
Former prof union president slams own org for ‘deplorable honor’ given to anti-Zionist prof accused of ‘harassing’ Jewish student
Former AAUP President and Professor Cary Nelson told Campus Reform that he “would have condemned” Abdulhadi’s “deplorable honor,” calling it a “reward for promoting hatred and discrimination.”

“But I did not have the power to stop it. I would have had one vote,” said Nelson.

Nelson added that the award “reflects the significant number of fierce anti-Zionists in AAUP leadership positions and the organization’s increasing willingness to politicize its identity and social role.”

In a Twitter thread criticizing the AAUP, American-Israeli Philosopher Judea Pearl questioned the group's tax-exempt status and called its praise of Abdulhadi a “POLITICAL statement meant to encourage such activities in the future.”

“I don’t believe such corruption would last one day had members and donors of @AAUP known what is done in their name,” he added.

As part of its mission, the AAUP states that it aims to “advance academic freedom and shared governance,” to “define fundamental professional values and standards for higher education” and to “promote the economic security of faculty, academic professionals.”

“AAUP members who violate fundamental values and standards in higher education, which the AAUP is committed to advancing, shouldn’t be winning its awards or admiration,” Elman told Campus Reform.
Academic Freedom Win: Israel Boycott Supporter Ilana Feldman Will Not Be Dean at George Washington U
Why all the fuss about Feldman?

Part of it is her support for BDS, but a larger part of it was that she was a leader of the academic boycott movement, a visible and vocal advocate pushing for the American Anthropological Association (AAA) to adopt the academic boycott. That effort ultimately failed, but not for lack of trying.

For almost a decade we have reported on and investigated the efforts of anti-Israel university faculty to coopt professional organizations to implement the academic boycott of Israel. Among the major associations we have written extensively about are the American Studies Association, American Historical Association, and Modern Language Association.

But of all the associations we have covered, the fight at the American Anthropological Association was the nastiest, dirtiest, and most vituperative. You can read our prior posts, some of which were by a graduate student using a pseudonym for fear of retribution from pro-BDS faculty, detailing the history of anti-Israel activism at AAA.

The AAA boycott effort ultimately failed a membership vote, barely. According to the announcment by the AAA leadership, the results were: 2,423 members opposed to boycott against 2,384 who voted in support.

What made the AAA boycott effort worse than the others?

It was an intangible bitter quality that was lacking even at the American Studies Association, the only major American faculty organization to adopt the boycott. There were no happy warriors in the AAA boycott push. Perhaps it was frustration among advocates who thought BDS was on the verge of breaking through, only to see defeat in a short period of time at AHA, MLA, and AAA.

One of the leaders of the AAA boycott effort was Feldman. Her activism started long before the 2015 AAA effort and 2016 vote.

Even in 2006 and 2012, Feldman was involved in anti-Israel efforts aimed at Anthropology faculty. She helped write a handbook for faculty by the AAA’s Taskforce on Middle East Anthropology about how to boycott Israel while using a claim of academic freedom as a shield. That is one of the ultimate ironies of the academic BDS campaign: The claim of academic freedom is used to justify depriving others of academic freedom.

Canada welcomes two new Jewish outlets, but COVID-19 has media on life support
Newspapers around the world are fighting for survival, but last week Canada’s Jewish community welcomed the near-simultaneous birth of two publications when The Canadian Jewish Record (CJR) and made their online debut only 20 minutes apart. They rose phoenix-like from the ashes of their predecessor, the Canadian Jewish News (CJN), which recently gave up the ghost after 60 years of weekly publishing.

In April, the CJN’s demise, in parallel with the near-death of the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish News in Britain, sent shockwaves through the world of Jewish journalism. It was a stark reminder of its vulnerable state, especially since COVID-19 dealt a gut-punch to national and local economies. A month earlier, the New York Jewish Week issued an “urgent appeal” to readers, seeking financial support to stay afloat.

These are grim times for the entire newspaper industry and the current coronavirus crisis has only intensified pre-existing problems — triggered largely by the rise of the internet and social media — to which Jewish newspapers, a niche in the journalistic ecosystem, are not immune.

The pandemic’s financial fallout has pummeled the media industry, particularly newspapers, long bedeviled by plummeting subscription and advertising revenue and rising printing and distribution costs. Since mid-March, increasingly desperate publishers have carried out drastic cost-cutting measures – layoffs, pay cuts, and furloughs – or simply shuttered publications.

Ironically, this media malaise came at a time when journalists proved their importance, covering a complex, era-defining story and its life-threatening ramifications for an anxious, captive audience, confined to home.

In Canada, the prospect of a 400,000-strong Jewish community no longer having its own media channel for news and commentary spurred the CJR and to fill the void created by the CJN’s disappearance.
Trump to Sign Never Again Education Act Into Law
US President Donald Trump is expected to sign the Never Again Education Act, which seeks to expand Holocaust education in the United States, into law on Thursday, a source familiar with the situation told JNS.

