Thursday, July 30, 2020

From Ian:

Can’t get cancelled for anti-Semitism, but can for philosemitism
The organizations conducting their unauthorized battles against anti-Semitism have conflated prejudice with violence. They have no clue how to fight the former and no interest in fighting the latter.

Prejudice isn’t fought with Holocaust museum tours, but with dignity. The first line of defense against it is having enough self-respect not to offer atonement to bigots who have nothing but contempt for you. Unfortunately, too many Jews on the left and the right can be counted on to launch into militant defenses, asked or unasked, of bigots on their side and to do so by leveraging their own status as Jews.

And too many organizations are happy to whitewash trendy bigots while ignoring uncool supporters.

What the fight against anti-Semitism really needs is the ability to separate class anxieties about acceptance from real threats. And that won’t be done by organizations like the ADL, whose class anxieties have transformed it into a generic leftist advocacy group with little interest in Jewish issues, or the rest of its organizational cohort whose priority is winning the acceptance of the urban upper class.

And that acceptance is premised on embracing the left-wing politics and anti-Semitism of that class. That’s how fighting anti-Semitism to mute class anxieties perversely turns into embracing antisemitism.

Distinguishing between class anxieties and real threats doesn’t require futile efforts to educate celebrities who like Farrakhan with Holocaust museum tours, but to educate Jews about dignity and self-respect. People who are less worried about acceptance by those it’s not worth being accepted by are better able to deal with real threats to their physical existence instead of threats to their feelings.

Cancel culture is the product of people who don’t have actual problems and spend all their time worrying about their feelings. Jews do have actual problems, including synagogue attacks by black nationalists and alt-right gunmen, Iranian nukes and the harassment of Jewish students on campus.

When we focus on real-world attacks, then the real problems of anti-Semitism also come into focus.

A people possessing its own dignity is able to stop chasing the affections of its enemies, whether in the Middle East or closer to home, and accept the affection of its friends even if they aren’t trendy enough.
The Voice must apologise for its disastrous interview with Wiley that failed to distinguish between reporting on antisemitism and enabling it
The Voice newspaper must apologise for its disastrous interview with Wiley that failed to distinguish between reporting on antisemitism and enabling it.

In his interview, Wiley doubled down on his previous social media comments, describing Jews as rich exploiters and slavers, using classic antisemitic tropes and generalising about an entire ethnic group following an apparent dispute with his management team.

But rather than challenge Wiley’s views, the interviewer, Joel Campbell, suggested that there might be ‘salient’ points in Wiley’s racist ranting and seemed to affirm the idea that the Jewish community has a ‘stranglehold’ on the black community. The article also failed convincingly to dispute Wiley’s unfounded and antisemitic claims that Jews are rich exploiters and slavers.

The article’s commentary was also unacceptable. “There is no way to put this all in one nutshell but the hypothesis that you need to get a Jewish lawyer in order to progress in the music business may be a complete fallacy (I haven’t done the numbers, looking into the correlation in respect of who is and isn’t successful with or without one), but yet it remains,” Campbell wrote, adding: “I’ve never seen anyone Jewish refute or confirm this (maybe there was never a need felt to do so), but maybe, it’s a discussion that needs to be had?”

The notion that artists from the black community require a Jewish lawyer to advance is not “a discussion that needs to be had”. If anything, a discussion needs to be had about how The Voice could possibly have published such a disastrous article about such a sensitive topic. There is a difference between reporting on Wiley’s antisemitism and enabling and amplifying it. The Voice’s article was very much on the wrong side of that line.

Wiley had spent the last several days spewing antisemitic bile on social media before being locked out of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram following a global #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate campaign and mass 48-hour social media boycott. Wiley’s comments were condemned by the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, politicians from across parties, celebrities and many others.
Wiley gives incendiary interviews to Sky News and The Voice Online, which depressingly suggests that some of Wiley’s views “are the great unsaid outside of the black community”
The antisemitic grime artist Wiley has given incendiary interviews to Sky News and The Voice Online.

Wiley has spent the last several days spewing antisemitic bile on social media before being locked out of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram following a global #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate campaign and mass 48-hour social media boycott, in which Campaign Against Antisemitism participated.

