Tuesday, August 18, 2020

From Ian:

Meir Y. Soloveichik: The 1620 Project
Four hundred years ago this month, the Mayflower set sail for the New World. On board was William Bradford, who would serve for decades as governor of Plymouth Colony and whose memoir is still the central source of knowledge about the colonists’ triumphs and travails. His grave is in Plymouth as well, an obelisk marking the spot and bearing his name. But above the engraved English words three words appear, etched in Hebrew: Adonai ezer hayai, the Lord is the help of my life. To most tourists, the Hebrew words are gibberish, but to Jews who come upon them, they are a source of fascination—and a reminder, 400 years after the Mayflower set sail, of the remarkable tale of America itself.

The origin of the intriguing epitaph can be found in Nick Bunker’s fascinating book on the Pilgrims, Making Haste from Babylon. There he reveals Bradford’s fascination with Hebrew, and how, at the end of his life, he began to study what he saw as a sacred script. “I have had a longing desire,” Bradford reflected, “to see with my owne eyes, something of that most ancient language, and holy tongue … and what names were given to things, from the Creation.” With paper scarce, Bradford “copied out his exercises on blank pages at the front of the manuscript of his history of the plantation. He covered the white space with nearly 900 Hebrew words, starting with eight names for God.” Bradford’s Pilgrims, like the Puritans who would follow him, “wished to swim back up the stream of learning, and to absorb the wisdom of the Bible from as close to the source as possible.” They sought out Christian exegetes with interests similar to theirs, who “read with sympathy the rabbis of the Roman Empire, Egypt, and medieval Spain, authors whose books were preserved by the Jews of Germany or Venice.”

Bunker further reveals that Bradford’s engagement with Jewish tradition began on the Mayflower itself. One book he carried with him was a commentary on the Psalms by the Hebraist Henry Ainsworth. While Ainsworth was interested in the vastness of rabbinic tradition, he was in love with Maimonides, whom he called “the wisest of the Hebrew Rabbins.” Ainsworth cites Maimonides in explaining how Psalm 107 serves as the source for Jews to express gratitude to God after successfully crossing a wilderness or a treacherous body of water. Bradford’s brethren could certainly identify with this teaching, and his memoir, which references the words of this Psalm, recounts that upon arriving safely at Cape Cod, the Pilgrims expressed their own gratitude to the Almighty. The feast that we annually commemorate today would not come until 1621, but, as Bunker reflects: “If we could ask William Bradford to define the first Thanksgiving in America, he would point to something else. He would say that it took place at the instant of arrival, at the moment on Cape Cod when the Pilgrims fell on their knees to say the Jewish prayer.”

Bradford’s Hebraism set the stage for what would follow. The Puritans who arrived after the Mayflower were equally obsessed with the people of Israel. This was succinctly and sublimely described by George W. Bush in remarks to Israel’s Knesset:
The alliance between our governments is unbreakable, yet the source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty. It is grounded in the shared spirit of our people, the bonds of the Book, the ties of the soul. When William Bradford stepped off the Mayflower in 1620, he quoted the words of Jeremiah: “Come let us declare in Zion the word of God.” The founders of my country saw a new promised land and bestowed upon their towns names like Bethlehem and New Canaan. And in time, many Americans became passionate advocates for a Jewish state.
When George Washington Met Moses
In 1790, the United States of America was a new nation, but Moses Seixas was already living what would come to be called the American Dream. The son of Sephardic Jews who had migrated from Lisbon, Portugal, to Newport, R.I., Seixas took advantage of the opportunities his state and nation offered to civic-minded entrepreneurs of all faiths. He would become a leading town merchant and cofounder of the Bank of Rhode Island. He would also become the warden — or lay leader — of Congregation Jeshuat Israel, which had built a beautiful synagogue with a domed ceiling and Greek-style ionic columns at the center of town. (The synagogue, later called the Touro Synagogue, still stands at the center of Newport’s downtown.)

Though Seixas and other Jews of Newport had achieved prosperity, they were worried that their freedom to worship and participate in civic life wouldn’t last. Given what had happened to Jews throughout the old world, they had reason to worry. Jews had been kicked out of various European countries through the centuries, “expelled from England as early as 1290, forced to leave Spain in 1492, and kicked out of Portugal four years later.”

But Moses Seixas and many Jews in the new United States, numbering only around 2,000 in a total U.S. population of 2.5 million when the American Revolution began, found hope in the words of George Washington and the Founding Fathers on religious liberty and equality under the law. And when he learned that Washington would be visiting Newport — as part of a visit to Rhode Island in celebration of its becoming the final original state to ratify the U.S. Constitution — Seixas saw it as an opportunity to ask Washington to confirm explicitly that the Founders’ promises applied to Jews.

