Monday, October 26, 2020

From Ian:

At Brooklyn Trump rally, Orthodox anger at mayor and governor take center stage
Over a thousand mostly Orthodox Jews gathered for a rally in support of Donald Trump in Brooklyn on Sunday, using the opportunity to loudly air their grievances against Democratic leadership in New York while calling for four more years of the Republican US president.

The demonstration in Brooklyn’s Marine Park came after weeks of tensions in many of the borough’s Orthodox neighborhoods over new restrictions imposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in response to rising COVID-19 cases in those areas.

Some ultra-Orthodox communities in Brooklyn have found themselves in national headlines due to accusations that their refusal to adhere to coronavirus guidelines led to a spike of new cases in September. Orthodox leaders accuse Cuomo and de Blasio of unfairly singling out their communities and adopting punitive measures rather than engaging with them.

While the infection rate has since waned and restrictions have begun to be lifted in some places, they still mostly remain in Brooklyn, along with tensions between the Jewish community and the city and state leadership.

“Hey Cuomo, you probably wouldn’t have allowed this [gathering]… Come get me!” said the rally’s emcee Nachman Mostofsky, the executive director of the right-wing, pro-Israel policy group Chovevei Zion.

The rally was the final destination of a parade convoy that chugged through the streets of Rockland County’s Monsey, Long Island’s Five Towns, Manhattan, and a number of pre-dominantly Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
Hundreds of New York Ultra-Orthodox Jews Hold Pro-Trump Rally

Fights break out, 7 arrested, as ‘Jews for Trump’ convoy rolls through New York
Skirmishes broke out between supporters and opponents of US President Donald Trump as a Jews For Trump convoy of hundreds of cars draped with American flags and Trump 2020 banners rolled slowly through Manhattan and Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon.

The demonstration was planned as part pre-election rally for the Republican president and part protest against coronavirus restrictions in some heavily Jewish areas of New York where spiking infection rates have been recorded.

The caravan traveled from Coney Island to the Trump Tower in Manhattan before heading to a rally in a Brooklyn park. Cars in the procession blasted remix versions of the president’s speeches, festive Jewish music and soundtracked campaign slogans.

Videos shared on Twitter showed several protesters pelting the vehicles with eggs or stones, snatching flags and shouting insults.

In one video showing physical fights between several people, police officers detain an unidentified man and protesters chant “let him go.” Another video showed a small group of people throwing objects from a Brooklyn highway overpass at vehicles bedecked with Trump flags.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani briefly greeted supporters from the passenger seat of a car driving near Trump Tower during the parade, videos showed.

Family describes horror as violent maskless rioters throw rocks, attack 'Jews for Trump' convoy
A family of seven ‒ including four kids ‒ were pepper-sprayed by violent rioters on Sunday while participating in a “Jews For Trump” rally in New York City. placeholder

A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said 11 people were taken into custody after the rally descended into chaos and violence Sunday afternoon. Six people were charged with disorderly conduct, obstruction of government administration and harassment, while a seventh person was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, the NYPD said Monday.

A convoy of hundreds of cars draped with American flags and "Trump 2020" banners rolled slowly through Manhattan and Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon. The caravan traveled from Coney Island to the Trump Tower in Manhattan before heading to a rally in a Brooklyn park.

At some point, skirmishes broke out between supporters and opponents of the president.

A member of the family that was pepper-sprayed told Fox News that the unprovoked attack happened while the family was driving down Fifth Avenue with the car windows down and Trump flags displayed.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous fearing his family could be targeted, said a car pulled up next to them and unleashed pepper spray into their vehicle.

"Immediately the kids started crying and screaming and I jumped out of the car after I was peppered [sic] sprayed as well," the man said.

The man said the attacker chased him down the avenue trying to pepper-spray him again. His mother flagged down an officer and the suspect was arrested.

UN Security Council must enforce settlement blacklist - UNHRC official
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) must enforce a settlement boycott by ensuring that the database of businesses operating over the pre-1967 lines can be used for enforcement action, special rapporteur Michael Lynk said in a written report he submitted to the General Assembly in New York.

“The UNSC should ensure that the database becomes a living tool, that it clarifies and broadens its mandate, and that it provide the database with sufficient resources so that its spotlight can properly identify the scope of all business involvement with the settlements and the occupation,” wrote Lynk in his annual report published over the weekend.

He is a Canadian legal expert who is the UN Human Rights Council special rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories.

