Wednesday, December 02, 2020

12/02 Links Pt2: Obama’s memoir: The anatomy of Iran-appeasers and bash-Israel-firsters; The End of Arab Nationalism; A Cautionary Tale for Democrats: The UK Labour Party

From Ian:

Gil Troy: Obama’s memoir: The anatomy of Iran-appeasers and bash-Israel-firsters
Feeling guilty about America’s past dishonors, Obama believed he could engage Iran’s mullahs honorably. And uncomfortable with the West’s disproportionate power globally, he decided that “given the asymmetry in power between Israel and the Palestinians... it was reasonable to ask” Israel, “the stronger party, to take a bigger first step in the direction of peace.”

Ideologically, in pressuring Israel while engaging Iran, Obama overcompensated for America’s previous “sins.” That’s why he sanitizes the Palestinian turn from negotiation toward terrorism in 2000 by describing a mutual “lure of violence,” while underplaying how the terrorism Palestinians initiated betrayed and traumatized Israelis. Instead, he decides ”Israeli attitudes toward peace talks had hardened, in part because peace no longer seemed so crucial to ensuring the country’s safety and prosperity.” This obsession with Israel’s economic and military power blinds him to Israelis’ feelings of vulnerability and Palestinian culpability.

Personalities played a part, too. Obama writes that Bibi Netanyahu’s “vision of himself as the chief defender of the Jewish people against calamity allowed him to justify almost anything that would keep him in power.” In our new book, Never Alone, Natan Sharansky agrees that Netanyahu “believes his staying in office keeps Israel alive, an equation that only grows more significant the longer he stays in power.” Sharansky, however, writes with admiration, tinged with occasional frustrations; Obama exudes contempt.

Obama believes his position is equitable, idealistic – and resents the criticism he received, especially from AIPAC. But his European-style obsession with power dynamics and America’s lack of exceptionalism made him too indulgent of the sins of dictators and terrorists like the Iranians and the Palestinians, and too harsh regarding the missteps of liberal democrats like the Israelis.

President-elect Joe Biden and his new team should correct Obama’s mistakes, not repeat them. Look peripherally, not just bilaterally. It’s not just about borders or nukes: Palestinian leaders must stop terrorizing Palestinians and Israelis; Iranians must stop terrorizing the world. Rather than bashing friends like Israel and coddling enemies like the Iranians and the Palestinians, restore the true moral order to the universe: Support your friends, your fellow liberal-democrats, and confront our enemies.

The End of Arab Nationalism
When last summer the Trump administration brokered the Abraham Accords—a peace agreement between Israel and the two Gulf states of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates—much commentary focused on their immediate causes, particularly the signatories’ shared fear of Iran. Reports of a recent face-to-face meeting in Saudi Arabia between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will only reaffirm that explanation.

Yet the historic character of the accords lies elsewhere. The accords recognize the Jewish and Arab people’s common ancestry in the region, accepting that Jews as a people and their faith are indigenous to the Middle East and have a legitimate right to be there. This affirmation discards two central tenets of Arab nationalism: the inherent rejection of a Jewish state as an alien, colonialist presence in the region and the idea that Arab-Israeli peace must defer to Palestinian grievances. The affirmation thus marks the end of Arab nationalism. Henceforth, the Arab countries that join the accords signal that they intend to pursue their national interest and seek alliances with the Jewish state, each on their own terms and without the need of a pan-Arab strategy.

Proximate causes, to be sure, matter. After all, it was President Jimmy Carter’s misguided foreign policy in the Middle East—alongside Israeli intelligence’s tipping off of Egypt’s president, Anwar Sadat, of a Libyan assassination plot against him—that propitiated Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. His trip set off direct bilateral peace talks that would culminate in the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. But those events simply flicked a switch. Peace ensued not only because strategic interests suddenly aligned, but because worldviews turned upside down.

The same can be said of the Abraham Accords. Common cause against an ascendant Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and radical Islam have driven Gulf countries closer to Israel. So has the desire to leverage full peace against Israel’s avowed intention to annex portions of the West Bank earlier this year. And no doubt, the election of Joe Biden as the next U.S. president raises the possibility that the United States will rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move both Arab countries and Israel firmly oppose. Both enthusiasts and detractors of the accords have mostly focused on these catalysts of historical change rather than recognize that a paradigm shift has emerged as a result of long-term trends.

