Tuesday, June 23, 2020

From Ian:

Two thirds of Americans think it's okay to question US-Israeli ties - online poll
Some two-thirds of Americans believe it is acceptable to question the US-Israel relationship, a new Washington Post poll has found. The poll was conducted online by Prof. Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, among 2,395 participants.

According to the poll, 43% of the participants believe that “it is acceptable for a member of the US Congress to question the US-Israel relationship,” (42% of Republicans, 46% of Democrats, and 39% of independents). An additional 24% said that “it is the duty” of a member of the House to question the relationship between the two countries.

Notably, Republican and Democrat voters were split on whether it is the duty of Congress to defend the relationship between the US and Israel or to question it. A third (32%) of Republican participants said that a House member must defend the support for Israel. In comparison, only 9% of Democrat voters agreed.

On the contrary, 35% of those who identify as Democrats said it is a duty of Congress people to question the relationship between the countries, with only 11% of Republican voters agreeing with the statement.

Participants were asked how important of an issue the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is for the US interests. Almost half (47%), said it is among the top five issues, while more than a third (35%) said it is not among the top five. Only 17% thought that the conflict is at least among the top three, or is even the most significant issue for the US interests.
8 American monuments celebrating anti-Semites
In the weeks since protests against racism began after the killing of George Floyd, activists around the world have been toppling statues, either by pressuring public officials or by tearing the monuments down themselves.

Activists have naturally focused on memorials to Confederate leaders or others who enacted racist policies, and associate monuments to anti-Semites with Europe, where they are common. The United States has its own such memorials.

Mary Elizabeth Lease
Lease, born in 1850, was an 19th century Populist and a leader of the women’s suffrage movement. She campaigned in favor of women’s and farmers’ rights, as well as the prohibition of alcohol. One scholar has claimed that Lease, who was based in Kansas for much of her fame, was the inspiration for the character of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” written by L. Frank Baum. But her crusade against bankers, who she felt were oppressing farmers, often veered into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. People who were forced to take out bank loans were “paying tribute to the Rothschilds of England, who are but the agent of the Jews,” she claimed.

A statue of Lease was erected in Wichita, Kansas in 2012 by the Hypatia Club, the state’s oldest women’s club, which Lease founded. “She was an incredible role model when she couldn’t even vote,” a club member told the Wichita Eagle.

Thomas E. Watson
Watson was a Georgia [Democrat] congressman and newspaper publisher who served as a vice-presidential nominee for William Jennings Bryan’s Populist Party in 1896. During the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish man falsely accused of murdering a 13-year-old Christian girl, Watson’s paper whipped up anti-Semitic sentiment. After Frank was convicted and his sentence was commuted, Watson advocated for Frank to be lynched, which he eventually was. Watson was elected to the Senate in 1922 but died in office a year later. In addition to his anti-Semitism, Watson was also a white supremacist and anti-Catholic.

The statue of Watson on the steps of the Georgia state capitol was long controversial. Then-Gov. Nathan Deal removed the statue in 2013, but claimed that his move was only for renovation purposes. The statue is now located in a park across the street from the building.
Douglas Murray: What isn’t being said about the Reading attack victims?
Imagine if on Saturday evening a white neo-Nazi had stabbed three men to death. Imagine, furthermore, if in the wake of the killings it had turned out that all three of the victims were gay. Or ‘members of the LGBT community’, to use the lexicon of the time. And then imagine if two days later nobody in the UK or anywhere else was very interested in any of this. So what if the victims were all gay? Why bother sifting around for motives. What are you trying to say? Bigot.

Well something that might well be analogous to that happened in Reading on Saturday evening and over the days since.

On Saturday evening, Khairi Saadallah went on a stabbing spree in Forbury Gardens, Reading. His victims were three gay men, James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett. It has since emerged that the 25-year old suspect, who is now in police custody, came to the UK from Libya in 2012. He is reported to have come to the attention of MI5 last year as an individual who had the potential to travel overseas for terrorism purposes. The Security Service apparently decided that he was not an immediate risk.

The families of Furlong, Wails and Ritchie-Bennett might beg to differ on that last point. But who knows. So far there has been almost no interest expressed in the possible motives of the attacker. Quite possibly there is a mental health component. In which case I would expect that to be looked into. Quite possibly there will be some drugs-related component. In which case I would expect the usual voices to demand an investigation into that. But anything else to see here? Any other reason why a migrant from Libya who was given asylum in the UK might want to go around stabbing gay men? Well who would even ask such questions? What do you want to find? Bigot.