Soon after Washington arrived in Newport in August 1790, Seixas presented him with a letter from the members of Congregation Jeshuat Israel. Accounts differ as to how Seixas delivered the letter. An entry on Founders Online, a digital repository of letters maintained by the National Archives and University of Virginia, speculates that “Seixas probably presented it to GW on the morning of 18 Aug. 1790 when the town and Christian clergy of Newport also delivered addresses to the president.” Yet articles in the authoritative Mount Vernon Digital Encyclopedia say Washington actually visited the synagogue during that trip.

What is undisputed, however, are the powerful messages of religious freedom and equality under the law from the Jewish congregation’s letter and Washington’s swift response. The letter dated August 17 states: “Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now (with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events) behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People — a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance — but generously affording to All liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship.” The letter implicitly asks Washington to affirm that the views of the promise of the new nation held by Seixas and the congregation were correct.

Einat Wilf and Oren Gross: Jews Without Israel
Between those two massive forces vying for America’s future, it appears that at least some Jews have become convinced that the survival of Jews in America would be better served by the success of this universalist coalition—and if the price of that be forswearing Zionism and Jewish self-determination, so be it. It has become a matter of urgency to reassure members of the self-proclaimed universalist coalition of “the left” that American Jews can be counted upon to support the universal vision across the board and not succumb to their tribal instincts when it comes to Zionism and Israel. Where the left celebrates a multiplicity of groups asserting their own identities, American Jews are required to shed their identity in order to be, perhaps, counted.

Knowing that the vast majority of Jews, including in America, are not so ready to give up their support for Israel and Zionism as the price of admission, a new “gateway vision” has been concocted that would serve to steer Jews away from Zionism. The Israel/Palestine imagined recently by Peter Beinart, for example, is designed to sound very much like the state American Jews inhabit, or believe they inhabit—one of equality, diversity, pluralism, and most importantly, the ability to live life freely and safely as a Jew in a non-Jewish majority country. That all experience from failed multiethnic states points to the fact that this Israel/Palestine country cannot exist peacefully and safely (certainly not for Jews), and that it would descend (yet again) into bloody civil war, makes no difference. The democratic deficit across the Arab world is conveniently ignored. So is the historical record of persecution and pogroms and second-class citizenry of Jewish minorities that eventually resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Jewish culture from the Arab world.

To help Jews move away from Zionism, Zionist history, Arab and Islamic history, and the contemporary politics of the region, all of these must be distorted beyond recognition. The simple fact that the overwhelming share of Zionists envisioned a state from the beginning, and only called for a more ambiguous “national home” for reasons of feasibility and attainability, especially when facing the empires that controlled the land, is also ignored. Thus, the argument that statehood is not inherent to Zionism has about the equivalent validity of arguing that voting rights are not inherent to feminism because women once were content to fight for elementary school education. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, whose plea to have Yavneh and its sages Beinart seeks to emulate, asked for Yavneh when Jerusalem was all but lost and destroyed. Beinart, on the other hand, calls for the effective destruction of Jewish sovereignty in order to get to an impossible Yavneh.

The Yavneh Beinart truly seeks to secure is not in Israel, but in the United States. Beinart could ignore fact, history, and evidence because his essay is not really about how to solve the conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land, but rather about how to secure the future of Jews, especially like himself, in America. To get there he would use the Jewish state as a sacrificial lamb. This is the reason why Beinart’s essay and numerous one-state essays and proposals published over the years have found no audience in Israel. Israeli Jews recognize none of their concerns in those visions of a magical one-state solution that is the product of narcissistic neocolonialism that draws borders to serve its own needs.

Ultimately, it is up to Jews in America to choose their allies, struggles, and vision for their life as individuals and as a community. It is up to them to decide whether their life in America is better secured by support of Zionism and the Jewish state or not, and whether the spirit of America is more in line with that of Zionism or anti-Zionism. Most Jews in America still believe that Zionism is deeply entwined both with their Jewish and American identities, and that Zionism incorporates both the particular and the universal, and we believe they are right on both counts. But either way—it is their choice. Jews in Israel will continue to celebrate the fact that they finally live in the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people and can therefore walk this Earth knowing that someone has their back. Jews in Israel viscerally know exactly how fragile is this so-called privilege, that so many nations share, and have absolutely no intention of checking it at anyone else’s door.

What I learned speaking to Nick Cannon about antisemitism – opinion
I did not know who Nick Cannon was until he said horribly hurtful things about my people. I now know that he is a very big celebrity, and enormous numbers of people listen to and respect him — that unlike some people who say hurtful things, he is not someone who can simply be dismissed.

More important, there was the possibility that something good could emerge from engaging with him — and it has.