In February of this year the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published a list of 112 business entities – 94 domiciled in Israel and 18 in six other countries – which it has reasonable grounds to conclude operate over the pre-1967 lines.

These countries include the United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Thailand and Luxembourg. The list gives a boost to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and operates as a warning to those companies that such business dealings could constitute a war crime.

Neither the High Commissioner’s office or the UNHRC which commissioned the list, have any enforcement power and the list is advisory only.
BESA: George Soros’s Negative Interactions with the Jewish World
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: From a Jewish and Israeli point of view, there are two main issues to look at when analyzing the activities of American Jewish billionaire George Soros. The first are his damaging statements and actions against Jews and Israel, and the second are antisemitic attacks on Soros himself. For Jews, the problems that arise around these issues require fine tuning of their reactions to Soros’s statements and actions.

George Soros is a complex figure about whom there is much debate. Many of his activities around the world have no impact on Jewish matters, so there is no reason for Jews to enter into public disputes over whether he should be classified as a major philantropist or a king of speculators.

What does concern Jews, however, is that Soros spreads lies about antisemitism. At a rare meeting in a Jewish environment, Soros spoke before the Jewish Funders Network Conference in New York in 2003. He was asked about antisemitism in Europe and said, “There is a resurgence of antisemitism in Europe. The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute to that… It’s not specifically antisemitism, but it does manifest itself in antisemitism as well. I’m critical of those policies…” He blamed the “resurgence of antisemitism in Europe” on Israel and insisted that “If we change that direction, then antisemitism will also diminish.”

Nobody present at the meeting took him to task for his extreme and false blaming of the victim. Soros was ignoring the basics of Europe’s extreme antisemitism conditions, which have existed for more than 1500 years.

Soros, a typical Jewish masochist, added that he himself bears some responsibility for the new antisemitism. To bolster this point, he quoted Malaysian PM Mahathir bin Muhammad, who said, “Jews rule the world by proxy.” Soros said, “As an unintended consequence of my actions, I also contribute to that image.”

Abraham Foxman, then national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), called Soros’s comments on antisemitism “absolutely obscene.” Foxman said blaming the victim for Israel’s and the Jewish people’s ills was bigoted and biased.
How ‘The New York Times’ Helped Hide Stalin’s Mass Murders in Ukraine
A short while into Mr. Jones, a film by the Polish director Agnieszka Holland, the protagonist, Gareth Jones, who has come to Moscow to learn about Soviet collectivization efforts, says he has no agenda other than finding the truth. It is 1933, and two totalitarian powers are unleashing their competing visions of the world on the Eurasian continent. Jones’ interlocutor, Ada Brooks, a Moscow-based foreign reporter, asks Jones, with not a small touch of cynicism, whose truth he is seeking to uncover. He says that he is looking for “the truth. There is only one kind.”

The question of truth is at the heart of the story Holland tackles—the deadly famine, engineered by Stalin’s regime, that swept through Ukraine, the Volga Basin, the Kuban and Don regions of the North Caucasus, and Kazakhstan in the winter of 1932-1933. In Ukraine alone, where it is known by its Ukrainian name of Holodomor and often referred to as the terror-famine, it took an estimated 4 million lives. In this exceptionally fertile land, Stalin imposed impossible production demands, expropriating all available grain and livestock and using the ensuing starvation to break the back of the peasantry, whose resistance to collectivization threatened to undermine his industrialization efforts.

But Stalin’s crime was only one face of the story. The other face was the extraordinary failure on the part of the world to report and acknowledge the facts. Many were complicit in this failure, but the starring role undoubtedly belonged to the Moscow-based Western journalists, who misreported, underreported, and failed to report about what was plainly happening under their noses. Walter Duranty, the New York Times’ man in Moscow, outright lied about the events, deliberately misleading his readers. In 1932, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for reporting. Holland’s exploration of the complicity of the press in one of Joseph Stalin’s greatest crimes lends the film an unexpected relevance to our current moment, when the role and purpose of the media and of journalism itself seem to be under attack—from both would-be dictators and people for whom virtue is the arbiter of truth.
The Children’s Hell of Minsk
When Sonia Zalesskaia returned from summer camp to her family in Minsk in June 1941, she found her mother incapable of caring for herself and four children—Sonia, Tsilia, Abram, and Roza: “She had a nervous breakdown when the Germans came; she was completely indifferent, paralyzed. When we had to move to the ghetto, I had to organize everything. I was the oldest sister. When they moved us to the ghetto, Mother did not know what was going on. … I found a peasant who drove our belongings to the ghetto on his cart. I figured I had to give him something, so I gave him our sewing machine and some fabric. That meant we had nothing left to trade with.”