Two cities partially locked down as virus case tally rockets upward
The government imposed a partial lockdown on several neighborhoods Tuesday evening in a bid to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, as Health Ministry figures showed the number of new virus cases surged upward, with 459 new infections recorded in the previous 24 hours.

The figure marked the highest 24-hour tally since numbers began climbing late last month, following a brief respite from the coornavirus. The last time the number of virus cases passed 450 in a single day was April 15.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad and five predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in the northern city of Tiberias as “restricted zones,” his office said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The Tiberias neighborhoods are Ramat Tiberias Bet, Ramat Tiberias Gimmel, Neighborhood 200, Tiberias Illit and the Ben Gurion neighborhood.

The decision will prevent anyone who doesn’t live in the restricted zones from entering them, except to go to work or to go to a high school matriculation exam (Bagrut), the Health Ministry said. Residents of the areas declared restricted zones will not face any restrictions.

The decision goes into effect Wednesday at 8 a.m. for seven days.

The ministers were still debating whether to introduce similar restrictions in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, amid a sharp rise of coronavirus infections there, according to Channel 12 news.
After 3 months, Chabad Brooklyn headquarters reopens to unmasked crowds
It closed with dancing and it reopened with dancing.

The main Chabad synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn reopened to a large crowd Monday, more than three months after it shut its doors amid mounting restrictions meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

The raucous service was documented in a video posted to Instagram by COLlive, a local Orthodox news site in Crown Heights. No one in the video, which shows dozens of men singing and dancing, appeared to be wearing a face mask and most did not appear to be maintaining social distancing.

The reopening is the latest evidence that some parts of New York City’s Orthodox community have largely returned to normalcy after three months of lockdown, despite the fact that the city only began its second phase of reopening Monday and social distancing and mask wearing are still recommended.

The synagogue, located at the former home of the late leader of the Chabad movement, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, waited until much of the city had shut down before closing its doors, for the first time ever, late on March 17.
COVID-19 fueling worldwide wave of anti-Semitism, researchers find
A report published Tuesday by a Tel Aviv research group found that the coronavirus pandemic has become a vehicle for an intense and exceptional wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist propaganda that accuses Jews and Israel of either causing the virus or standing to benefit from it.

The pandemic has “unleashed a unique worldwide wave of antisemitism,” researchers at the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University said.

“The new wave of antisemitism includes a range of libels that have one common element: The Jews, the Zionists and/or the state of Israel are to blame for the pandemic and/or stand to gain from it,” they wrote.

The researchers also pointed to anti-Semitic sentiments by those who see the virus as divine punishment of Jews and to Holocaust imagery used by those protesting lockdown restrictions.

The study is the latest to point to an increase in anti-Semitism as the virus has overshadowed nearly all aspects of life across the globe, with Jews blamed for creating the virus or for refusing to heed social distancing and hygiene guidelines. A recent Oxford University study found that 19.1 percent of the public in Britain believes to some degree that Jews caused the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, the Kantor Center raised the alarm over a rise of anti-Semitism tied to the virus as it released a report on anti-Jewish incidents over 2019.
Memorial Dedicated To Holocaust Survivors Toppled At Cemetery In California
A memorial dedicated to survivors of the Holocaust was reportedly toppled by vandals at a cemetery in California last week, an action that comes as rioters have destroyed numerous statues across the country in recent days.

The fountain, which was found on the ground in broken pieces, was “part of a memorial created for the late Lillian Judd and her husband Emil, beloved figures in the local Jewish community who survived Nazi concentration camps during World War II,” The Press Democrat reported. “Jews visiting the northeast Santa Rosa cemetery used the fountain for ritual washing and cleansing.”

Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Dave Linscomb told the local newspaper that all indicators suggest that the fountain was pushed off its foundation.

Linscomb said that anyone who is charged in the case will be charged with felonies due to the extent of the damage.

He also stated that hate crime charges could be filed should police discover an anti-Semitic motive.

“If there is something more to it, we’d go that direction,” Linscomb said. “But that needs to be vetted out with the investigation when we get a hold of who did this.”