In other incidents of celebrities expressing antisemitic comments, we have heard some utter a formulaic text expressing regret and a desire to grow. Cannon did not follow that pattern. While he issued a series of apologies in his own unique style, Cannon dedicated a good part of the past month to learning more about Jews and Judaism. He understands why his words were blatantly antisemitic and has begun the process of undoing the damage he has caused. The same perch that was used for evil is now used for good.

Along the way, Cannon started to follow the American Jewish Committee on social media as part of his education on all things Jewish. As a result, AJC met with him a few times. We felt confident enough about his journey to feature him with me on AJC’s online Advocacy Anywhere, his first appearance on a Jewish program.

But first, in our private conversations, I learned that Cannon is sincere, credible and curious — a lifelong learner. He did not knowingly hurt others. He is not interested in an overnight conversion, but rather a spiritual and intellectual journey. He does not go along to get along. He needs to understand and draw his own conclusions. Although he has strong beliefs, Cannon is willing to admit when he has been wrong. These qualities bode well for a process that is leading us to a better place.

Much coverage of our public conversation focused on what Cannon describes as a process of atonement. There was some disappointment and pushback when he rejected Louis Farrakhan’s hate speech but not the minister himself.

Some might find that automatically disqualifying in considering Cannon as a partner in the fight against antisemitism and racism, and in advancing Black-Jewish relations. But atonement is a process, and we believe that he has demonstrated enough credibility to allow the process to unfold.
Off-Campus, But in Touch: Students Learn Tools From CAMERA Conference to Fight Antisemitism
Due to global coronavirus pandemic, this year’s CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis) student conference was held via Zoom, teaching students how to effectively combat anti-Israel and biased propaganda on college campuses and online. Unable to attend the typical five-day, in-person training session in Boston, more than 100 students from 66 universities in North America, the United Kingdom and Israel joined together virtually earlier this month, representing CAMERA’s largest training to date.

The students participated in online sessions with experts in international law, in addition to media experts of English-, Spanish-, Arabic- and Hebrew-language news outlets. They heard from students who have fought anti-BDS movements within their campus legislative bodies and participated in discussions about Mizrahi Jews, strengthening Jewish-black solidarity in the context of Israel delegitimization, using online tools and social media to advocate for Israel and creating events on campus and online.

According to Aviva Rosenschein, CAMERA’s international campus director, despite COVID-19 and the “reality that most students will not experience what you may consider a ‘normal’ academic year, we hope that the conference will instill a sense of community for the students.”

At this year’s conference, Rosenschein told JNS of a special focus on one of the largest challenges students face—an increase in the concepts of identity politics, safe spaces and intersectionality which, at their best, “can empower students, especially minority groups, to express themselves and exhibit pride for who they are.”

However, she maintained that at their worst, they have also led to the harassment and intimidation of Jewish and pro-Israel students because of their beliefs. “On many campuses, Zionist students are forced to make a choice: either denounce Israel or face ostracism.”

It is therefore vital to teach students to send a critical message that bullying and demonization—from any community—will not be tolerated, said Rosenschein.
Orit Farkash-Cohen brings new energy in the fight against BDS
Weeks after the Second Lebanon War ended in 2006, Orit Farkash-Hacohen arrived in Boston with her husband and three children in tow, to start her masters’ degree in public administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Farkash-Hacohen, now strategic affairs minister, admits that as someone born and raised in Israel, she was “tone deaf” about what life was like for a Jewish person in the Diaspora.

“Native Israelis grew up as the majority. We don’t understand what it’s like to be a minority,” she said, but that year in Boston was an “eye-opening experience” for Farkash-Hacohen and her family.

Farkash-Hacohen took a class on negotiations with a popular professor, only to be shocked to find that the class had been assigned to read a speech she considered anti-Israel and antisemitic. There was no other background information or consideration of the Israeli side, which she was sure her classmates were unfamiliar with, in the required reading.

“There was incitement and lies and antisemitic overtones, against Jews and Israel,” she recounted on Thursday. “I was shocked to have to read this very long speech and discuss it in class.”
Israeli supermarket baron sues UNHRC for defamation over 'blacklist'
The suit, filed with the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court, claims that operating in Judea and Samaria does not constitute a violation of international law or Palestinians' rights.

"Jews and Palestinians are employed equally by Rami Levy. It can be said that the plaintiff companies improve the rights of Palestinians and their financial well-being immeasurably," Shurat HaDin said in the claim.

The advocacy group further claimed that the UNHRC was "violating its own charter by specifically singling out Jewish-owned businesses.

"I believe in true coexistence," Levy, whose brand holds the second-largest market share in Israel's food industry, said in a statement. "All of the workers in our market chain are employed regardless of differences in religion, race or nationality and are equally entitled and even earn three times the wages of what is the average wage in the Palestinian Authority.

