Tuesday, February 16, 2021

From Ian:

‘Dehumanizing’ Murder of Ilan Halimi Solemnly Remembered Amid Continued Threat of Antisemitism in France
A modest crowd of around 100 people gathered in Paris on Sunday afternoon to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the kidnapping, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, a young French Jew, at the hands of an antisemitic criminal gang in 2006.

The emotional ceremony took place at the Jardin Ilan Halimi in the 12th arrondissement of the French capital — a public park where a simple memorial to Halimi that describes him as a “victim of antisemitism” is located. Sunday’s event began with those in attendance observing a minute’s silence in his memory.

The 23-year-old Halimi was kidnapped on Jan. 20, 2006, by a mainly Muslim gang calling themselves “The Barbarians.” Lured into the gang’s hands by a young woman who flirted with him in the cellphone store where he worked as a salesman, Halimi subsequently spent three weeks in captivity, during which he was constantly beaten and burned with cigarettes while tied to a radiator.

Throughout the ordeal, the gang attempted to extort 450,000 Euros in ransom money from Halimi’s relatives, believing them to be wealthy because — as one of the gang members later explained to French police — “Jews have money.”

On February 13, 2006, Halimi was dumped, barely alive and with burns on 80 percent of his body, near a railway track on the outskirts of Paris. Discovered by a passerby who called for an ambulance, Halimi died on his way to the hospital.

After a harrowing three-month trial in 2009, 27 members of the gang were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for their roles in Halimi’s murder. The Barbarians leader, Youssef Fofana, was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Some of those attending Sunday’s ceremony were young children at the time of Halimi’s death and grew up in the shadow of his story.
Why are Jewish groups fighting the IHRA antisemitism definition? - opinion
Over the last year, significant progress has been made in pushing back against online antisemitism.

One of the most notable initiatives, which I began campaigning for in January 2020, is for social media companies to adopt the International Holocaust Memorial Association definition of antisemitism – a widely accepted educational framework which explains classical and modern antisemitism.

From a successful social media campaign (#AdoptIHRA) to a newly announced set of policy recommendations from the Israeli government, the pressure continues to mount on digital platforms to deal with hate speech against Jews.

But instead of getting on board in the fight against bigotry, fringe Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), IfNotNow, and the New Israel Fund are using the discussion to politicize antisemitism.

Social media companies have thus far refused to adopt the IHRA definition in full, but through discussions at the nongovernmental and governmental level, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok have all modified their approach to antisemitism and are engaging in open dialogue. While hate speech against Jews was always forbidden (though not enforced) across platforms, only this year was Holocaust denial banned explicitly on Twitter and Facebook. It’s not enough, but it is a step in the right direction.

Dealing with antisemitism today requires acknowledging that anti-Zionism can be used as an excuse to justify hate speech (and hate crimes), something Facebook has stated it now takes into consideration in its community standards.


Guardian continues its crusade against the IHRA antisemitism definition
For the third time in the last ten weeks, the Guardian has published an attack on the widely accepted IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.

The latest is an op-ed (“Facebook might censor criticism of Zionists. That’s dangerous”, Feb. 11) by , the deputy director of ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ (JVP). JVP is a marginal US based anti-Zionist, pro-BDS group that achieved notoriety by partnering with terrorists, as well as launching an antisemitic campaign called ‘Deadly Exchange’, which suggested that American Jews play a key role in perpetuating “racist policing in the U.S.”

Following two introductory paragraph where Wise outlines the problem of far-right and white supremacist antisemitism in the US, she applauds the “broad coalition of progressive organizations, activists, and faith communities are working to dismantle antisemitism along with all other forms of racism and oppression”. If you open the link above, it takes you to a site called United Against Hate, which describes itself as a coalition of groups advocating for “Black and immigrant liberation, Muslim and Latinx freedom, Indigenous power, AAPI security, and Jewish safety”.

However, one of the other member groups of United Against Hate is Mpower Change, led by Linda Sarsour, whose history of employing antisemitic tropes we’ve documented previously. The group, which calls itself “the largest Muslim-led social and racial justice organization in the U.S.”, was widely criticised for encouraging its followers to attend a Juneteenth rally last year that, the group stressed, was open to everyone “minus cops and Zionists.”

Despite the antisemitic baggage of groups she’s affiliated with, Wise then opines that “not everyone claiming to work against antisemitism has Jewish safety at heart”.
We're going to make history, again
This week, we continue making history in terms of developing the sport of judo in Israel and internationally. We, Israel, are hosting the Tel Aviv Grand Slam 2021 – a competition where scoring and prestige alike are of utmost importance ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

In such a trying year, under the shadow of the coronavirus, with severe restrictions and protocols in place that cannot be deviated from even an inch, the Israel Judo Association under the helm of President Moshe Ponte, has been able to contend with all of the challenges in the way and put us on the world map of Grand Slam tournaments. Tel Aviv, as of today, is like Paris, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo and other prominent cities across the globe – as it opens its doors to one of the most important competitions on the judo circuit along with hundreds of judokas from over 50 countries. The logistical operation is complicated but it's happening, big time!