Dennis Judd, who commissioned a mosaic that was constructed behind the fountain, responded to the incident. “That’s what led up to the Holocaust and genocides — people hating and getting angry,” said Judd. “Mom always spoke about forgiveness. It’s sad to see somebody or a group of people would go and tear it down.”

“The hope that mom had was to teach the kids and teach the adults about peace,” he added. “That’s the thing we need to push on. Maybe the community can come together and help us resurrect the fountain and make it a place of healing. That was always the message for (Lillian).”




PreOccupiedTerritory: Summer: De Blasio Uncharacteristically Opposed To Sending Jews To Camps (satire)
This city’s mayor does not wish to facilitate the movement of Jews in his jurisdiction to camps this month and next, local sources report, an attitude that remains at odds with his treatment of that minority, given the history of his rhetoric and policies toward them, and given the way that the way in which Jews have, historically, been sent to camps appears to dovetail with those policies and treatment.

Beating the Brooklyn heat during July and August has for generations involved children – and sometimes entire families – of Orthodox Jews taking up summer residence in the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains, where the fresher air, higher altitude, and open spaces provide relief unavailable to many in the city itself. The children attend camps, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has come out against the practice. His demonstrated special antipathy for Jews stands in stark relief to that opposition, given that personalities of the mayor’s disposition toward Jews have welcomed, if not actively pursued, the transfer of Jews from their homes to camps in large numbers.

Months of grappling with the public health aspects of COVID-19 saw the mayor’s administration single out Jews for criticism, even while other ethnic groups and the city’s general population exhibited no better adherence to mandatory social distancing restrictions; the mayor himself flouted his office’s guidelines to maintain an exercise routine. Police enforcement in neighborhoods with a large concentration of visibly Jewish people stood in contrast to lax or nonexistent action against violators in other parts of the city such as public parks in Manhattan and elsewhere in Brooklyn. This discriminatory display followed years of police inaction as visibly Jewish people suffered physical assault in broad daylight every week, sometimes every day.
CAA reveals former Labour member Prof. David Miller is behind Chris Williamson’s “Resistance” movement and thinks Jewish interfaith is Israeli-backed “Trojan Horse” effort to “normalise Zionism in the Muslim community”
Campaign Against Antisemitism can reveal that the conspiracy theorist David Miller is behind the “Resistance” movement founded and fronted by the disgraced former Labour MP Chris Williamson.

Mr Williamson, who was embroiled in scandals over antisemitism when he was in the Labour Party, introduced his Resistance movement several months ago by explaining that with the election of Sir Keir Starmer to the Labour leadership, many felt “politically homeless”, and that his new movement would use “culture, alternative media and street protest” to achieve its aims, with a ‘Resist Festival’ originally planned for June but now postponed to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Resist Festival was due to feature controversial speakers including the rapper Lowkey, the outspoken academic Noam Chomsky, the activist Max Blumenthal and representatives from the ‘yellow vest’ protests in France.

Mr Williamson resigned from the Labour Party in late 2019 after learning that he would not be allowed to stand for the Party in the General Election. His extraordinary letter of resignation from the Party read like a manifesto against Jews. He has described his erstwhile Party’s institutional antisemitism as “manufactured” and part of an “assault on our democracy” by a “hostile foreign government” to “normalise Zionism in the Labour Party”. Recently, he approvingly cited the rescinded United Nations General Assembly resolution that equated Zionism with racism.

Campaign Against Antisemitism can now reveal that the notorious lecturer, Prof. David Miller, is behind the Resistance movement. Prof. Miller is the sole director of a limited company called Festival of Resistance Limited, and he was also the sole director of a limited company called Campaign for Chris Williamson Limited, which was incorporated in July 2019, a few months before Mr Williamson was dropped by the Labour Party and ran as an independent candidate in the 2019 General Election, when he received so few votes that he lost his deposit — a rarity for an incumbent MP.

Prof. Miller, a sociology lecturer at the University of Bristol, has a history of spouting conspiracy theories about various Jewish community organisations and figures that has reportedly discomfited his Jewish students. In a presentation titled “Harms of the Powerful”, for example, Prof. Miller suggested that the “Zionist movement” is one of the “five pillars” of hatred of Muslims (redolent of the five pillars of Islam) and is bankrolled by “ultra Zionist funders”.
Claudia Webbe says it is racist to remind the public that she defended Ken Livingstone, after Twitter user posts past CAA articles documenting her record
The controversial Labour MP Claudia Webbe has made the extraordinary and demeaning claim that scrutiny of her past defence of Ken Livingstone is racist.

