Wednesday, February 17, 2021

From Ian:

Clifford May: Despots dominate UN agencies
He [Blinken] added: "When it works well, the Human Rights Council shines a spotlight on countries with the worst human rights records and can serve as an important forum for those fighting injustice and tyranny."

But when has the UNHCR ever worked well? Can you think of one country whose record on human rights has improved thanks to the UNHRC? Does anyone believe that the UNHCR's occasional resolutions on North Korea keep Kim Jong-un awake at night? Here's a clue: At a UNHRC session last month, the North Korean envoy took the stage to accuse Australia of "deep-rooted racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia."

Blinken said he believes that "the best way to improve the Council is to engage." But the Obama administration, in which he served, spent eight years engaging with the UNHRC to no effect.

And, again, why not at least demand a few fundamental reforms in exchange for American participation?

For example, why not insist that the UNHRC stop treating Israel as its whipping boy, year after year issuing more condemnatory resolutions against the Jewish state than any other country? The UNHRC aims to de-legitimize Israel, even as Iran's rulers threaten and incite genocide against that nation – a violation of international law about which the UNHRC is silent.

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I understand President Biden's desire to shore up the international order which, not so long ago, could be characterized as liberal and based on equitable rules. But a growing number of the organizations that give the international order structure and substance are now dominated by despots.

That has increased the peril to the world's health, while both distorting and eroding the very concept of human rights. You think most people around the world see through the lies? I'd be pleased to see evidence to suggest that.

Must we continue funding these organizations? Should we consider establishing alternatives? Are we not at least able to disabuse ourselves of the quaint notion that American engagement alone will – as if by wizardry – transform them?
Ruthie Blum: When abundance breeds contempt
In a recent phone call, a friend complained about the pressure that the Israeli government, media and much of the public have been applying to citizens who refuse to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

As someone who felt that she had been virtually "bullied" into getting inoculated, she was protesting, in particular, the latest carrot-and-stick element of the campaign to rid the country of coronavirus: a proposal to grant certain privileges to those possessing the Health Ministry double-dose certificate.

Among the epidemiological benefits being discussed – aside from the existing exemption from quarantine after exposure to infection – are unhindered entrance into malls, theaters, stadiums and other venues when they reopen.

"Why does it matter whether everyone complies?" she asked, pointing to the warning by officialdom that even after full vaccination, the virus can still strike and be spread. As a result, we've been told, mask-wearing and social distancing will continue to be required for a long time.

She clearly hadn't heard the more encouraging research revealing a serious drop in viral load after a single shot – indicating not only a less severe reaction to infection but a lower chance of transmitting the virus to others. Nevertheless, she is not alone in her resentment on behalf of the anti-coronavirus-vaxxers.

This might seem odd to foreigners envious of the fact that more than half Israel's 9-million-strong population has already received the first dose of the vaccine, and about a quarter has gotten both shots, which means that the country is moving steadily towards Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated goal of inoculating everyone over the age of 16 by the end of March.
Superman Was There When Jews Needed Him Most
In the Spring of 1938, Cleveland was abuzz with talk of “The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.” He was never apprehended, although Cleveland’s Public Safety Director — Eliot Ness, of Untouchables fame for nabbing Al Capone — tried his best.

Instead, the date became famous when two teenagers from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who had worked together on their high school newspaper, saw the first publication of their comic strip — subsequently named “Superman.”

Siegel had never quite recovered from seeing his father die of a heart attack after being beaten up in the family store. Shuster earned nickels delivering newspapers.

Their hero, newspaperman Clark Kent — otherwise known as Superman from planet Krypton — was the creation of two Depression-era Jews, the children of poor immigrant parents.

Jerry Siegel later described his motivation for creating the character as, “Hearing and reading of the oppression and slaughter of helpless, oppressed Jews in Nazi Germany … [and] seeing movies depicting the horrors of the downtrodden.”

But did his unconscious inspiration reach further back to the avenger of Jews, the Golem of Prague? And like Moses’ parents, Superman’s parents had launched him, alone on a perilous journey, to escape doom. Superman’s birth name on Krypton was Kal El — in Hebrew, “Voice of God!”