The narratives of child survivors of the Nazi genocide in the German-occupied USSR help us better understand the distinct features of ghettos in the area that were killing sites rather than transitional spaces of internment. Among the 800,000 Belarusian Jews killed by Germans and their collaborators were parents, grandparents, and other relatives of thousands of young Jews who thus became orphans and struggled for survival on their own. This situation, however, often goes unacknowledged in studies of the Nazi ghettos, the so-called Jewish districts established by the German Wehrmacht or occupation administrations in Nazi-occupied countries.

Yet age did matter for everyday life within the ghetto. Adolescents were the most vulnerable group in the Nazi ghettos, suffering unduly from hunger, violence, and the psychological impact of terror. They were also highly mobile within the ghetto and able to maintain relationships with peers and adults—such as classmates and teachers—outside the ghetto, suggesting that they were an especially resourceful group. Everyday life in the ghetto thus redefined roles that children as well as women and men took on within families.

Immediately after the war, Jewish historical commissions began to collect testimonies, especially from children, in formerly German-occupied countries such as Poland and France, but no such efforts were made in the Soviet territories. Statements collected immediately after the war in the USSR, primarily by the Extraordinary State Commission, list human and material losses and German crimes but rarely included descriptions of how Soviet citizens, let alone Jews, lived under the occupation. Materials provided in the Black Book of Russian Jewry unquestionably fill some of these gaps, yet these accounts pertain to multiple locales; again, they do not provide a comprehensive view of how individuals survived under conditions of violence, forced labor, and trauma.
Some Groups, Residents Say Gov. Cuomo Has Taken Criticism Of Orthodox Jewish COVID-19 Noncompliance Too Far
As enforcement ramps up in the city’s COVID-19 cluster zones, the governor again made it clear on a telephone conference call on Thursday who he felt the problem was.

“Some of the complexity in the enforcement here, especially with members of the ultra Orthodox community. They have never complied with the rules,” Cuomo said.

The governor’s words came a day after he announced he would withhold funding from local governments that do not enforce the rules at schools, including yeshivas.

“If the local government does not effectively enforce the law, we will withhold funds from the local government… If they don’t, we will withhold funding from the government. I don’t like to do that. Budgets are tough all across the board. I don’t know how else to get them to do the enforcement they need to do. So, hopefully that will motivate them because nothing else I have done has motivated them – not my rapier wit, not my sense of humor, not my guilt, not my blame, not my admonition, and not my pleas. Maybe money works,” Cuomo said.

He later pointed out that yeshivas receive a significant amount of funding.

“I guarantee if a yeshiva gets closed down, and they’re not going to get state funding, you will see compliance,” Cuomo said.

Justice Dems boosted this candidate until she disagreed with them on Israel
At the beginning of 2020, Georgette Gómez, the San Diego City Council president who is running for a seat in California’s 53rd congressional district, earned a trio of coveted endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the progressive group Justice Democrats. The imprimatur was a stamp of approval from some of the nation’s most influential progressive trendsetters, but it turned out that Gomez wasn’t fully aligned with them on one issue: Israel.

In mid-April, Gómez went public with her views in an interview with Jewish Insider, stating that she disagreed with Justice Democrats on matters relating to the Jewish state. The group has previously labeled Israel a “human rights violator,” a characterization Gómez rejects. Since then, Justice Democrats has all but revoked its endorsement. A source close to the Gómez campaign, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, tells JI that Justice Democrats is no longer actively fundraising for Gómez because of disagreements over Israel.

Waleed Shahid, a spokesperson for Justice Democrats, declined to confirm whether the group had ceased raising money for Gómez because of Israel, noting that Justice Democrats had previously raised more than $18,000 for the candidate.

But a look at public filings from the Federal Election Commission suggests that Justice Democrats has disengaged from the race. Its last contribution, for in-kind texting services, was on April 15, according to the FEC, and it has made no independent expenditures as it has in several other races. The group has also stopped directly boosting Gómez on social media.
Hispanic voters in Florida targeted with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
Just over a week before the US presidential election, conspiracy theories, racist and anti-Semitic posts and disinformation are targeting Hispanic voters in Florida, a key constituency in the battleground state.