A Cautionary Tale for Democrats: The UK Labour Party
British Labour’s experience with Corbyn and his radical base of support was dogged by infighting, radical policy prescriptions, and an anti-Semitic problem so bad that it prompted an investigation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). In the 2019 general election, the Conservative party managed to expand its base in new areas while Labour fumbled and failed to mobilize support. The Conservatives dominated and won a landslide victory, while Labour suffered an embarrassing loss that Labour candidate Chris Bryant called a “catastrophe” and the “worst night for Labour since 1935.” After the poor showing, Corbyn had little choice but to resign as leader of the party, putting an end to the Corbyn era. After the EHRC released its report on anti-Semitism in the Labour party under Corbyn’s leadership, Corbyn was suspended from the Labour party, adding a final insult to injury.

A year after Labour’s general election defeat, the Democrats were dealt their 2020 electoral blow in the U.S. elections, prompting members like Spanberger and Clyburn to publicly protest the new wave of radical politics.

To be fair and to reiterate, drawing a parallel between these two movements isn’t an exact science. Corbyn and Momentum made a play for the leadership of Labour, while Bernie’s revolutionaries occupy few seats in the House and Senate, and even those are Democratic strongholds. The odds of populists ascending to leadership roles in the Democratic party seem slim in the present moment, but based on their rhetoric it seems like that’s exactly what they’d like to do. In that disturbing and remote scenario, an American remake of Labour’s disastrous confrontation with left-wing populism would seem plausible. Left-wing populists in the U.S. share a common ideology with Corbyn and Momentum, use the same aggressive rhetoric, openly communicate with each other, and even actively coordinate campaigns. In the 2017 general election, when Labour actually gained seats under Corbyn, Labour was aided by comrades from the United States. Members of the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign traveled to the UK to help their fellow populists utilize new outreach initiatives on social media. One Sanders organizer said Corbyn and Sanders share “similar kinds of politics” and that the two movements had “a lot of shared goals.” In the two long years since the incarnation of the Squad, we’ve already seen hints of Corbyn and Momentum in the Democratic Party. Squad members have targeted the Jewish community; have publicly sparred with other party members; and, unlike Momentum, have no scruples about stating their intention to challenge and unseat their Democratic colleagues.

When long-time Democratic strategist James Carville was asked if he’d support a Bernie Sanders candidacy after the disastrous Democratic primary in Iowa, a frustrated and exasperated Carville responded, “Of course I would vote for him, but I don’t want the Democratic party of the United States to be [Corbyn’s] Labour party of the United Kingdom.”

Whether Democrat or Republican, all Americans could and should agree with Carville’s sentiment. A Democratic party overrun by populist radicals would be a nightmare for the DNC and equally bad for the country. The British experiment with Corbyn and Momentum is a cautionary tale for the Democrats in America. Will they take note?
Senior United Nations official asks whether Labour politician pledging to Jewish audience that she will fight antisemitism has also ‘offered solidarity to Palestinians’
A senior official at the United Nations has tweeted to ask whether a Labour Party politician pledging to a Jewish audience that she will fight antisemitism has also ‘offered solidarity to Palestinians’.

Mark Seddon is media advisor to the President of the General Assembly and has previously worked as a speechwriter for a former UN Secretary-General, as well as for Al Jazeera as its UN correspondent.

Mr Seddon was reacting to a report on Twitter that Labour’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, told a Jewish group: “If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that. Because we cannot and we will not accept an injury to one, because an injury to one is an injury to all.” Ms Rayner was referring to attempts to address Labour’s scandal of institutional antisemitism.

Mr Seddon replied to the tweet saying: “Today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Has Angela Rayner recorded her support and solidarity for those being oppressed? A genuine question.”

There is no interpretation of Mr Seddon’s question, given its context, other than that he sees efforts to combat antisemitism in the UK as somehow connected to or even contrary to certain stances on Middle Eastern politics, and that Ms Rayner had no moral authority to address a domestic Jewish group on antisemitism without also expressing a position on a foreign policy matter.

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel” is an example of antisemitism.