"We are happy to serve all customers regardless of religion, race and nationality, and we will continue to do so."

Shurat HaDin founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner called the UNHRC blacklist "blood libel," saying it means only to "harm Israeli businesses' reputation and hurt them financially through boycotts."
3 Jewish Students Forced Out of USC Student Government for Pro-Israel Views
Truman Fritz and Rose Ritch won the most votes in the race for president and vice president of the USC Undergraduate Student Government. Isabel Washington scored the most votes in the Senate race. Six months later, all three USC students were harassed into resigning.

The story of how that happened exposes the ugliness of campus bullying and anti-Semitism.

Of the three USC student government leaders and one student who was next in the line of succession who were forced out, three were Jewish, one of them gay, and one was African-American. The cancel culture campaigns against them were led by Islamic students.

Three of the four students were targeted for supporting Israel.

Isabel Washington, a Jewish African-American student senator, was the first to be forced out after false accusations of “anti-black racism,” of holding “white supremacist ideologies,” and, of “Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian statements.”

Shaden Awad, an RA at USC, and apparently a supporter of American Muslims for Palestine, attacked Washington for her role at Hillel, a Jewish campus organization where Washington serves as the Jews of Color Co-Chair, writing “Even if all the orgs on campus that r Jewish r also Zionist That’s not an excuse For you to join That’s still blood on ur hands.”

"I didn't join them bc they're zionist. I joined them because I'm Jewish," Washington replied.

A petition calling for her expulsion, with over 1,200 signatures, declares that "a woman with years of internalized racism, classism, and Zionism behind her should not be given the luxury of being a USC student."
Comedians to hold Zoom event on what Seth Rogen doesn't get
Comedian Seth Rogen, who recently made news by revealing his limited knowledge and critical thoughts about Israel, will not be speaking at a US Jewish young professionals’ Zoom webinar on Sunday, August 16, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 9 p.m. in Israel, but his name is sure to come up in the course of the discussion.

Two outstanding Israeli-American comedians, Benji Lovitt and Avi Liberman, will have “Conversations on Comedy,” mining their own experiences and thoughts on the Israeli-American relationship, Jewish identity and how that is incorporated in their comedy, in an event geared at young professionals throughout the US and all over the world. They will add content and context to what Israel is about, as opposed to the supposedly progressive attitudes expounded by Seth Rogen, who questioned Israel’s right to exist in a recent podcast with Marc Maron.

Lovitt is probably the most recognized Israeli-American comedian on the Jewish organizational and Jewish national conference circuit. He also headlined Young Jewish Leadership Concept’s (YJLC) Pocono summer 2009 rafting leadership weekend.

Liberman, an acclaimed comedian, actor, and screenwriter, created Comedy for Koby, a bi-annual tour of Israel featuring some of America's top stand-up comedians. The tour, which was first launched in 2008, benefits The Koby Mandell Foundation, an Israeli non-profit organization that works with victims of terror attacks.
Sky News Arabia serves as Emirates’ mouthpiece in coverage of Israel-UAE peace
Sky News Arabia (SNA), a jointly owned American-Emirati news outlet that carries a Western brand name and operates from the Gulf, is often at the center of CAMERA Arabic’s media criticism.

We’ve repeatedly demonstrated that in SNA’s case, this particular model of ownership and operation fails to meet minimal Western journalistic standards. To wit, the station’s self proclaimed impartiality and accuracy are heavily compromised in a way that would have severely stained Sky and Comcast’s reputations among the latter’s shareholders had it been speaking English instead of Arabic (which, more often than not, they do not understand).

To further make the point, just last Wednesday SNA referred once more to the Gaza Envelope Jewish communities, all located inside Israel’s pre-67 lines, as “settlements”.

Unsurprisingly, on occasions when Abu Dhabi is somehow singled out from other Gulf states, SNA’s pro-Emirati tendencies are unusually evident even against the background of its own “counterparts”, i.e. media outlets controlled by neighboring monarchs but which nevertheless maintain a Western façade.

For instance, contrary to what one might expect, SNA’s news coverage did not always resemble that of Independent Arabia (IA) – yet another supposedly Western website that is likewise entangled in Gulf interests, Saudi this time, again in a way that compromises its commitment to journalistic ethics.
Los Angeles Times Conjures Up International Airport in Jerusalem
To accompany the palpable excitement about the Emirati-Israeli breakthrough promising full diplomatic ties between the Gulf country and the Jewish state, The Los Angeles Times inadvertently served up a dose of comedy. The page 4 article in the Aug. 14 print edition blundered (“Israel suspends annexation in pact with UAE; Agreement to pursue diplomatic ties angers Palestinians aiming for a unified Arab bloc”):
Direct flights would be established as well as reciprocal embassies — though Emirati flights would probably go to Tel Aviv and not the holy city of Jerusalem, claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians and controversially recognized as Israeli by Trump, the only world leader to do so.