Vaccine effectiveness hits 95%, HMO says — same level Pfizer achieved in trials
Vaccine effectiveness in a large Israeli sample of inoculated individuals has hit 95 percent, the exact rate anticipated by Pfizer in its clinical trials, Maccabi Healthcare Services announced Wednesday.

It has now fully vaccinated 602,000, and only 608 have been infected, the equivalent of 1 in 1,000, it said. Of these, none have died.

Just 21 of those infected were hospitalized: 11 with mild symptoms, 3 with moderate symptoms and just 7 with severe symptoms. This leads Maccabi’s doctors to believe that the vaccine is not only reducing the number of confirmed patients, but also reducing the severity of illness in those who do fall ill.

When Pfizer achieved 95% efficacy in clinical trials, the medical community was impressed but unsure whether this could be replicated in the real world. Maccabi’s data indicates that it can.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine in Israel is stable and high,” said Maccabi statistics analyst Anat Ekka Zohar.

To measure effectiveness, scientists measure infection levels among people who have had at least a week pass since their second shot, and compare it to rates among unvaccinated people.
Breathe easy: Sheba testing startup's respiratory solution for critically ill COVID patients
Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer has partnered with Raanana-based startup Inspira Technologies to test Inspira's Augmented Respiration Technology as a treatment for patients in critical condition with COVID-19, Inspira announced Wednesday.

Inspira Technologies describes its ART solution as the first technology in the world to directly oxygenate blood. Inspira explains that ART fills a gap in respiratory treatment where supplemental respiratory therapies such as high-pressure masks are insufficient and the risks from mechanical ventilation – such as medically-induced comas, intubation, and lung atrophy – are unjustified.

Director of the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit at Sheba Dr. Alexander Kogan said that the medical center was "very excited to test this breakthrough technology for respiratory distress."

According to Kogan, "With the ART system, hopefully, patients will remain fully conscious during their treatment. We will be able to avoid the use of mechanical ventilation until it's absolutely necessary and spare many patients from the risks of a medically-induced coma. Moreover, we anticipate further development of our novel renal replacement therapy technology for these critically ill patients with the help of Inspira."

Inspira co-founder and CEO Dagi Ben-Noon said, "Collaborating with the Sheba Medical Center is a great opportunity to test the ART system in a real-world environment and demonstrate its ease of use for medical staff and effectiveness for treating patients."

Dr. Sylvie Luria, manager of Sheba's technology transfer company, was responsible for facilitating the trial.

"When we came across Inspira's unique technology, we immediately saw its potential to transform the way we treat patients with respiratory issues," Luria said.
BBC admits it was wrong to suggest Israel had responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians
The BBC has admitted it was wrong to suggest Israel has a responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians against Covid-19 under the terms of the Oslo Accords.

In an interview with journalist Jonathan Sacerdoti for the programme Dateline London, presenter Shaun Ley suggested the peace agreement meant Israel should vaccinate all Palestinians.

Mr Sacerdoti insisted that it was the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, whose own health ministry said it would seek vaccine supplies through the World Health Organisation.

The BBC, following a complaint about the exchange from the public about the programme, which aired on the BBC News Channel on January 16, has since issued a correction and admitted it was wrong.

In a statement to the JC, the BBC rejected suggestions of bias and insisted BBC Arabic shared “the same principles of accuracy and impartiality as BBC News in English”.

In a statement this week it said: “We suggested that under the Oslo Accords, Palestinian healthcare is ultimately the responsibility of the Israeli government.

“Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the Accords, which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, give the Palestine Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.”

The correction comes in the wake of a JC investigation earlier this month that revealed evidence of anti-Israel bias and inaccuracies in the BBC’s Arabic service.
Yisrael Medad: What Has a Map of the Khazar Empire to Do with "Palestine"?
If you visit this site, you'll observe a list of maps of Palestine.

And at the bottom you can see one of the Khazarian Empire:
Background: In 1976, Arthur The Thirteenth Tribe, argued that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Khazars, a Central Asian people who ruled a large kingdom on the Black Sea and apparently converted to Judaism in the 8th century. This hypothesis has been taken up more recently by Shlomo Sand in a book called The Invention of the Jewish People. Koestler, one of the oddest and most extraordinary public intellectuals of the 20th century, wanted to weaken anti-Semitism by demonstrating that many Jews weren’t Semites at all. Sand, a self-avowed post-Zionist who teaches at Tel Aviv University, is apparently driven by the desire to prove that Ashkenazi Israelis are interlopers in the Middle East.

