Thursday, August 27, 2020

From Ian:

U.S. Law Professor Says: “Palestinian Position Is One Of Apartheid”
Though talk of Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) has subsided, it is widely believed that the move has been postponed, rather than abandoned.

When the plan re-opens, it will be important for pro-Israel voices to be armed with the knowledge of precisely why these lands legally belong to the Jewish people. Whether it’s to combat ignorance on university campuses, challenge social media untruths, or act as watchdogs of the media – facts remain an important tool in the court of public opinion, in addition to educating our youth.

Professor Eugene Kontorovich is a noted speaker on this topic, and many others regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict.

He is a professor at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, in Virginia. Previously, he was at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he was a Professor of Law from 2011-2018 and an Associate Professor from 2007-2011.

His expertise is often quoted by major news organizations, such as NPR, the New Yorker, and Fox News. His popular writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Haaretz, and other leading publications.

In the lead-in to the new school year, TheJ.Ca caught up with the professor to ask him how to fight with facts.

Cold hard facts and figures are one thing, but in the days of buzzwords, soundbites, Tweets, memes, and banner slogans, how do we square the intellectual debate when the “discussion” is dumbed down to “End the Occupation of Palestinian Land!” and social media screeds?

One problem with pro-Israel activists is they believe that nuance in arguments will help swap people. But those without fixed opinions are unlikely to delve into the level of nuance. If one side is saying it is apartheid, and the other is saying “yes, Israel is not perfect but…” the average listener will split the difference and conclude it is half apartheid.
Europe is clinging to the Palestinians
The Arab world is tired of the Palestinians, but the EU has no other trump card when it comes to policy in the Middle East, other than its blind support for the Palestinians. Indeed, the only positive the EU has found in the Israel-UAE deal is the postponement of Israel's plans to apply sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.

Remember, there were EU foreign ministers who toyed with the idea of applying sanctions to Israel if it proceeded with "annexation." And now, the US and the Emiratis have managed to come up with a completely different and much more effective idea that will promote true peace and delay the "sentence."

The Europeans can only hope that the "annexation plan" will be cancelled entirely, knowing that will only happen if there is a different US president in the White House, and if they embrace those in the Israeli government who want to prevent any declaration of sovereignty. Three years ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed the support of Israel's friends in the EU to receive an invitation to a meeting of European foreign ministers that was organized behind the back of then-EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini. Now Ashkenazi is receiving a warm welcome from the current president of the EU, Germany.

There have been EU member nations, including Germany, that promoted the idea of gradual normalization between Israel and the Gulf States. However, it's doubtful they ever thought of a peace agreement between an economic powerhouse like the UAE and a technological powerhouse like Israel. Cooperation between the two countries could break down borders, in every sense of the word.

This presents the Europeans with another problem: Not everyone in the EU is happy to see Israel join the competition for the Emirati market, not to mention that the aforementioned cooperation could reduce the efficacy of the economic pressure the EU was hoping to use to influence Israel. More importantly, the Israel-UAE deal strengthens the front against Iran and the 2015 nuclear deal, to which the Europeans are also clinging desperately.

If only the European Union would drop its anti-Israel obsession, it would realize the great benefits that could grow out of the deal between the Israelis and the Emiratis, especially when it comes to the Turkish threat, which is growing daily. Maybe Israel's true friends in Athens, Vienna, Prague, and Budapest will finally manage to free Europe from its frozen thinking.

New Lincoln Project Ad Accuses Jared Kushner of Being Evil
A new ad by the Lincoln Project, a political action committee made up of Republican critics of President Donald Trump, calls White House adviser Jared Kushner evil.

Kushner, who also is Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, “prioritized the President’s reelection above public health, ignoring testing from states with Democratic leadership, resulting in the loss of nearly 200,000 lives and counting,” the Lincoln Project’s website says in introducing the ad, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Evil is real,” begins the ad, which dropped on Monday to coincide with the start of the Republican National Convention, while showing images of Kushner walking in the White House, shaking hands with world leaders and with his wife, Ivanka Trump.