A purported election fraud concocted by Democrats, an alleged plot among Jewish, Black and LGBTQ people to interfere in the election: these are some of the stories that have spread among voters in the United States, and among Florida Latinos in particular.

Take influencer Liliana Rodriguez Morillo, a Donald Trump supporter who is the daughter of singer Jose Luis “El Puma” Rodriguez. The Miami-based Venezuelan shared an image to her 485,000 Instagram followers of fake driver’s licenses confiscated in Chicago.

“All registered to vote Democrat!” she wrote in Spanish. “Will there be fraud November 3? Are we playing dumb? Vote in person!”

There is no evidence that the licenses were linked to the Democratic party or to voter fraud. And US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) spokesman Steven Bansbach told AFP that CBP could only confirm that 19,888 driver’s licenses — mainly from China and Hong Kong — were confiscated.

Lizette Escobedo, director of civic engagement at the NALEO Educational Fund, a nonprofit that promotes political participation of Latinos, said that mistrust in the electoral system is common among Florida Hispanics in both parties.

The problem, she explained, is that “many Latinos don’t actually trust the electoral process. They’re afraid that their votes are not going to count.”
Labour faces Israel row as MP Stephen Kinnock says country's actions are 'tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime' - just days before 'damning' antisemitism report is published
Sir Keir Starmer is embroiled in a damaging row over anti-Israeli remarks just days before an official report is expected to condemn how Labour under Jeremy Corbyn mishandled antisemitism in the party.

Sources say the Labour leader is infuriated with Stephen Kinnock, one of his frontbench foreign affairs team, for using a Commons debate on Palestine and the West Bank to accuse Israel of behaviour 'tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime'.

Labour did not deny reports yesterday that Mr Kinnock, son of ex-party leader Neil Kinnock, had now been reprimanded for remarks which also included calling on the UK to 'ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories'.

The row is deeply embarrassing for Sir Keir on the eve of the publication of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into how the party dealt with antisemitism under his predecessor.

When he took office in April, Sir Keir won plaudits from the Jewish community for vowing that he would 'tear out this poison [of antisemitism] by its roots'.

Under Mr Corbyn, Jewish groups accused the party of repeatedly singling out Israel for criticism while failing to condemn the behaviour of China or Iran.

The row over Mr Kinnock's comments emerged after an online meeting last week between Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy and the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council.
Former Mayor of Luton and current candidate for Bedfordshire Police chief is suspended by Labour over alleged antisemitism
The former Mayor of Luton, who is currently Labour’s candidate for Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has been suspended by the Party over alleged antisemitism.

Tahir Khan, who served as Mayor of Luton in 2016-17, will no longer be able to represent Labour in the 2021 election for the senior police job, and a new selection process is reportedly underway.

Although the basis of the suspension is unclear, Mr Khan is believed to have posted Rothschild conspiracy theories on social media in the past and to have claimed that the BBC is a “Zionist channel”.

A Labour spokesman reportedly said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Professors demand universities ditch Zoom for shutting down Palestinian hijacker events
Their departments co-sponsored talks with member of U.S.-designated terrorist group

After Zoom shut down a university event with a Palestinian terrorist for at least the fourth time in a month, an academic group is pressuring U.S. college presidents to break their agreements with the online meeting provider.

The New York University chapter of the American Association of University Professors said Zoom “unilaterally” canceled its Friday event with Leila Khaled, who hijacked two planes for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the 1970s.

Its event was cosponsored by “several NYU departments and institutes,” the chapter said in a statement posted by Academe, which is published by the national AAUP.

Zoom “censored” another planned event with Khaled on Friday, Students and Faculty for Justice in Palestine at the University of Hawaii wrote in an update on the event’s Facebook page.

The actions were not unexpected. A spokesperson for Zoom told The College Fix Wednesday that the UH event would not be allowed to take place on its platform for violating its terms.

Even though the Zoom link for the UH event had already been rendered inactive by Thursday night, when The Fix last checked it, the event’s Facebook page made no mention of the deactivation before it was scheduled to start Friday.

Both events were in response to Zoom’s cancellation of a Khaled event at San Francisco State University Sept. 23. The next video streaming providers the organizers tried – Facebook and YouTube – also removed the event.
Jewish Federations: US university admins ‘ignored’ antisemitism on campus
Eric Fingerhut, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, has said that US university administration have ignored “a growing atmosphere” of antisemitism and anti-Zionism on their campuses.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Fingerhut also praised the complaint filed on behalf of Jewish students against the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for what was described as a “hostile environment” for Jewish students there, and said the university should have more to prevent this situation from developing.