Wiley’s comments were condemned by the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, politicians from across parties, celebrities and many others.

In his interviews, Wiley doubled down on his previous comments, describing Jews as rich exploiters and slavers, using classic antisemitic tropes and generalising about an entire ethnic group following an apparent dispute with his management team. Nevertheless, the intensity of Wiley’s vitriol and some of the conspiracy theories he espoused indicate that these are longstanding beliefs that have incubated over time, rather than comments arising from the moment.

In a depressing passage in The Voice Online article, the interviewer explained that he had set out “to find out what had triggered [Wiley’s] outburst and why he would make such sweeping generalisations against a community of people in such a scathing manner. These questions were not being posed from an ignorant perspective, some of the views espoused by Wiley are the great unsaid outside of the black community.”

The notion that Wiley’s views may be widespread in some communities is deeply concerning.

The writer went on to say: “Putting anything remotely near considered antisemitic to one side of course, in fact out the window in the bin, not too many seem prepared to vocalise their consternation for some of the recurring themes Wiley believes is the stranglehold one community seems to have over another in particular relation but not confined to, the music business.”
Reinforcing his views, Wiley opens new Instagram account and begins uploading disturbing videos to 250,000 followers on YouTube, as CAA asks Facebook and Google to take him off air
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Online Monitoring and Investigations Unit is aware that Wiley, who has was finally banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram following worldwide outrage, is now uploading disturbing videos to a small Instagram account that appears to be new, and a YouTube channel with almost 250,000 followers.

The videos continue in the same vein as his previous videos and his recent interviews with Sky News and The Voice, a newspaper for the black community, in which he reaffirmed his belief in antisemitic conspiracy theories and bigoted stereotypes about Jews.

For example, in one of the new videos, Wiley demands that an unspecified “you”, which appears from the context to refer to Jews in general, try taking his passport away so that Wiley can see quite how much power Jews have.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Facebook and Google, which own Instagram and YouTube, have been made aware of Wiley’s latest attempts to use their platforms to broadcast his appalling views. We have discussed this with them and asked that they urgently close down his remaining accounts. Wiley seems to be on a quest to discredit himself even further and to persuade his audience to hate Jews and even to go to ‘war’ with Jews. His musical career is undoubtedly over, but we are concerned that his fans could be inspired to act on his hateful broadcasts. That is why we have asked social networks to take him off air, and reported Wiley to the police and intend to privately prosecute him should the authorities refuse to act.”

UN Expresses ‘Dismay’ at Antisemitic Statements by Islamic Relief Leader
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos, expressed his “dismay” on Tuesday over antisemitic views espoused on Facebook by Heshmat Khalifa, the head of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which is Britain’s biggest Muslim charity.

Khalifa resigned from IRW after The Times approached him last week and reported about his past remarks, including labeling Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi a “pimp son of the Jews” and calling Israeli authorities as “grandchildren of monkeys and pigs.”

Additionally, Khalifa has called US-designated terrorist group Hamas “the purest resistance movement in modern history,” and that designating it as such is “shameful disgrace to all Muslims.”

In a statement confirming his resignation, IRW issued a “strong condemnation” of Khalifa’s antisemitic posts and announced a review of its “processes for screening trustees and senior executives’ social-media posts to ensure that this will not happen again.”

“We reject and condemn terrorism and believe that all forms of discrimination, including antisemitism, are unacceptable,” said IRW. “These values are fundamental to our organization, our donors and the people we serve.”

In his statement, while Moratinos acknowledged IRW’s statement, he reiterated that “it is imperative for civil society organizations and faith-based actors to exhibit a zero-tolerance policy towards antisemitism and all forms of discrimination online and offline by putting in place effective measures.”
Resignation calls grow in wake of Philadelphia NAACP head’s anti-Semitic post
Pennsylvania’s governor and attorney general joined the growing number of calls Tuesday for Philadelphia’s NAACP president to resign after he posted an anti-Semitic meme to social media last week.

Philadelphia’s Jewish leaders also expressed outrage over the post and called for Rodney Muhammad’s resignation throughout the weekend. Several city leaders urged him to apologize, while others said it called his leadership into question during a time when the organization’s mission is vital.

