Wednesday, February 10, 2021

02/10 Links Pt2: Matti Friedman: The New Alliance Shaping the Middle East Is Against a Tiny Bug; Former NBA Star Amare Stoudemire Talks to Yeshiva University Students About Judaism and Playing in Israel

From Ian:

Matti Friedman: The New Alliance Shaping the Middle East Is Against a Tiny Bug
In Mr. Ben Hamozeg’s office near Tel Aviv, the chief executive opened the sensor app on his cellphone and showed me an orchard in a Gulf country that doesn’t have open ties with Israel. He zoomed in with a finger and a thumb: A farmer there has a weevil infestation in four trees in the northwest corner of his orchard. It was even more striking to see, in a nearby Arab power that also has no official relations with Israel, 100 sensors showing a nine-tree infestation just a few miles from one of Islam’s holiest sites.

Last year, a few hundred Agrint sensors sold by a third party were drilled into trees in the North African kingdom of Morocco, and a few thousand more are going in now.

Morocco’s normalization announcement is of special significance to Israeli Jews, about a sixth of whom are of Moroccan descent — including Mr. Ben Hamozeg. His parents are from the city of Fez and lived there until the Jewish population of the Arab world left or was driven out after the creation of Israel. In recent years, Morocco has allowed Israelis to visit with special permission, and when Mr. Ben Hamozeg arrived and had to request a visa, he told me, he joked with the clerk that he shouldn’t need one. He should be a citizen. The clerk, it turned out, was also from Fez, and he waved Mr. Ben Hamozeg through.

In that personal anecdote is a story of reconnection, one that’s missed if these new accords are analyzed solely through the lens of American policy and the Iranian threat. Jews have always been around this region, farming and trading like everyone else, and it’s not the past few months of renewed contact that are the anomaly, but the past seven decades of isolation.

David Ibn Maimon, brother of Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish philosopher who lived in Cairo, was on a business trip not far from Dubai when he was lost at sea in the 12th century. Some of the sixth-century Jews around Arabia in the time of Muhammad were date farmers. The capital city of another date-palm power, Iraq, was about one-third Jewish into the 1940s. Most of those people’s descendants are now Israelis.

The sensor is a feature of the present moment, as are the normalization agreements, but much about this story seems Ottoman: A Jew from the Levant with roots in North Africa is doing date business with Arabs on the Persian Gulf. They agree about some things and disagree about others. They have a complicated past.
Seth Frantzman: UAE’s Mars mission is a gamechanger for MidEast, Israel - analysis
The United Arab Emirates’ mission to Mars is a major achievement for the Gulf country and comes seven months after the country launched its first interplanetary mission.

The Hope spacecraft made its way to Mars amid important developments in the region. The Abraham Accords were announced and signed, and more than 100,000 Israelis traveled to Dubai. The UAE and Israel have become leaders in vaccinating their publics. Both countries also face challenges ahead, but in general they represent leading technology sectors in the region.

Back in July the Hope spacecraft took off at dawn from Japan and made its way to Mars. It was reported at the time that the concept dated back to 2014 and was intended to inspire a new generation while celebrating the country’s 50th anniversary. This was a big deal for the UAE, the Gulf and the region. Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the US, praised the effort last year. He harkened back to the years of hard work and dedication it took.

Israel’s SpaceIL successfully launched the Beresheet spacecraft in February 2019 but failed when it landed on the moon in August 2019. Israel will try again. Israel is a leader in putting satellites into space, and the UAE is now the fifth country to reach Mars. Both countries are now major space powers. China and America’s NASA also have spacecraft on the way to Mars this year.

Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the giant skyscraper, lit up in celebration when it was announced the mission was successful on Tuesday evening. The team members behind the mission have an average age of 27, and the team is 35% women, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, in Israel the satellite program also showcases Israel’s abilities. The Ofek launch in 1988 made Israel the eighth country in the world with a launch capability. Ofek-16 was launched in July 2020 from Palmahim.
Former NBA Star Amare Stoudemire Talks to Yeshiva University Students About Judaism and Playing in Israel
Veteran NBA player Amare Stoudemire talked to students of Yeshiva University in New York about his career, his life as an observant Jew, and maintaining a close connection to God.

Stoudemire, who is the assistant player development coach for the Brooklyn Nets, participated in a virtual Q&A event on Feb. 3 in which he began by discussing the start of his basketball career, and his experiences playing for both the NBA and the Israel Premier League.

The 38-year-old played for Hapoel Jerusalem (which he now co-owns) in 2016 and 2017, then returned for the 2018-19 season. He played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2020 and led both teams to victory in the Israeli basketball championships.

Stoudemire was “looking forward” to moving back to Israel and playing again for Maccabi Tel Aviv after one season with the team, but when Steve Nash took over as head coach for the Nets in December 2020, “I figured this might be a nice opportunity to get back involved with the NBA,” he told YU students.

The dual American-Israeli citizen recently made headlines for announcing that he will not work on Shabbat.

Talking about his path to Judaism, Stoudemire said his interest in the Jewish religion began when he was a young teen and his mother said their family should “keep the laws of Moses.” He completed his conversion to Judaism a year ago in Israel, where he studied in a yeshiva in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, and on the advice of his “rebbe” he took on the Hebrew name “Yehoshafat.” He also said that moving permanently to Israel is a possibility in the future.

Hitler’s Palestinian Ally: Grand Mufti Amin Al-Husseini
The official record of the meeting states that Hitler assured the mufti that he would carry on “the battle to the total destruction of the Judeo-Communist empire in Europe.” Eventually, when the German army would reach the southern exit from Caucasia, the Fuhrer would “give the Arab world the assurance that its hour of liberation had arrived” and destroy “the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power.”

During his Berlin years, al-Husseini contributed even more heavily to the Nazi war effort. He recruited and organized Bosnian Muslim battalions for the Waffen-SS, and tried to convince the Axis powers to bomb Tel Aviv. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal alleges that the mufti also visited death camps Auschwitz and Majdanek, but historians have disputed that claim. A Dutch eyewitness nevertheless described how he saw the mufti in Monowitz, the labor camp that was part of Auschwitz, in 1943.

Moreover, the mufti continued his rabid antisemitic incitement through Radio Berlin broadcasts until the end of the war: “Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them; this pleases Allah, history, and religion. This saves your honor. Allah is with you,” he was quoted saying on March 1, 1944.

‘A Hero Who Fought Zionism With the Help of Hitler’
After World War II ended, Amin al-Husseini fled to Egypt. In Cairo, he received a hero’s welcome. Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna hailed him as a “hero who challenged an empire and fought Zionism with the help of Hitler and Germany.” Al-Banna proclaimed that “Germany and Hitler are gone, but Amin Al-Husseini will continue the struggle.”

Al-Husseini was elected leader of the Arab Higher Committee and the Palestine People’s Party, and he rallied support against the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. However, after Israel’s 1948 victory, the grand mufti’s political influence largely diminished. He died in 1974 in Beirut, without ever having been tried for his crimes. Though his propaganda broadcasts alone would have justified an indictment during the Nuremberg trials, he evaded justice.

“While Husseini’s influence on Nazi decision-making was limited, his importance to the Nazi regime was considerable,” experts on German history have concluded. As an influential Arab leader and Nazi propagandist, he was an accomplice in the systematic murder of Jews during WWII. Nevertheless, he remains a revered figure amongst Palestinians. The grand mufti is still represented positively in textbooks, and children are taught to look up to him as a hero.