“We ignore it when it seems educated, polite, superficially charming, even sophisticated,” the ad says. “We trivialize it, ignore it, and when we do, it grows.”

The ad, with sinister music playing in the background, asserts that the national plan to fight the coronavirus designed in part by Kushner was dropped after the states most affected by it seemed to be Democratic governors.

“It was deliberate, cold, political, premeditated,” the ad says. “Some people say Trump and Kushner were incompetent when it came to COVID. But let’s call it what it is: evil.”

The Lincoln Project also posted on Monday and then deleted a tweet saying “Jared Kushner owns 666 5th Avenue. #JaredIsEvil” Kushner’s family does own the property; however, “666” is also associated with the Christian devil.

Delaware Police Searching for Arsonist Who Started Blaze at Chabad Center
Police in Delaware are investigating a blaze said to have been started at a campus Jewish center by an arsonist on Tuesday night.

A fire was reported shortly after 11 p.m. at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the University of Delaware.

Firefighters arrived at the scene and spotted flames shooting from the structure, the local NBC-affiliate said. They were able to bring the fire under control and no injuries were reported.

Initial estimates were that the blaze caused damages in the region of $75,000. A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for rebuilding.

The Delaware Fire Marshal’s office later determined the blaze was intentionally set. A criminal investigation is underway.

The mayor of Newark, where the University of Delaware is located, issued a strong condemnation of the outrage.

“It is heartbreaking to learn the fire at the Chabad Center was set intentionally,” Jerry Clifton declared in a statement.

Clifton went on to label the arson as a “sickening act of hostility that threatens the safety and security of our inclusive, welcoming neighborhoods.”

Kenosha BLM Protester Spray Paints ‘Free Palestine’ on Synagogue Driveway
A Black Lives Matter demonstrator in Kenosha, Wis., spray painted the words “free Palestine” on the driveway of a synagogue in the city on Wednesday night.

Kenosha has seen nightly rioting since police shot Jacob Blake, an African American man, while attempting to arrest him. Rioters have burned several businesses to the ground and vandalized others, while a 17-year-old has been charged with homicide after allegedly shooting three demonstrators, killing two.

One Black Lives Matter demonstrator broke away from a crowd to tag the driveway of Beth Hillel Temple with “free Palestine,” in an incident captured on video by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas. Beth Hillel is a Reform Judaism congregation comprising roughly 137 families, according to the synagogue’s website.

“We are advocates for justice for all oppressed people. We support the movement for Black lives, and we know that one person with a can of spray paint does not speak for an entire cause,” Rabbi Dena Feingold said in a statement to the Jewish News Syndicate. “We pray for Jacob Blake and decry the vigilante murders that took place a block from our synagogue two nights ago. Our call is for justice and peace in our community and around the world.”

Israel Advocacy Movement: The fascists plotting to takeover America
Angelo John Gage is a Twitter verified fascist, we expose his extreme antisemitism and his links to a fascist group plotting to take over America.

National NAACP Takes Over Philadelphia Branch After Leader’s Antisemitic Posts
The national leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) plans to replace the entire leadership of its Philadelphia branch, which dissolved on Aug. 20 after its president, Rodney Muhammad, shared an antisemitic meme last month.

By dissolving itself, the Philadelphia chapter yielded full control to the national organization, which will appoint an administrator by early September to guide the transition to new leadership at the branch.

Muhammad, who also goes by “Rodney Carpenter” and has praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, has led the Philadelphia branch since 2014. Farrakhan has an extensive history of anti-Jewish rhetoric.

In a statement on Wednesday, Muhammad apologized for sharing the meme.

“I apologize for my previous post and the hurt this has caused, and I regret the insult, pain and offense it brought to all, especially those of the Jewish community,” he said. “The coming months are critical for America, and the efforts of both the NAACP and religious communities, working together across the country, are vital for the road ahead of us.”

He continued: “I welcome the decision by the executive committee to have the national office assume responsibility for the branch, help us transition to new leadership and seek to make our relationship with faith communities across Philadelphia stronger than ever.”