There is no functioning airport in Jerusalem, so discussion about directing flights to Tel Aviv allegedly because of Jerusalem’s disputed status is absurd. The Atarot airport in northern Jerusalem, built by the British in 1924, was closed in 2000 with the outbreak of the second intifada. In the 1970s and 1980s it was used primarily for domestic cargo flights. For a look at the condition of Atarot airport’s current condition, see the YouTube below.
The political consideration regarding Jerusalem certainly does come into play regarding the question of the UAE’s future embassy to Israel – but not its flight destination. Indeed, the digital version of the same article does not contain the misleading reference about probably Emirati flights to Tel Aviv due to Jerusalem’s disputed status. Instead, it more accurately reports, apparently referring to the embassy, and not the flights:
Direct flights would be established as well as reciprocal embassies — although it was likely the UAE would go to Tel Aviv and not the disputed holy city of Jerusalem, claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians and controversially recognized as Israeli by Trump, the only world leader to do so.
NBC Mistakes Jerusalem Protests For Lebanese
In the Aug. 9 “Sunday Today With With Willie Geist” broadcast about demonstrations in Lebanon, NBC mistakenly included two frames showing demonstrations in Jerusalem, misidentifying them as Lebanon. Geist reported:
Today, protesters in Lebanon are calling for a sustained uprising to topple the government days after the horrific explosion that leveled parts of Beirut and killed more than one hundred fifty people. On Saturday, anger boiled over with demonstrators battling police in riot gear who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. The country`s prime minister has offered early elections but many local leaders say that is not enough.

In the final seconds of the brief report, two shots of Paris Square in central Jerusalem appear, the scene of ongoing Israeli demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu close to the Prime Minister’s residence.

Israeli flags are visible in both frames and the distinctive buildings of Paris Square can be seen in the second frame, both labeled “Anger in Lebanon.” CAMERA contacted NBC about the error yesterday. Stay tuned for updates about a correction.
How do Gaza's terrorists get the helium for their balloons?
The resurgence of the use of incendiary balloons from Gaza has highlighted the failure of the security apparatus in stopping helium from getting into Gaza. Insufficient public pressure has been applied to this governmental failure and the powers in authority have only been retroactive in attempting to stop these balloons rather than proactive and stopping the supply of helium.

Too many political and military commentators are totally out of their depth and do not know how helium is obtained.

To understand the lack of proactivity it is necessary to understand that helium is a natural occurring gas that is obtained from underground helium rich natural gas strata. Helium is the second-most-abundant element in the universe but It is only 5.2 parts per million (ppm) in air, thus it is not economically feasible to extract helium from the atmosphere and there is no suitable technology.

Helium nuclei (or alpha particles) are produced in the radioactive decay of heavy elements such as uranium and thorium, located in Earth’s crust. While most of these helium atoms find their way to the surface and escape, a small fraction are trapped by the same impermeable rock strata that trap natural gas.

Helium, discovered in 1895 by Sir William Ramsey of University College London, is a noble gas and part of a group classified in the chemical periodic table as rare inert gases with almost no chemical reactivity. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, monatomic gas. It is the second lightest gas after hydrogen and the boiling point is the lowest among all the elements Hence its use for balloons.
PMW: PA libel: Israel supplies weapons to Palestinians to fight one another and illegal fireworks to cause injuries
As the Palestinian Authority is struggling with increasing internal violence, what better way to deal with it than to blame Israel? As Palestinian Media Watch has documented this is the PA’s modus operandi whenever bad things happen.

Thus, PA Police Spokesman Col. Luay Erziqat blamed Israel for the rise in violence in Palestinian society, claiming Israel “encourage[s] violence and murder in the Palestinian society” and is “supplying” arms to Palestinian weapon dealers:
PA Police Spokesman Col. Luay Erziqat:“There are elements of the occupation (i.e., PA term for Israel) that have begun to raise their voices and have begun to spread crime and to help spread crime… We have found suspicious and funded [internet] pages, we have found ‘mouthpieces’ and elements of the occupation that encourage violence and murder in the Palestinian society. In Area C (i.e., West Bank areas under full Israeli administration according to the Oslo Accords), at the basic level, the Israeli occupation is preventing the [PA] Security Forces from acting there, and is transferring supplies to the weapon dealers. If you look for example at the southern areas like Hebron – there are weapons there, 250, 500 (rifle models –Ed.)… It is clear who is supplying these weapons, and who is transferring the supply to the dealers of these weapons.”
[Official PA TV, Directly With the Police, June 1, 2020]

In the same way, the PA blamed Israel for accidents caused when Palestinians use fireworks for celebratory occasions, for example when they receive the results of the matriculation exams. The PA’s official news agency claimed Israel deliberately supplies fireworks to Palestinians to “destroy the Palestinian society”:
Hamas said to demand new deal with Israel to end border violence
The Hamas terror group reportedly told Egyptian mediators visiting the Gaza Strip that violence on the border with Israel will continue unless a new understanding is formed on conditions in the Palestinian enclave.

Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Tuesday that Hamas officials told the Egyptian delegation that “Palestinian patience has run out.”

Palestinian sources told al-Akhbar that an earlier ceasefire agreement from 2018 included a number of understandings that have yet to be implemented. These include expanding the Gaza fishing area to 20 nautical miles, setting a new power line to the coastal enclave with Qatari financing and converting the Gaza power plant to run on natural gas.

At the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing with Israel, the sources said, the agreement allowed for the entry of dual-use materials, as well as increasing the capacity of the crossing to 1,200 trucks daily. The same sources said that the agreement was supposed to allow more Gazans to receive work permits inside Israel.

Armed factions in Gaza made it clear that, if their demands aren’t met, they are prepared for an escalation in violence and are not afraid of a major military campaign against Israel, the report said.

The Egyptian mediators were in the Gaza Strip on Monday in an effort to reduce tensions and prevent a new cross-border conflict between Israel and Hamas, but departed without appearing to have secured a resolution.
Gaza’s only power plant shuts down as fuel runs out amid border tensions
Gaza’s only power plant ceased functioning on Tuesday morning, less than a week after Israel clamped down on fuel entering the Strip in response to rising cross-border attacks, drastically reducing the amount of electricity Gaza residents will receive, the Gaza Energy Authority announced.

Israel banned diesel fuel from entering the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing on Thursday after dozens of balloons and several rockets were launched from Gaza into Israeli territory.

Despite the punitive measures, the balloon and rocket attacks have only increased, sparking Israeli reprisals and ratcheting up tensions in the region.

Gazans already subsist on a meager ration of electricity — around 12 hours a day. Without a functioning power plant, that number could plunge to as low as three or four hours.

“The power cuts will have serious repercussions on the lives of premature babies in nurseries, intensive care patients and those needing dialysis, emergency surgery, or C-sections,” Hamas health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.

The electricity shortage crisis will deeply impact the already strained basic municipal services in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza municipalities announced in a joint statement that water would be provided only irregularly. Sewage treatment plants will also experience shutdowns, and waste will instead be pumped out into the open sea, the municipalities said in a statement.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights warned of the potential for “a real disaster should [Israel’s] measures continue.”
Hamas Launches Zoom Classes for Exercising Hate at Home (satire)
Following in the footsteps of boutique gyms like Barry’s Bootcamp and SoulCycle who are charging upwards of $30 for daily at-home workouts, Hamas has created its own series of Zoom classes for followers who want to exercise hate from the comfort of their living rooms.

Although nothing can truly compare to the in-person experience of building fire-and-forget rockets with your pals, Hamas has promised the same quality of adrenaline rush through their curated Zoom classes which include all of the classics of a Hamas meeting, such as yelling “death to Israel,” spreading conspiracy theories, followed by a nice cooldown stretch.

“We’re living in such unprecedented times, and we want to make sure our followers know we’re with them, and we support them,” said chief content curator Mohammad bin Stagram. “We’re working tirelessly to maintain the same level of quality hatred that we’re known for, and we hope to retain our powerful following, especially our friends, throughout this crazy journey called life by offering at-home content for all true believers to consume.”

Although many people have pointed out that Gazans have limited access to social media, let alone wi-fi, Hamas says not to fear. That a large portion of meetings is blaming Israel for not having electricity and that is something one can easily achieve in their own home.
Move over Pacino: Join Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff to hear true tales of justice
In this week’s installment of The Times of Israel’s new Behind the Headlines online video series, journalist Matthew Kalman speaks with Efraim Zuroff, the Chief Nazi Hunter, Director of the Israel Office, and Director of Eastern European Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Zuroff is an American-born Israeli historian who has played a key role in bringing Nazi war criminals to trial for the past 40 years.

When recently asked by The Jewish Chronicle what initially and still motivates him in his work, Zuroff simply stated, “Justice.”

“Western society depends on justice, and it’s basically a covenant between the governments and the population that they will protect people. If there are those who commit criminal acts, they will not be allowed to go unpunished,” said Zuroff.

The video conversation with Zuroff will be presented to Times of Israel Community members this Wednesday, August 19, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time/ 8 p.m. Israel Daylight Time. If you’ve not yet joined the ToI Community, you can sign up here.