“The evidence of his collaboration with the Nazis was either forgotten, ignored or excused as a form of justified anti-colonialism in an alliance of convenience, not shared ideological passion, against a common enemy,” as research by Prof. Jeffrey Herf, a leading scholar in the field, wrote in 2014.
Historians debunk myth of protective wartime sultan
Did the wartime sultan of Morocco protect the Jews? For some years now historians have been gnawing away at the myth that the sultan prevented the deportation of the Jews to death camps and even wore the yellow star.

French historian Georges Bensoussan, speaking on the Israel (French) channel Kan. affirmed that the King may have shown his sympathy for Jews in private, but he signed every single anti-Jewish dahir promulgated by the pro-Nazi Vichy regime in 1940/1. Deportation was never on the cards. The yellow star was never mandated in Morocco and only in Sfax in Tunisia.

In fact Bensoussan says that the Bey of Tunisia was more liberal towards his Jews than the sultan of Morocco, who made sure that Jews were banned from employing young Muslim girls as maids.

The historian Michel Abitbol says that the sultan had no choice but to comply with the anti-Jewish decrees, or risk being deposed. The decrees mainly concerned the relations of Jews with the French administration (dismissal of Jewish officials, expulsion of Jewish children from French schools and property inventories) . The order forcing Jews settled outside the Mellahs of major cities back into Mellah, the ban on the practice of certain liberal professions or any press or cinema-related profession concerned a limited number of Jewish people and were generally not applied.

So how did the myth arise? When the future Mohamed V met Roosevelt and Churchill in January1943, Roosevelt promised to work for Moroccan independence. According to Bensoussan, because he believed that the Jewish lobby controlled US foreign policy, the sultan made protecting the Jews a badge of his authority. According to Abitbol, the sultan was then free to express his support for all his subjects. The myth has been spread by Moroccan Jews themselves when faced with the hardships of resettling in Israel, where most of them went.
Vaccine reduces spread risk even before 2nd shot, Israeli study indicates
Vaccinated people become far less of a COVID transmission risk even before receiving their second dose, a new “game-changing” Israeli study has concluded.

The first mass research of its kind on patients who test positive for the coronavirus and are confirmed to have been at least partially vaccinated, the study found that such patients have far smaller viral loads than those who haven’t received the vaccine.

“Our results show that infections occurring 12 days or longer following vaccination have significantly reduced viral loads,” wrote a multi-institution research team that crunched data from the Maccabi healthcare provider, stating they believe that could be important in “potentially affecting viral shedding and contagiousness as well as severity of the disease.”

The viral load was shown to be reduced fourfold on average for infections occurring 12 to 28 days after the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

That is considered a time of only partial vaccine protection, as the second shot is administered at 21 days and kicks in a week later. Leading vaccine expert Cyrille Cohen, who wasn’t involved in the study, hailed the results and said they give rise to optimism that the viral load might soon be shown to fall even further after second shot protection.

“This is a game-changer to some extent,” he said. “After all, transmissibility after the vaccine has been one of the most important questions we are asking ourselves.”
Israel's Teva Pharm in talks to co-produce COVID-19 vaccines
Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is in talks with COVID-19 vaccine makers to co-produce some shots, chief executive Kare Schultz told Reuters on Wednesday.

Schultz said Teva, the world's largest generics drugmaker, both approached and was approached by vaccine makers. It declined to name the companies with which it was in discussions.

"We do have some discussions with originators of the original vaccines. We have not come to any conclusions," Schultz said after the drugmaker issued fourth-quarter financial results.

"In principle, we are positive towards contributing by manufacturing some of those vaccines that either have been approved or are just about to be approved," he said, declining to elaborate.

Governments around the world are racing to access vaccines and inoculate their citizens against the coronavirus. The urgency of doing so has increased with the discovery of new variants to the virus that have been shown to reduce the efficacy of some vaccines.

Vaccine supplies are limited due to production constraints for vaccine makers, including Pfizer Inc, and its German partner BioNTech, as well as Moderna and AstraZeneca Plc.
Web search data and help from Israel mean England can catch COVID spikes early
An Israel-based epidemiologist has been helping English health officials to detect COVID-19 outbreaks some 17 days before they happen, by monitoring popular Google searches.