Steve Rosenberg, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, told The Philadelphia Tribune that the aftermath of Muhammad’s Facebook post was a “painful period in the long-standing and exceptional relationship between the black and Jewish communities.”
Harris to Jewish donors: Biden won’t leverage Israel aid, will revive Iran deal
Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris told the Biden campaign’s Jewish supporters Wednesday night that a Biden administration would not place conditions on American aid to Israel.

Her comments come as a growing number of Democratic elected officials push for conditioning the $3.8 billion in annual American military assistance amid Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s push to annex parts of the West Bank.

“Joe has made it clear he will not tie security assistance to any political decisions that Israel makes and I couldn’t agree more,” the California senator said during a Zoom call orchestrated by the campaign with Jewish donors.

“The Biden-Harris administration will sustain our unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, including the unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation pioneered during the Obama-Biden administration and the guarantee that Israel will always maintain its qualitative military edge,” Harris added.

CAA writes to the Charity Commission calling for statutory investigation into Islamic World Relief after its entire trustee board resigns in antisemitism scandal
Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to the Charity Commission following the resignation of the entire trustee board of Islamic World Relief.

The board of Britain’s largest Muslim charity resigned earlier this week after a new trustee-director was discovered to have a history of antisemitic posts on social media. He had been appointed to replace another trustee who had resigned recently after his history of antisemitic social media posts was uncovered.

Heshmat Khalifa was replaced by Almoutaz Tayara, who also serves as the chairman of Islamic Relief Germany. But even though the charity pledged to review its processes for screening trustees after the previous scandal “to ensure that this will not happen again”, Mr Tayara was discovered to have praised the genocidal antisemitic terrorist group Hamas as “great men” who responded to the “divine and holy call of the Muslim Brotherhood”, and also posted an image of former President Barack Obama wearing a tie branded with the Star of David.

It is understood that in 2017 Islamic Relief Germany learned of the posts after they were uncovered by a blogger, which dated from 2014 and 2015, but Mr Tayara was permitted to remain in his post on condition that Mr Tayara apologised, deleted the posts and closed his Facebook account.

Although Islamic World Relief did not apparently know of the posts until it was approached by The Times, the charity announced that the social media comments were “inappropriate and unacceptable” and that its board would resign and not seek re-election to a new board.

In our letter to the Charity Commission, we wrote: “The episode has shown that IRW’s processes are defective. Given the size of the charity and the severity of the breach, we are writing to invite you to open a statutory investigation into how IRW has been operating and whether the racist views and negligence of some of its trustees have impacted its activities. We believe that the Commission must intervene to chart a new course for IRW, rebuild the public’s trust in its work. This matter has caused considerable concern amongst members of the Jewish community who have sought our support and it is important that the Commission is seen by them to be investigating this matter thoroughly and taking action where it is needed.”
'Britain wants Israeli hi-tech,' no longer fears Arab reaction - source
When the UK opted out of the EU during Brexit in 2016, it also decided to renegotiate its trade relations with other nations, Israel included.

A source close to the Foreign Ministry informed The Jerusalem Post that one of the reasons for UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s current visit to the Jewish state is to get the ball rolling on exactly that.

“We don’t have data on how things are now during COVID-19,” Director of Britain Israel Communications and Research Center (BICOM) Richard Pater told the Post, “but they were excellent before, with healthy synergy in both hi-tech, defense, and the medical industry.”

Pater pointed to the 2010 Thales Watchkeeper WK450 program as an example, the result of Elbit joining forces with Thales to produce a state-of-the-art drone. The deal was reported to be to the tune of £846m (over $1 billion). He expressed hopes that similar British-Israeli cooperation might produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

“In the 1970’s, the Foreign Office would issue a certificate to companies wishing to trade with Israel fearing Arab reactions,” Prof. Jonathan Rynhold of Bar Ilan University’s Political Studies Department told the Post.

Prince William’s royal visit to Israel in 2018 “settled that,” Rynhold said. The British “want to come here and do business.” This is even truer now with news about the Abraham Accords putting relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates out in the open for the first time. If the Gulf states are eager to buy Israeli technology and services, why shouldn’t the UK?
Berlin Jewish museum director on Jewish life in Germany, beyond BDS
The previous director of the Jewish Museum Berlin left in the wake of a tweet.