The US House of Representatives passed the legislation in January, while the US Senate did so on May 13.

The upcoming official signing, which according to the source will occur in a private ceremony with no outside guests due to travel and other restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, happens to come during Jewish American Heritage Month.

The legislation would expand the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s (USHMM) education programming to teachers nationwide, requiring the museum to develop and disseminate resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons.

There would be $2 million allocated annually for this year and each of the next four years to the Holocaust Education Assistance Program Fund, administered by the USHMM’s governing body, the US Holocaust Memorial Council. Private donations for the fund would be permitted.

The measure would create an online Holocaust-education repository of resources for educators to teach both middle-school and high school students about the genocide that killed 11 million people, 6 million of whom were Jews.

Currently, 18 states either encourage or require teaching about the Holocaust.
Florida State Primary Opponent of Jewish Candidate Takes Antisemitic Pot Shots
A Republican primary opponent of a sitting Florida state representative has been accused of engaging in antisemitism against the incumbent, who is Jewish.

Randy Fine, who represents the Sunshine State’s 53rd district and is the only Jewish Republican in the state legislature, has faced ethnic attacks by economist Marcie Adkins and a political consultant for her campaign, Robert Burns.

In March 2019, a fake Facebook page was created called “Randy Fine Not So Fine,” trafficking in almost daily unverified allegations against him, including an antisemitic meme of Fine and Brevard County Commission chair Bryan Lober, the only other elected Jew at the county level, depicted as insects engaged in indecent behavior.

One post on the site was doctored to steal Lober’s identity and make it appear that he was behind the page. Lober filed a police report with the Brevard County Sheriff regarding his stolen identity. Neither Lober nor Fine knew who was behind the page.

On Oct. 10, Fine began receiving threatening text messages from a local cell phone number he did not recognize. The texts included “[Your week] is about to get worse,” “You should be careful where you park your car,” “Fat ass piece of s***,” “Fake ass Jew,” “You ain’t a Jew you just Jew-ish.”

These messages were forwarded to House Sergeant-at-Arms Russell Hosford, who determined they should be given to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). He was particularly concerned about the unsolicited references to Fine’s religion.

Fine had no idea who sent the messages to him.
Woman arrested in vandalism of Texas synagogue
A woman has been arrested in connection with the vandalism of a Texas synagogue and two other houses of worship.

Temple Emanuel, a Reform synagogue in McAllen, a church and a Hindu temple were spray-painted Tuesday morning with a swastika and the words “WITCH,” “HADES,” “RAPEST,” “NEW YORK KILLER” and other random phrases and words, The Monitor reported.

The unnamed suspect was arrested Tuesday afternoon and is in custody of the McAllen Police Department with charges pending.
Swastikas used to 'Zoombomb' online Torah study session
In yet another antisemitic “Zoombombing” incident, a Shavuot study session held by the Steinzaltz Center on Wednesday night was interrupted by antisemites who posted swastikas and other offensive images.

There have been numerous incidents of antisemitic Zoombombing, as the practice of gatecrashing or hacking into online video conferences has become known, since use of the Zoom video-conferencing platform became widespread following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Rabbi Menny Steinzaltz, approximately eight individuals broke into the study session and began to curse, sing offensive songs, and raise their middle fingers to the several dozen participants in the conference call.

The virtual assailants, who Steinzaltz said looked Middle Eastern, shouted “free Palestine” and “f**king Jews,” while also using a Nazi swastika as their profile pictures.

One individual also shared an image based on the poster for the movie Jaws showing the shark as Adolf Hitler and changing the word “Jaws” with “Jews.”
Comedy sketch featuring the swastika that aired on SBS show The Feed slammed as “vulgar” and insulting
Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, today slammed the “thoughtless, immoral and insulting skit” and called on SBS to apologise.

“It’s hard to believe this vulgar material actually made it to the airwaves and that it did not raise any red flags,” Dr Abramovich said. “SBS should have known better.”

He described the swastika as a “symbol of pure evil and mass murder” and said using it to generate “cheap gags” showed a lack of understanding and respect.

“The Nazi swastika represents not only the unimaginable suffering of the victims, but the industrial liquidation of six million Jews in gas chambers, in death camps, in ghettos and in open fields.

“To squeeze hurtful comedy at the expense of those who have endured enough and to place this satanic emblem of on the head of an actor playing a Jewish person is indefensible.”

The Holocaust remains a deeply painful memory for survivors and the families of those who were murdered at the hands of Nazis, Dr Abramovich said.

“This is the mocking and debasing of the Holocaust of the lowest kind, and it makes no difference that the people involved in this ‘joke’ are comedians to whom we usually give a lot of leeway.