This year, the tournament carries additional significance due to the arrival of Iranian judoka and dissident Saeid Mollaei, who will compete in the same weight category as my friend, world champion Sagi Muki. It's an agonizing thing to leave your family behind and compete against an Israeli, but the hope is to see them both in the finals. Sport has to be above politics.

I'm entering this tournament as the reigning European champion and after winning a bronze medal at the 2021 World Judo Masters in Doha, Qatar. I'm in peak condition after a successful training camp this past month. On Tuesday, I will enter the COVID capsule in the hotel, where we will train, eat and sleep without being able to go outside or come into contact with people outside the capsule until the competition ends on Saturday. I'm excited and proud to represent Israel here, in my home, the place where I was raised.


Peter Beinart’s Latest: a Call to Ease Sanctions on Iran
A New York Times op-ed calling for America to roll back economic sanctions on Iran, Syria, and North Korea is by an author who wrote an entire book calling for a boycott of Israel’s West Bank settlements.

The piece leaves the author, Peter Beinart, in the awkward position of opposing sanctions on terror-sponsoring Iran but supporting them on Israelis who live in Hebron or suburbs of Jerusalem.

“America blockades weaker adversaries, choking off their trade with the outside world. It’s the modern equivalent of surrounding a city and trying to starve it into submission,” Beinart writes in his latest article. “Besieging an oppressive regime usually harms not the oppressor but the oppressed…. Ideally, America would stop besieging weaker nations.”

Beinart’s 2012 book The Crisis of Zionism called for economic sanctions against the settlements. Back then, he expressed mild support for the sanctions against Iran and North Korea. He wrote, “Countries like North Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, and Sudan certainly violate human rights more egregiously than does Israel, but in part for that reason, America does not underwrite their behavior. To the contrary, America imposes sanctions.”

A 2012 Beinart op-ed in the New York Times was headlined, “To Save Israel, Boycott the Settlements.” He wrote then, “We should lobby to exclude settler-produced goods from America’s free-trade deal with Israel. We should push to end Internal Revenue Service policies that allow Americans to make tax-deductible gifts to settler charities…. settlements need not constitute the world’s worst human rights abuse in order to be worth boycotting. After all, numerous American cities and organizations boycotted Arizona after it passed a draconian immigration law in 2010.”
Bari Weiss: Gina Carano and Crowd-Sourced McCarthyism
Gina Carano got fired. Meantime, Ice Cube tweeted out, among other troubling things, the original London mural and it doesn’t appear to have hurt his reputation beyond the Jewish community. John Cusack tweets unmistakeable antisemitic conspiracies and still gets cast.

Chelsea Handler, Jameela Jamil, and Jessica Chastain shared a Farrakhan video; P Diddy hosted the prominent antisemite for a July Fourth day address; and all of these celebrities are thriving. By the looks of it, Mel Gibson has had a very busy Covid-19, which suggests that leftist politics isn’t the only thing that grants you protection in Hollywood. Too big to cancel?

This post has been in the weeds. I’ve taken you through Twitter wars you probably ignored, and I managed to spread antisemitic content by even talking about it. I don’t do it lightly.

The bottom line here is that intent matters. It doesn’t just matter a little bit: our entire culture, our entire justice system hinges on it.

There is a difference between saying something false and lying. There is a difference between hurling the n-word and quoting “Huckleberry Finn.” There is a “difference between murder and manslaughter,” writes my former colleague Bret Stephens in a column that The New York Times publisher spiked, but which ended up running in The New York Post.

Cancel culture necessarily erases intent. It relies on taking someone’s worst moment out of context, on elevating a moment of ignorance, on exaggerating a misstep and using that error to destroy someone’s life.

We live in a time when almost everything is posted, recorded and shared — that’s the reality. It’s not changing. The forgiveness a neighborhood used to give to a kid who said something stupid at a bar now has to be granted to him by everyone with a phone. Yes, I agree, it’s terrible. But we can’t unplug the Internet.

Living in this world is going to require a deep and generous ethic of forgiveness. That isn’t possible without insisting that intent matters.

Did Gina Carano intend to share an antisemitic image? I don’t think so.
Op-Ed in Newsweek Glorifies Non-Existent Palestinian Commitment to Non-Violence
As HonestReporting has pointed out on numerous occasions, slapping “opinion” on an article does not relieve a publication of its duty to remain faithful to the facts. In one recent instance, it appears that Newsweek failed to internalize this journalistic principle.

