Saturday, August 08, 2020

From Ian:

Israel’s Outgoing UN Envoy Danny Danon Says He Aimed to ‘Dilute the Hatred’ at Global Body
The Jewish state’s outgoing ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, is even more optimistic about the country’s prospects at Turtle Bay than he was when he started in the role nearly five years ago. This despite the long-time consensus that the UN presents one of the toughest challenges for Israeli diplomacy.

Lacking the rhetorical flourish of his predecessor, Ron Prosor, the progress made by Danon has come as a product of good-old fashioned grit, creativity and the inner confidence in the justness of the Jewish state’s cause that Danon projects.

In a departing interview with The Algemeiner, the last of his tenure, Danon said he discovered that it was “almost impossible” to erase existing resolutions at the UN, even “ridiculous resolutions.” Instead, he focused his efforts on “diluting the hatred against Israel by adding resolutions” and calendar events.

“So at the end of the day yes, we still had the regular twenty anti-Israel resolutions every year in the General Assembly,” he said. “But when you see the amount of activity that we put into the whole in terms of Jewish culture, trips to Israel and techno-diplomacy, at the end of the day, we diluted the hatred.”

One example of this came in 2018, when a US-introduced resolution condemning Hamas received a historic plurality of votes in the General Assembly. Last April, the General Assembly also approved a resolution condemning antisemitism among other hate crimes, following a diplomatic battle led by Danon.

Danon also made history when, in 2016, he was appointed head of the United Nations Legal Committee, becoming the first Israeli ever to be picked to lead a permanent UN committee. In 2017, Danon was elected as vice president of the General Assembly as the representative of the Western states. In 2019, he was appointed by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to co-chair the Science, Technology and Innovation Forum, alongside Ghana’s ambassador, Martha Pobee.

“I fought that Israel will be almost in every place we can,” he said. “My motto was to get there and be there and change the atmosphere in the room, and it worked.”
Danon: We should all demand that Lebanon oust Hezbollah
The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, but Danon told B’nai B’rith that while he was UN ambassador he warned the UN Security Council that Hezbollah was storing weapons at the port.

“Last year when I spoke in the security council, I said very clearly that the port of Beirut had become the port of Hezbollah,” Danon said.
His words, he said, were base on intelligence reports.

“We got the intelligence and I spoke about it publicly, that [Hezbollah is] actually using the airports and the ports to transport the weapons and other things that are dangerous,” Danon said.

“We all respect the Lebanese people. We know that they are suffering… We send our condolences to the people there,” Danon said.

“But we do criticize not only Hezbollah, but also the Lebanese government, because they allow Hezbllah to do those activities,” Danon said.

But he also leveled criticize against Western countries, including the United States and France, for providing financial assistance to the Lebanese government and its army while not doing enough to ensure that action was taken against Hezbollah.

“I tell them that it’s okay to support the Lebanese government, the Lebanese military, but you have to demand more,” Danon said.

“When we see cooperation between Hezbollah and the Lebanese army, you ask yourself why the US or other countries should give any funding to this army that has allowed Hezbollah to take over,” Danon said.
Israel TV: Hezbollah apparently wanted Beirut’s ammonium nitrate for Israel war
Hezbollah apparently planned to use the ammonium nitrate stockpile that caused a massive bast at Beirut’s port this week against Israel in a “Third Lebanon War,” according to an unsourced assessment publicized on Israel’s Channel 13 Friday night.

The report was broadcast hours after Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech “categorically” denying that his group had stored any weapons or explosives at Beirut’s port, following the massive explosion there Tuesday that has claimed over 157 lives and wounded thousands. “I would like to absolutely, categorically rule out anything belonging to us at the port. No weapons, no missiles, or bombs or rifles or even a bullet or ammonium nitrate,” Nasrallah said. “No cache, no nothing. Not now, not ever.”

Israel has not formally alleged that Hezbollah was connected to the Tuesday blast.

Ammonium nitrate is used in the manufacture of explosives and is also an ingredient in making fertilizer. It has been blamed for massive industrial accidents in the past, and was also a main ingredient in a bomb that destroyed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Last year, reports in Israel claimed that the Mossad had tipped off European intelligence agencies about Hezbollah storing caches of ammonium nitrate for use in bombs in London, Cyprus and elsewhere.