Twitter user @Never_Again2000 posted an article by Campaign Against Antisemitism recalling how Claudia Webbe MP had written a letter of support for Ken Livingstone after he compared a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard and detailing how she had more recently taken to Twitter to claim – while she was the Chair of the Labour Party’s Disciplinary Panel overseeing antisemitism cases – that the “combined machinery of state, political and mainstream elite” are conspiring to smear Jeremy Corbyn with “false allegations.”

Ms Webbe claimed that it is due to “ingrained racism” that Twitter users were commenting on the role that she – now a prominent political figure – played in that Livingstone episode rather than the judge who overturned Mr Livingstone’s suspension, even though the judgment was a matter of law and her letter was a defence of his anti-racist credentials from her perspective as one of “full-time advisers” (in the Twitter feed she seemed to imply that she had opposed Mr Livingstone’s suspension on the basis that it was anti-democratic, but the thrust of her letter in fact relied on his supposed anti-racist credentials). Nevertheless she complained that she is the target of “racist victimisation” and equated scrutiny of her past record with the racist killing of George Floyd, ordering other Twitter users to “get your knee off my neck”.

On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.


Huddersfield Labour member quits over anti-Semitic allegations
A Huddersfield Labour member has quit the party after being accused of making anti-Semitic comments on social media.

Paul Connolly was set to stand for the Labour Party in Almondbury ward in May's local elections before they were postponed.

He was suspended in March after tweets were highlighted by Never_Again2020, a twitter feed that exposes anti-Semitism.

It drew attention to tweets from 2018 and 2019 in which Mr Connolly referred to "Jewish hate mongers" and "the Israeli lobby."

Never Again, which was set up last year to direct attention to concerns around anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, branded Mr Connolly as anti-Semitic and said he was "reported to the party a year ago but he hasn't even been suspended."

Labour administratively suspended Mr Connolly within hours of the matter being raised by YorkshireLive. Mr Connolly is understood to have resigned a few days later and is no longer a member of the Labour Party.




Pomona College Senior Class President Spews Antisemitism on Social Media
The senior class president at a southern California college apologized on Monday after sharing antisemitic statements on social media last week.

“I have realized my previous instagram story regarding Zionism and Yemen was anti-Semitic,” wrote Malak Afaneh in a letter to pro-Israel campus group Claremont Progressive Israel Alliance (CPIA).

Addressing Jewish students on campus, she added, “I want to deeply apologize for the pain I’ve caused.”

According to the Claremont Independent, a student paper at Pomona College in Claremont, California, Afaneh had re-posted on Instagram an image of a tweet that said of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, “6 million people died in the Holocaust, we still commemorate it to this day. 18.4 MILLION people are dying in Yemen RIGHT NOW. That’s 3 holocausts at once…SILENCE IS COMPLIANCE!!!”

Also on the image, in a message below the tweet, another social media user had ranted, “[O]nce again, zionist-Israel-birthright-vacation-stuck-on-comparing-holocaust-to-racism-WW2-worshipping bitches, this should be right up ur alley. Oh wait u hate brown ppl.”

In her apology, Afaneh said she “didn’t mean to amplify” these remarks, and that her approval of the post only applied to the criticism of Saudi Arabia.

i24: Roger Waters: Israelis Teach US Police to Kill Blacks
"[Pink Floyd co-f]ounder Roger Waters is a musical icon. Many say he's a rock and roll genius and a Hall of Fame artist. Yet he's also a rabid anti-Semite."




Dear Chatelaine: There Is No State of Palestine
Dear Chatelaine,

Contrary to your Magazine’s assertion, there is no such thing as a state of Palestine.

On June 19, you featured an article by Chantal Braganza entitled: “This New Cookbook Is A Love Letter To Palestinian Food” about a new cookbook called “Falastin” co-written by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley which sets out to show how Palestinians eat and live today.

8 times throughout the interview, a nation state called “Palestine” was referred to. Trouble is though, there is no modern country of Palestine, although there’s a movement to establish one as part of a two-state peace agreement with Israel. Areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority are considered Palestinian territories with Fatah running the “West Bank” and the Hamas terror group running the Gaza Strip.

We appeal to you to set the record straight.