In May, after the German parliament declared the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel anti-Semitic, the museum tweeted a critique of the decision, arguing that it was undemocratic, and shared an article featuring several Jewish scholars who agreed. Public pressure mounted against the director, Peter Schafer, and a debate about the role of Jewish museums and the legality of the BDS movement ensued.

Schafer offered his resignation in June “to avoid further damage.”

Stepping into the fraught position is Hetty Berg, who began her tenure on April 1 after spending the last 30 years as a manager and curator at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, where she had started as an intern. Berg, 58, has expressed regret over her predecessor’s departure, but she’s now focused on the daily functioning of the museum, which reopened on Sunday after shutting down in mid-March due to the coronavirus.

Though hesitant to talk too much about herself, Berg’s story is one that many Jews born in the shadow of the Holocaust can relate to. Born in The Hague, her family, like many Dutch-Jewish families of that time, did not wear their Jewish identity on their sleeve. It’s not that they were ashamed of being Jewish, Berg explained, but they wanted to be seen as Dutch.

A young Berg eventually became interested in exploring her Jewish heritage, and that quickly developed into learning Yiddish and Hebrew, and traveling to Israel frequently to visit family.
Court Backs Professor Sued by Muslim Student over Terrorism Course
A federal court has ruled in favor of a professor thrown under the bus by his public college after a Muslim student claimed the Islamic terrorism portion of a world politics class violated his Constitutional rights. The course is offered at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) in Arizona, which is part of the Maricopa County Community College District. It is taught by Nicholas Damask, a veteran professor who organizes the course into six modules that cover world politics. One is dedicated to defining and analyzing Islamic terrorism. Students are required to read excerpts from a book called “Future Jihad” written by a Lebanese-born Middle East expert who has worked with the U.S. departments of Justice, Defense and State.

A Muslim student, Mohamed Sabra, sued Professor Damask and the Maricopa County Community College District in June for violating his First Amendment right by supposedly condemning his religion. In the complaint, filed by the terrorist front group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Sabra demands that Damask stop teaching the materials in question until they “do not have the primary effect of disapproving of Islam.” Founded in 1994 by three Middle Eastern extremists (Omar Ahmad, Nihad Awad and Rafeeq Jaber) who ran the American propaganda wing of Hamas, CAIR was named as a co-conspirator in a federal terror-finance case involving the Hamas front group Holy Land Foundation. In a statement announcing the lawsuit against the Arizona college district, CAIR alleges that Sabra “was punished for refusing to agree with an anti-Muslim professor’s unconstitutional condemnations of Islam during a Political Science class” and that he was forced to disavow his religion.

Like many taxpayer-funded academic institutions nationwide, SCC caved into the left’s demands and administrators quickly apologized and tried to pressure the professor into signing an apology letter written by the college’s marketing team. The Maricopa County Community College District also caved in, launching an investigation and warning that the content of Damask’s course would be reviewed for “insensitivities.” Damask, who has taught world politics for more than two decades, stood up to his employer and refused to apologize. He eventually contacted a group dedicated to defending rights such as freedom of speech and religion, due process and legal equality at America’s colleges and universities. The nonprofit, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), sent a letter to SCC’s president pointing out that the school’s actions—as well as the district’s—were flatly inconsistent with the college’s First Amendment obligations and the basic tenets of academic freedom. “Further, the implication that Damask is being investigated by the college’s governing board will have an impermissible chilling effect on faculty expression and teaching,” the letter states. Publicly committing Damask to apologizing and a mandate that the content in question will be removed from his course is alarming and inconsistent with his rights to freedom of expression and academic freedom under both the First Amendment and Arizona law, according to FIRE.
Challenging the Jew-Hate Safe Space of Universities
For the vast majority of those who carry a Jewish identity, Judaism is the essence of our being and Zionism is the essence of our Judaism. Sadly, our core identity has overwhelmingly in recent years been deemed offensive in many corners of society.