The Channel 13 report noted that “the material that exploded in the port is not new to Nasrallah and Hezbollah.”

It detailed Hezbollah’s previous connections to ammonium nitrate, including incidents in Germany and the UK, both widely reported at the time, in which its agents were reportedly found with substantial quantities of the material. In London in 2015, following a Mossad tip off, British intelligence found four Hezbollah operatives with 3 tons of ammonium nitrate held in flour sacks, the TV report said, citing foreign reports. A similar process led to the discovery in Germany of Hezbollah operatives with enough ammonium nitrate “to blow up a city,” the report said. Germany subsequently banned Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
No Beirut Blast Inquiry Request, Says UN After Macron Call for Probe
The United Nations has not received any requests to investigate the deadly explosion in Beirut’s port, a UN spokesman said on Friday after French President Emmanuel Macron called for an international inquiry.

Dozens are still missing after Tuesday’s blast in the Lebanese capital that killed at least 154 people, injured 5,000 and left up to 250,000 without habitable homes, hammering a nation already staggering from economic meltdown and a surge in coronavirus cases.

Initial Lebanese probes have pointed to an ammonium nitrate cargo, which was abandoned in Beirut, as the source of the blast. During a visit to Beirut on Thursday, Macron said that a transparent international inquiry was needed.

“We would be willing to consider such a request if we were to receive one. Nothing like that has been received, however,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could also establish an inquiry if mandated by a UN legislative body such as the 193-member General Assembly or the 15-member Security Council.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Friday that a Lebanese investigation into the blast would examine whether it was caused by a bomb or other external interference or if it was due to negligence or an accident.



Palestinians say UNRWA planning to rename schools named after ‘martyrs'
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Saturday denied Palestinian claims that it is planning to rename schools already named after Palestinians and Arabs killed while carrying out attacks against Israel.

Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, told The Jerusalem Post that reports suggesting that the agency is considering changing the names of more than 50 schools were untrue.

Abu Hasna clarified, however, that UNRWA is currently studying the possibility of changing the names of some of its institutions, but denied that the move was related to names of “martyrs.”

“We are revising the names of all our institutions, not only schools,” Abu Hasna told the Post.

“But the matter is related only to the location of the institutions. For example, in the Zeitoun suburb of the Gaza Strip, we have three schools named Zeitoun School. We are seeking to give names to institutions on the basis of their location. We anyway don’t name our institutions after martyrs. We don’t have a school named after [Hamas founder] Ahmed Yassin. We are not Hamas or Fatah. We abide by the rules of the UN, even concerning the names of our institutions.”
IDF chief says Iran behind Sunday’s thwarted attack on Syrian border
A terror cell that planted several explosives along Israel’s border with Syria earlier this week had been operating under orders from Iran, arny Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said Friday.

The remarks made by the army chief during a meeting with soldiers from the Maglan reconnaissance unit that thwarted the Sunday attack represented the first time Israel has fingered Tehran as having been behind the attack. It appeared to put to bed initial speculation that the incident represented an attempt by the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah to stage a counter-attack against Israel for the reported killing of one of its officers last month.

“You thwarted a squad sent by Iran, which was part of the process of establishing a radical axis in Syria,” Kohavi told the soldiers Friday, lauding them for their efforts, which led to the neutralizing of the four fighters who planted the explosives.

The Israel Defense Forces went on to conduct a series of airstrikes on Syrian military targets late Monday night in response to the Golan Heights attempted attack.

The IDF said it bombed Syrian observation posts, intelligence-gathering equipment, anti-aircraft cannons and command-and-control infrastructure.

“The IDF sees the Syrian regime as responsible for all activities that occur in its territory and will continue to act with determination against all violations of the sovereignty of the State of Israel,” the military said in a statement.
Police sappers neutralize balloon-borne incendiary device near Kibbutz Nir Oz
A bunch of balloons bearing a suspected explosive device launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel was found by residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz in a nearby agricultural field, the Eshkol Regional Council said on Saturday morning. No injuries were reported.