The influential journal Nature Digital Medicine has revealed England’s success in getting advanced warnings on outbreaks using an algorithm that has been taught what terms people search for when they start to feel COVID-19 symptoms.

The tech has also been tested, and proved effective, in Italy, Australia and South Africa, irrespective of cultural, socioeconomic and climate differences. It has not yet been tested or deployed in Israel. The data analysis doesn’t compromise privacy, as no personal search information is delivered to researchers, only mass anonymized data.

Writing in a peer-reviewed article published on Monday, the pioneers of the tech say they have shown the power of the internet search as a “complementary health surveillance method” in fighting the pandemic, as it can allow health officials to better detect and address outbreaks.

British-Israeli epidemiologist Prof. Michael Edelstein helped to build the algorithm in London alongside a team from University College London, and has been playing a key role in maintaining it since he moved to Israel in the summer to take up an academic post at Bar Ilan University’s medicine faculty.

“Our best chance of tackling health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic is to detect them early in order to act early,” Edelstein said, adding that the algorithm’s success shows that “using innovative approaches to disease detection such as analyzing internet search activity to complement established approaches is the best way to identify outbreaks early.”
Federal Court Rejects New York Gov. Cuomo’s Capacity Restrictions on Houses of Worship
The Brooklyn District Court struck down on Tuesday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s capacity limitations on the houses of worship in the state, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.

The decision marks a return to the 50% capacity cap that was in place before Cuomo introduced limits based on the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the vicinity.

Tuesday’s ruling closes a new chapter in the lengthy legal saga triggered by the executive orders restricting the number of worshipers at locations in areas with increased morbidity.

The order of October 2020, which capped the capacity at 25%, but up to 10 worshippers; and 33%, or up to 25 people respectively for “red” and “orange” areas, was contested by both Jewish and Catholic communities.

In November, the US Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs and slapped an emergency injunction on the order, arguing that the order limited religious gatherings while deeming outlets like liquor stores essential and not restricting their operations.

In December, following a review initiated by the Supreme Court, an appeals court deemed a previous ruling that allowed the restrictions as violating New Yorkers’ religious rights.
Scientists fighting coronavirus among 2021 Wolf Prize Laureates
The Wolf Prize, granted to those who have made unique contributions in the arts and sciences, was awarded at a ceremony hosted Monday by President Reuven Rivlin. Among the new Wolf Prize Laureates are three scientists whose groundbreaking work with RNA has contributed to Israel's fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Six scientists and two artists were awarded the prize this year. Among them are Prof. Joan Steitz, Prof. Lynne Maquat and Prof. Adrian Kraine, who were awarded the prize for their work in the field of RNA biology and RNA regulatory mechanisms. Their work demonstrated that RNA plays an important role in regulating and diversifying gene expression.

"This year, the three laureates in the field of medicine are pioneering researchers of RNA, the mechanism on which the coronavirus vaccines are based and which at this very minute is saving humanity from the pandemic," said Rivlin.

Stevie Wonder and Olga Neuwirth were awarded the prize for their contributions to music. Prof. Giorgio Parisi was awarded the prize for his discoveries in disordered systems, particle physics and statistical physics. Prof. Leslie Leiserowitz and Prof. Meir Lahav were awarded the prize for their work in the field of chemistry, establishing the fundamental reciprocal influences of three-dimensional molecules upon structures of organic crystals.