The Jewish community will not be surprised at all that UN officials hold these sorts of views. The media outlets that publish work by Mr Seddon should, however, think twice in future about doing so.

Aloha State’s Kai Kahele vows to oppose BDS, fight antisemitism
Say ‘aloha’ to Hawaii’s newest member of Congress, Kai Kahele, who told JNS in an interview on Nov. 9 that his state “has always had a very unique relationship with the State of Israel.”

Kahele’s state boasts Jewish history and, as of 2014, was home to 7,500 Jews, not to mention hordes of tourists annually. The islands are home to several synagogues and Chabad Houses.

The 46-year-old Democrat, who is married with three daughters and was elected to Congress from Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, expressed his appreciation for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who was known as a strong supporter of Israel.

“My position is the same,” said Kahele. “And that’s an unconditional commitment to Israel.”

He remarked that “Israel is a very strong partner” and the “best example of democracy and the American values that we have in the Middle East.”

Kahele, who will be leaving his position as a member of the Hawaii Senate, has never been to Israel, though he’s “super looking forward to going.”
The Hate That Can’t Be Contained
This is how unsuspecting young Jews get branded with the most detestable traits imaginable on earth. If Hillel is hosting a Shabbat dinner with an Israeli speaker, Hillel is the ultimate betrayer of human rights. Hillel is demonic. Hillel is evil. Hillel is irredeemable. If Jewish students are eating hummus and pita before class, they are appropriating Arab food and by extension colonizing Arab culture and murdering indigenous people. If a Chabad is set on fire in the dead of night, and Jews post about it on their social media accounts, they must delete their posts because talking about Jewish issues is racism against Black people facing legitimately important matters. If the Panera Bread at school is out of fresh cookies, it is christened “The Zionist Panera.” (That one’s mine, from a student in my Comparative Politics class.)

Anyone who objects risks being pushed out of what British scholar David Hirsh in characterizing the same breed of anti-Semitism running rampant in the British Labour Party called “the community of the good,” and banished forever to the community of the bad: the conservatives, the Republicans, the Trump supporters. And so the things that used to be staples of Jewish communal life on campus—Hillels, Shabbat dinners, promotion of Birthright trips, and so on—are forced outside the realm of righteousness and exhaustively politicized to the point where most Jewish students won't even bother raising an eyebrow even if they know it to be wrong.

Of course, as in all waves of anti-Semitism, there is always room for the Jews willing to work with our enemies: The Jews who will remain quiet when the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Florida State posts a Der Stürmer cartoon; the Jews who will stand by the Palestine Solidarity Committee at Harvard when they broadcast an image also featured on David Duke's official website; the Jews who will stand by as a speaker who called Jews “Sleazy Thieves” is invited to offer an expert opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These Jews will take center stage at rallies, events, and Zoom calls with convicted terrorists. These Jews are always a sterling defense against accusations of anti-Semitism—until, of course, their services are no longer needed.

When adults tell me that we should just be more open-minded, that it’s really just a difference of a political opinion, I want to scream. The people marinating in this ideology are changing the country, not just the campus. It is why The New York Times sees no problem in publishing a flattering piece on Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. It is why leftist organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow host a panel on “Dismantling anti-Semitism” with four vocally anti-Israel panelists. And it is why when the organization “Muslims for Abolition” organized a Juneteenth “day of action” to protest bigotry and discrimination in law enforcement, the flyer read “open to all, minus cops and Zionists.”

Throughout Jewish history, our community’s leaders have had a terrible habit of ignoring threats to Jewish safety in exchange for promises of acceptance—until it becomes too late. I fear that what we are seeing now is no exception.

What will finally be the wake-up call? “Palestine” was spray-painted onto the UMass Hillel building on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and that didn't do it. The Chabad building at University of Delaware was set on fire in a confirmed arson attack and that didn’t do it. Student demonstrators at Cornell spit on Jewish students and shouted “f*ck you Zionist scum” and that didn’t do it, either. When will be the moment when Jewish voices are taken seriously, not smears as agents of pro-Israel propaganda but understood as Jews who are being marginalized because of who they are? The failure to recognize this threat is the failure to recognize the new, rigid ideology that is now permeating American culture—and it is one that boasts a dark and uncomfortably familiar forecast for the Jewish community.
Professors push Palestinians to ‘resist,’ rather than live in peace
Indeed, like Bahour, Erakat considered Palestinians as a “majority diaspora.” She implied that people like her—citizens of countries such as the United States—could never simply embrace these nations as a new home, but must forever think back to “Palestine.” She dismissed the long-term resettlement of Palestinians anywhere but “Palestine,” and lamented that international policymakers between 1948 and 1968 conceived the plight of Palestinians largely as a “humanitarian crisis” or “refugee issue.”