The council said police sappers were on the scene to neutralize the device, which appeared to be some sort of grenade. “Following the incident, we would like to once again emphasize: in an incident where a suspicious object has been identified, one should move away from the scene, not touch anything and report it to security personnel immediately,” the council said in a statement.

The discovery was the latest in a string of incidents involving incendiary devices launched from the Palestinian enclave. The practice of launching balloon-borne incendiary and explosive devices from Gaza toward Israel has waxed and waned over the past two years, though there have been relatively few launches of late as the Israeli government and Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group have reportedly been negotiating a long-term ceasefire.

On Thursday, Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip after terrorists in the enclave allegedly launched a number of balloons carrying suspected explosives and incendiary devices into Israel earlier in the day, the military said.

The Israel Defense Forces said the retaliatory strike targeted “underground infrastructure belonging to the Hamas terror group in the northern Gaza Strip.”

“The attack was carried out in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from the territory of the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory throughout the day,” the IDF said in a statement Thursday.
NYTs June 20, 1982: PALESTINIAN DEFEAT MAY MAKE QUEST FOR PEACE EVEN HARDER
DAMASCUS, SYRIA ISRAELI forces in Lebanon have swept away the existing mnilitary balance and political order in the entire Middle East from Cairo to Teheran. While some in Washington and Israel saw an extraordinary opportunity to expand stability and peace, Western and neutral area specialists here are convinced that attaining peace in the region has become more difficult.

Even the most partisan Arab diplomats concede that Israel is the overwhelming short-term victor. It has broken the military power of the Palestine Liberation Organization for a long time, if not forever, and dealt heavy blows to Syria. Yet at the moment of its most devastating military defeat, the P.L.O. has gained a crucial measure of de facto recognition. All previous Middle East wars were Arab-Israeli wars. The fighting in Lebanon has been an Israeli-Palestinian war.

President Reagan's special envoy, Philip C. Habib, though it is not known whether he speaks directly to the Palestinians, is in fact negotiating with the P.L.O. Whatever permanent cease-fire emerges will be an Israeli-Palestinian one. Israel has had to say - in the face of protests by international humanitarian organizations -that it will not treat the thousands of Palestinians it has captured as prisoners of war, lest that status be interpreted as a form of recognition of the P.L.O.
IJV representative: Annexation is 'death knell' to prospect of just peace
Montrealers representing a variety of groups, ranging from students to labor organizations, are planning to hold a demonstration against the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's electoral riding of Papineau Sunday in light of Israel's annexation plans in the West Bank, according to a press release from Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV).

Aaron Lakoff, a representative of IJV, noted in a statement that “Annexation is a death knell to any prospect of a just peace in Israel-Palestine.”

The release stated that Israel's annexation plans are contrary to international law, with IJV noting that a protest against the CIFTA, including calls to cancel the agreement, is aimed towards deterring any such actions by the Israeli government.
JVP also cited a a recent EKOS poll that suggests 74% of Canadians oppose Israel's annexation plan, with 42% of those polled calling for economic and/or diplomatic sanctions against Israel if the annexation of settlements in the West Bank were to move forward.

“By continuing the CIFTA, the Canadian government gives cover for the Israeli state to continue to violate international law with impunity,” said community activist Mostafa Henaway, a Ph.D candidate from Academics for Palestine at Concordia University.

“Canada is complicit in the annexation of Palestinian lands. Here in Québec and in Canada, due to our economic and diplomatic ties with the Israeli state, we have a deep responsibility to the Palestinian people, and that means we have a responsibility to campaign for the ending of the CIFTA until Palestinian rights and self-determination are respected,” he added.

Omar Ben Ali, a Palestinian Montrealer, originally from the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, said “Israel is a rogue state, and their annexation plan is criminal,” adding that “As Palestinians, we are calling on the powerful countries of the world such as France, the UK, and Canada, to stand up to Israel by imposing sanctions”.


Jewish groups protest Trump’s Germany envoy pick for remarks on Nazi history
Jewish groups are taking aim at President Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to Germany for his past statements about Muslim immigrants and for downplaying the importance of Nazi history.