Acting as the catalyst, universities have fanned the flames. University, an environment of “knowledge is power” and “you do not know what you do not know” stops short of the Jewish people. Many students and professors alike share their aversion to basic things like truth when it comes to Judaism, Zionism, and Israel. An unwillingness to go beyond face-value fuels antisemitism.

Let me paint a picture:

Neo-Nazi groups at La Trobe University plaster posters around campus advocating for the execution of Jews.

At Adelaide University students have Shoah themed parties where the dress code is antisemitic tropes: caricature with big hooked noses and striped pyjamas.

A University of London collegiate refused to run an educational event on Antisemitism and Zionism because it would not offer a “broad enough range of political and ideological perspectives”. Implying that a range of perspectives would have to include everything from Peter Beinart to Hitlers Mein Kampf. The demand for multiple perspectives is never raised when an anti-Israel event is staged.

At Concordia University, sitting at a table with an Israeli flag warrants you abuse veiled as legitimate criticism.

At the University of Cape Town posters of Hitler and swastikas have covered campus, reminiscent for Jews of 1930s Europe. The perpetrators claimed it was an act of free speech while many Jewish students refused to go back to campus in fear of the very real danger their grandparents faced not so long ago.

At DePaul University a student was sent hundreds of threats, doxed, harassed, and filmed on campus to the point they had to have security from the Jewish agency and has since been forced to leave university. DePaul legitimised these incidents free speech.
ISIS Wins Left-Wing Support After Changing Name to Anti-ISIS (satire)
Islamic terror group ISIS has seen a surge in popularity, particularly among left-leaning millennials, after officially changing its name to “Anti-ISIS.”

The group emphasized that it has not altered its mission or ideology and will continue to inflict mass casualty attacks on innocent civilians, primarily in the Muslim World. But calling itself Anti-ISIS has allowed the group to frame all its opponents as ISIS supporters.

“Why does that infidel Donald Trump keep dropping bombs on us, Anti-ISIS?” the leader of the terror group asked at a recent press conference. “Isn’t being anti-ISIS good? I guess he must support ISIS.”

Terrorists from the group said they were inspired by the success of their American counterpart Antifa, whose violent attacks against journalists, elderly and disabled people, and other civilians have been excused because their name literally means “anti-fascist.”

“I never thought Americans were dumb enough to embrace a violent nihilist group simply because they liked their name,” Anti-ISIS leader Amir Muhammad al-Mawla told The Mideast Beast. “I am very happy to say that I was wrong.”
BBC’s Newshour presents disinformation and lies as ‘context’ to balloon attacks
Earlier this month we noted that the BBC was ignoring the renewal of attacks from the Gaza Strip using balloons, observing that:

“…it is worth noting that since such attacks began nearly two and a half years ago, the corporation’s Jerusalem bureau staff have produced very little reporting on the subject of the arson attacks and no coverage at all of the attacks using airborne explosive devices.”

On August 13th listeners to the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ heard the first mention of the incendiary balloons that are one of the methods which have been used to launch attacks since early in the month.

Presenter Paul Henley introduced the item (from 17:44 here) by referring to Israel’s responses to those attacks which had caused over 80 fires in the two days prior to the broadcast, while failing to clarify to listeners the reason for the anti-terrorism measures imposed by Israel (and Egypt) in the form of the blockade.

Henley: “Now Israel says it will withhold fuel shipments to Gaza in response to the continued launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian territory. This morning Israeli defence forces said they had retaliated against Hamas, striking targets in Gaza including a military compound underground. An Israeli blockade of Gaza has been in place since 2007. A spokesman for Hamas has called this latest withdrawal of vital power supplies a grave act of aggression.”

However, rather than allowing BBC audiences around the world to hear the views of those affected by the attacks – for example Israeli firefighters, foresters, farmers and members of the civilian population living near the border with the Gaza Strip – ‘Newshour’ instead elected to promote the talking points of a professional anti-Israel activist.