Erakat advocated confrontation, as in the 1974 U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3236 recognizing the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the “sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” Thus, “Palestinians must be dealt with as a national struggle, with the right to use arms [i.e., terrorism] and the right to engage in diplomatic fora.”

While whitewashing Palestinian terrorism, Erakat mythologized Palestinians’ past: “All indigenous peoples, we are struggling for recognition, no longer to be just considered criminal terrorists.” Rather, Palestinians, whose independent identity is largely a creation of the 1960s, are a “people within the meaning of international law with the right to self-determination.”

Even a Palestinian state would not satisfy Erakat’s dreams. Palestinians “never imagined the state as the end. We imagined the state as a predicate element in a broader struggle against imperialism,” she asserted, offering no further explanation. For Erakat, this dream apparently justified Arab rejection of numerous offers to create an Arab state in the territory of the former British League of Nations Palestine Mandate going all the way back to the 1937 Peel Commission partition plan. She thus expressed no concern that “Palestinians have had three opportunities to become states: in the interwar years; in the Third World revolt; and in the 1990s. We have not met those opportunities as other states have, other colonized people.”

Modern attempts to create a Palestinian state in the wake of the 1993 Oslo Accords that established the P.A. cannot appease Israel’s implacable foes like Erakat. Describing the 1988 negotiations that led to Oslo, she claimed the PLO “articulated a truncated vision for what Palestinian liberation does.” Since the accords, the “writing was on the wall by 1993 that this solution was inequitable and unfair,” a “betrayal” of Palestinians, whose leadership adopted a “strategy of acquiescence” to the United States, the “imperial patron of Israel.” Unsurprisingly, Erakat recommended “adhering to the BDS platform.”

That an establishment figure like Elgindy, with appointments at MEI, Georgetown and the Brookings Institution, endorses Erakat’s extremism demonstrates the ease with which viciously anti-Israel figures move about in Washington. Similarly high-profile both on and off-campus evinces the moral and intellectual rot at the heart of Middle East studies. Adopting the failed programs of such insiders in a vain attempt to return to the status quo ante will embolden Palestinian rejectionism at the expense of lasting peace. It is past time to bury the old “peace process” and the “experts” who peddle it, end the Palestinians’ dream of reconquest and recognize Israel’s permanence as a Jewish state.
Hold Tufts University Accountable
Tufts must defend democracy and reject the chaos brought by anti-Israel activists

Tufts University has experienced intense pressure to undermine the integrity of its own election process at the behest of anti-Israel interests on campus. The latest move by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and other activists who support academic and cultural warfare against Israel, would even make their role models in Ramallah blush.

Not only have they tried to push through a divisive anti-Israel referendum, but they did so by flouting the election process established by the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Constitution. Tufts must not allow its constitutional election procedures to be cast aside while the voice of the Jewish minority on campus is silenced.

The TCU Constitution requires official referendum language to be publicly available nine days before the day of a vote. In this case, the language was approved by the Committee on Student Life the day before the election – far fewer than the nine required days. Also required by the constitution is 250 signatures in favor of the referendum appearing on the ballot to be collected after the language is approved. This requirement was also apparently cast aside.

This breakdown in the constitutional process at Tufts is disturbing to see but not entirely unsurprising given the lack of respect that the Palestinian leaders, for whom SJP pledges its support, treats their own electoral process. Free elections haven’t been held in Palestinian territories since 2006. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s term expired in 2009, however keeps unilaterally extending it and making a mockery of our democratic process. Needless to say, this has done nothing to help the Palestinian people and ultimately undermines the government’s legitimacy.
University and College Union’s “reputation in the Jewish community is in the gutter” after its KCL branch passes motion calling on University to revoke adoption of International Definition of Antisemitism
King’s College London’s (KCL) branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has passed a motion calling on the University to revoke its adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism two years ago.