Yours truly,

HonestReporting Canada
Forbes Wipes Haifa Off Israel’s Map
Citing the notorious Twitter Corbynista Rachel Cousins, who has has a history of peddling antisemitic conspiracies and in tweeting fake news about Israel, Forbes has removed the northern city of Haifa from Israel, reassigning it to “Palestine.” Lisette Voytko’s June 7 article, “British Protesters Throw Slave Trader Statue into River — And Other Stunning Global Protest Moments,” states:
Massive crowds assembled in cities throughout the world to march against racism and police brutality, including: London, England, Brisbane, Australia, Rome, Italy, Berlin, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, Palestinian territories, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, California, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

“Palestinian territories” is hyperlinked to a video of a demonstration tweeted by “Rachel_Swindon” which is also embedded in the article itself. The heading on the video, which is also reproduced on the Forbes site, is “Meanwhile in Palestine.” In addition, the tweet carries the following text, which also appears in the Forbes article: “The people of Palestine know what oppression looks like. A wonderful act of solidarity for #BlackLivesMatter.”

But that protest took place in Haifa, not in “Palestine.” The famous Bahai gardens are visible in the background. An Israeli flag flutters on the left-hand side of the screen at the beginning of the clip. In the Palestinian territories, an Israeli flag is visible only when it is on the ground being trampled upon or being burned in a demonstration.
In addition, a photograph of the exact same scene from the June 2 Haifa, Israel demonstration was published by Nur Photos, and is available here.
Though CAMERA notified Forbes of the error yesterday, editors have yet to correct as of this writing.
The two names BBC audiences have never heard
This summer marks six years since Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin were killed during Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. Throughout those six years Hamas has refused to return their bodies to their families and continues to use the issue as a bargaining chip to try to secure the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for terror offences.

In September it will be five years since it became publicly known that Hamas is also holding two mentally ill Israeli civilians who entered the Gaza Strip of their own accord – Avera Mengistu in September 2014 and Hisham al Sayed in April 2015. Hamas continues to hold both men hostage, likewise in order to advance its aim of getting terrorists released from prison.

So what have BBC audiences heard about those stories? While the BBC did mention Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin in reports it produced during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, since then the corporation has produced very little follow-up reporting.

The most recent brief reference to the fact that Hamas is holding two Israeli civilians and the remains of two Israeli soldiers was heard on a domestic BBC radio station in August 2018 when Jerusalem bureau correspondent Yolande Knell told listeners that:
“…in the past month tensions between Israel and Hamas have flared up three times with Palestinian militants firing rockets and Israeli airstrikes. The intervention of Egypt and the UN calmed the situation. So what are the chances now for a longer term deal? Not good says Israeli defence analyst Alex Fishman. He points to the Palestinians’ own deep political rift and Hamas’ insistence that it won’t return two Israelis jailed in Gaza or two soldiers’ remains without a release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel.”

No further information was provided.
Nevada Jewish man stabbed in head by man shouting anti-Semitic slurs
A US Jewish man leaving a Nevada bar was stabbed last Friday in the head by a man on the sidewalk outside, who had asked him for money and then shouted anti-Semitic insults.

The alleged stabber reportedly raised his arm in a Nazi salute multiple times and said “Heil Hitler, you piece of shit” before stabbing the man and walking away from the Tap Shack in Carson City, Carson Now reported.

The victim was taken to the hospital while “conscious and alert,” the report said.

Jeremy Jay Ortega was taken into custody shortly after the attack and a struggle with deputies, the Fox affiliate News 4 reported.

Ortega reportedly punched a deputy police officer in the face several times.

He was charged with attempted robbery, battery with a deadly weapon, battery on a peace officer and obstruction.
CAA welcomes reports that the Government plans to increase sentences for offenders who desecrate places of worship and burial plots
Campaign Against Antisemitism has welcomed reports that the Government plans to increase sentences for offenders who desecrate places of worship and burial plots.

The Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen reportedly raised the matter with the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, in a letter appealing for strict prison sentences for attacks on places of worship, including synagogues, as well as burial grounds.

It is understood that Ms Patel responded within a few hours saying: “It’s going in the sentencing bill and will cover places of worship and cemeteries.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has reported on numerous attacks on synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, including in December 2019.