On February 11, the news magazine published an opinion piece about the plight of Issa Amro, a self-proclaimed nonviolent activist from the West Bank city of Hebron. The article titled, Israel Criminalizes Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance—Then Calls Us Terrorists, written by Gaza Strip-based writer Muhammad Shehada, plays loose with the truth on multiple occasions.

Shehada uses the case of Issa Amro to promote the former’s real agenda: downplaying Palestinian terrorism. This article will examine the most contentious claims one by one.

Issa Amro’s So-Called “Commitment To Nonviolence”
First of all, the entire piece is based on the false premise that Issa Amro was, to quote Newsweek, only “indicted for nonviolent resistance.” By unjustly depicting Amro as some sort of Palestinian Gandhi, the author tries to get readers to sympathize with a Palestinian who, in fact, has been accused and convicted of violence:
Rather than turn his frustration into violent resistance, Issa has instead chosen a different path. He committed his life to nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience. […] For despite his commitment to nonviolence, Issa was convicted this week on six charges by an Israeli military court, whittled down from an indictment of 18 charges.”

The article fails to mention the exact charges against Amro. Had Newsweek presented the full facts to its readers, they would find out that the Hebron activist might not be as nonviolent as he is depicted. The 2016 indictment charged him with incitement, taking part in riots, attacking soldiers and civilians, and interfering with Israeli security operations in the area.

In January, an Israeli military court found Amro guilty of six out of eighteen charges. The court not only convicted him of protesting without a permit, which can be classified as nonviolent resistance, but also ruled that there was enough evidence to prove the charges of obstructing Israeli security forces and assaulting a private security guard.
Fighting anti-Semitism benefits Arabs
This year International Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27 was different because it came in the wake of the Abraham Accords. Jews around the world should know that they are not alone anymore; that the Abraham Accords countries and other Arabs are on their side. Individuals from the group Sharaka including participants from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Israel held an online event to memorialize victims of the Holocaust and to promote an action plan for Holocaust awareness and combating anti-Semitism.

If we look closely at the significance of Holocaust Memorial Day, we can see that it is not just about saying "never again" to Jews, but also to the Arabs. Looking back in time, we find a correlation between the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the region and instability, terrorism, and a lack of development. When the lives of Jews and Arab Muslims were intertwined for more than 1,300 years, the region flourished. Pluralist Islam at that time allowed Jews to participate in all aspects of life, engendering a remarkable intellectual renaissance among Arabs and Jews alike.

Lebanese philosopher and historian Anis Zakaria al-Nasuli confirmed in his book The Umayyad State in Cordoba, that there is no doubt that Jews had significant involvement in Spain's conquest. In Cordoba, the Jewish scholar and physician Hasdai ibn Shaprut, became the private physician and finance minister of Abd al-Rahman III (reign: 912 to 929), the Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba.

Also, Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (reign: 1174 –1193), the first sultan of Egypt and Syria appointed the Jewish astronomer and physician, Moses ben Maimon, to be his private physician and asked him to supervise the Jewish community in Cairo. Selim I, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520, welcomed the Jews of Egypt after his victory over the Mamluks, and he trusted them.

The Baghdadi Jewish community was one of the most important in the world for over 1,000 years from 850 to the 1950s. Jews made up one-third of the population of Baghdad and important figures emerged from the community such as Sassoon Eskell, who became Iraq's first Finance Minister in 1920. The Jewish community continued to play an important role in Baghdad and Iraq more generally until the mid-twentieth century when most began leaving because of rising anti-Semitism, which originated in the Pan-Arab nationalism movement.
IMPACT: Big Data Shows HonestReporting Led Efforts to Curb Anti-Israel Palestinian Vaccine Libel
Over 92% of global news articles and social media posts regarding Israel’s world-leading coronavirus vaccine drive have stopped mentioning the Palestinians at all. The false, if not malicious, narrative that the Jewish state is withholding inoculations from Ramallah has been dramatically curbed: down from over 60% of articles globally at beginning of January to less than 8% as of publication of this article.

When a news story seems unfair or infuriating it can draw our focus away from the broader picture. But “big data” depicts the true reality, and an exceptional one at that.

This year, HonestReporting developed the capacity to harness the power of “big data,” examining hundreds of thousands of articles and social media posts in real time. And we can see a clear trend: In early January, 60% of all stories and social media posts about Israel’s vaccine effort discussed Palestinians — and now only 7.71% do.*

The chart below shows the pronounced effect. Specifically, this is a 15 day “moving average,” a tool used by professionals ranging from data scientists to stock traders in order to organize complex information and identify underlying trends. We have superimposed the dates when HonestReporting did its work in order to demonstrate where our work played a role in the overall impact on related items published by media worldwide.