The Wolf Foundation is owned by The State of Israel and was founded in 1975 to promote excellence in the arts and sciences. It is an international award given by Israel's president. It is awarded for "advancing science and art for humanity and for friendship between peoples, regardless of religion, gender, race, geographical location or position." Approximately one third of Wolf Prize Laureates have gone on to win a Nobel prize.
BBC’s ‘World at One’ inaccurate on Israel vaccination numbers
Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s ‘World at One’ on February 8th heard a report concerning Israel’s vaccination programme which was introduced by presenter Sarah Montague as follows:
Montague: “…let’s turn to Israel where there is what seems very encouraging news. It’s vaccinated 5 million of its population of 9 million with the Pfizer jab. A million of those people have had two doses. The number of infections and hospital admissions have fallen steeply among the age groups which have been vaccinated and in those places where they’ve vaccinated more people.”

Those numbers are however inaccurate. The Israeli Ministry of Health website shows that as of February 8th, 3,540,851 people had received the first dose of the vaccination and 2,156,997 of those had received the second dose.

CAMERA UK has written to the BBC to point out that the presentation of those inaccurate figures – both in terms of absolute numbers and the proportion of fully vaccinated people (actually more than double the figure given by Montague) – misled listeners with regard to the vaccination levels necessary to bring about the trends and outcomes discussed in the rest of the otherwise reasonable report by health correspondent Rachel Schraer.
Activist Marc Lamont Hill Says Black Lives Matter Supports the ‘Dismantling of the Zionist Project’
Marc Lamont Hill, an American academic and activist who has previously drawn fire for advocating the eradication of Israel, told a virtual discussion hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) that the Black Lives Matter movement supports the “dismantling of the Zionist project.”

In 2018, Hill was fired by CNN, where he had been a featured commentator, after he was filmed calling for freeing Palestine “from the river to the sea,” a pro-Palestinian slogan used as a euphemism for destroying Israel and replacing it with an Arab state. At the time, the Daily Beast reported that network executives had been “on alert” about Hill thanks in part to coverage by The Algemeiner.

In a clip posted to YouTube, Hill is shown speaking at a panel discussion on Feb 6, held by the DSA’s BDS/Palestine Solidarity National Working Group, as well as the National Political Education Committee, the DSA Muslim Caucus, and the Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus (AFROSOC).

In the video, Hill says, “We can’t dismantle white supremacy or imperialism section by section” and said this applies to Israel as well, referring to it as “a settler-colonial movement in Palestine.”

The description of Israel as a “settler-colonial” state is a frequent libel used as an attempt to delegitimize Israel and reject its right to exist.

Hill then repeated the long-discredited claim that Israel is responsible for US police violence against minorities, saying, “US police are being trained in Israel and some Israeli police are being trained in the United States.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: Democrats Reassure Leftists Their Antisemitism Doesn’t Count (satire)
Leading Congressional and White House figures sought to calm fears this week that the government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism means they will cease to run cover for Jew-haters in their midst and among their allies, party officials have disclosed.

Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives, Senate, and executive branch conducted numerous private conversations over the last several days with lawmakers, lobbyists, consultants, and policymakers to allay concerns over the administration’s public moves that give the impression it is serious about combating antisemitism even from political allies or Islamists. Party sources indicated that at least forty such conversations have taken place since last week to explain that while the Biden administration has adopted the IHRA definition, it intends to pursue policy under it only against right-wing antisemites, and that progressive groups and figures have little to worry about.

“You have to remember we’re still protecting Ilahn Omar (D-MN) and Rahida Tlaib (D-MI) here,” observed an aide to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. “It’s not like we’re rushing to throw our Jew-haters under the bus. The president’s policy on Iran and its proxies should already indicate where we all really stand on this. It’s just that there are certain moves you have to make in public to deflect criticism of what you’re going to do anyway.”

“I’d say adoption of the IHRA definition, as much as I have concerns about its potential to stifle all criticism of Israel, well, let’s just say we can leave it in the realm of the theoretical, and our allies in the media will obligingly ask no questions about that,” added Matt Duss of the State Department. The IHRA definition specifically states that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country is not antisemitic.