It was announced on Friday that a complaint was filed with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP together with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, in consultation with the Jewish United Fund, and Hillel International.

The complaint outlined how Jewish and pro-Israel UIUC students have been subjected to an “alarming increase in antisemitism and anti-Zionism over the past five years,”and detailed how numerous swastikas have been found on UIUC's campus, Jewish ritual items such as menorahs and mezuzahs vandalized, and windows of Jewish fraternity houses smashed by bricks.

“The fact is that the atmosphere on too many campuses has grown increasingly challenging, and what was once excused as criticism of Israeli policy has clearly moved into blatant antisemitism,” said Fingerhut.

He said that several universities have “allowed this kind of behavior to continue with no steps taken to redress it even when it’s been called to their attention time after time,” and said that it was one of the fundamental responsibilities of the organized Jewish community to ensure that the US continues to be open and welcoming for Jews.
Anti-Israel harassment is antisemitism, too
EVEN MORE extreme, during this election cycle Twitter has begun flagging tweets, repeatedly adding “fact checks” to US President Trump’s tweets in a misguided effort to reduce “fake news.”

Contrast this level of attention to the lack of attention directed at antisemitic conspiracy tweets from April. These were presented to Twitter in Knesset meetings in August, yet they have still not been removed. Similarly, the Iranian ayatollah on Twitter routinely calls for genocide against Israel and “Zionists.” Even when Twitter was asked about the matter in multiple Knesset hearings, the platform representative defended allowing the ayatollah to spew his antisemitism not once, not twice, but in three separate Knesset committee hearings.

The double standards continue today with Twitter banning a major news publication, the New York Post, for reporting on Hunter Biden’s business affiliations – a move that resulted in subpoenas from the US Senate over its actions. It also refused to allow any users to share links pertaining to the story. Apparently, free speech is only important to Twitter when it’s a political agenda they agree with – and apparently the social messaging service is more on board with the ayatollah than it is with the New York Post.

Twitter and all social media platforms serve an important and complicated role in free speech, and indeed in democratic elections as well, but they are not the arbiters of truth, and they should not engage in censorship. As such, it’s important to make a distinction between flagging or commentary by a social media platform, and censorship. There are activists who believe that antisemitic speech should be banned or removed completely from social media networks, but this is antithetical to free speech, and risks pushing hatred underground. It’s important to know and to see what the trends are, and give people a chance to consider and respond.

As such, the IHRA definition is the perfect solution for social media networks as it doesn’t require any form of censorship, but simply requires education and recognition of antisemitic content. Social media networks should adopt the definition in full as a framework for proactively identifying antisemitism. Refusing to do so, or selectively picking and choosing, actually makes it more difficult for the Jewish community to stand united against the modern antisemitism with which we are faced.
Investigation finds Spotify, Apple, Deezer and YouTube hosted antisemitic and racist music
Several major music streaming platforms have reportedly removed antisemitic and racist music, following an investigation.

The BBC found that sections of speeches by Adolf Hitler, references to white power and celebrations of the Holocaust featured in songs on the platforms, with Spotify, Apple, Deezer and YouTube apparently having now removed them.

One song on Spotify, for example, contained the lyrics: “Aryan child, listen to what is said/ So rise your hand and learn to love your land/ For the white revolution needs your uncorrupted hand.”

According to the BBC, Spotify said that the songs violated its hate content policy, while YouTube reportedly said that there was no place for hate on its platform. Apple Music has apparently hidden the majority of the songs while it investigates, and Deezer is investigating.

Following an antisemitic rampage by the grime artist Wiley over the summer, more than 700 musicians and members of the music industry signed a letter decrying racism.
CBC Radio Errs Claiming Only 3 Arab Countries Recognize Israel
On October 23 at 11:03pm ET, CBC Radio produced a short report which covered the peace deal between Sudan and Israel that erroneously claimed that only three Arab countries recognize Israel.

CBC’s news anchor stated the following:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying Friday’s agreement with Sudan is the beginning of a new era. Sudan has become the third Arab country to recognize Israel and the agreement normalize relations was brokered by Washington. It’s similar to the deal announced previously by the UAE and Bahrain.”

In truth, Israel’s normalizing relations with Sudan now marks the fifth Arab country to recognize Israel. In 1979, Israel made peace with Egypt and in 1994, Israel made peace with Jordan.