*The 60% and 7.71% figures are visible in the raw data in the second graph, but not within the moving average data.
Such a consequential development begs the question: What happened to alter the conversation?

Palestinian Vaccine Blood Libel Goes Viral, HonestReporting Goes to Work
In late December, as Israel rolled out a major initiative to vaccinate the country’s population against COVID-19, Reuters, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and ABC News, among other outlets, plastered headlines implying or outright declaring that Jerusalem was responsible for the Palestinians’ purported lack of access to vaccines. Some even claimed Israel was violating international law or enacting a system of “medical apartheid.”
Israel to open stores, gyms and culture Sunday in major move toward normalcy
Cabinet ministers on Monday approved the reopening of stores, gyms, hotels, and other venues from Sunday, in a major easing of sweeping lockdown measures meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Street-front shops, malls, markets, museums, and libraries will be open to all Israelis. But only those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 will be able to use gyms, enter sporting and culture events, hotels, and swimming pools.

The high-level coronavirus cabinet also okayed the reopening of synagogues for the Purim holiday late next week, while pushing off a decision on whether to allow all students to return to school in localities with low infection rates.

The decisions come amid a continued decline in morbidity rates, particularly among high-risk groups, thanks to Israel’s rapid vaccination campaign.

Under the plan approved by ministers, the restrictions will be rolled back Sunday, February 21, in an apparent compromise between health officials’ desire to wait for Tuesday, February 23, and the Blue and White party’s demand to start reopening this week.

Israel’s so-called coronavirus czar, Prof. Nachman Ash, said anybody gaining unauthorized access to restricted areas and events will be subject to harsh punishment. An app and barcoded certificates are being organized, which Israelis will be able to download to show that they have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, he said.
Outcry After Author and COVID-19 Skeptic Ties Cuomo Actions on Nursing Homes to Orthodox Jews
Members of the New York Jewish community pushed back against comments made on Twitter by Alex Berenson, an author and former New York Times reporter who has become a popular skeptic of government responses to the pandemic, for linking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial decisions on nursing homes to lobbying by Orthodox Jews in the industry.

“1/ From a reader, about everyone’s favorite Emmy winner, @NYGovCuomo. I don’t know if the source is right on the numbers but he is certainly right directionally, Orthodox Jews have aggressively expanded into nursing homes and they are crucial in NY state politics…,” Berenson tweeted, while sharing a screenshot of an email alleging that Governor Cuomo had sent patients infected with COVID-19 to nursing homes in the state in order to “repay” electoral support from Hasidim.

The reader email shared by Berenson claimed that Cuomo was “repaying favors to a religious sect that brings him almost 100% of their groups votes. Forcing these patients into the nursing homes means more profit for the homes. The Hasidic community in NYS delivers almost 100% of their 1.1 million votes to Cuomo every election in return for political favors.”

Berenson also shared several other screenshots of articles on Jewish-owned nursing homes, including one about a 2016 investigation by state prosecutors.

Cuomo has been criticized for a March 2020 decision to bar nursing homes in the state from refusing patients with COVID-19, and more recently has faced accusations over understating coronavirus death tolls in the facilities.

The author’s Saturday tweets were met with criticism for tying these decisions to Jewish-owned of nursing homes.

“According to @AlexBerenson all Orthodox Jews are at fault for Nursing Home deaths in NY because a dozen or two Orthodox Jews own such homes. A level of bigotry that no blue check would drop on any other ethnic group,” tweeted the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC).
Two-thirds of eligible Israelis have received at least 1 dose of COVID vaccine
Four million Israelis, or some 44 percent of the country’s total population, have now received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Tuesday.

With the latest milestone, some two-thirds of those eligible to be immunized have received the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot. Some 1,996,000 eligible Israelis have yet to receive either dose.

About 2.6 million Israelis have received both doses — or some 43% of the eligible population.

Around 3 million Israelis are not eligible to be vaccinated, including those younger than 16 and people who have recovered from COVID-19, among other reasons.

The latest vaccine data was not yet available from the Health Ministry, which reported over 3.99 million people have been vaccinated as of Monday night. Official ministry figures on vaccination rates are sometimes only updated at the end of the day.

To mark the occasion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein met with a man in Jerusalem symbolically designated as Israel’s 4th million vaccinee.
WHO says around 1% of Mideast — excluding Israel — has gotten a vaccine shot
The World Health Organization said Monday that only around one percent of the Middle East region’s population had received a first coronavirus vaccine shot, when not including Israel in the figures.

The UN body released its data for what it calls the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) of nearly 600 million people, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan — but excluding Israel.

“So far, more than 6.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given to people in 12 countries,” Ahmed al-Mandhari, the Cairo-based WHO’s regional chief, told reporters.

WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) comprises 21 member states and is home to some 583 million people.

But while it includes the West Bank and Gaza, it does not include Israel, the country leading the world in vaccinations per capita with its mass innoculation campaign.

Israel reports that 4 million people have received a first dose, of whom 2.6 million have received a second shot.

Mandhari did not name the 12 countries where people have been already vaccinated. But he said that vaccines distributed through the Covax program are due to reach Tunisia and the Palestinians in the coming weeks.
Netanyahu: In talks to establish Moderna, Pfizer vaccine plants in Israel
Israel is in talks with the two leading coronavirus vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, to open up plants in Israel, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I am negotiating with them to build two plants in Israel that will turn Israel into an international center in the fight against coronavirus,” he told Channel 12 Monday night, adding that he had spoken to the CEOs of both companies.

The Moderna factory would focus on “filling the small vaccine vials,” while Pfizer’s plant would serve as a “research and development site for the fight against future viruses,” Netanyahu said.

He said he was negotiating with the companies to provide Israel with tens of millions of additional vaccine doses to ensure the country has enough supply to provide citizens with an anticipated booster shot every year.

“I want to be in a situation where the Right, the Left, Arabs, Jews... I want them all to get vaccinated [now], and I want to ensure they have the vaccines they require in the future,” Netanyahu said.
Joel B. Pollak: Rabbis: Ilhan Omar's Promotion Shows 'Anti-Semitism Now Accepted in Congress'
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America, declared Monday that the promotion of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to a senior committee position shows that Congress accepts antisemitism.

As Breitbart News reported Sunday, Omar was promoted to the position of Vice Chair on the Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights subcommittee within the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

She was elevated despite her long track record of antisemitic statements, and her virulent hostility toward Israel — an issue that would affect her current committee assignment, as many international human rights bodies are deeply biased against Israel.

The CJV said in a statement:
Omar, despite a history of support for organizations with ties to Islamic terror and condemnations of Israel sufficient to be voted “2019’s Anti-Semite of the Year” by StopAntiSemitism.org, was named Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.

“This appointment is both risible and dangerous. Ilhan Omar’s long-standing hatred for Israel and contempt for Jews and for America make this a mockery of human rights advocacy,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Israel Regional Vice President of the CJV. “I have little doubt that she will abuse the framework of ‘human rights’ to further her campaign to demonize the Jewish State, as the UN Human Rights Council does on an annual basis. Rep. Omar should have been stripped of her committee assignments, rather than rewarded with a promotion.”

“The real concern is that House Democrats are treating Anti-Semitism as a political weapon, abetted by the silence and even backing of Democratic Jewish members,” stated Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV. “The action against Rep. Greene, coupled with the elevation of Rep. Omar, signals that Congress is now willing to tolerate Anti-Semitism when it is politically advantageous to do so.”
The Bantus should be asked about Ilhan Omar's new appointment to human rights committee
The Bantus should be asked what they think about apointing someone like Ilhan Omar to the role of vice chairwoman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Africa and global human rights issues considering that her Arab tribe are racists reponsible for the ethnic cleansing of Bantus - and that she never moved a finger to restitute the land stolen by her people from the Bantus‏

On February 11, 2021 the Star Tribune reported "U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar is rising on the House Foreign Affairs Committee as she steps into the role of vice chairwoman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Africa and global human rights issues..." The Coalition for Jewish Values demanded the appointment be rescinded.

Ilhan Omar's appointment to the role of vice chairwoman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Africa and global human rights issues is absurd if one considers she belongs to an Arab tribe with a long history of racism and ethnic cleansing against the Bantus fwhich she has never repudiated..

On February 13, 1994 The Seattle Times reported about racism in Ilhan Omar's Somalia as follows: Ilhan Omar belongs to the Majeerteen Clan who are members of the Arab Darood family:. "Amid the hatred and violence that cut so many ways in Somalia, people of Arab descent with soft hair hold sway over those who wear the hard curls of an African."

"The soft hairs, Somalis whose ethnic roots are buried in the sands of the Arabian Peninsula, own the businesses, carry the guns and run the political factions that are vying to replace deposed dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

"Warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid is a soft-hair. Arab-descended Somalis have also robbed their hard-haired countrymen, many of whose ancestors were East Africans, of their farms and forced them into modern-day servitude that borders on slavery. 'Somalia has a racism problem. It's one of the dirty little secrets that the civil war has exposed,' said Ken Menkhaus, a Somalia scholar and U.N. adviser from Davidson College in North Carolina.
Divides on Israel among Democrats highlighted in Ohio special congressional race
The Democratic Majority for Israel political action committee has made an endorsement in a special congressional election in Ohio, a sign of how Israel-related tensions within the Democratic Party have not abated since the party’s wins in November.