Among his other accomplishments, for almost two decades Zuroff has compiled a semi-annual “Status Report” on the global search for the “most wanted” Nazi war criminals, most of whom are already in their 90s and today appear as frail old men.

“In all my history of 40 years of hunting Nazis, in all the cases that I dealt with… not one said ‘I’m sorry. I’ve made a mistake,'” Zuroff told The Jewish Chronicle.
Outrage Over ‘Heil Hitler’ Slogan Sprayed on House in Historic Center of French City of Lyon
French politicians warned against a resurgence of the far right on Tuesday after a house in the historic center of the city of Lyon was defaced with antisemitic graffiti sprayed in a lurid orange color.

Eyewitnesses said the offending messages were “still fresh” at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning. One message read “Heil Hitler,” while the other read “Juden” — the German word for Jews.

The League Against Racism and Antisemitism (LICRA) — a leading French NGO — said in response that it would be taking the matter to court.

“Neo-Nazis are enemies of the Republic and its values,” LICRA declared on Twitter. “They must be fought as such with all means of law.”

LICRA’s announcement received immediate support from Thomas Rudigoz, who represents the area in the French parliament.

“Racist and antisemitic acts are on the increase,” Rudigoz cautioned. “We must all — the government, the City of Lyon, the National Assembly — fight against fascism and the far right.”

Lyon has been the location of several antisemitic and racist outrages this year.

At the end of June, campaign posters promoting David Kimelfeld, an election candidate for the Lyon city government, were vandalized with antisemitic symbols.
‘Synagogue of the American Revolution’ in Philadelphia Defaced With Antisemitic Graffiti
Antisemitic slogans scratched outside the Philadelphia house of prayer widely known as the “Synagogue of the American Revolution” are being investigated by local police.

The messages “Jews are Scum” and “Long Live Hitler” alongside a Nazi swastika were scratched onto a sign outside the synagogue. After the scrawls were discovered by an employee of the synagogue, police opened an investigation.

“It very sad that there is hate in the heart of people,” the synagogue’s rabbi, Albert Gabbai, told the local Fox News affiliate on Monday. “I pray to God people will learn how to tolerate each other how to respect each other.”

In a separate interview with the Jewish Exponent, Rabbi Gabbai noted that 20 years had passed since the last act of antisemitic vandalism at the synagogue, when a swastika was daubed on a statue commemorating the fallen Israeli military officer Col. Yonatan Netanyahu.

Dating back to 1740, Mikveh Israel is the oldest synagogue in America. It gained its revolutionary reputation during the War of Independence, when Jewish patriots from cities along the East Coast fled to Philadelphia to escape the British, converging on the synagogue.
Neo-Nazi Group Condemned for Threatening Australian Synagogue in Social Media Post
A top Australian Jewish organization condemned a neo-Nazi group that targeted a Brisbane synagogue with a threatening social media post.

The post on Gab by the National Socialist Network (NSN) showed a sticker with the group’s logo on a pole in front of the shul.

Above was the text, “Brisbane lads chucked up stickers in the CBD, letting the chosen know that the White man knows what they’ve been up to.”

The post in question has been reported to law enforcement.

The NSN has been known to watchdog groups for some time. It has been booted from its website host and kicked off Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Dr. Dvir Abramovich — chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) — said of the incident, “These home-grown extremists and domestic terrorists in waiting are a ticking bomb, and no one can feel safe while they are walking our streets, promising a racial war and recruiting like-minded bigots.”

“The worst thing we could do is to downplay the threat of deadly violence that such agitated and angry hardcore neo-Nazis pose,” he added. “Where white-supremacists gather and communicate, physical assaults and murder are usually not far behind.”

“Our law enforcement agencies and our elected representative must take such groups seriously if we want to prevent any bloodshed,” Abramovitch declared.
CAA applauds Architects Registration Board for removing architect from register who claimed Judaism is a “cult” and Jews should be banned from “important public office”
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has removed an architect from its professional register following an investigation into his claims that Judaism is a “cult” and Jews should be banned from “important public office”.