What CBC likely meant to report is that this is the “third Arab country to recognize Israel this year.” Sudan, after all, followed in the footsteps of the UAE and Bahrain.

HonestReporting Canada has brought this matter to the attention of CBC News editors.
BBC’s Bateman recycles his olive harvest report for Radio 4
Bateman failed to disclose to BBC audiences the identities of the “rights groups”, the “foreign activists” or the “Palestinians…taking their place” – and the political agenda of each of those groups. As was the case in his filmed report, audiences are not informed that a Palestinian Authority body called the ‘Colonisation and Wall Resistance Commission’ brought people to Burqa on the day that Bateman was filming there and once again BBC audiences are not told whether or not his visit to that location on that specific day was linked to that PA organisation.

As in the filmed report, the violence documented by Bateman comes from Palestinians rather than ‘settlers’.

Bateman: “Israeli border police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at the Palestinians who throw stones and burn some scrubland.”

Bateman then travelled to Psagot where he spoke with a representative of the Binyamin regional council before uncritically quoting once again unidentified “anti-occupation groups”.

Bateman: “The Israeli army says it facilitates the harvest and prevents friction. But anti-occupation groups think sabotage by radical settlers extends Israel’s control of the land, as they say the authorities don’t prosecute it properly. Israel denies this, saying it investigates settler violence. International law sees all the settlements in the West Bank as illegal.”

As usual BBC audiences were not informed of any alternative legal opinions to the one exclusively presented by Bateman as “international law”.

This is the second report produced by Tom Bateman in just over a week in which the olive harvest was used to promote well-worn political narratives, but without appropriate clarification of how the BBC’s Jerusalem correspondent came to be in Burqa on the very day that a Palestinian Authority political commission organised the arrival of ‘activists’ in that location.
Viewers then find Yezid Sayigh likewise promoting the inaccurate notion that the formation of the PLO was born out of the post-1967 ‘occupation’ while whitewashing the fact that its original charter of 1964 clearly stated that the ‘Palestine’ it intended to ‘liberate’ did not include “the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” or the Gaza Strip and its first attack had taken place in January 1965.

Sayigh: “People like Yasser Arafat started to organise rebellion and armed resistance against the newly occupying Israeli army and so they caught peoples’ imagination. They had demonstrated that the Palestinians could take their cause into their own hands. They could bear arms. They were no longer pitiful refugees. They were people who had dignity because they fought for their own rights and their destiny.”

Arafat: “We know that it is not easy…but we are ready to pay the price.”

Thompson: “The PLO was made up of political and armed groups with different ideologies. In the 1970s, under Arafat’s leadership, it became more extreme and carried out a series of attacks against Israeli and other targets. But there was little international sympathy for a cause promoted by hijacking and bombing.”

Viewers are not told that those PLO ‘attacks against Israeli targets’ included the murder of civilians in the 1970 Avivim school bus bombing, the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, the 1974 Ma’alot attack and many others. The word terrorism is of course not used.

Thompson’s claim of “little international sympathy” is of course not supported by the fact that just six months after the 1974 Ma’alot attack in which 25 hostages – including 22 children – were killed, Arafat was received with applause at the United Nations General Assembly. That information is however not provided to this video’s audience.

This educational video gives British school students an incomplete view of a significant chapter of Middle East history while whitewashing the PLO’s beginnings and original agenda in a manner which steers viewers towards the erroneous belief that Palestinian “armed resistance” was a product of the Six Day War.
Almost half of Americans don't know the meaning of antisemitism - survey
Nearly half of Americans don’t know what the phrase “antisemitism” means.

That’s one takeaway from two surveys published Monday by the American Jewish Committee. The surveys asked Jews and the general American public about antisemitism in the United States.

The Jewish survey found that a large majority of Jews consider antisemitism a problem, and that most see it as a problem on the right and in the Republican Party. Those findings were in line with what the AJC, a nonpartisan advocacy organization, found when it surveyed American Jews last year.

The new surveys found that, in a year when 88% of American Jews say antisemitism remains a problem in the United States, 21% of Americans overall — more than one in five — say they’ve never even heard of the term. An additional 25% of Americans overall have heard the term but are unsure of what it means.

But nearly half of Americans overall say they have seen antagonism against Jews either online or in person during the past five years, suggesting that respondents may be familiar with the reality of anti-Jewish bigotry but unfamiliar with the term “antisemitism.”
Attempt by police officers to block disciplinary action over antisemitic and racist WhatsApp messages has reportedly cost Police Scotland nearly £200,000
An attempt by ten police officers to prevent disciplinary proceedings against them in connection with antisemitic and racist Whatsapp messages has cost Police Scotland nearly £200,000, it has been reported.