The nomination of Douglas Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran who now frequently appears on Fox News, made headlines this week after CNN’s K File unearthed a long history of the retired colonel’s comments. In 2018 he said “There’s sort of a sick mentality that says that generations after generations must atone sins of what happened in 13 years of German history and ignore the other 1,500 years of Germany.”

He also called Muslim immigrants “invaders” who want to turn Europe “into an Islamic state” and called for martial law at the US-Mexico border, saying US authorities should “shoot people” if necessary to prevent immigrants from entering the country.

Prior to the CNN report, B’nai B’rith International had already expressed concerns about Macgregor. In a July 28 release, it noted his past propensity to insinuate that “neocons” serving Israel’s interests were controlling US foreign policy.

“It is important that American diplomats not question the patriotism of other Americans who hold political views different from their own, especially given that questioning Jewish loyalty to America is an anti-Semitic trope,” B’nai B’rith said.

The American Jewish Committee on Friday urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withdraw Macgregor’s nomination.

“It is because of our intensive engagement with Germany that we were so troubled by the reports of recent days regarding Col. Macgregor’s many incendiary comments over the years about the German government, Germany’s confrontation with its Nazi past, the NATO alliance, immigration policy, and other topics,” AJC CEO David Harris said in a letter to Pompeo.
Thousands attend nationwide anti-Netanyahu protests
Protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued nationwide on Saturday evening, with thousands of people gathering outside the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem and a smaller number gathering outside of Netanyahu’s private residence in Caesarea.

On Saturday afternoon, protesters made their way to bridges and intersections across the country in a display of the anti-Netanyahu sentiment that has sparked protests in recent weeks. Protesters were heard shouting “Bibi Go home!” and “we’re sick of corruption!”

“This is the seventh week in a row that civilians across Israel join the protests against Netanyahu, calling on him to pack his bags and resign after his utter failure in handling the health crisis,” a statement by the Black Flags movement read.

“Instead of preventing a second wave, Netanyahu has been dealing with tax deductions for his family and for himself.”

While previous protests – demanding Netanyahu’s immediate resignation over his pending charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust – were characterized by the young age of protesters, referred to as “anarchists” by Netanyahu himself, this evening’s protests saw a growing number of elderly people attending, according to N12.

"I will be enlisting into the IDF soon and I want to know that the country I'll be serving will have leaders I can be proud of," a protester told an N12 reporter.

Opposition leader and chairman of Yesh Atid Yair Lapid expressed support for the protests, which he said are only getting bigger.
Fatah official: I wish my brother was killed by Israel, not Palestinians
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the Palestinian General Authority of Civil Affairs and member of the Fatah Central Committee, said on Thursday that he wished his brother, Khalil, had been killed by Israel, and not by Palestinians.

Al-Sheikh was speaking to reporters during the funeral of his brother, who was shot dead on Wednesday night during a family feud in Al-Bireh, the twin city of Ramallah.

Several Palestinian officials attended the funeral, including Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official, and Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service.

Masked gunmen who also attended the funeral fired automatic rifles into the air as PA security forces sealed off the area of the cemetery, where Al-Sheikh’s brother, 47-year-old Khalil al-Sheikh, was buried.

Palestinians expressed fear that his death would pave the way for scenes of anarchy and lawlessness in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, particularly after dozens of masked gunmen appeared on the streets of the two cities shortly after the shooting. The gunmen forced shopkeepers to close their businesses.

“I was hoping that Khalil would die while being chased [by Israel],” Hussein al-Sheikh said. “I was hoping, from the bottom of my heart, that the bullet that killed Khalil was an Israeli bullet.”

The senior Fatah official called for unity and for preserving the Palestinian social fabric in the aftermath of his brother’s death. “I promise to amputate my arm if it takes part in undermining our social and national fabric,” he said.


Iran: China's Newest Colony?
The deal is a clear win for China; the $400 billion will be invested over 25 years, which is a small amount of money for the second-largest economy in the world. China will also have full authority over Iran's islands, gain access to Iran's oil at a highly discounted rate and increase its influence and presence in almost every sector of Iranian industry, including telecommunications, energy, ports, railways, and banking. China, incidentally, is the world's largest importer of oil.

