Thursday, January 28, 2021

01/28 Links Pt2: Understanding B’tselem’s “Apartheid” Libel; Tu B’Shvat: The Festival that Proves the Jewish People’s Connection to the Land of Israel; California Is Cleansing Jews From History

From Ian:

Understanding B’tselem’s “Apartheid” Libel
If you’re looking for examples of spin in B’tselem’s latest anti-Israel document, in which the organization slings around the inflammatory terms “apartheid” and “Jewish supremacy,” there are plenty.

Consider, as one small example, the report’s charge that Israel has built “hundreds of communities for Jewish citizens – yet not a single one for Palestinian citizens.” The sentence was written to sound as damning as possible, which increases its shock value, but also left the authors in the uncomfortable position of having to immediately rebut their own falsehood. “The exception,” B’tselem admits in the very next sentence, “is a handful of towns and villages built to concentrate the Bedouin population.” Image of Bedouin town

The town of Ararat an-Naqab, which Israel built for the Bedouin community.

Which is to say, Israel built “not a single” community for Palestinians, except for all the ones it did build: Rahat, Kuseife, Shaqib al-Salam, Ar’arat an-Naqab, Lakiya, Tel as-Sabi, Hura, Tirabin al-Sana, Mulada, Abu Krinat, Bir Hadaj, Qasr al-Sir, Makhul, Umm Batin. It’s Orwellian newspeak: None, but many. A lie, but with the truth appended as a throwaway-line.

This is far from the worst distortion in the document. The big lie is conveyed in the report’s title, “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.” But the semantic gamesmanship here is revealing. What should be straightforward, B’tselem makes a point of muddling. And so it goes throughout the report, with the result being a mess of factoids, fibs, and fraudulence meant to inflame and misinform, and which tells us more about the organization than about Israel.

The other side of the ledger – B’tselem’s comment about communities for Jews —is hardly better. It’s true that Israel has established hundreds of Jewish communities. But the reason for that isn’t nefarious, as B’tselem suggests. These towns and cities were needed to house immigrants numbering in the millions — Holocaust survivors, Middle Eastern Jews escaping persecution in Arab countries, Jews who wanted to live near their holy sites — absorbed by a country serving as a haven for Jews everywhere. It isn’t supremacy. It’s sanctuary.
Tu B’Shvat: The Festival that Proves the Jewish People’s Connection to the Land of Israel
The Jewish calendar has many holidays. Some celebrate the survival of the Jewish people over various enemies, some are solemnly spiritual in nature, but others exist, too. One such festival, Tu B’Shvat (sometimes written Tu BiShvat), is perhaps the greatest proof of the Jewish people’s deep connection with the Holy Land.

What Is Tu B’Shvat?
Tu B’Shvat is a Jewish holiday heralding the blossoming of trees and the beginning of the coming cycle of fruit. The name actually derives directly from the Hebrew date of the holiday, which occurs on the fifteenth day of Sh’vat. “Tu” stands for the Hebrew letters Tet and Vav, which have numerical values of 9 and 6 respectively, which add up to 15. Hence Tu B’Shvat literally means the “fifteenth [day of the month] of Sh’vat.”

Where Does Tu B’Shvat Come From?
Tu B’Shvat’s roots can be traced all the way back to the Jewish Talmud. While Rosh Hashanah, the main Jewish new year festival, is familiar to many people, there are actually a number of new year dates in the Jewish tradition. The Talmud records a debate with various opinions, leading to the establishment of four new years:
- The first of Nisan as the “new year for kings and festivals”;
- The first of Elul as the “new year for the tithe of cattle”;
- The first of Tishrei as the “new year for years,” including the calculation of the calendar and sabbatical years;
- The fifteenth of Sh’vat as the “new year for trees”.

Many centuries ago, a variety of different taxation methods were employed. One of the most common was called tithing. Tithing required separating percentages of produce, and handing them over to the local authorities. And for farmed in ancient Israel, Tu B’Shvat marked the date when calculations of the forthcoming fruit crop would begin.

The Talmud records this date as being the point in time when trees in the Land of Israel are said to awaken from their winter hibernation and start the process of renewal, blooming and bearing new fruit. While the date can naturally only be approximate, the month of Sh’vat was selected because “most of the yearly rainfall has passed” (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashana, 14a), causing the trees to renew and their fruit ripen.