Church Official Declares War on Israel and Its Supporters
Rev. Frank Chikane, moderator of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC), declared war on Israel and its supporters during a Zoom call on Saturday, February 6, 2021. He leveled a hostile and incendiary assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state, and an implicit threat against those who support it,

Speaking to an Internet audience of more than 300 Christian activists, Chikane portrayed Israelis as demons and said that the world will seek blood from people who support Israel in its fight against the Palestinians.

“We need to begin to say to those who support Israel to brutalize Palestinians that the blood of the people of Palestine will be sought from them because they collaborate by allowing this system to continue,” he said.

Chikane, a Christian pastor from South Africa, also declared that he is convinced that the Palestinians are “dealing with the same demons we dealt with in South Africa, except that in their case, the demons have invited many other demons to make their struggle much more difficult.”

The pastor and WCC official also declared that “it’s almost as if the whole world is against the Palestinians, nobody cares. Every day people get killed.”

Chikane said that in his role with the CCIA, he gets reports “on a daily basis about what’s happening in Palestine and I’ve said in my mind, ‘That’s why I would never want to be God, because God sees this thing every day, every minute, every hour, and the question is, how can the world watch this and do nothing?’”

Chikane, who offered not one word of criticism toward the Palestinians, made it perfectly clear that he is devoted to using his position of influence within the WCC to portray the Jewish state as a singular source of violence and sin in the Holy Land.
UC Irvine student government passes BDS legislation
The University of California, Irvine (UCI) student government passed legislation on Tuesday night divesting from companies that work with Israel, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, 4M and Ford, among others.

The legislation stressed that the motion to divest was in "no way related to Judaism" and described the legislation as "divestment from apartheid," according to a copy of the legislation available on the student government's website.

The legislation passed 19 to 3.

Similar legislation had been passed by a previous student government, but was repealed by legislation passed by the 2019-2020 student government, which the new legislation described as "hastily written to dismiss the voices of the students."

The student government called for what they described as the "millions spent on apartheid" to be redirected to students who do not ave their basic needs addressed.

While the legislation extensively listed alleged apartheid actions by Israel, no mention was made of Palestinian terrorism at any point in the entire piece of legislation. While describing the situation in the Gaza Strip, for example, the legislation stated that the Strip is "bombed repeatedly by the Israeli military" without any mention of the Hamas rocket fire and terrorism that targets Israeli civilians and usually precedes most Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

Gov't calls on social media companies to label antisemitic content
A government task force has called on social media companies to label antisemitic content posted on their sites and train content monitors about antisemitism in order to combat online anti-Jewish hate speech.

The task force issued its policy recommendations in a comprehensive document commissioned by the Strategic Affairs Ministry and the Diaspora Affairs Ministry published on Wednesday.

Jewish organizations and agencies of the State of Israel have become increasingly concerned over antisemitic hate speech expressed on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The policy outline document of the two ministries notes that social media companies’ policy on hate speech does not specifically address antisemitism or hate speech against other religions or national groups.

The document recommends that social media companies adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism when determining if content is antisemitic. It says that even if such content does not violate company hate speech rules, the IHRA definition could still be used to label antisemitic content.

‘Poland Cannot Hide The Truth:’ Anger Among Jewish Leaders as Warsaw Court Orders Holocaust Scholars to Apologize for Alleged Libel
The ruling on Tuesday by a Polish court against two leading scholars of the Holocaust on trial for libel sent a chill throughout the Jewish world, as community and academic leaders warned that independent research into the Nazi persecution of the Jews during World War II would be stifled as a consequence.

The much anticipated decision by Judge Ewa Jonczyk of the District Court in Warsaw ruled that historians Dr. Barbara Engelking and Prof. Jan Grabowski must apologize to the plaintiff in the case. However, they will not be forced to pay her 100,000 zlotys ($27,000) in compensation, as her lawyers had demanded.