Even some of Iran's politicians and state-owned newspapers have begun criticizing the deal. A headline in the Iranian newspaper Arman-e Melli, for example, surprisingly criticized the government: "Iran is not Kenya or Sri Lanka (to be colonized by China)."

The ruling mullahs are selling off the country to China, just as some African governments did. Beijing appears more than happy to make deals with dictators, ignore their human rights abuses and plunder their nations to advance its own global hegemonic ambitions.
Iran Strengthens Relationship With Russia Amid New Pressure From Washington
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with senior Russian officials in the Kremlin last month to tighten relations between Moscow and Tehran, Al-Monitor reported Thursday.

While Iran and Russia have cooperated extensively to support the Assad regime in Syria, Zarif's visit—his third in six months—marks a growing effort between the two countries to counter the United States.

The report comes as the White House is all but doubling down on its tough sanctions regime toward Iran. On Thursday, Washington announced the replacement of U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook with recent Venezuela envoy and Iran hawk Elliott Abrams.

Abrams's appointment "appears to bury any remaining chance of a diplomatic initiative with Iran before the end of Mr. Trump's term," the New York Times reported Thursday.

In recent months, Iran has looked to Russia, along with China, for support against Washington's "maximum pressure" campaign. As the United Nations arms embargo on Iran reaches its final months before renewal, U.S. officials are not hopeful about cooperation from U.N. Security Council members China and Russia in renewing the sanctions.

"The strategy in a perfect world will always be to have them abstain and obviously not veto" the embargo, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft said earlier this week.

"However, let's be realistic here. Right now the strategy is working with other members of the Security Council" to put China and Russia "in a corner and shine a light on them," Craft said. "Everyone is going to know this is a choice between tyranny and freedom."
Pakistan and China Reach New Intelligence Sharing Agreement
Pakistan and China have initiated an "unprecedented" intelligence-sharing relationship, U.S. News & World Report reported Thursday.

The new agreement provides Pakistan Defense Ministry officers with top-secret clearance to use and interact with the Chinese intelligence infrastructure under the aegis of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission. While there is little public information about the commission, the most high ranking party and military officials are privy to its operations.

Islamabad has also provided assurances to Beijing that the Taliban will not act as a harbor for Uighur Muslims. China has reportedly forced over one million Uighurs into detainment and work camps within Chinese borders.

"The arrangement far exceeds any accommodation the Afghan insurgent network has ever afforded the U.S. with regard to Washington's concerns about al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan," U.S. News reported.

The two countries have also worked extensively on creating a trade corridor through Pakistan to buttress China's ongoing "Belt and Road Initiative." The project has pushed a large amount of capital into a floundering Pakistani economy.
Seth J. Frantzman: Why doesn’t Iranian media and regime care about Lebanon’s disaster?
Tasnim news on Saturday was more concerned with US sanctions, a protest by Iran about US fighters jets intercepting an Iranian passenger plane and exchange rates. Not so much about Lebanon. Fars News also didn’t have many details about the blast. There was a report about Lebanon’s foreign minister praising Hezbollah head Hassan-Nasrallah and details about the Mozambique company that had purchased the ammonium nitrate that exploded in Beirut. There was less about how the blast might affect Iran, Iranians in Lebanon or even Hezbollah, a key Iranian ally.

So what is going on with Iran’s regime and its reaction to the blast? The regime seems more interested in a few petty details or ignoring the destruction entirely. Zarif is busy complaining that Google doesn’t translate Persian language tweets correctly, claiming that when tweets send condolences, Google translates the word to “congratulations.” Basically he is complaining that when he tries to mourn with Lebanon it is mistranslated. But why would he care, he usually tweets in English as Iran’s premier propagandist and explainer abroad. It’s odd that this is
the main concern of Iran’s foreign minister after the tragedy, trying to get translations correct at a global tech giant.

Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, has also been silent for days after the disaster. He tweeted sympathy on August 5 and then remained silent. Where are the usual avalanche of words. When Iran’s regime is bashing Israel, such as on its annual Quds Day, the leader and all his minions seem capable of hundreds of tweets bashing “Zionism” and the US. But when it comes to caring for the lives of Lebanese they are quiet. They seem to only tweet about Lebanon in the context of Israel and otherwise see the people as expendable. They call Hezbollah the “resistance” in Lebanon, defending the country from Israel’s supposed aggression. However when Lebanese die at the hands of an explosion, rather than Israel, for some reason their usual caring for the lives of Lebanese disappears.

The overall Iranian media and leadership reaction, while it has had some evidence of sending aid, in general has not shown much interest in what happened in Lebanon, despite the state being a key part of Iran’s system of influence in the region. In fact it was Lebanon where the Iranian Islamic Revolution fully gained a foothold in the 1980s, via groups like Hezbollah. It was in Lebanon where Iran confront the US and Israel. Ostensibly there are fraternal relations and family relations between Shi’ites in Lebanon and those in Iran. However overall affection by the regime may be lacking.






Hezbollah leader Nasrallah hanged in effigy by Lebanese protesters
Large protests broke out in Lebanon on Saturday demanding accountability after the massive explosion on August 4 that killed more than 130 and has left thousands homeless and injured. They are the latest popular anger over the disaster and apparent government irresponsibility that led to the destruction of Beirut.

Political leaders have been absent since the explosion, with the president and politicians close to Hezbollah spreading rumors that the explosion was caused by “foreign” interference and Hezbollah denying it has responsibility. Protesters hanged an effigy of the Hezbollah leader during protests Saturday.

However it appears many in Lebanon are outraged. People have had to clean their own streets as government workers are absent. While France’s President came to Lebanon on August 5 to meet people, many politicians didn’t seem to bother. While some port officials have reportedly been detained, there are questions about how an investigation will unfold.

Thousands gathered on Saturday in the afternoon with Lebanese flags to protest. Some targeted the foreign ministry. Police fired tear gas as the protesters tried to get to the parliament building.

Tear gas was poured into the crowd for hours, protesters said. A truck was burned. Rubble and debris seemed to flood the streets after clashes. One woman shouted “if I die, keep going.” Some were wounded and blood was strewn on their clothes. 142 were wounded the Red Cross said. 32 were taken to hospitals that are already crowded from the disaster.

Protesters hanged effigies of not only the Hezbollah leader but also President Michel Aoun and Nabih Berri, a politician and Speaker of Parliament. Five members of parliament have resigned and at least one leading diplomat who was representing Lebanon in Jordan has also resigned in the wake of the bombing.


Mengele’s unethical research was part of existing beliefs, practice
Marwell explores Auschwitz’s environment and explains that camp doctors carried out “selections” when victims first arrived. They determined who would be murdered immediately in the gas chambers and who would be assigned to work. Sick patients sent to the infirmary were similarly assessed as candidates for gassing or for work. In some cases, certain subjects were judged suitable for research on hypothermia, starvation, drug therapy and sterilization techniques, including testicle and ovary irradiation, or other research. Many prisoners were intentionally infected with typhus to study the contagion rate and disease course. Mengele personally selected 20 Jewish children for tuberculosis experiments and applied electro-convulsive therapy on mentally ill inmates.

He set up a laboratory in a camp barracks with inmate physicians or scientists as staff. Mengele conducted twin research and studies of growth and physical anomalies, plus, preserved Jewish skeletons, human embryos and deceased newborns. When epidemics struck Auschwitz, he simply gassed sufferers. For example, Marwell relates that Mengele sent 1,500 worst-case inmates to be gassed when typhus and, later, scarlet fever were rampant.

Mengele also researched identical twins, dwarfism, oral clefts, people with different-colored eyes and sufferers of noma, a bacterial gangrene typically found in Roma populations. Marwell describes Mengele as untroubled by his work and unhampered by medical ethics or basic humanity. The “angel of death” routinely performed detailed measurements, filled out extensive questionnaires and performed physical exams, including dental impressions and fingerprinting. He drew blood from his subjects, often in large quantities, and performed simultaneous twin dissections or autopsies. Mengele harvested children’s eyes for research by first killing them with a chloroform injection directly in their hearts.
His access to large numbers of varied populations and his well-staffed pathology laboratory enabled him to conduct research otherwise impossible under normal conditions. A respected member of Germany’s scientific establishment and mainstream medical community, his monstrous, unethical research was part of existing beliefs and practice.