A spokesman for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Vandalism and attacks on British synagogues over the past several years underscore the urgency of increasing sentences for these hate crimes. The rise in hate crime cannot be deterred without harsh penalties for offenders.”
Study: TikTok app used to aim anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial at youngsters
The popular TikTok video-sharing service is being used for more than just awkward dances by users, according to a new study in Israel.

Anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and other far-right extremists are going on the social media platform to reach young people, researchers from the University of Haifa and Israel’s Institute for Counter Terrorism found in a report titled “Spreading Hate on TikTok.”

From February through May, it said, there were 196 postings related to far-right extremism, with one-fifth of them related to anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

In the same time frame, the study also found 14 postings of Adolf Hitler’s speeches; 11 postings of the Sieg Heil victory salute used by Nazis; 17 videos encouraging violence that featured Nazi or neo-Nazi symbols such as the swastika and sonnenrad, or black sun; and 26 accounts featuring the numbers “88” in their username, the white supremacist numerical code for “Heil Hitler.”

The study first appeared in the Studies in Conflict & Terrorism journal.

TikTok, based in China, has gained popularity with its short videos of users dancing and lip syncing, among other talents.

Although the platform’s Terms of Service prohibits users under age 13, many who appear in videos are clearly younger.
Crews in Vienna break ground on Holocaust memorial
Austria broke ground Monday on a new memorial to the country's 65,000 Jews killed during the Nazi era.

"The Memorial to the Jewish Children, Women and Men of Austria who were Murdered in the Shoah" being erected in Vienna's central Ostarrichi Park will consist of large slabs set in the ground in a circle, engraved with the names of the 64,000 victims who have been identified. Another 1,000 are known to have been killed by the Nazis, but their names have been lost.

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was born in Austria, and many in the country enthusiastically welcomed Germany's annexation of it in 1938, the year before World War II.

At that time, around 210,000 Jews lived in the country. Many fled, but later found themselves in Nazi hands again as the German armies swept westward to the English Channel and deep into the Soviet Union in the east.

The memorial, to be completed by next spring, is envisioned as a place of reflection, and both a tribute to those who lost their lives and a reminder of the perils of anti-Semitism.

There is only one entrance into the center of the circle formed by the slabs, which will create a "place of reverence" for visitors, according to the plans.

"Descendants of those who were murdered should, without being disturbed, be able to search for the names of their relatives, to touch the letters with their hand, to say a prayer, to light a memorial candle," organizers said on their website.

"For all Austrians, the memorial should offer a quiet place, in which they can remember the fate of their Jewish fellow citizens and honor their lives, today and in future generations."
Bar-Ilan Neuroscientists Win Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinson’s Research Competition
A team of neuroscientists from Bar-Ilan University is one of four winners of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and Sage Bionetworks BEAT-PD (Biomarker and Endpoint Assessment to Track Parkinson’s Disease) DREAM Challenge, a data competition designed to benchmark new methods to predict Parkinson’s disease severity in patients in their homes.

The challenge focused on predicting the subjective patient assessment of key symptom’s of Parkinson’s disease such as tremor, dyskinesia and the on-off phenomenon based solely on passive kinematic data collected from smartwatches and smartphones of the patients during free everyday behavior.

The Bar-Ilan team, termed “HaProzdor”, consisted of Ayala Matzner, Yuval El-Hanany and Prof. Izhar Bar-Gad from the Neural Interfaces Lab at Bar-Ilan’s Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidiciplinary Brain Research Center. The Bar-Ilan team is the only winning team from outside of the United States. The additional winners were groups from Harvard Medical School, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and the University of Michigan.

“We congratulate all the winners. The Foundation has supported research into sensors and other digital tools for Parkinson’s for many years,” says Mark Frasier, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research Programs at MJFF. “The BEAT-PD projects are unlocking the potential of data collected by digital devices to help people with Parkinson’s, their physicians, and researchers. Now more than ever, we understand the critical importance of remote monitoring for the safe and effective delivery of healthcare and the progress of clinical research.”

In a previous data challenge, teams proved that disease status and symptom severity could be predicted using data collected during the completion of specific tasks while monitored by a physician. The BEAT-PD Challenge built on this to determine whether disease severity could be assessed from passive sensor data from consumer electronics, collected during daily life, not pre-set tasks, which will bring us closer to the promise of at-home monitoring of disease progression.