So before it was ever considered a festival, Tu B’Shvat was actually a formal date which was primarily significant for its function in governance. Over the centuries, however, the day has been transformed into an opportunity to connect with the Land of Israel.

California Is Cleansing Jews From History
As a result of the outpouring of criticism of the first ESMC draft, in August 2019, Superintendent Thurmond ordered a revision. A second draft was completed in August 2020 and was immediately criticized for simply moving objectionable material to the appendices and footnotes. In the current, third draft, released in December, some of the most offensive material was actually moved back in. For example, an historical resource was added with the following description of prewar Zionism: “the Jews have filled the air with their cries and lamentations in an effort to raise funds and American Jews, as is well known, are the richest in the world.”

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA Initiative, which fights campus anti-Semitism, points out that all 13 founding members of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA) are BDS activists. CESA, the national home base for critical studies, passed a resolution to boycott all Israeli academic institutions in 2014, and the group’s past four biennial meetings included multiple sessions demonizing Israel. “There are a couple thousand academic boycotters of Israel in the country,” she said, “and the largest percentage of them come from ethnic studies. Anti-Zionism is built into the theory and the discipline of ethnic studies, which demonizes Israel as an apartheid settler-colonialist Nazi state.”

But of even greater concern to Jews, she believes, is the singling out of Jewish students as enjoying racial privilege. “I don’t see any way that Jewish students can sit in an ethnic studies class and not feel they have a double target on their backs,” she said, fearing hatred and violence will ensue. First, because they’re Jewish, and considered white and part of the 1%, the purported villains of the teaching, and then through an assumed association with Israel. “There’s a state requirement that you have to sit through a class that says to Jewish students they have extraordinary racial privilege and yet forbids them from speaking because ‘this course is not about you?’ If you don’t accept it, you’re publicly shamed and ostracized—you can’t even speak up and say, ‘I’m not sure if I think that all white people are racists.’”

To placate critics, the third version has added lessons about Korean Americans, Armenian Americans, and Sikhs. Two lessons have been offered about Jews. One, following crude CRT dogma, teaches that Mizrahi Jews coming to the United States from Arab lands were mistreated by “white” Ashkenazim. The other suggests that Jews of European descent have white privilege.

The Jewish Journal points out that Jews are the only group in the curriculum for whom the term “privilege” is used. And this privilege is not earned by way of talent, or educational and professional attainment, but rather trickery. The ESMC, echoing Nazi propaganda about Jews as impostors and appropriators hiding in plain sight, points out that American Jews often change their names (“this practice of name-changing continues to the present day”) to change their rank in the social hierarchy.

Biden Taps Anti-Israel BDS Activist for Top White House Intel Job
The Biden administration is tapping for a top intelligence post a Palestinian-American who spent years at the forefront of efforts to boycott Israel and danced in front of a banner calling Israel an apartheid state.

The selection of Maher Bitar to be the senior director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council is already generating concerns that he will use the post to diminish intelligence sharing between the United States and Israel.

Bitar spent years leading anti-Israel organizations that promote the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which wages economic warfare on Israel. In college, he was a leader in Students for Justice in Palestine, a pro-BDS campus group known for bullying Jewish students. A 2006 yearbook picture from Georgetown University, where Bitar attended school, shows him posing before a sign that reads "Divest from Israel Apartheid."

Bitar, a former Obama White House staffer and general counsel for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, will in his new job play a key role in coordinating the various U.S. intelligence agencies and have a window into America's most sensitive intelligence and covert operations.

A leading Republican lawmaker and former Trump administration officials are criticizing Bitar's elevation to the council's top echelons, expressing concerns that his anti-Israel activism will influence his treatment of sensitive intelligence information. Bitar's past endorsement of BDS also runs counter to the Biden administration's promise to reject the movement. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden's nominee to be the United Nations ambassador, said in her Wednesday confirmation hearing that BDS is "unacceptable" and "verges on anti-Semitism."
Biden's pick for UN envoy pledges to combat anti-Israel bias, BDS
US President Joe Biden's nominee to be US ambassador to the United Nations pledged on Wednesday to combat the anti-Israel bias at Turtle Bay.