French Prosecutor Investigating Attack on Jewish Street Artist Who Wore ‘Israel’ T-Shirt
The public prosecutor in the French city of Strasbourg on Thursday announced an investigation into an antisemitic assault on a young Jewish graffiti artist earlier this week.

The artist, named as Raphael Nisand, had been working on a project commissioned by the City of Strasbourg when he was accosted by two people on Rue Léon Blum — named after the former socialist prime minister of France who was also the first Jew to hold the post.

The two individuals verbally insulted and jostled Nisand after they noticed him wearing a t-shirt that displayed the names of several countries and cities, including Israel.

One of the assailants aggressively told Nisand, “You are a Jew, you have no place here,” before telling the artist to change his shirt — which he duly did.

But when he returned to complete his work, Nisand was confronted again by the same man, who grabbed one of his paint canisters and sprayed offensive slogans on the ground, including “forbidden to Jews” and “bitch.”

Nisand reported the incident to his manager at the Strasbourg City Council, and filed a complaint with police on Thursday morning.
Police arrest 2 suspects in beating of Jewish man in Paris elevator
Police in France arrested two men that they said are behind the allegedly antisemitic assault earlier this month on a Jewish man who was knocked unconscious in an elevator.

The National Bureau for Vigilance against Antisemitism, or BNVCA, a nongovernmental watchdog group, on Wednesday praised police’s “swift identification and arrest” of the two men, who are Black, according to the BNVCA statement.

In the Aug, 6 incident, the victim, identified in the French media only as David S., 29, said he was beaten by two men in the elevator of a Paris building where his parents live and called a “dirty Jew.”

The men followed him into the elevator, according to his police complaint. David sustained minor injuries to the face and throat.

The incident happened at a residential building in the 19th arrondissement, or district, of Paris, where many Jews live.

David said he was rendered unconscious for several minutes because of the force of the blows.
Dutch Moroccan gets 8 months in jail for fake bomb at kosher eatery
A 46-year-old man who placed a fake bomb in front of a kosher restaurant in the Dutch capital was sentenced Wednesday to an eight-month prison term.

The criminal tribunal in Amsterdam also handed down a suspended sentence of another four months to the man, identified in the media only as Morocco-born Hassan N.

In January, he placed a cardboard box with no explosives and bearing the logo of the Heineken beer brand in front of the HaCarmel eatery. The box had masking tape fastening wires and a black electric trigger switch to its top.

He was found via his DNA on the wires and security camera footage, the NIW Dutch-Jewish weekly reported.

Hassan N. was previously convicted of insulting a worker of the national railway company, NS, by calling him a “cancer Jew.”

Herman Loonstein, the lawyer representing the owners of the restaurant, the Bar-On family, told NIW the sentence was “very light” and would not prevent a recurrence of such acts.
Georgia Congressional Candidate Shares Anti-Jewish, Anti-Muslim Video
Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won a Republican run-off in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District earlier this month, shared an antisemitic and anti-Muslim video two years ago that has since resurfaced.

The left-wing media watchdog group Media Matters first reported on the video on Wednesday.

In part, it features a Holocaust denier decrying that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation” and “implies that Jews are at the heart of a project to destroy Europe as we know it.”

Sharing the video, which originated in 2015 on the imageboard 8chan, Greene wrote that “this is what the UN wants all over the world.”

Greene, a businesswoman, has a history of making antisemitic and other racist remarks.

In June, Politico reported that she suggested that Muslims do not belong in government; thinks black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party”; called philanthropist George Soros, a Jewish Democratic mega-donor, a Nazi; and said she would feel “proud” to see a Confederate monument if she were black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War.

Her run-off victory was congratulated by US President Donald Trump and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.).
Auschwitz Memorial calls TikTok Holocaust role-play videos ‘hurtful, offensive’
The Auschwitz museum on Wednesday called a new trend for users of video-sharing platform TikTok to role-play Holocaust victims “hurtful and offensive,” but added that it did not want to shame young people involved.

The museum at the site of the former Nazi-German death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was responding to the so-called #POV or point-of-view videos in which users pretend to be Jewish WWII victims.