“It is disheartening that I have to say this, this but comedy should not make fun of the unprecedented destruction sowed by Hitler and his collaborators across Europe, including the massacre of 1.5 million children.”
Czech company sells Nazi 'Personalities of the Third Reich’ 2021 Calendar
Czech publisher Naše Vojsko (Our Army) has come under criticism for selling a calendar on its website consisting of Nazi leaders.
The calendar, titled 'Personalities of the Third Reich’ contains pictures of well-known leaders including Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Joseph Goebbels.

The calendar is on sale for CZK 499, or around $20.

Chairman of the Holocaust Victims Fund, Michal Klima, filed a criminal complaint against the publication of the calendar, claiming that Naše Vojsko breached the law banning the promotion of a movement suppressing human rights and freedoms.

Klima said in a statement that the law was "violated by the Naše Vojsko publishing house by producing and selling promotional items with portraits of Nazi leaders, war criminals convicted in the Nuremberg Trials."

Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Daniel Meron, wrote on Twitter that he was "shocked and disgusted by such a calendar."

Germany’s ambassador to Prague, Christoph Israng, also wrote on Twitter that, “Products that glorify the worst criminals in human history are unbearable. I cannot understand why someone makes, sells or buys this trash.”“I cannot understand that someone makes, sells or buys such trash.”

Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek called the calendar “tacky and immoral.”

Naše Vojsko is a Czech a retailer and publisher that specializes in military history and was founded in 1945.
Stolen Hebrew, Persian inscriptions returned to Jewish site in Iran
Two ancient Jewish inscriptions that were stolen from the Esther Khatoon historical complex in Iran have been discovered and returned to the Jewish shrine, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

The discovery, in Falavarjan in the Isfahan Province, was carried out by Iranian police and the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization, an education and research institution overseeing numerous associated museums and historical sites throughout Iran.

The head of the public relations office of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Isfahan, Shahram Amiri said Wednesday that the two ancient stones have both Hebrew and Persian inscriptions, IRNA reported.

Amiri said that the Hebrew inscription is around 1,000 years old and the Persian one is 400 years old.

He added that the theft was originally reported last summer but the stolen items were only found 10 days ago.

The thieves had not moved the items out of the province as they were waiting for a proper time to sell the ancient stones, IRNA quoted Amiri saying.

The Esther Khatoon complex, located in Pir Bakran, near Falavarjan, is over 2,000 years old.
DNA study supports Bible: Canaanites homogeneous group, lived in Israel
Where did the Canaanites come from?

A newly published study has shed light on the genomic features of the ancient population of Southern Levant - an area that covers modern Israel and the surrounding region - confirming that the biblical people were indeed a clear and homogeneous group and supporting the archaeological findings.

Moreover, the research showed that many present-day populations of the area have ancestries from groups whose ancient proxy can be related to the Middle East.

The beginning of the book of Genesis narrates that God ordered the patriarch Abraham (back then Abram) to leave his native land of Haram and embark on a journey to “a land that I will show you.

“When they arrived in the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, at the terebinth of Moreh. The Canaanites were then in the land,” read verses five and six in chapter 12 (translation by

Archaeologists indeed concur that around the 2nd millennium BCE, or Middle/Late Bronze Age – when according to some interpretations Abraham lived - the Canaanites had a major presence in what later became known as the Land of Israel.

“The Bronze Age was a very formative period in the history of Southern Levant, so we were curious to look into them,” Liran Carmel, a professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the lead authors of the paper published on Thursday on the academic journal Cell, told The Jerusalem Post, explaining why the group of researchers chose to focus on this specific population.

“Six or seven years ago, the new field of what we can call ‘molecular history,’ emerged, with the idea of using ancient DNA to reveal patterns in more recent human history, the last few thousands of years,” he said. “At the beginning, the research focused on events that happened in Europe and western Eurasia. I thought that I really wanted to bring it here, to study demographic events and populations in this region.”

The study analyzed individuals who lived over the course of a significant period of time, over 1,500 years.

Gal Gadot surprises nurses dressed as Wonder Woman on morning talk show
Israeli actress and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot surprised Detroit nurses who were dressed as Wonder Woman on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, telling them that they are the real superheroes.

"They're brave, selfless, they possess amazing strength, and they save lives – you know, superheroes," said host T. J. Holmes.

The show took a look into the emergency medical staff at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, who dressed up as various superheroes, many of which wore Wonder Woman medical masks, t-shirts and bandanas.

Holmes interviewed four members of the medical staff from the hospital, all of who wore Wonder Woman shirts, because, "Wonder Woman believes in people. She believes in love. She saves people when they can't save themselves. She's the strongest chick I know," said Erin Cavanagh, one of the four medical professionals brought onto the show.

The nurses explained that the outfit can be uplifting for the patients, as well as encourage the wearer. It's "a little different," Beth Gonzales, another medical professional in the Wonder Woman gear, said. "I feel a little empowered."

During their virtual conversation with Holmes due to coronavirus restrictions, the four medical professionals were joined by Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot.

"You are the real deal," Gadot said. "Let's just make this clear. Thank you. I salute you. Everything that you do is the real deal."

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