"I look forward to standing with Israel, standing against the unfair targeting of Israel, the relentless resolutions proposed against Israel unfairly," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield at her nomination hearing in front of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "I look forward to working with Israel to develop a strategy with them for engaging with countries that would appreciate having Israel's expertise to support their development efforts."

Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year diplomat, expressed hope that those countries that have normalized ties with Israel under the Abraham Accords – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – "will also see some opportunities to be more cooperative at the UN and more supportive of Israel's presence there."
StandWithUs Statement Regarding Antisemitic Posts on Los Angeles Attorney's Social Media Accounts
StandWithUs is aware of horrendous and flagrantly antisemitic statements appearing on the social media accounts of Los Angeles attorney Farhad Khorasani. One particularly alarming post read, “The Jew anywhere is an existential threat to Aryans, muslims, and Iranians everywhere. Hitler has proved that he knew these terrorist semites very well. Hitler was right, we need a new Hitler.” Another post, referencing U.S. Representative Mary Miller’s disturbing inclusion of Hitler during a recent speech at the United States Capitol, stated:
“[s]he said: ‘Hitler was right,’ now she is under fire. The freedom of speech is under assault by the Jewish-Israeli lobbies and their allies in the US, including the big techs.” A third comment read, “P.S: The main enemy of the human race and the world is Israel and the satanic cartel behind it. Watch out for an Israeli terrorist assassination soon.” A statement posted to Mr. Khorasani’s Instagram account on January 20, 2021, acknowledged that a complaint, apparently related to the antisemitic rhetoric seen on his social media accounts, was lodged with and subsequently dismissed by the State Bar of California.

StandWithUs commends Southwestern Law School Dean Susan Westerberg Prager for the law school’s strong condemnation of these statements.

While such bigoted and hateful comments have no place in civil society, let alone to have allegedly been made by a member of good standing in the legal profession, StandWithUs recognizes that these alleged statements are protected hate speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 2 of the California Constitution. We also understand the State Bar of California’s apparent rationale for not punishing an attorney for purported statements, as they would not, by themselves, run afoul of any rules of professional conduct applicable to licensed California attorneys. For instance, the statements do not appear to have been made in the context of an attorney representing a client, in which case they would likely violate several State Bar rules.

On Sunday, January 24, 2021, a statement appeared on Mr. Khorasani’s Instagram account expressing an apology to the Jewish community for the antisemitic posts and claiming that his social media accounts were hacked. If this is in fact what happened, we encourage Mr. Khorasani to use this as a teachable moment for himself and his thousands of online followers about how easily hatred—in this case antisemitism and bigotry—can be disseminated and amplified online.
Tufts U Condemns Student Government Resolution Blaming Israel For U.S. Police Violence
The Tufts University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has proven itself to be one of the strongest advocates of “Deadly Exchange,” a false campaign started by anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace, claiming that Israel and American Jewish groups are responsible for alleged unlawful police violence in the U.S. against minority communities. Tufts SJP reframed this campaign by claiming Israel directly threatens the “safety” of students by “militarizing” and training American campus police to be racist.

Though Tufts SJP has spent the past several years diligently spreading Deadly Exchange propaganda, and even engineered the passage of a November 2020 student government resolution endorsing the campaign, university administrators have made it clear that they feel differently.

In the wake of 2020’s police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the resurgent Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police movements, Deadly Exchange has enjoyed a new momentum.

Pioneered by the extremist group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Deadly Exchange campaign builds on old, anti-Semitic tropes (inspired by the notorious forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion) alleging a shadowy and powerful Jewish cabal that seeks world domination. According to Deadly Exchange, Israel purposefully exports police racism and violence to the United States in an effort to preserve and spread its own so-called white supremacist, capitalist, imperialist system; it is Israel that is (knowingly) behind police killings of Black Americans.

BBC WS radio ignores editorial guidelines in yet another vaccinations item
Listeners were not given any information which would enable them to put Shakir’s claim of 8,500 active cases among a population of 4.5 million into perspective and hence make up their own minds with regard to “how pressing” the situation is. On the day of broadcast, Israel – with a population of 9.2 million – had 69,973 active cases. Neither were listeners told that while, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, population density in the Gaza Strip was 5,453 persons/km2 in mid 2019, the population density in Bnei Brak – one of the locations in Israel most seriously affected by Covid 19 – was 26,368 persons/km2 at the end of 2017.