The PAC affiliated with the pro-Israel group announced Tuesday that it is endorsing Shontel Brown, a Cuyahoga County councilwoman who has the backing of the party’s establishment and who has cultivated the mainstream pro-Israel community.

The field ahead of the May primary for the special election is crowded, but the candidates attracting the most attention are Brown, who chairs the county’s Democratic Party, and Nina Turner, a former state senator who was prominent in the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the flagbearer for the party’s progressive left.

Battles between Israel-critical progressives and mainstream pro-Israel Democrats played out ahead of last November’s election in the presidential primaries, congressional primaries — in New York, Missouri and Minnesota, among other states — and in negotiating the Israel-related language of the party platform.

Progressives scored wins in several congressional primaries, but mainstream pro-Israel groups were heartened by Joe Biden’s nomination and election, citing his long friendship with the pro-Israel community. Biden personally intervened to keep Israel-critical language out of the party platform.
Legal firm offers to represent Zionist organizations across US campuses
The Zachor Legal Institute announced that it will be teaming up with Zionist organizations on campuses across the United States to combat anti-Israel rhetoric at universities countrywide.

The legal firm notes that since anti-Israel groups are allowed to hold apartheid weeks and hold Zionist organizations on campus complicit to blood libels, it would like to represent Zionist organizations that might be too fearful of repercussions if they demand equal rights.

The initiative, termed Zionists on Campus, intends to work with existing Zionist campus organizations to protect student members and advocate for institutional change at the highest level within these universities to combat anti-Israel ideals.

The Zachor Legal Institute will be the legal adviser to the newly formed campus project and will work directly with students wishing to combat anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric.

The initiative was organized by current and recent graduates from campuses who have experienced anti-Zionist discrimination, and are working to educate people on the "truth about Israel and the history of Palestinian terrorism that has led to the current security situation Israel faces, among other topics."

It will request that universities provide students with equal rights and an environment free of racism.
Prominent University College London Scholar Resigns After Academic Board Rejects Leading Definition of Antisemitism: ‘You Are All Going to Hell!’
A prominent scholar at University College London has resigned in disgust after the institution’s Academic Board demanded the administration rescind its adoption of the leading definition of antisemitism.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition, which has been adopted by governments and educational institutions worldwide, is opposed by some in academia for including antisemitic ideas and rhetoric that attack Israel and Zionism.

The Board called on the university to “replace the IHRA working definition with a more precise definition of antisemitism.”

In a Feb. 9 blog post entitled “Saying Farewell to the Antisemitic Cesspit That Is UCL,” Lars Fischer, a scholar of Hebrew and Jewish studies and editor of an academic journal on Jewish history, wrote, “I have now become aware of the prominent role colleagues from Hebrew & Jewish Studies have played in spearheading the appalling assault on the IHRA definition currently being mounted at UCL.”

“When I embarked on the academic study of antisemitism, it was still taken for granted that one did so in order to combat antisemitism,” he said. “These days have long gone, and the academy is now full of academics who specialize in explaining why only some forms of antisemitism are harmful and others are not actually forms of antisemitism anyway.”

“Whatever they may believe their subjective intentions to be, they are doing wonders for antisemitism promotion and the fact that nobody can evidently curtail their criminal conduct is one of the greatest problems the planet currently faces,” Fischer said.
Saying Farewell to the Antisemitic Cesspit that is UCL
Towards the end of 2020, I became aware of the fact that my former supervisor, with whom I have collaborated closely for the best part of two decades, and of whom, his endless anti-Israeli vitriol notwithstanding, I assumed he would not go as far as siding publicly with the antisemitism promoters who now dominate the academy, had signed the newest antisemites’ petition. After some consideration (and having left him in no doubt about my opinion), I decided not to let this drive me out. I would do my best to uphold a minimum of cooperation in as dispassionate a manner as possible, so as to allow me to continue working as a scholar.

However, I have now become aware of the prominent role colleagues from Hebrew & Jewish Studies have played in spearheading the appalling assault on the IHRA definition currently being mounted at UCL. When I embarked on the academic study of antisemitism, it was still taken for granted that one did so in order to combat antisemitism. These days have long gone, and the academy is now full of academics who specialize in explaining why only some forms of antisemitism are harmful and others are not actually forms of antisemitism anyway. Whatever they may believe their subjective intentions to be, they are doing wonders for antisemitism promotion and the fact that nobody can evidently curtail their criminal conduct is one of the greatest problems the planet currently faces.

Not being able to stop these reprehensible people in their tracks is bad enough, but each and every one of us has a duty at least to avoid becoming complicit in their antisemitism-promoting activities. I am therefore left with no choice but to resign my affiliation with Hebrew & Jewish Studies, even if this decision does amount to a likely fatal blow to my ability to function as a scholar.