Muhammad said in a statement late Monday that he removed the post when he was told the images had previously been distributed by white supremacists.

“I later learned that not only was the quote I used misattributed to the philosopher Francois Voltaire, but in fact, the quote and image had been used previously by white supremacists,” he wrote. “I immediately removed both the quote and the offensive images. It was never my intention to offend anyone or cause any hurt.”

A voicemail for the national spokesman of the NAACP was full Tuesday when The Associated Press tried to contact the organization for comment. A number for Muhammad was not answered Tuesday.

The Thursday post on Muhammad’s Facebook page included photos of Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and Nick Cannon, Black celebrities who recently posted anti-Semitic comments on social media, and the quote “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” falsely attributed to French philosopher Voltaire. The quote originated with Kevin Strom, an American neo-Nazi. (Jackson and Cannon have both apologized.)

Below their photos is an image of a yarmulke-wearing man, using his hand to crush a group of people. The meme, known as “the Happy Merchant,” is an anti-Semitic image used by extremists that the Anti-Defamation League says is commonly used by white supremacists.
Philadelphia NAACP Head Offers Tentative Apology for Antisemitic Post on Facebook as Deicide Tweet Comes to Light
Rodney Muhammad — president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP civil rights organization — issued a fresh statement on Thursday morning that addressed the furor over his posting of crudely antisemitic material on social media.

Referring to his post on Facebook last weekend which showed celebrities Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson, and Nick Cannon ‐‐ all of whom recently made antisemitic statements ‐‐ alongside a grotesque antisemitic caricature, Muhammad said he regretted the offense he had caused.

“I do regret the insult, pain and offense caused to all, particularly those of the Jewish community, by this unfortunate episode,” Muhammad said, in a one-line statement carried by the local Fox News affiliate in Philadelphia.

Jewish organizations had been calling for Muhammad — a follower of the antisemitic Nation of Islam (NOI) led by Louis Farrakhan — to step down from his post with the NAACP. This week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro echoed the call, adding to the pressure on Muhammad.

The offending post on Facebook followed a largely ignored post on Twitter a few days earlier in which Muhammad raised the charge of deicide — the accusation that Jews are eternally culpable for the death of Jesus at the hands of the Romans — in a defense of Farrakhan’s July 4 message that described Jews as “Satan.”

Said Muhammad in a July 17 post: “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke to millions on July 4th and what you don’t hear are nearly 8 million people calling him antisemitic or a hate teacher. The Sahedrin (sic) shout to create mob psychology to crucify Jesus.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke to millions on July 4th and what you don’t hear are nearly 8 million people calling him antisemitic or a hate teacher. The Sahedrin shout to create mob psychology to crucify Jesus.@LouisFarrakhan #DeseanJackson

— Rodney Muhammad (@RodneyMuhammad7) July 17, 2020
Ontario School Curriculum Removes Anti-Israel Video
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced on Tuesday that an anti-Israel video was taken down from a Grade 10 online civics course.

“Very concerned that this offensive material was on a learning website. Working with @gilamartow, I immediately ordered it to be taken down (it was that day) & investigated to ensure it never happens again. We will not tolerate anti-Semtism [sic] in any form,” he tweeted.

The Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, wrote a letter to Lecce, calling for the video to be removed.

The organization spoke last week with a parent whose son was required to watch a short video about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of an online summer course taken through the York Region District School Board (YRDSB).

When the parent complained to the YRDSB about misinformation and bias in the video, it was quickly removed from the course’s online portal.

According to the video, “The current occupation of the Palestinian land by the Zionists have violated the human rights of the Palestinians. They have deprived the Palestinians of natural resources, such as water, and taking [sic] the majority of it for themselves. The Zionists that are granted these privileges are backed by the military. … This conflict continues to rage on because the Israelis continue to live as occupiers while the Palestinians live under occupation.”
Westminster Holocaust memorial project accused of ‘unethical practices’
Baroness Deech has suggested the plan to build the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in Westminster has “descended into practices, unethical by Jewish or any standards” after new details emerged of discussions with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick over the project.

Emails obtained by the JC as part of a Freedom of Information request shed new light on a telephone call between Mr Jenrick, the barrister Christopher Katkowski QC, who is advising on the proposal, and Lord Pickles, co-chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation, last October.