Menendez closed the item with another laconic and inadequate presentation of his interviewee.

Menendez: “Omar Shakir from Human Rights Watch.”

Clearly the aim of this item was nothing more than to provide a platform for a representative of one of the BBC’s most quoted and promoted political NGOs to advance his talking points concerning the political campaign it joined earlier in the month. Listeners heard no alternative views to Shakir’s partisan interpretations of Israel’s supposed obligations under ‘international law’ and his many inaccurate claims went unquestioned and unchallenged.

Nevertheless, the following day the BBC chose to separately promote a clip of Shakir’s talking points on social media, further indicating that this item joins the numerous others which are evidence of the corporation’s self-conscription to one-sided promotion of a blatantly political campaign.
France's Shoah memorial vandalised on Holocaust Remembrance Day
As the world commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday and the six million Jews killed by the Nazis, France’s Holocaust Memorial was vandalized with pro-Uighur graffiti, the Agence Press (AP) reported.

Paris police discovered the graffiti early on Wednesday morning, the AP reported, as ceremonies were planned around the world to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on the day of the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on January 27, 1945.

The Israeli Embassy in France tweeted a photo of the graffiti written on one of the walls where the names of tens of thousands of French victims of the Holocaust are written. The embassy expressed its shock and anger at the vandalism in such a symbolic day.

Some of the graffits read “Uighurs 2021=Jews 1941.”

The number of antisemitic incidents recorded in France in 2020 has dropped by 50% from 2019, yet physical assaults have remained almost unchanged despite COVID-19 lockdowns, French Jewry’s security service said on Wednesday.
Lithuanian lawmaker says Jews and communists share blame for Holocaust
In an unusual move, the US ambassador to Lithuania accused a local senior lawmaker of distorting the history of the Holocaust and blaming Jews for it.

Robert Gilchrist, who took up the post in February last year, made the accusation following a speech Wednesday by Valdas Rakutis, a member of the Seimas, Lithuania’s parliament, and chairman of its commission on historical memory.

“There was no shortage of Holocaust perpetrators among the Jews themselves, especially in the ghetto self-government structures,” Rakutis said in the speech, which took place on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. “We need to name these people out loud and try not to have people like them again.”

Rakutis also said that two wartime collaborators with Nazi Germany, Kazys Škirpa and Jonas Noreika, were not to blame for the fact that more than 95% of Lithuanian Jewry was murdered, mostly by locals and often by followers of the two leaders.

The speech prompted rare recrimination from the US ambassador, as well as from advocates who monitor antisemitism in the region.

“It is shocking that on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all days, a member of Seimas should espouse distortions regarding Holocaust collaborators in Lithuania and shamefully seek to accuse Jews of being the perpetrators,” Gilchrist wrote on Twitter under the official account for the US Embassy in Vilnius.
Anti-Semitic incidents drop by 50% in France; physical assaults almost unchanged
The number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in France in 2020 dropped by 50% from 2019, yet physical assaults remained almost unchanged despite COVID-19 lockdowns, French Jewry’s security service said.

The SPCJ service recorded 339 incidents last year compared to 687 cases in 2019. Of those, 44 and 45 cases, respectively, were physical assaults, according to the organization’s annual report, which it published Wednesday. In 2017 and in 2016, SPCJ recorded fewer incidents than in 2020, when emergency measures meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus severely limited outdoors activity throughout France.

Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 accounted for much of the online cases documented, SPCJ wrote.

In one incident of physical violence last year, a 29-year-old man was beaten by two men in the elevator of a Paris building where his parents live and called a “dirty Jew.” The men, who were Black, followed him into the elevator, according to his police complaint. He sustained minor injuries.

In another incident, the neighbor of a Paris synagogue smashed the synagogue’s mezuzah to “restore religious neutrality,” as the neighbor later explained to the local rabbi.