Three of the teams, including HaProzdor, approached the problem by applying signal processing methods to the smartwatch and smartphone sensor data, the results of which were then used in machine learning models which allowed for patient-specific characteristics.
Nano-engineered pomegranate oil holds hope for brain disease, study shows
A Israeli study has found that multiple sclerosis patients taking a nano-engineered nutritional supplement made out of pomegranate oil showed “significant cognitive improvement” after just three months.

The small-scale study of 30 patients was conducted at the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem by Prof. Dimitrios Karussis, director of the center and a senior neurologist. Results showed that patients taking the supplement witnessed an average 12 percent improvement in learning ability and text comprehension, word recall and categorization, in the three months of treatment.

The researchers are now writing up the findings to submit them to neurological journals for peer review, Karussis said in a phone interview.

The pomegranate oil supplement the patients were given was developed by Prof. Ruth Gabizon, a researcher of degenerative brain diseases at the Neurology Department of Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, together with Prof. Shlomo Magdassi, an expert in the field of nanotechnology from the Casali Institute for Applied Chemistry at the Hebrew University.

Pomegranate seed oil (PSO) contains high concentrations of punicic acid, or omega 5, which is believed to be one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature.
Microsoft buys Israeli firm CyberX to boost internet of things offering
US tech giant Microsoft said it is acquiring Herzliya-Israel based cybersecurity startup CyberX to give it an edge in helping customers secure devices that are connected to the internet.

The amount of the transaction was undisclosed but in May, the Globes financial website said that Microsoft was in talks to buy CyberX for $165 million.

CyberX, founded in 2012 by Nir Geller and Omer Schneider, has raised to date $47 million from investors including US VC fund Norwest Venture Partners, Israeli VC OurCrowd, Flint Capital and Qualcomm Ventures, according to data compiled by Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks Israel’s tech industry.

The Israeli firm has developed an industrial cyber-security platform to detect, stop and predict breaches of security on internet of things networks, reducing the risk of attacks and preventing production outages, safety failure and environmental incidents.

IoT provides real-time insights into assets, enabling businesses to reduce operational expenses, unplanned downtime and unnecessary servicing, Microsoft’s VPs Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk and Sam George wrote in a blogpost. But there is a huge challenge in securing devices connected to the internet, and that is where CyberX plays a role, they wrote. Braverman-Blumenstyk is also general manager of Israel R&D.

The tech developed by the Israeli firm will give customers information of what devices are already connected to the internet, and manage and improve the security of those devices.

With CyberX, customers can see a digital map of thousands of devices across a factory floor or within a building and gather information about their asset profile and vulnerabilities, Braverman-Blumenstyk and George wrote.


This Soldier Serves On The Same Plane That Rescued Her Family
In 1991, Ethiopia was on the verge of chaos. As part of the IDF’s efforts to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, the IDF carried out three top-secret operations where they brought thousands of Ethiopians to Israel in secret. The biggest operation, Operation Solomon, brought 14,325 Ethiopian Jews home to Israel on 34 planes in just 36 hours. This operation brought Staff Sergeant Ortal Ayaso’s family to Israel.

Although initially placed in a different unit, Ortal was determined to serve on the same fleet of planes that once brought her family home. After requesting to move several times, today, Ortal is a technician in the Israeli Air Force and works on the exact same plane that rescued her family.


Portuguese diplomat who rescued 10,000 Jews to be honored with Lisbon monument
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, will be recognized with a monument at a site in Lisbon that recognizes the country’s greatest figures.

The parliament decreed the honor unanimously earlier this month at the National Assembly in Portugal’s capital. The monument will go in the National Pantheon, a former church.

“Aristides Sousa Mendes, as a heroic historical figure, is part of Portugal’s national patrimony,” the resolution reads. “A moral legacy for all, his heritage is for the whole of civil society and above all a virtuous example for future generations.”

In 1940, Mendes served as consul in Bordeaux, France, where he gave visas to refugees fleeing the Nazi advance. He is estimated to have saved 30,000 people, including 10,000 Jews.

After his actions in Bordeaux, a city located just 120 miles north of France’s border with Spain and the Iberian Peninsula, Mendes was suspended and fired from the diplomatic service of Portugal, then a dictatorship under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

However, Mendes was posthumously vindicated and recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations — a title conferred on behalf of the State of Israel by the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Mendes, who died in 1954, was the first diplomat to receive the title, posthumously in 1966.




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