At issue was a brief passage in Engelking and Grabowski’s 1,600 page volume “Night Without End: The Fate of Jews in Selected Counties in Occupied Poland” that dealt with Edward Malinowski, a Polish civilian alleged to have assisted in the capture and killing of Jews hiding in a forest near Malinowo in north-eastern Poland.

The passage noted that a Jewish woman who was familiar with Malinowski had given false testimony in his defense after the war, despite her knowledge that he was “an accomplice in the deaths of several dozen Jews who had been hiding in the woods and had been turned over to the Germans.”

Malinowski’s niece, 81-year-old Filomena Leszczynska, accused the scholars of fabricating her uncle’s crimes, insisting that he was a hero who had saved Jews.

The court’s decision means that Engelking and Grabowski are obliged to provide Leszczynska with a written apology for having provided “inaccurate information” about her uncle and for “violating his honor.” They are expected to pursue an appeal.

Jewish leaders slammed Tuesday’s ruling as another attempt by the Polish authorities to police the research of the Holocaust so as to expunge any discussion of Polish civilian collaboration with the Nazis. Under Poland’s criminal code as well as legislation passed by the country’s parliament in 2018, anyone who examines the issue of local collusion during the Nazi occupation of 1939-45 can face a civil libel trial and possible imprisonment.
Portuguese hero in hot water over anti-Semitic tweet
Rodrigo Sousa Castro, one of the leaders of the 1974 Portuguese Revolution and a national hero in the country, sparked controversy this week with a grossly anti-Semitic tweet.

"The Jews, as they dominate global finance, they bought and have the vaccines they wanted. It's a kind of historical revenge. And I won't say more until the Zionist bulldogs jump," he wrote.

Israeli Ambassador to Portugal ​Raphael Gamzou and several Jewish groups blasted Sousa Castro, demanding he answer for his action.

"As a proud Zionist bulldog, I can promise that if Israel develops a cure for COVID-19, Colonel Sousa Castro will have access to it if needed," Gamzou tweeted.

Firing back, the Israeli envoy added, "When it comes to medicine, we don't exclude either primitive anti-Semites or ignorant racists, even if yours present is not as glorious as its past."

The leaders of the Jewish Community of Lisbon issued a statement condemning the general, and castigating his "deeply anti-Semitic, prejudiced, and provocative" tweet.

"Such hate speech and xenophobia must not go unnoticed. It must have consequences," the statement said.
Police Investigate Defacing of Synagogue in Spokane, Washington With Antisemitic Daubings
Police in Spokane, Washington are investigating a hate crime after swastikas were daubed on a synagogue in the city’s South Hill neighborhood on Monday morning.

Spokane police spokesperson John O’Brien said the Temple Beth Shalom reported the antisemitic graffiti at 9:20 a.m. on Monday. When officers arrived at the building, they found one side of it, along with a Holocaust memorial, vandalized. O’Brien said officers spoke to employees, canvased the neighborhood for surveillance cameras and looked for evidence. Officers also collected paint samples from the building for evidence.

The synagogue’s surveillance camera system captured images of a lone white, male suspect. O’Brien said the man was wearing blue jeans, black boots, a dark colored jacket with hood, a dark colored beanie style stocking cap, black gloves, a red mask and sunglasses on his head.

Police are investigating the vandalism as malicious harassment and it falls under Washington’s definition of a hate crime.

“Our community is in shock and in grief, and trying to be strong,” said Rabbi Tamar Malino, who has served at Temple Beth Shalom for five years, told the local CBS affiliate.

“It’s very difficult to know that there are people that hate you that much for being Jewish and have intention of expressing that,” she added. “It’s very important for our community to continue living meaningful strong and Jewish lives and not be afraid to continue being who we are.”

This is the second time in recent years that Temple Beth Shalom has been vandalized. In 2014, a swastika was painted on a concrete wall during a service on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish community.
StandWithUs: Antisemitism during "Big Brother" show in Portugal
A participant of Big Brother Portugal was expelled for performing the Nazi salute several times during a live airing of the show. Such an act undermines the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust.