In a third incident from 2020, dozens of Jewish graves in the vicinity of Aude in southern France were desecrated by individuals who sprayed swastika graffiti on the headstones and the words “death to Jews.” In October, a kosher restaurant in Paris was ransacked and vandalized with swastika graffiti.
Lowell principal: ‘Highly likely’ that student is behind racist, antisemitic posts
The principal of San Francisco’s Lowell High School on Monday said it was “highly likely” that racist, antisemitic and pornographic content shared recently on a virtual bulletin board was posted by a student.

“Our school and District remain outraged by what occurred, and we are committed to finding the perpetrators and ensuring full accountability for this heinous act,” principal Dacotah Swett wrote in a Jan. 25 community-wide email. She encouraged the community to watch her five-minute video message where she condemns the “racist and antisemitic attacks” on the high school.

The incident occurred on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, as students were writing reflections after an anti-racism lesson. During the session, an anonymous person put up multiple posts denigrating President Joe Biden using several racist and antisemitic slurs, according to screenshots shared with J.

“HE SHOULD DIE,” one of the posts read. “F— HIM AND F— YOU.”

In her email, Swett said the virtual bulletin board the students were using, called Padlet, had mistakenly made its settings public, where anyone with a link could share posts. Swett said the school is conducting interviews with staff and students. The city’s Department of Technology is investigating the incident as well.

Swett and the city’s schools superintendent did not respond to a request for comment.

Black and Jewish students at Lowell say the incident is indicative of a larger problem of discrimination at the elite public high school, where Black students make up only 2 percent of the student body. The school, which has more than 2,800 students, is majority Asian (61 percent), followed by white (18 percent) and Hispanic (11 percent), according to U.S. News & World Report.
FBI, ADL Offer Rewards for Leads to Vandalized Jewish Institutions in Alabama
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a man captured on surveillance video last year vandalizing a synagogue and Chabad House in Huntsville, Ala.

Swastikas and antisemitic graffiti were spray-painted on Etz Chayim Conservative Synagogue in the wee hours of the morning on April 9 as Jews around the world were observing the start of Passover. The next night, similar graffiti was painted on Chabad of Huntsville.

According to a joint release by the FBI and the Huntsville police, the man responsible “was seen walking on residential streets near the Chabad of Huntsville” just days before the attack.

“The individual walked with a pronounced, distinct limp and appeared to have a prosthetic left leg,” authorities said in their statement, noting that the individual may be driving an “early model Toyota Prius, light in color.”

The Anti-Defamation League Southern Division, which is offering its own reward of $2,000, said online that “we are grateful to the Huntsville Police and FBI Birmingham for showing such service to and solidarity with the Jewish community. We hope this additional reward money will inspire others to speak out and help correct this wrongful, hate-filled attack.”
German soccer powerhouse FC Bayern Munich says 'Never Again!'
In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, German soccer powerhouse FC Bayern Munich on Wednesday re-launched a special initiative.

In an official announcement on the team's website and social media, the Bavarian club said: "'Never again!'" is the slogan of the memorial day in German football, which will be commemorated again this year on and around 27 January, the date on which the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated in 1945. On this occasion, German football commemorates the victims of the atrocities of the National Socialists and sends out a signal against the dangers of forgetting."

The team posted to its Instagram feed: "On the occasion of 'Remembrance Day in German Football', #FCBayern wants to promote greater tolerance in our society with the first team, the reserves, the women's team and the basketball team this weekend and, as a whole, set an example against discrimination once again."

On Monday, FC Bayern Munich, which has supported the "Never again!" initiative since 2013, also said that on January 26 and 27, "the whole of German football will fight against forgetting so that people in Germany are 'Never again!' discriminated against because of their faith, their race or their sexual orientation.
Children of Holocaust Survivors Bring ‘Eichmann’s Hangman’ to Home for the Aged With Fundraising Effort
On a day when the world paused to honor those who perished at the hands of the Nazis, a man who helped bring to justice one of the regime’s most notorious officials is resting easier.

In recent weeks, friends of Shalom Nagar — called “the hangman of Eichmann” and one of the last living links to Israel’s capture of the Nazi leader — raised money for his transfer to a state-of-the-art home for the aged near Tel Aviv.