The motion noted the call by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on universities to adopt the Definition and said that the branch was “gravely concerned” that KCL allegedly adopted the Definition “without concern for its grave implications on critical education and the college’s declared commitment to diversity and inclusion”. It described the Government’s policy (and other Government positions) as “detrimental to academic autonomy, academic freedom” and claimed that they “intimidate and suppress speech of union members and college faculty who work on…Palestine and Israel”.

The motion resolved “to defend and protect academic freedom and reject any attempt at adopting and enforcing the deeply flawed [Definition] and its ‘illustrative examples’. Some of these examples require us to deny or suppress matters of historical record and contemporary reality, which is a breach of the UK’s Equality Act and Human Rights Act.”

The motion also resolved to “defend and protect academics…who teach on Palestine and Israel from any attacks on their academic freedom” and to “urge KCL management” to “reaffirm KCL’s commitment to academic freedom, including freedom of speech…critical of Zionism and Israel” and to “coordinate with other [Higher Education Institutions] in the UK to defend academic freedom and student activism from external and politically motivated attacks, including anti-democratic and top-down directives from Government.”

Finally, the motion resolved to urge KCL to “revoke its adoption” of the Definition and “to submit to the national UCU a motion along the same line as this motion.”

The motion was tabled and passed on Friday.
‘American Muslims for Palestine’ 2020 Annual Conf Exploited Racial Tensions to Use Against Israel
We have covered the radical Islamist group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) extensively, especially as the group has increasingly framed its anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism as expressions of ‘intersectional’ social justice activism. In 2020, AMP has yet again used its largest annual event—the “Palestine Conference”—to hijack and foment existing racial tensions as a political warfare weapon against Israel.

Since its founding around 2006, AMP has become one of the most controversial anti-Israel groups in the United States. It maintains a certain reach into college campuses via its sponsorship of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters, and its volunteers and staff are often also involved in other like-minded organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This 2020 Thanksgiving weekend marked AMP’s annual “Palestine Convention”. Last year, I attended the conference in person in Chicago, IL. As regular readers may remember, AMP staffers recognized me within an hour and—afraid of what I might observe and publish—booted me from the event. This year, COVID-19 has ensured that the entire affair has gone virtual for the first time, making it far easier to listen in. Naturally, I signed up as soon as registration opened.

Watching the proceedings, I saw AMP continue a well-worn theme: Israel is to blame—not only for all Palestinian suffering and misfortune—but also for American “institutionalized racism” and police brutality.

Conference Agenda
Usually, the annual AMP conference includes dozens of sessions, with break-out groups, different tracks for children and university students, shopping opportunities, and even an evening fundraising gala. This year, the virtual format forced AMP to reduce its event to just nine panel sessions, each lasting approximately an hour.

Moreover, whereas previous AMP conventions (as closed events) featured plenty of inflammaotry rhetoric, the wide accessibility of this year’s substitute video sessions meant that the English-language speakers had to measure their words more carefully. Nevertheless, AMP still managed to parrot the same tired historical falsehoods for which it has long been known—with a special focus on the so-called “parallel…systemic and institutional racism and oppression” of Blacks and Palestinians.
Reviewing BBC News website reporting on the Fakhrizadeh assassination
Since news of the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh near Tehran broke on the afternoon of November 27th the BBC News website has produced no small amount of coverage of that story.

The first report – published on November 27th – is now headlined ‘Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, assassinated near Tehran’ and tagged ‘Israel’. Later versions include analysis from BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams.

Given the BBC’s record on the use of the word terror when reporting attacks against Israelis, readers may have been interested to note the use of the terms ‘terror’ and ‘terrorists’ no fewer than six times throughout the report.

Readers also find three written references to a sentence spoken by the Israeli prime minister in 2018 along with an embedded video.

“Fakhrizadeh’s name was specifically mentioned in Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation about Iran’s nuclear programme in April 2018.”

“As head of the ministry of defence’s research and innovation organisation, Fakhrizadeh was clearly still a key player. Hence Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning, two years ago, to “remember his name”.”

“At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he identified Fakhrizedeh as the head scientist in the programme, and urged people to “remember that name”.”