To my former colleagues I say: You are all going to hell!


PreOccupiedTerritory: UNICEF Diagnosed With Peculiar Form Of ADHD; ‘Only When Palestinian Child-Soldiers Mentioned’ (satire)
Medical professionals have concluded that a leading international children’s welfare organization suffers from an unique kind of attention-deficit that manifests upon the invocation of Palestinian abuse of minors in the ongoing national conflict with Israel, a spokeswoman for the organization disclosed today.

According to the representative, UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, suffers from Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder that remains dormant except in the presence of information linking the Palestinian leadership with practices that train children to take up weapons, to glorify violence against Jews, and to dehumanize political opponents.

Speaking to reporters at UNICEF headquarters in New York this morning, spokeswoman Rita Lynn informed journalists that a lengthy series of examinations and diagnostic tests had determined the organization needs treatment to address its peculiar form of ADHD-Inattentive, which seems not to appear when UNICEF addresses non-Palestinian violations of children’s welfare.

“One of the pet causes of this organization has long been the plight of child soldiers,” acknowledged Lynn. “But for some reason, year after year, little or none of the many Palestinian crimes against their own children – we’re not talking here about Israeli child casualties of Palestinian ‘legitimate resistance’ – makes it into our reports to donors, to the UN itself, or into policy recommendations. It’s good to have a coherent medical diagnosis to help explain the phenomenon. Now we can look at considering proper treatment, and what the options are in that respect.”
The Stories Children (and The New York Times) Tell
“Today, even on the calmest days, Palestinian children often tell emotional stories of crossing the checkpoint on the bus ride in from East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem,” wrote Ruth Ebenstein in her New York Times Opinion column on a heart-warming initiative to bridge the geopolitical, religious, language and nationality gaps between Muslim and Jewish school-aged children via social and educational encounters in Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum (“Child’s Play Across the Palestinian-Israeli Divide,” Feb. 14).

The column’s detail about traversing the dreaded checkpoint, presumably manned by Israeli soldiers that the Palestinian children perceive as “threatening and scary,” as their teacher put it, juxtaposed with touching descriptions of exchanged smiles between girls who don’t share a common language but learn together “through art, history, religion and play time” and “homemade Arabic-and-Hebrew glossaries,” heightens the column’s narrative element, painting a picture of young children facing down adversity and oppression to find unlikely friendship against all odds.

Author Ruth Ebenstein, who has taught others storytelling skills, knows the tools of the trade.

The checkpoint is a compelling detail. But it’s not true.

There are no checkpoints separating eastern and western parts of Jerusalem, a fact that Israel’s Police Spokesperson Unit confirmed yesterday in an email to CAMERA.

During the 2015 “knife intifada,” when Palestinians carried out numerous stabbing and other attacks against Israelis, Israel temporarily erected checkpoints and unmanned barriers, which were long since dismantled. While there are checkpoints in the Jerusalem area located between Jerusalem and the West Bank, the temporary checkpoints in between east Jerusalem and west Jerusalem were dismantled more than five years ago. (Nevertheless, this is not the first time that a guest writer at The New York Times has falsely alleged restrictions on freedom of movement for Jerusalem Arabs.)
‘Financial Times’ Article Suggests Hamas Rocket Attacks Are Understandable
Hamas fires rockets at Israel merely to “add pressure” to Israel to “relieve the blockade”

This assertion almost reads like a statement by the Hamas ministry of propaganda.

Hamas is an internationally recognized terrorist group, which is committed to Israel’s destruction and the mass murder of Jews. Regardless of whatever short-term tactical goals they may also have, they fire rockets at Israel for one primary reason: to kill as many Israelis as possible. The fact that they’re usually not successful certainly isn’t due to a lack of desire.

The framing by the FT turns reality on its head, just as the failure of journalists like Srivastava to impute agency to Palestinians means that these journalists are unable to reach the most intuitive and logical conclusions about cause and effect.

Israel’s blockade (which restricts military items and ‘dual use’ items from entering the Strip) is of course a response to Hamas’ decision to launch rocket attacks at Israeli cities, build attack tunnels, and engage in other methods of terror. If Hamas were to change their behavior, and cease threatening Israel’s population, the result would be Jerusalem’s loosening of the blockade.

The Financial Times’ attempt to paint Gaza’s fanatical, violent, Jew-hating cult as reasonable and rational political actors who are victimized by Israeli aggression, represents a moral inversion of staggering proportions.
Left-wing journalist: Antisemitism panel will set back racism fight ‘lightyears’
A prominent left-wing journalist has doubled down on her accusation that most of Labour’s new antisemitism advisory board are “not anti-racist,” claiming they would put the fight against racism in the party back by “lightyears.”