Thank you to Big Brother Portugal for taking swift action again the participant. In the words of Anne Frank: "What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it [from] happening again."

WATCH: Gal Gadot receives gift from Jennifer Lopez
Like her Wonder Woman character, Gal Gadot is on a mission: create a movement to bring good to the world.

The 35-year-old Israeli actor’s latest project has her working behind the scenes as an executive producer of “Impact,” a short-form documentary series that debuts April 19 on the National Geographic channel.

The six-part series follows women in Brazil, California, Michigan and Puerto Rico, among other places, who overcome obstacles and do extraordinary things. The women live in communities affected by violence, poverty, discrimination and oppression.

“I keep calling them my women of wonder because they are the true heroes,” Gadot said Tuesday on a video call. “I go to set and put on my costume and fight to make believe. But they actually are there on the ground, sweating and doing all they can to make the world a better place.”

Gadot has been playing Wonder Woman since 2016, and she starred in the sequel “Wonder Woman 1984″ last year.

Technion, foodtech startup serve up world's first bio-printed ribeye steak
In another step toward viable, sustainable meat production, Israeli foodtech startup Aleph Farms and the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have successfully cultivated the world's first slaughter-free ribeye steak, the company announced Tuesday.

Researchers used three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting technology and real cow cells, without genetic engineering and immortalization. Aleph Farms' new technology was unveiled only two years after it rolled out the world's first cultivated thin-cut steak, in 2018.

Aleph Farms says the new bioprinting technology allows it to produce any type of steak, and that it intends to expand its offerings.

Aleph Farms' 3D bioprinting technology prints living cells that are then incubated to grow, differentiate, and interact to acquire the texture and qualities of a real steak. A proprietary system, similar to the vascularization that occurs naturally in tissues, enables the perfusion of nutrients across the thicker tissue and grants the steak with the similar shape and structure of its native form as found in livestock before and during cooking.

Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, said that the breakthrough "reflects an artistic expression of the scientific expertise of our team" and that he was "blessed to work with some of the greatest people in this industry."

"We recognize some consumers will crave thicker and fattier cuts of meat. This accomplishment represents our commitment to meeting our consumer's unique preferences and taste buds, and we will continue to progressively diversify our offerings," Toubia added.
Tom Gross: Conversations with friends: Ariana Neumann (Venezuela / Prague / London)
Growing up in a comfortable Caracas home, surrounded by joy, gaiety and the ‘birds of paradise’ -- and a father so revered that he had streets named after him in Venezuela -- Ariana Neumann willed an adventure to come her way. But nothing could have prepared her for the true-life story which was to unfold upon her beloved father’s death, back into the darkest depths of human history. Tom Gross speaks to Ariana about her life growing up, and her discovery upon his death of her father’s hidden Holocaust survivor past. (Discussion by zoom with Tom Gross, February 9, 2021.)

Benjamin Orenstein, one of the last Auschwitz survivors, dies at 94
Benjamin Orenstein, a famous survivor of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp, died on Thursday in France at age 94. Orenstein's Auschwitz tattoo was "B4416."

After Klaus Barbie's trial in Lyon in 1987, Orenstein started testifying in front of hundreds of students across France, from high schools to universities, recalling his story in an effort for future generations to never forget what happened during those dark times.

By testifying, he intended to make the students "witnesses of witnesses," so that "Never Again" can be perpetuated through the future generations.

Orenstein went back to Poland to lead memorial tours with schools and organizations, guiding the students into the death camps of Auschwitz, explaining to them, through his experience, what he and millions of others went through during the World War II.

Orenstein was born in 1926 into a Jewish family from Poland. In 1941 he was sent to a work camp by the occupying Nazis. When his family was arrested in autumn 1942, Orenstein was sent to the concentration camp of Auschwitz.