The short clips feature youths recounting how they died in the Holocaust, and sometimes show them sporting fake bruises, a striped inmate outfit or one of the yellow star patches used by the Nazis to mark Jews’ clothes.

“The ‘victims’ trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history,” the Auschwitz Memorial said on Twitter.

“Some were not created to commemorate anyone, but to become part of an online trend. This is very painful,” said the museum, located in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim.

“But we should discuss this, not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seem very diverse. It’s an educational challenge,” it added.
Ancestry launches new partnership with USC Shoah Foundation
A vast philanthropic initiative to digitise and make searchable almost 20 million records relating to the Holocaust and Nazi persecution was completed this week, with the resulting database made available to use for free.

The project, years in the making, is a collaboration between American film director Steven Spielberg’s USC (University of Southern California) Shoah Foundation, Unesco’s Arolsen Archives Collection and the family tree search company Ancestry.

Between them they have hundreds of millions of records, including many images, and the resulting database is fully searchable using either first name, last name, date of birth, country of origin, camp confinement, date of death and relatives. The records are now available globally and in perpetuity.

The project came about after the Arolsen Archives, which holds the world’s most comprehensive Unesco-protected database, containing more than 30 million documents on Nazi victims, gave Ancestry “unprecedented access” to its vault. The firm, which helps people to trace relatives, was then able to use its advanced technology to digitise millions of names and other information.

The collection now has an additional nine million digital records from the French, British and Soviet zones of occupation. Archive director Floriane Azoulay said the partnership was “bringing visibility” to its reams of data.

“The ongoing digitisation provides families of survivors and the general public access to discover invaluable documents and records to better understand their relatives’ fate,” said Azoulay, as partners reflected on the project’s timeliness.
Israeli doctors to ‘zap’ COVID-19 patients back to health in new treatment
A team of doctors at Sheba Medical Center are expected to kick-off a clinical trial using low-dose radiation therapy to fight COVID-19 - the first of its kind in Israel and one of only a handful of studies around the world.

According to Prof. Zvi Symon of Sheba’s Radiation Oncology Department, some 30 patients will participate in the study over the next 15 weeks based on the hypothesis that low dose radiation therapy (LDRT) could improve clinical, radiographic and immune outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

“When the COVID crisis began, there were some older radiotherapists in the world that remembered that 70 years ago some doctors were using low dose radiation therapy to treat pneumonia,” Symon said.

Researchers started looking into and found that between 1905 and 1946, outcomes of some 700 pneumonia patients treated with LDRT showed that it led to measurable clinical improvements in the hours and days following administration. These included improved respiration, lower fevers and better chances of survival.

Because these studies took place before there were done before the era of randomized clinical trials and peer-reviewed journals, “It’s not quite clear today how many of these were bacterial pneumonia, how many viral pneumonias and how many immune response pneumonias,” Symon said. “But looking at those results were very encouraging.”
Israeli, Italian firms push ahead with plasma-based COVID-19 treatment
Two leading biopharma firms from Israel and Italy are continuing their work on developing and eventually distributing a coronavirus treatment based on blood plasma, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

The companies, which are Israel-based Kamada and Italy-based Kedrion Biopharma, are both known for plasma-derived therapeutics, and have already agreed to work together on their COVID-19 treatment. Kamada is responsible for the actual product development, as well as manufacturing and submitting it to regulatory bodies, and Kedrion is responsible for collecting plasma – which will come from recovered COVID-19 patients – and for eventual product distribution.

The two companies hope to gain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as with other regulatory bodies across the world. Both companies have also formed partnerships with other institutions to research and test their new therapies. In July, Kedrion partnered with Columbia University Irving Medical Center to test a new immunoglobulin (IgG) therapy for COVID-19 patients. The center's clinical laboratories medical director Dr. Steven Spitalnik said at the time that if it receives FDA approval, he hopes it can be administered to frontline medical workers as a preventative measure.

Kamada is currently partnering with Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem, where it is testing its IgG treatment under the auspices of the Health Ministry.