The board, which counts the Board of Deputies Marie Van Der Zyl and Jewish Labour Movement’s Mike Katz among its number, was established in the wake of the damning Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism in the party.

Rivkah Brown, a commissioning editor at Corbynite outlet Novara Media, has criticised the board’s makeup, saying that the majority are characterised by not being anti-racist.

Speaking on Novara’s TyskySour podcast, she said: “These are not people I trust with an antiracism agenda.

“These are people who’ve expressed a very specific and particular interest in antisemitism in the Labour Party during the Corbyn years, but don’t seem to have broadened that.”

Members of the panel have hit back at the accusation, with Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust telling Jewish News: “If anybody is surprised by this, they obviously weren’t paying attention to Labour’s antisemitism problem.”

Mike Katz responded: “According to Rivkah & her friends at Novara, at least five of us on Labour’s Antisemitism Advisory Board aren’t anti-racists.
‘The Jew is guilty,’ 300 neo-Nazis attend rare gathering in Spain
Jewish leaders in Spain are calling for an investigation after a far-right event in Madrid featured antisemitic speeches and a Nazi salute.

About 300 people attended the event held near a cemetery in the Spanish capital where veterans who fought alongside Hitler’s troops are buried. In one speech, a young woman was filmed saying: “Our duty is to fight for Spain and Europe now weakened by the enemy, which remains the same but wears many masks: the Jew.”

Public expressions of admiration for Nazi Germany, antisemitic rhetoric and large far-right gatherings are relatively uncommon in Spain, where many people have bitter memories from the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who sided with the Nazis during World War II and then ruled Spain until 1975.

But as in many European countries, right-wing populism has seen a massive and sudden rise in popularity in Spain in recent years. In 2019, the Vox populist right-wing party entered parliament for the first time as the country’s third-largest party, with 52 out of 350 seats.

The Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain in a statement Monday called on prosecutors to launch an investigation into incitement to violence and discrimination against some of the people who attended the event, including the young woman, who has not been identified in the media.
Jewish Community Calls on Hate Crimes Prosecutor After Spanish Neo-Nazis March Through Madrid
The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain has requested an investigation by the country’s hate crimes prosecutor into antisemitic statements made during a demonstration of more than 300 neo-Nazi activists in Madrid last Saturday.

The neo-Nazis marched as a tribute to the Blue Division — Spanish volunteers who fought alongside the Nazis in World War II.

The event was convened by the Patriotic Youth, a neo-Nazi organization based in Madrid, and was supported by different Nazi and fascist groups across Spain, such as the España2000 party, or La Falange, whose leader, Manuel Andrino, attended the march.

One speaker, identified as a neo-Nazi named Isabel Peralta, declared that in a speech: “The enemy will always be the same, even if it wears different masks: the Jew!”

She continued, “The Jew is the culprit that the Blue Division fought against.”

The event also featured a religious service in front of a monument to the Blue Division, on which a wreath of flowers with a swastika was placed. A Catholic priest addressed the audience, saying: “Marxism, just like yesterday […] continues trying to disturb the peace of our society, disturb the peace of the spirits and, above all, remove the prince of peace, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Iran arrests thieves digging secret tunnel to steal from synagogue
A gang of illegal diggers in Urmia, Iran, who were trying to loot from a synagogue were arrested, Iran International TV reported. "These people had secretly dug a tunnel leading to the historical synagogue inside their personal house, located in the historical context and adjacent to the Kalimiyan Synagogue in Urmia,” said Col. Behzad Hijabi, commander of the protection unit of the General Directorate of Heritage, Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts of West Azerbaijan Province.

“In this operation, while arresting two illegal diggers, a number of drilling tools and equipment such as electric wires, pulleys, ropes and buckets were seized," Hijabi continued, concluding by saying that "a number of pottery objects and broken pottery were also observed and confiscated around the dug tunnel."
GDP in Israel Shrank by 2.4% in 2020, Less Than Feared
Israel’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by only 2.4% in 2020, less than initially feared, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced Tuesday.

The contraction of Israel’s economy is the outcome of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that wreaked havoc on the global economy,

The Fitch Ratings agency projected in January a 3.9% contraction of the Israeli GDP in 2020, followed by a growth of 5.4% in 2021 and 4% in 2022.

The OECD estimates that the average contraction in GDP in developed countries will reach 5.9% in 2020, placing Israel in a good place.

The United Kingdom’s economy contracted sharply by 9.9% in 2020.

Israel Minister of Finance Yisrael Katz stated that this number is “another proof of the strength of the Israeli economy.”

The 2.4% shrink is “a good figure compared to earlier forecasts, and relative to the growth figures of most OECD countries. We will continue to march the Israeli economy forward with determination and responsibility,” he stated.







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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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