The phone meeting on October 29 to discuss how to proceed came days before Lord Pickles announced on November 5 that Mr Jenrick’s department had now taken control of the project. Ministerial guidance says once planning decisions are called in, “Privately made representations should not be entertained unless other parties have been given the chance to consider them and comment.” The project had not been called in at the time of the call.

Last month Lord Pickles revealed to the JC that he had been visiting the Dachau concentration camp on the same day as the October meeting and did not take part in the discussions.

Emails from the Department for Communities seen by the JC confirm that Lord Pickles was alerted to the meeting three hours before it was due to take place, with Mr Jenrick’s office inviting him to speak with Mr Katkowski QC and the Secretary of State “to discuss the proposed UK Holocaust Memorial.”
SJP Instagram Account Solves Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (satire)
People around the world found reason to rejoice this week after discovering that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has finally been solved. In what’s being labelled a, “like react for world peace”, the decades long struggle for regional calm was finally resolved once and for all by a collegiate Students for Justice in Palestine Instagram post.

The post was similar to all other successful Instagrams in that it effectively airbrushed over reality, and made people believe in a Facetune lifestyle that’s simply not possible. Despite not containing a single citation, the post was so alluring to people who’ve never been to the region that overnight hundreds of thousands of indignant keyboard warriors declared that Israel should be cancelled.

Despite not initially seeming any different from the SJP’s other posts, this one reached its way to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), because they spend the whole time in meetings scrolling through Instagram anyway. And, after very little discussion, the UNGA decided that this post truly showed them the light, and that there must be peace in the region once and for all.

“Until now we didn’t actually care about land rights in the Middle East” said one UNGA member. “But this insta story is really blowing up. I mean, over 4K likes?? I had no idea people wanted peace in the Middle East so badly. Also, the account assured me that nothing they said was anti-Semitic and I totally trust them on that.”

Following the viral post the UNGA convened a meeting to hash out the SJP’s demands. The first step to peace: banning Hillels from American campuses. That won’t be contentious at all.
New York Times Reporting Regresses Into Comic Book Caricatures
Take, for example, the recent article entitled “For Palestinian Police, Much to Lose if Israel Annexes West Bank Land.” The point of the article is obvious: Halbfinger et al. are attempting to poison readers against the possibility that Israel would consider annexing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. And while this might have previously been the topic of intense debate on the pages of the Times, the desired conclusion is now heavy-handedly imposed on readers in a simplistic tale of heroes and villains. Thus, there is no mention of the offers of statehood that have been repeatedly rejected by the Palestinians. Rather than affording readers with a variety of perspectives on the issue, the reporters present a cardboard character portrayal of Palestinian police as noble souls who risk their lives to protect Jews, only to be mocked and “scorned” by their own people as “collaborators” while treated with “highhandedness and disdain” by their Israeli overlords for whom they perform all the “dirty work.” According to the melodramatic account that substitutes for news, the possible annexation of settlements would necessarily spell the total “collapse” of the “incipient [Palestinian] state, and “dash the dreams” of Palestinians. There is neither examination nor interviews with political experts about whether, why or how extending Jewish sovereignty to settlements in the West Bank would end the notion of a Palestinian state. It is presented as a given, not up for discussion or debate.

Instead, Palestinian police relay anecdotes about hurriedly complying with Israeli requests for assistance, even while Israeli officers callously hamper their ability to respond to urgent requests for help by Arabs; of Israeli officers who refuse them entry to areas where they are needed; of Israeli perpetrators who are freed, unprosecuted for crimes against Arabs; and of a Palestinian police officer who risked his own life to protect an Israeli from an angry mob of Palestinians, only to be shot at and wounded by an Israeli afterwards.