The treatment works as a passive vaccine, which is when you are given antibodies formed by another patient who got the disease and developed them. This is in contrast to an active vaccine, when you are injected with a dead or weakened version of a virus that tricks your immune system into thinking that you have had the disease, and your immune system creates antibodies to protect you.

The FDA gave an "emergency use authorization" for coronavirus treatments that use blood plasma from recovered patients. Israel's Health Ministry has yet to do so, but Hadassah chief Zeev Rotstein is urging them to follow in the FDA's footsteps.

“From the first moment [that COVID-19 struck Israel] we realized plasma was an important tool for treating sick patients,” Rotstein told The Jerusalem Post.
Amid COVID-19, Ukraine bans Israelis from annual Uman pilgrimage
Ukraine imposed a temporary ban on most foreigners from entering the country until September 28 – Yom Kippur on the Jewish calendar – and extended lockdown measures until the end of October to contain a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Ronni Gamzu called the decision “responsible and correct” and “in the spirit of the time.” He said it would “preserve the health of thousands of people in Israel and Ukraine.”

He added that he hopes that when the virus dissipates, it will be possible to once again pray in Uman.

The announcement came against the backdrop of a bitter battle in Israel around whether hassidim should be allowed to travel to Uman, Ukraine, this Rosh Hashanah to visit the burial place of Rabbi Nahman of Breslov.

Traditionally, as many as 30,000 people travel there to pray on the holiday, including up to 15,000 or 20,000 Israelis. But this year, in the shadow of the coronavirus, health officials cautioned that travel to Uman from Israel and back would lead to a massive spike in infection in Israel.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported that 1,952 people were diagnosed with the novel virus the day before – the highest daily number in almost a month. Moreover, some 1,214 people were diagnosed between midnight and press time.

In Ukraine, the daily tally of new infections jumped to around 2,000 last week with a record high of 2,328 on Saturday. The total number of infections reached 110,085 on Wednesday, with 2,354 deaths.
Eilat to hold e-sports world championships as planned despite COVID-19
Eilat will host the 2020 eSports World Championships as planned despite COVID-19, the International e-Sports Federation (IESF) announced on Wednesday. This is the first time Israel will host the event, which is expected to be watched by millions of viewers around the world.

The IESF's decision was the result of a joint effort by the Israeli e-Sports Association (IESA), the Prime Minister’s Office, the city of Eilat and Maccabi World Union.

IESA head Ido Brosh thanked the federation and said that in addition to holding the games in Eilat this winter, Israel will also host the 2021 championship next year, “in a grander, even more luxurious manner.”

Brosh added that Israel is the only country after South Korea, where the IESF is located, to host the games two years in a row.

Roy Hessing, Maccabi’s deputy executive director and Maccabiah CEO, lauded the news, saying that “for the next two years, the State of Israel,” and the other parties involved in the games “will be at the front and center of what is the most rapidly growing industry in the world.”

Since at least 2016, gaming has been a bigger industry than both Hollywood and the music industry combined, according to
Interest in gaming has expanded even more during the social quarantining and surging unemployment caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In addition, e-sports has also seen a rise in popularity over the past few years, with some of the most popular titles such as DOTA 2 and League of Legends retaining large fanbases and very active competitive scenes, and major competitions often have large audiences and a significant prize pool.

Among e-sports organizations, however, the IESF is one of the largest. Its world championships are considered among the most prestigious of its kind and are watched by over 200 million people worldwide.
Amar’e Stoudemire completes his conversion to Judaism
Amar’e Stoudemire has officially finished his conversion to Judaism.

The former NBA star, who received Israeli citizenship in March 2019 while playing professional basketball there, announced Wednesday in a post on Instagram that his conversion to Judaism was complete.

Stoudemire said in the post that he had his final meeting with the beit din, or rabbinical court, and visited the mikvah, or ritual bath.

He said that his Hebrew name would be Yahoshafat Ben Avraham.

He announced more than two years ago that he was in the process of converting to Judaism.

Stoudemire identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, African-Americans who believe they are connected to the biblical Israelites, and observes Jewish holidays.
'Izzy': The Netflix of Israel

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