Nagar, who had been living at home and in poor health during the pandemic lockdown, is a Yemenite Jewish immigrant to Israel and former ritual butcher, who served as prison guard to Adolf Eichmann. The Nazi’s 1960 apprehension by Israel’s spy service was a coup for the young Jewish state, and served as some measure of punishment less than twenty years after the Holocaust.

After a widely-publicized trial in Jerusalem and a conviction on charges of war crimes, Eichmann was hung by Nagar — who spoke of his involvement in the “great mitzvah of wiping out Amalek.”

“It was just me and Eichmann,” he later told Mishpacha magazine. “I was standing a few feet from him and looked him straight in the eye. He refused to have his face covered, and he was still wearing those trademark checkered slippers. Then I pulled the lever and he fell, dangling by the rope.”

The recent effort to improve Nagar’s living situation began when Avner Avraham, a Mossad expert and former agent who has produced museum exhibits on the Eichmann operation, learned of his deteriorating condition in December, 2020.

“The story of the Holocaust and the story of Operation Finale is very, very close to me,” Avraham told The Algemeiner. “Most of the Holocaust survivors cannot talk, most of them are not with us anymore.”

Avraham rang Gabriel Erem — who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur and active philanthropist, with a deep passion for Tikkun Olam” — who then spearheaded a fundraising effort with fellow descendants of Holocaust survivors.
Jonathan Sacks’ final book takes top place at 2020 National Jewish Book Awards
The final book published by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks before he died in November is the Jewish Book Council’s top book for 2020.

“Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,” published in the United States in September, was awarded the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year when the Jewish Book Council announced its 2020 National Jewish Book Awards on Wednesday.

Sacks shared his vision for a moral future — one that he said would include an end to “cancel culture,” changes in Israeli policy and more encounters with people who hold different views — in an interview he gave last summer.

Among the dozens of other new books drawing top honors was Rabbi Art Green’s “Judaism for the World: Reflections on God, Life, and Love,” which won the Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award for best book about contemporary Jewish life and practice. Green spoke to JTA last fall about his undeterred vision for a robust contemporary Jewish spirituality.

Magda Teter, a historian who teaches at Fordham University, won the JDC-Herbert Katzki Award for books based on archival material for “Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth.”

The top children’s book of 2020, according to the Jewish Book Council, was “Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail.” The book, about a cat that appears on a boy’s doorstep during his family’s Seder, also won a Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries this week.
Bahrain FM mourns victims of Holocaust in letter to Ashkenazi
Bahrain mourns the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust and stands in solidarity with survivors, Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani wrote to his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which was observed on Wednesday.

In a rare gesture from a senior official of an Arab state, Zayani wrote that the day “stands as a solemn memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and an enduring reminder of the need to uphold our universal commitment to rejecting all forms of antisemitism and hatred, so that our world may never again witness such an atrocity.”

Zayani called the Holocaust an “abhorrent crime against humanity,” and said Bahrain “stands in solidarity with the survivors and their families.”

The Bahraini foreign minister pointed to his country’s Jewish community of about 50 people, and said that Bahrain is committed to multiculturalism and interfaith dialogue.

“Following the vision of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa... we continue to sow the seeds of coexistence, demonstrating to the region and the world that there is no place for ignorance and extremism: only peace and understanding,” Zayani wrote.

Austrian government, Jewish community vaccinate survivors on Holocaust Remembrance Day
The main representative body of Austrian Jewry organized the vaccination of Holocaust survivors in Vienna on Wednesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In the project by the Jewish Community of Vienna on Jan. 27, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, multiple survivors were brought from across Austria and Slovakia to a vaccination center in Vienna to get the first of two injections for a COVID-19 vaccine, The Associated Press reported.

“We owe this to them,” Erika Jakubovits, who organized the Jewish Community of Vienna vaccination drive, told AP.

Twelve physicians who belong to Vienna’s Jewish community volunteered to administer the shots in the operation, which city and Health Ministry officials facilitated, the AP report said. Some of the recipients were driven to the vaccination center by ambulance, others were taken by relatives and some arrived on their own.

About 400 Jews were vaccinated in total, including others aged 85 or over.

Austria has about 8,000 Jews. Before the Holocaust, during which Austria was a part of Nazi Germany, more than 190,000 Austrian Jews were murdered.