Missing from this tale of good guys vs. bad guys is anything that might detract from the hero and villain roles assigned by the reporters. Thus, readers are not told that members of the PA police force have been responsible for deadly attacks on Israelis. Among those who lost their lives at the hands of Palestinian police were Ben-Yosef Livnat (nephew of Israeli politician Limor Livnat) who was killed by a PA police officer shooting at a group of Jewish worshippers near Joseph’s Tomb; Sgt. Ihab Khatib, an Arab-Druze non-commissioned military officer who was stabbed to death by a senior Palestinian police officer; Ayala Levy, Smadar Levy, Yaniv Levy and Lydia Marko who were killed when two Palestinian police officers fired at Israeli pedestrians near a crowded bus stop in Hadera; Yossi Tabaja, an Israeli border police officer was shot and killed by his Palestinian colleague from the PA police force while they were on a joint security patrol; Avraham Balhasan, Rose Boneh, Anya Bonder, Anat Darom, Viorel Octavian Florescu, Natalia Gamril, Yechezkel Isser Goldberg, Baruch Hondiashvili, Dana Itach, Mehbere Kifile, and Eli Zfira, were killed on a Jerusalem bus blown up by a PA police officer. It doesn’t fit the narrative.

New York Times reporters apparently have very low regard for their readers’ intellect, perhaps fearing they might not draw the desired conclusions if given the “unvarnished truth” and presented with a more complex picture of the situation. And so, the newspaper has done away with inconvenient editorial standards that allow readers the opportunity to deliberate, weigh different perspectives and draw their own conclusions. Instead, the New York Times offers their readers nothing more intellectually taxing than a comic book tale.
CAMERA UK prompts correction to BBC’s Gaza Strip backgrounder
As noted earlier this week, the most recent version of a BBC six year-old backgrounder about the Gaza Strip opened by telling readers that the territory “is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and between 2007 and 2014 was ruled by the militant Islamist group Hamas”.


CAMERA UK submitted a complaint explaining that the Gaza Strip is not under PA control and that the supposed Hamas-Fatah deal of 2014 did not bring an end to Hamas rule.

The paragraph concerned now reads:
“It is under the control of the militant Islamist group Hamas, which won Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 and ejected forces loyal to the then governing Palestinian Authority after a violent rift in 2007.”

1st half of 2020 sees near-record anti-Semitism in UK despite lockdown
Anti-Semitic incidents in the UK have dropped by 13 percent in 2020 compared to the year before, likely due to COVID-19 lockdown regulations, but the 789 events reported between January and June still represent the third-highest number on record for that period, according to a study by a British watchdog group.

The Thursday report was released by the Community Security Trust (CST), which has been keeping tabs on anti-Semitism in the UK since 1984.

The two months that saw the lowest number of recorded incidents, March and April, with 102 and 98 incidents, respectively, coincided with the period when coronavirus lockdown measures were most highly enforced, with religious institutions, schools, restaurants, and other venues closed. The regulations were relaxed in May, which saw a subsequent rise in anti-Semitic events, and the numbers continued to rise in June.

Despite the drop, the CST reported a continued trend of rising anti-Semitism in recent years. Five of the six months in the first half of 2020 saw over 100 recorded incidents – with the lowest month, May, only two short of that number. In contrast, monthly tallies by the CST only exceeded 100 on six occasions between January 2006 and December 2015.

The greater London and Manchester areas, which are home to the largest Jewish communities in the UK, saw 69 percent of the total incidents. At least one reported anti-Semitic event was recorded in 41 of the UK’s 43 police regions in 2020, compared with 35 in 2019.

According to the CST, the pandemic also influenced the nature of anti-Semitic incidents in the first half of 2020. There were 10 reports of religious or educational online events being hijacked with anti-Semitic content or behavior. There were a further 26 episodes of pandemic-related anti-Semitism, including the propagation of conspiracy theories accusing Jews of inventing a coronavirus “hoax” or of creating and spreading the disease itself, or people simply expressing the hope that Jews catch the coronavirus and die.
United Nations appoints first 'UN Focal Point' to monitor antisemitism
The United Nations has named Spanish diplomat Miguel Ángel Moratinos, high representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), as its envoy tasked with monitoring antisemitism.

Moratinos, appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, will now be tasked with “enhancing a system-wide response” to combat global antisemitism – within an international body that has long been accused of anti-Israel bias.

“In his capacity as the United Nations focal point designated by the United Nations secretary-general to monitor antisemitism and enhance a system-wide response, the high representative underscores that the United Nations is fully engaged in combating antisemitism as well as all forms of discrimination and intolerance based on religion or belief,” the UNAOC said Tuesday.