Whatsapp messages described as being “sexist and degrading, racist, antisemitic, homophobic, mocking of disability and included a flagrant disregard for police procedures by posting crime scene photos of current investigations,” were discovered in the course of an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct on the part of another officer, who was later cleared.

After the messages were discovered in 2016, Police Scotland’s Professional Standards department sought to discipline the officers implicated in the messages in November 2017. However, the Scottish Police Federation tried to block the disciplinary proceedings on behalf of the officers on the basis that they were entitled to privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and a common law right to privacy. Last month, however, three appeal judges upheld an earlier ruling that rejected those arguments, claiming that the duty to uphold professional standards on the police force overrode the right to privacy and that it was proportionate for Police Scotland to use the messages.

Following the ruling, The Ferret submitted a Freedom of Information request to Police Scotland, which revealed that its legal bill to date is £189,366.04 (including VAT).

Police Scotland reportedly noted in its reply that “subject to the outcome of any further proceedings, Police Scotland intends to seek an award of expenses in its favour as a result of being successful both in the outer and inner houses of the court of session.”
Pittsburgh congregations mark 2 years since shooting under shadow of COVID-19
Two years after 11 loved ones were ripped from their families, multiple bodies and minds were injured and a sense of communal serenity was shattered by the events of October 27, 2018, the three congregations principally affected by the shootings — Dor Hadash, New Light, and Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha — are trying to find a balance between looking at the past and focusing on the future, all within the constraints of COVID-19.

For Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha, there are the obvious losses of Joyce Fienberg, Rose Mallinger, Cecil and David Rosenthal, Bernice and Sylvan Simon and Irving Younger. Barb Feige, Tree of Life’s executive director, said the congregation is continuing to respect each family’s journey, but the near eradication of in-person gatherings has challenged longstanding support systems.

And, Feige pointed out, the congregation has suffered double displacement: First, in the aftermath of October 27, 2018, Tree of Life relocated to Rodef Shalom Congregation. Then, because of COVID-19, Tree of Life went virtual.

When the 2019 High Holidays arrived, additional space was required beyond what Rodef Shalom, Tree of Life’s new home, could provide. The Calvary Episcopal Church offered its 1,000-seat sanctuary free of charge, which Tree of Life graciously accepted, yet this meant the congregation was tasked with personalizing an unfamiliar space.

The need for virtual programming for this year’s High Holidays helped the congregation really get a sense of itself, explained Feige: “Tree of Life is more than a building. It’s a family. It’s a community. It’s people together, and yes, there is a connection to the building at Wilkins and Shady without a doubt — generation to generation has grown up in that building and celebrated simchas [joyous occasions] in that building — but we’re still a congregation, a family celebrating simchas together.”

Still, the lack of in-person connection had an impact.
Israel’s Tel Aviv University Launches New Interdisciplinary Center to Combat Covid-19 and Future Pandemics
Israel’s Tel Aviv University is launching a special interdisciplinary center to combat the Covid-19 pandemic as well as future mass disease outbreaks.

The Center for Combating Pandemics will examine not only the medical and scientific aspects of pandemics, but also the economic and social effects, and attempt to formulate policies to deal with them more effectively, the university said in a statement.

The Center will focus on frontline policies to contain pandemics, the development of vaccines and other treatments, and examining how nations can stand up economically and socially under the pressures of a pandemic.

The new center’s head, Prof. Itai Benhar of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, said, “In the past 15 years, the world has seen a string of viral pathogens infect large numbers of people, among them SARS, MERS, swine flu and avian flu. Clearly, we are not safe from dangerous emerging diseases.”

“We must look ahead,” he asserted.

Benhar sees the new Center as a long-term investment, saying, “Over the longer term, we envision the Center not only contributing to global efforts to combat and contain the current crisis, but also building the scientific and professional foundations to enable us to successfully cope with the next one.”
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University Create Machine Learning Platform to Improve Clinical Medical Trials
Ben-Gurion University researchers have partnered up with a medical startup, Panacea, to create new technology that streamlines clinical trials — improving their efficiency, lowering their cost, and increasing success rates of drugs or medical devices by shortening their development process. Prof. Boaz Lerner is both Panacea’s founder and a lecturer and researcher at the university’s department of industrial engineering and management. Panacea was founded in conjunction with the school’s entrepreneurship center, Yazamut360, which helps students and faculty launch startups.