On 13 April 2019, Peter Kellow, an award-winning architect, published a long post on Facebook, which read, in part:

“This business of ‘anti-semiticism’ [sic] in the Labour party which is held up as racism. What is it all about really? Let us get a few thing [sic] straight. There is no such thing as the Jewish race. This is one of the many stunts that Judaists have pulled on non-Judaists who have swallowed it whole. There is only the religion/cult of Judaism and I never use the word ‘Jew’ because that implies buying into the myth of racial commonality amoungst [sic] Judaists. […]

“There is no doubt that Judaists have suffered from unfair and cruel treatment at many times in history but this was never racially motivated until the late nineteenth century and bloomed in the ideology of Adolf Hitler. Hitler used the myth of a Jewish race that the Judaists had invented against them. It is not far from the truth to say the Judaists were the inventers of European racism for they asserted they were racially different to the rest of us. […]

“But racism as I have said is a recent phenomenon. Are the so-called ‘antisemites’ in the Labour Party simply ‘racists’ as the popular narrative would have it? I doubt it. The problem people have and always have had with Judaism is not about race. It is because Judaism is a cult. What do I mean by a cult? A cult is a set of people, normally norminally [sic] unified by a religion or quasi-religion, who try to create a society within the general society. Judaism is far from being the only or even the most resented cult in history or the present.”

Mr Kellow identified as other cults similar to Judaism: Freemasonry, Mormonism, Scientology, paganism and Sunni Islam.

He continued: “Cults work against the interest of the general society as its members, in subscribing to a society within the society favour each other over the rest of us….How can you trust such people?…So how should society deal with cults? How should society deal with people who through their cult activity weaken the bonds that the society needs to function well?”
Israel biological institute: Corona vaccine Phase II trial done by December
Antibodies discovered by the Israel Institute for Biological Research are already in production in a foreign country, according to its director-general, Prof. Shmuel Shapira. He added that Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of the institute's coronavirus vaccine candidate should be completed by the end of December.

In May, IIBR filed patent requests for eight types of coronavirus antibodies that it had isolated, the Defense Ministry said. The antibodies are being used for the development of a drug to treat COVID-19 – the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Shapira said he expects that moderate and serious patients will be able to begin treatment with the antigens under the country’s compassionate use program “very soon.”

In contrast, he said that because Israel has never approved a new vaccine before, “the process is complex.” But he stressed that the delay in moving from animal to human trials was not IIBR’s responsibility.

“There are steps in the regulatory process that require time,” he stressed. “Every step should be reported to the Health Ministry, which then responds and asks questions. Of course, bureaucracy must not slow down development," he added.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a vaccine, and we are working in this direction,” Shapira said.

The IIBR vaccine candidate is based on a well-known method of vaccination, the institute said in a document it released earlier this summer. But what is new is the use of a VSV virus – a type of virus that does not cause diseases in humans.
Israel's top corona official to recommend holiday lockdown
The chief coordinator of Israel's fight to stem the spread of coronavirus Professor Ronni Gamzu was expected to recommend to the government's Corona cabinet on Tuesday that the nation instate a full lockdown for the High Holidays, like it did for Passover in April, Channel 12 News reported.

According to Channel 12, Gamzu has realized that it will be difficult to drop the number of coronavirus cases using the tools available, and that stricter regulations will have to be put in place.

The report also said that the restrictions Gamzu is expected to recommend include limitations to the number of worshippers allowed in synagogues, and that only nuclear family members participate in holiday meals, as well as a travel ban. Gamzu is also expected to reinstate a limitation on venturing more than 100 meters away from one's home.

Gamzu's office said in response to the report that "Professor Gamzu's opinion about a lockdown has not changed. He is trying to avoid that at all costs, so the health care system can continue to function.

"The prime minister has asked Professor Gamzu to propose a detailed plan for a type of shutdown. The corona coordinator is consulting with economists to estimate the various effects and the timing of such steps in order to gain the most public health benefit and the least possible economic damage," the statement continued.
Israeli consulate in India gifts oxygen concentrators to local gov't hospitals
The Bengaluru Israeli Consulate in South India, has reportedly donated 25 industrial oxygen concentrators, or purifiers, to be used in Indian government hospitals in order to stymie the coronavirus spread within the medical facilities, according to Indo-Asian News Service who quoted Indian officials on Monday.

"In a display of solidarity with Karnataka, the Consulate General of Israel to South India joined the Karnataka government's efforts to strengthen the public health system in Karnataka, by supplying oxygen concentrators," an Israeli consulate official told IANS.

The consulate teamed up with an Indian NGO to determine what would be the best donation to offer these medical facilities, arriving at oxygen concentrators, and allocated within their budget the ability to gift a donation of this size to the local Indian government amid the health crisis.

Consul-General Dana Kursh met with senior officials in Mahendra Jain in order to finalize the donation offer - noting that she holds confidence that the efforts put forth by India and Israel to fight the novel coronavirus together "will benefit the entire world," according to IANS.

"Namma Bengaluru has been a home to the Israeli Consulate to South India since 2013, and my own home for the past three years. Joining the efforts of Karnataka government to make the state a healthier and safer place is a small token of appreciation and friendship the people of Israel share with the people of India," said Kursh, according to IANS.
Israel's Krav Maga: The World's Deadliest Martial Art?

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