The alliance “promotes mutual respect, cultural diversity and religious pluralism, as well as strengthening interfaith dialogue across the faith spectrum in line with its motto ‘Many Cultures, One Humanity,’” it added.

“In this context, the high representative stresses that countering hate speech and all forms of discrimination, including against Jews and all other communities, religious or otherwise, requires adopting a human rights-based approach.”

The position mirrors similar roles in the EU, US, UK, Germany and France, positions that have been used to coordinate global efforts among governments and NGOs to take antisemitism head on.
Shomrim volunteer assaulted with a knife by assailants in New York
New York Police stated that member of Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch group, was attacked with a knife in Brooklyn late Wednesday evening while responding to a separate incident, according to the New York Post.

Shomrim, set up in Haredi communities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, among others, have tasked themselves with combating vandalism, assaults, antisemitic attacks, burglary, etc. within these Jewish communities. However, they are unarmed and unable to make arrests.

The Jewish volunteer victim was cut below the knee and rushed to Maimonides Medical Center while in stable condition, according to the Post report.

Police claim that three of the four suspects were detained by officers, with the fourth still at large within the area.

The Post article notes that the man from the initial assault, to which the volunteer was responding to, left without medical intention and it is not particularly clear if was a physical altercation or just a verbal one.

Who would sell Holocaust-themed face masks? This guy.
The face masks aren’t subtle: One is emblazoned with the famous photo of a Jewish mother and child, their hands raised, at Nazi gunpoint. Another shows an unmistakable image of a concentration camp crematorium.

The product description below the mother-and-child mask reads: “Another bold image that gets the point across without being overly offensive.” It sells for $12.44.

Those masks, and others like them, are sold online at Other products on the site feature photos from Nazi rallies or a Japanese internment camp in the United States. A T-shirt sold on the site shows three pictures in numerical order: first, a generic face mask; second, a photo of Jews lining up to enter a ghetto; third, a photo of a Nazi concentration camp.

You probably get the point. But in case you don’t, the website’s founder explained his objective on the homepage. “Our goal here is to provide a reminder of what can happen when millions of people follow seemingly innocent ‘orders’ and ‘rules,’” the site says. “In the times of the [H]olocaust people may not have had such a recent example of evil to keep them vigilant and weary [sic] of evil to come. We do.”
Swedish Academy Invokes Obscure Law to Prevent Neo-Nazi Group Quoting Classic Literature
The Swedish Academy has taken neo-nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) to court, alleging that the group may not quote works of classic Swedish literature on their website.

The Academy, which chooses Nobel Prize winners for literature, has argued that NMR’s website “Nordfront” has violated section 51 of the Swedish Copyright Act by frequently quoting several Swedish Romantic-era poets.

Section 51 of the copyright law states that works whose copyright has expired and fallen into the public domain are protected against reproduction “in a way that violates the interests of spiritual cultivation”, broadcaster SVT reports.

NMR, meanwhile, have argued that they have not distorted the classical works because they have simply reproduced them exactly and stated that the section of the copyright law does not apply.

They went on to say that the law is designed to prevent edited editions of existing works that may be shortened or distorted by publishers looking to make a profit. The Swedish Academy has been given until August 28th to respond to the counter-claim.
Bayer's Leaps to invest in Israeli biotech incubator FutuRx
Biotech incubator FutuRx announced Tuesday that Leaps, the impact investment unit of pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG, will join it as an investor for incepting and incubating early-stage biotech companies.

Both Leaps by Bayer and FutuRx invest in paradigm-shifting technologies in the life sciences, aiming to change the world for the better.

FutuRx is the leading Israeli biotechnology incubator focused on innovative, early-stage therapeutic technologies, which has established 20 companies to date with longstanding investors Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Takeda Ventures, and OrbiMed Israel Partners. FutuRx also enjoys the backing of the Israeli Innovation Authority.

Leaps by Bayer leads impact investments into solutions to some of today's biggest challenges in health and agriculture.

Its portfolio includes more than 30 companies, all of which focus on potentially breakthrough technologies to overcome specific challenges, such as regenerating lost tissue function, reducing the environmental impact of farming, preventing or curing cancer, and others.