Panacea’s tool increases machine learning to improve the chance of a clinical trial’s odds of success by examining a patient population and tracking certain markers. In addition, the entire clinical trial is tested and given pre-trial recommendations, insights, and post-trial evaluations. Finally, proposals are made for possible areas of improvement in the event the trial fails.

Lerner added that historically clinical trials haven’t seen much change in the way they are carried out, and continue to be defined by their high costs and low chances of success.

“Our platform is highly beneficial for pharma and biotech companies, enabling them to increase efficiency and the chances of success by streamlining the trial and selecting the optimal participants and markers. Conversely, we can also help in understanding when to terminate a trial and what lessons can be derived from a failed trial,” he said.

So far, the technology has been used to test several types of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons’, and ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It has also improved findings by grouping patients into separate groups and subgroups, and analyzing them individually and the progression of their disease, helping to foresee the rate of deterioration or any patterns that may yield light on a patient’s condition or others like it.

CEO of BGN Technologies Josh Peleg noted that more companies should turn to machine learning and AI to assist them in making better and faster decisions while improving their research.

“In the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it seems only natural that drug development should benefit from these sophisticated tools that can take into account large amounts of data, and integrate and analyze numerous parameters in order to optimize clinical trials and increase their probability of success.”
Israel to Start COVID-19 Vaccine Human Trials on Nov. 1
Israel will begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by a research institute overseen by the Defense Ministry on Nov. 1 after receiving regulatory approval, the ministry said on Sunday.

The Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) began animal trials for its “BriLife” vaccine in March. The Health Ministry and an oversight committee have now given the green light to take it to the next stage.

Eighty volunteers aged between 18 and 55 will be monitored for three weeks to see if virus antibodies develop, the ministry said in a statement. A second phase, expected to begin in December, will involve 960 people over the age of 18.

Should those succeed, a third, large-scale phase with 30,000 volunteers is scheduled for April/May. If successful, the vaccine may then be approved for mass use.

The vaccine, the ministry said, has already tested well on a number of animal models and the IIBR has produced more than 25,000 doses for the first and second phases of the clinical trials.

“Our final goal is 15 million rations for the residents of the State of Israel and for our close neighbors,” said IIBR Director Shmuel Shapira.
Guess what nation has the most unicorns per capita?
If a unicorn has one horn, is a “double unicorn” an oxymoron? Not when it describes a company worth $2 billion.

A privately held company worth $1 billion is known as a unicorn. A successful company can claim as many of those magic horns as its valuation warrants.

Over the past couple of years, the number of unicorns based in Israel and led by Israelis abroad has grown exponentially, and that includes double, triple, and quadruple unicorns.

Here’s an astounding fact: Israel has more unicorns per capita than any other country.

“Counting just the unicorns that have their main operations or headquarters in Israel, the count is 14,” says Yaron Samid, founder of the 3,000-member TechAviv global Israeli startup founders club and managing partner of TechAviv Founder Partners.

“With a population of just 8.9 million, that’s 1.58 unicorns per capita and makes Israel No. 1 in the world,” Samid tells ISRAEL21c. “In second place is Singapore with 1.06 unicorns per capita and the US with 0.81 unicorns per capita.”
Iconic Tower of David to display new finds in major $40 million renewal
The Tower of David Museum will undergo a massive upgrade and showcase new archaeological finds as part of a $40 million renewal and conservation plan for the iconic site at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. The initiative will be led by the Clore Israel Foundation together with the support of the City of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry, and the Tourism Ministry. The Antiquities Authority is supervising the archaeological excavations and conservation of the project.

The Renewal and Conservation Project of the Tower of David Museum will preserve and conserve the historic citadel and archaeological park while doubling the current area of the museum to 20,000 square meters (more than 215,000 sq. feet) with a new sunken entrance visitor center, café, additional public bathrooms as well as seven new galleries, additional exhibition spaces and two elevators, making the ancient citadel accessible to all.

A promenade lined with the archaeological findings from this site will take visitors from the new museum entrance to the educational complex and will also link to the car parks beneath the Mamilla Mall, across the street. One of the most exciting discoveries in recent years was an abandoned Ottoman-era prison on the museum grounds. Archaeologists excavated 10 meters into the earth and slowly uncovered the foundations of King Herod’s Palace, revealing 3,000 years of history along the way.

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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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