Readers are told that:
“Western intelligence agencies believe Fakhrizadeh was behind a covert Iranian nuclear weapons programme.”

They are not however informed that the UN Security Council imposed sanctions upon him in 2007 in the category of ‘Persons involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities’ and that the following year he was designated by the United States.
BBC News uncritically amplifies Iranian regime talking points
Readers are not informed that the investigation by the police in India into an attack that took place the day before the incident in Bangkok indicated that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were behind that attack or that Sedaghatzadeh “is alleged to have engineered attempted attacks in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Bangkok ,Thailand, as well”.

The BBC’s report does however go on to uncritically amplify to amplify Iranian regime messaging:
“News of the exchange first came on Wednesday in a statement on the website of the Young Journalist Club, a news website affiliated to state television in Iran.

“An Iranian businessman and two Iranian citizens who were detained abroad on baseless charges were exchanged for a dual national spy named Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who worked for the Zionist regime,” it said.”

Given the BBC’s previous record, one might have expected it to be more wary of providing credibility to that “businessman” claim. One would of course also expect a Western media organisation which claims to produce accurate and impartial news to refrain from promoting the unevidenced claim that Moore-Gilbert “worked for the Zionist regime”.

Remarkably though, while the BBC does find it appropriate to unnecessarily qualify the aim of the planned attack in which the three released Iranians were involved, it does not employ similar editorial policy when amplifying Iranian denials and false claims.

EU urges ‘strong and systematic judicial response’ to rising anti-Semitism
A key decision-making body of the European Union on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for a “strong and systematic judicial response” to rising anti-Semitism, drawing applause from the Israeli government and Jewish advocacy groups.

The four-page document approved by the Council of the EU urges harsher consequences for online hate crimes and calls on the bloc’s member states to adopt the anti-Semitism definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which includes obsessive criticism of Israel.

“Anti-Semitism, in any form, is and must remain unacceptable and all steps must be taken to counteract it, including, where necessary, through legal measures at the European level,” it states. “The member states of the European Union support policy initiatives at the European level that aim to combat incitement to anti-Semitic hatred and acts of violence, as well as the dissemination of anti-Semitic conspiracy myths online.”

The document, officially called the “Council Declaration on mainstreaming the fight against anti-Semitism across policy-areas,” cited EU-funded studies showing that Jew-hatred “in all its forms” is on the rise across the continent.

“The increase in threats to Jewish persons in Europe including the resurgence of conspiracy myths, public expressions of anti-Semitism, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increase in anti-Semitic incidents and hate crime is a cause of great concern,” the conclusions read. “Ensuring the security of Jewish communities and institutions must therefore be given utmost priority in all member states.”
World Jewish Congress welcomes EU’s decision to fight against antisemitism
The World Jewish Congress welcomed the Council of the European Union’s adoption today of its declaration to mainstream the prevention and countering of antisemitism in all its forms.

The declaration calls antisemitism “an attack on European values,” reading: “Any form of antisemitism, intolerance or racist hatred is incompatible with the values and aims of the European Union and its Member States and must be addressed through decisive action at a European and national level.”

As part of its ongoing work to combat antisemitism, the World Jewish Congress has worked closely with European government authorities and institutions, as well as Jewish communities across the continent, to emphasize the importance of EU leadership in this area, resulting in the development of the declaration.

This critical step comes under the leadership of the German presidency of the Council. The Council of the European Union is comprised of government ministers from the 27 EU Member States, who meet to make laws and coordinate policies. The ministers have the authority to commit their governments to the actions agreed upon by the Council, the main decision-making body of the EU. The declaration makes the fight against antisemitism a priority of Europe’s executive branch.
Germany bans far-right 'Wolf Brigade 44'; finds weapons, Nazi symbols
Police found a crossbow, machete, knives and Nazi symbols in early-morning raids on Tuesday after banning a far-right extremist group called "Wolf Brigade 44" which the government says wants a Nazi state.

Swastikas were among the Nazi symbols uncovered in searches of the homes of 11 members of the group in the states of Hesse, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and North Rhine-Westphalia in the early hours of Tuesday, the interior ministry said in a statement.

"There is no place in our country for a group that sows hate and propagates the re-establishment of a Nazi state," Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.