"We are very excited to have Leaps by Bayer join our investor group," FutuRx's CEO Dr. Kinneret Savitzky said.

"FutuRx and Leaps by Bayer share the objective to invest in scientific breakthroughs and enable the translation to novel therapies or even cures. Our portfolio companies benefit from the knowledge and support of our multinational pharma and VC partners at every step of the way towards reaching meaningful inflection points, and we are thrilled to bring into play Bayer's unique expertise and capabilities in the many therapeutic areas in which it is active."
Video Highlights Israel’s Role in Global Fight Against Coronavirus
In a video published on Thursday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry highlighted the role the Jewish state has played in the global fight against the coronavirus, noting the large number of countries that has received medical and technological aid from it.

“In the struggle against corona, there are no politics, no borders,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi tweeted.

“Led by the Foreign Ministry, we have reached more than 15 countries on three continents with supplies of humanitarian aid including medical and technological equipment that will help in the global fight against corona,” he noted.

New Israeli-made mask claims to offer best protection yet against coronavirus
An Israeli scientist has invented a mask that “seals” the face and, according to testing, blocks 99.25% of coronavirus-sized particles, he said.

Noam Gavriely helped the Israel Defense Forces develop gas masks during the Iraq War, and admits that his new product, ViriMASK, resembles some wartime protection devices and doesn’t look attractive. But he said that in terms of protection, it offers a significant improvement over the N95 masks, which are meant to filter at least 95% of airborne particles, and are widely seen as the best currently available option.

Gavriely, ViriMASK CEO, told The Times of Israel: “Unlike other products, this is sealed all around the face, like gas masks and diving masks. And the filter is much more dense than the N95 mask and surgical masks, meaning that fewer particles penetrate.”

He said this can give peace of mind to hospital workers and other medical professionals, including dentists, and others who are at a higher risk of being exposed to the coronavirus.

The mask straps around the head and covers the eyes, nose and mouth, meaning that all points currently believed to be channels for coronavirus infection are protected.
Almost 1,000 Jews visit Temple Mount for Tisha B’Av; some pray, wave Israel flag
Nearly 1,000 Jews visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Thursday morning to mark the fast day of Tisha B’Av, which mourns the destruction of the two Jewish Temples that stood at the holy site.

About 10 of them were detained by police and taken out of the compound after praying in defiance of the rules at the site.

The contested compound today houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Jews are forbidden from praying there and face a host of other restrictions within the compound.

Located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, the compound is revered by both Jews and Muslims, who call it Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. Large numbers of Palestinians often gather at the site, especially for Friday prayers, and it has long been a flashpoint between Israelis and Palestinians.

Some 800 Jews entered the Temple Mount Thursday morning, with police breaking them up into groups of 20, which were admitted every several minutes.

More entered in the afternoon visitation hour between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., bringing the total count to 978, according to Temple Mount activist groups.

Footage from the Temple Mount showed members of one of the groups bowing on the ground, saying aloud the Jewish prayer “Shema Yisrael,” and being taken away by police. To maintain the status quo, Jews are forbidden from praying at the site.
Ancient "Cave" Synagogue beneath Temple Mount Used by Jews of Jerusalem for Hundreds of Years
When Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders in 1099, the Jews took the lead in defending the city and were the last to fall, according to Gilo of Paris, a 12th-century poet. Muslim historian Ibn al-Qalanisi says that the Jews of the city fled to the Cave Synagogue, where the Crusaders burned them alive, a story corroborated by the 12th-century Arab writer Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi.

Archaeologist Dan Bahat, who excavated and researched the Western Wall tunnels, thinks that he has discovered the location of the Cave Synagogue "in the area of Warren's Gate," one of four gates that led from the Western Wall to the Temple Mount. "For hundreds of years, it was the center of Jewish life in Jerusalem, but the Crusaders...wiped out the city's Jewish community, blocked off the gate, and turned the synagogue into a cistern."

Documents from the Cairo Geniza from the 11th century include a request sent in 1035 by Shlomo Ben Yehuda, head of the Jerusalem yeshiva, to Rabbi Ephraim in Cairo, asking for help in rebuilding the Cave Synagogue, which had collapsed in an earthquake in 1033.

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