MARWELL’S EXTENSIVE detail on Mengele’s life after World War II begins with the Third Reich’s collapse when Mengele returned to Germany. He was screened by American authorities, released and kept a low profile under an assumed name. In 1949, he fled to Argentina, ruled by the Nazi-sympathizing Juan Peron. In Argentina for 10 years, he operated a mechanical equipment shop until news of Eichmann’s capture by the Mossad surfaced and he fled to Paraguay. In 1961, when the West German government began looking into his extradition, Mengele went undercover to a remote area of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In 1985, as part of an international multidisciplinary team of Germans, Israelis, Americans, Brazilians and representatives from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the author joined the search for Mengele. They were surprised to discover that Mengele had died in 1979 from a stroke while swimming and was buried as “Wolfgang Gerhard.” The exhumed body underwent a long process of identification until seven years later, DNA evidence, a methodology then in its infancy, identified the remains as Mengele’s and the case was closed.
This disappointing conclusion was difficult for the survivors and Israelis to accept. Mengele, the ultimate symbol of Holocaust atrocities, died before answering for his heinous crimes, depriving his victims of their day in court. Further, it was revealed in his last correspondence to his estranged son, Rolf, that Mengele remained unrepentant, expressed no remorse and defended his theories of racial purity to the end.

Mengele: Unmasking the “Angel of Death”
By David Marwell
W. W. Norton & Company
448 pages; $16.99
Nazi hunter teams up with Lithuanian journalist to investigate Holocaust crimes
For anyone seeking to understand why the Nazi crimes of the 1940s are still a source of controversy throughout post-communist Eastern Europe, “Our People: Discovering Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust” is a shocking book — and essential reading.

Part road trip, part “buddy film” and part true-crime expose, “Our People” follows veteran Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff and renowned Lithuanian journalist Ruta Vanagaite on a journey through the haunted house of Lithuania’s past.

Co-authored by the duo, the book caused a national sensation when it was first published in Lithuania in 2016. It became a bestseller, dividing families and sparking an establishment backlash so intense that the publishers withdrew all of Vanagaite’s books from sale, and she felt so threatened she fled the country. The book was published in English in March.

It will come as a shock to many to learn that the Holocaust in Lithuania — home to 220,000 Jews before the Nazi occupation, of whom perhaps five percent survived, is indeed “hidden.” The beautiful countryside is invisibly scarred by dozens of pits, some of them unmarked, where thousands of Jews were slaughtered, dumped, covered with lime and rubble and left to rot. Lithuania’s earth is soiled with the blood and stench of mass murder perpetrated in large part by Lithuanian citizens, many of whom have never been identified, let alone arrested and prosecuted for their terrible crimes.

Zuroff, the Nazi-hunter, had been trying to bring Lithuanian Holocaust criminals to justice for years. The great uncle for whom he was named, Efraim Zar, lived in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, where he was seized and killed in 1941.
Anti-Defamation Commission calls on auction to block sale of Nazi flag
The Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), an Australian civil rights organization, has called on the Danielle Elizabeth Auction House in the Australian state of Queensland to withdraw a WWII-era Nazi flag and block any future sales of similar items, according a press release from the organization on Saturday.

Dr. Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the ADC who has led the movement to ban the sale of Nazi memorabilia in Australia, said in his call to Danielle Elizabeth Auction House that "the more than 27,000 courageous Australian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to defeat Hitler did not die so that the ultimate symbol of his evil regime will be sold in today's Australia to the highest bidder.

"The indecent and repulsive trade in Nazi memorabilia is a spit on their memory of the those soldiers and the millions who were slaughtered in the Holocaust, and is an affront to us all. You would think that by now Auction houses would understand that it is perverse to put a price tag on genocide and death and to profit from these blood-stained items.

"I'm sure that Hitler would be thrilled to know that the ghastly instruments of his barbaric crimes are available for Third Reich worshipers who are nourished and revel in this stuff," he added.