Members of the "Wolf Brigade" openly pledge allegiance to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and seek to end the democratic state, while propagating racism and antisemitism, the ministry said.

The government also banned the symbols of the group, such as a skull with two grenades marked with the number 44.

In Nazi code, the four stands for the letter D as the fourth letter in the alphabet, the number 44 being an abbreviation for the so-called "Division Dirlewanger."

This alludes to a unit of the Nazi's paramilitary SS during World War Two that was particularly brutal and bore the name of Oskar Dirlewanger, who is accused of ordering massacres against civilians in Belarus in the 1940s.

Israeli Fintech Company Aiming to Become the First Unicorn on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
Is the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) about to get its first unicorn? Herzliya-based fintech company Nayax is planning to go public on TASE in the second quarter of 2021 at a valuation of $1 billion, a source told Calcalist on condition of anonymity. Jefferies Investment Banking is expected to lead the IPO, with Leader Capital Markets to represent the company in Israel.

Nayax is set to stand out in TASE not just because of its valuation, but also because 100% of its shares are still held by its founders. As a result, should the IPO be a success, Israel is set to have three new billionaires in shekel terms.

TASE has seen a surge of interest in tech-related IPOs over recent months, including by Aquarius Engines, which is aiming to raise $65 million at a company valuation of over $250 million, and Akopia, which is targeting just under $75 million at a valuation of $300 million. However, neither of these companies comes anywhere close to the valuation of Nayax.

While companies like IronSource, which is aiming for a valuation of up to $10 billion, still target Nasdaq for their IPOs, smaller companies which are valued at several hundred million dollars and up to $1 billion, are beginning to shift their focus to Tel Aviv, realizing that their value will not suffer as a result.
Israeli tech gives Intel breakthrough in market dominated by competitor
Technology made in Israel is allowing US giant Intel Corp to make a breakthrough in a market dominated by competitor Nvidia Corp.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing services arm of tech giant Amazon, said Tuesday it will soon start offering customers accelerators developed by Intel’s Israel-based subsidiary Habana Labs to enable them to do machine learning work on their cloud services at a lower cost.

Habana’s Gaudi accelerators “deliver up to 40% better price performance” than current graphics processing units used for machine learning workloads, AWS, a world-leading cloud services provider, said in a statement released by Intel.

The adoption of Habana’s technology by AWS is a “watershed moment” for Intel, said Eitan Medina, chief business officer for Habana, in a video call with reporters on Wednesday. The adoption of its Gaudi processors “makes a crack” in the near-monopoly Nvidia had in the cloud computing market for training deep learning models with its GPU processors, he said.

“Until today, Amazon used only servers based on Nvidia’s GPUs,” he said. Now for the first time AWS will be offering customers, from the first half of 2021, servers that are based on Habana processors, the Gaudi, he said. “This is the first crack in this wall of the exclusive use of Nvidia’s GPUs.”

“This is a watershed moment, a kind of a goal” with regard to a very important customer: Amazon, which is a leading provider of cloud computing services, with the biggest market share and the most experience, he said.
Israeli War of Independence Pilot Returns to Sky to Celebrate 100th Birthday
A former pilot who served in Israel’s War of Independence recently returned to the cockpit of an Israeli Air Force (IAF) plane and took flight to celebrate his 100th birthday.

South African-born Harold “Smoky” Simon, who was the IAF’s first head of air operations, flew around the Sde Te’eman airfield, near Beersheva, for 20 minutes in a vintage Tiger Moth that is considered Israel’s first plane, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

His sons Saul and Dan Simon, also ex- IAF pilots, flew in vintage planes beside him as friends and the rest of his family watched from the ground.

After the flight, he called the experience “incredible” and “absolutely” epic while grinning from ear to ear.

The retired insurance magnate was one of many overseas volunteers, known as “Machalniks,” who made aliyah to Israel in 1948 and fought in the War of Independence, according to the IAF.

“My wife and I were in the first group of South Africans to come to Israel” he told the IAF in a special birthday interview. “We saw the war clouds gathering over Palestine. I was engaged, and my future wife and I decided we would get married and go over to Israel together as volunteers. We arrived on May 9, 1948, and enlisted in the air force the next day.”

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