In reference to its connection to Neo-Nazi and white supremacist attacks in recent years, Abramovich noted that "Auctioneers must understand that there is a direct link between the sale of such items and the atrocities we saw in Christchurch and in other places."
The real history behind Seth Rogen’s ‘An American Pickle’
Seth Rogen’s “An American Pickle” is one of the most Jewish Hollywood films ever.

In it, Rogen plays two Jewish family members separated by a century: Ben Greenbaum, a young app developer who lives in Brooklyn, and Herschel Greenbaum, his great-grandfather from the old country who falls into a vat of pickles and stays perfectly preserved in brine for 100 years. Call it a pickle coma.

It’s all based on a New Yorker novella called “Sell Out,” published by Jewish writer Simon Rich in 2013.

The comedy is at heart a tale about Jewish legacy and identity — but its far-fetched premise also lets it play fast and loose with historical facts.

So how does the film compare to history, and to its source material? Let’s break it down.

Are Herschel and Ben Greenbaum based on real people?
Yes… and no. Simon Rich’s story is semi-autobiographical magical realism (even sci-fi?) — the main characters of the story are Rich himself and a fictionalized version of his own great-grandfather. (Rich’s father Frank is a prominent journalist who wrote for The New York Times for years and now writes for New York Magazine. Simon’s brother Nathaniel is a novelist.)

How does the movie compare to the original New Yorker story?
It’s pretty different in a lot of major ways. For one, in “Sell Out,” there aren’t many details of Herschel’s pre-US life — he meets his wife Sarah in America. In the film, the viewer meets Herschel in a town named Schlupsk (more on that below), where he has the glamorous occupation of “ditch digger.”
Israel Donates Aid Kits to Ethiopian School for Underprivileged Kids in Fight Against Coronavirus
Israel announced on Friday that it had donated humanitarian aid kits to students at a school in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, as a contribution to the African nation’s effort to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

In a post on Twitter, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the kits had been sent to 250 families at St. Yared’s School “in an effort to supplement the government of Ethiopia‘s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus & symbolizing the strong Israeli-Ethiopian relations.”

St. Yared was a sixth-century Ethiopian musician who composed the sacred musical traditions of several Christian churches in the Horn of Africa. The school named in his honor, and the recipient of the Israeli aid, aims to “provide an excellent education to talented, impoverished children from the poorest suburbs of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.”

“Our goal is to empower our students to break free from poverty and to become future leaders in their communities,” the school’s website explains.

Ethiopia has registered more than 18,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far.


Hamas inspires family to make aliyah
"I think I should add another chapter to my book entitled ‘How to do a book launch during a pandemic,” chuckles Jodi Samuels. Her recently released memoir, Chutzpah, Wisdom and Wine – The Journey of an Unstoppable Woman, was officially launched in early July, as the numbers of those infected in Israel began to rise again. Yet Samuels, as is her wont, took it in stride.

“We live in a world in which we say ‘Live, love Israel,’” she says. “Everything is always perfect – and life is not perfect.”

In 2014, life for Samuels, full-time mother, businesswoman and entrepreneur, was close to ideal. Living in New York with her husband, Gavin, and their three children, Meron, Temira and Caila, Samuels was an energetic and active member of the Jewish community, hosting innumerable guests in their Upper West Side home every Shabbat, and planning events for Jewish International Connection New York, the organization that she founded, which provides a Jewish home away from home for people new to New York. Though Caila, their youngest child, was born with Down syndrome, Jodi had worked hard to ensure that she was receiving all available assistance for her development.

Samuels, who grew up in Johannesburg, says that she and her husband had always planned to move to Israel, but somewhere along the way she had lost her Zionist idealism. “I became a princess in Manhattan, and I was quite happy there. I was really doing my part for the Jewish people, and I had a purpose being in New York, and I could justify staying there.”

In the summer of 2014, Samuels and her family visited Israel, and everything changed. “Hamas was my aliyah emissary,” she chuckles. Samuels was inspired by what she witnessed, both before and during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 military operation in the Gaza Strip.




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

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