An anti-Semitic canard, it has been going through yet another revival.
California's ethnic-studies curriculum
For more than a-year-and-a-half, StandWithUs has worked tirelessly together with concerned citizens and partners to remove anti-Semitism, anti-Israel bias and other destructive ideas from California’s draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. At the same time, we have pushed for the inclusion of positive education about anti-Semitism and the Jewish people. The stakes are extremely high because California public schools serve 6 million students, and the ESMC is likely to be used as a model in many other states as well.

As the ESMC receives increased national attention, we are providing an update about this critical challenge for California and the nation as a whole.

It is important to put this issue in context.

We face a massive statewide and nationwide threat: Extremists are shamelessly exploiting ethnic studies to promote hate and one-sided political agendas. We cannot allow hatred and ignorance about Jews and Israel to be institutionalized in American public education.

At the same time, we have a huge opportunity: The subject of ethnic studies is meant to give marginalized communities better representation in the classroom. The bill that led to the creation of the ESMC envisioned a “culturally meaningful and relevant curriculum,” educational standards guided by “equity, inclusiveness and universally high expectations,” and an “objective of preparing pupils to be global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures.” These are goals we fully support for other communities and for our own. We can counter anti-Semitism and ignorance by teaching millions of high school students about the struggles and successes of the Jewish people.
Democratic Senate candidate: Israel should 'end' Hezbollah, Hamas
Senate candidate Khaled Salem, an Egyptian-born American who is running as a Democrat against Sen. Chuck Schumer in the 2020 mid-term election, is urging Israel to take definitive action against Hezbollah and Hamas.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Salem, who serves as CEO of the American Human Rights organization, said that not only did Hamas and Hezbollah pose a threat to Israel, but also to peace in the entire Middle East.

"Israel should end these two entities," Salem shared. "It would do them a world of good, while making the entire area more stable." Senate candidate Khaled Salem

Salem's message expressed surprise and disappointment that the two groups were based in countries that receive aid from the international community.

"This matter must end immediately, so the world can also cut Iran's wings in the Middle East," he said.

Salem is also urging Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and leaders of other Arab countries to release all Americans detained on their soil as soon as possible. He is encouraging the Biden administration to take a firm stance on not allowing any Americans to be detained in the Middle East.

As far as US policy in the Middle East as a whole, Salem favors reduced US military activity and presence the region.
Advocates see federal court decision on Arkansas anti-BDS law ‘disappointment,’ not setback
Pro-Israel and Jewish organizations weighed in on the ruling, expressing optimism that the Arkansas law could be amended to address concerns.

“StandWithUs is confident that the desire of the state of Arkansas—to refuse to use taxpayer dollars to enter into contracts with companies that discriminate against Israel—will ultimately prevail despite the recent appellate court decision,” said Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO StandWithUs.

The American Jewish Committee also said it was “disappointed” in the appeals court decision, but noted that the ruling “is not to be read as a blanket condemnation of all such statutes. The court chose to read the statute as prohibiting the state from contracting with people who are participating in a boycott of Israel, even if that participation was wholly unrelated to their state contract.”

As such, AJC said that it does not read the Arkansas BDS law—or other anti-BDS laws in other states—as reaching such unrelated conduct.

Rather, it added, “the statutes constitutionally reach only boycott participation that does, or is likely to, adversely affect the state’s interest in the contract in question.”

AJC said that “Arkansas can easily remedy the flaws in [the] decision, both legislatively and administratively, by limiting the statute and required contractor compliance certificate accordingly.”

Greendorfer said his group looks forward to future proceedings when the core question in the case—whether discriminatory secondary boycotts that are not related to the assertion of underlying constitutional rights of the boycotters are protected by the First Amendment—is addressed.

He explained that “existing Supreme Court precedent, as the District Court and dissent noted, has already answered this question with a definitive ruling that unlike domestic boycotts by those affected by discriminatory government actions”—for example, those by African-Americans in the civil-rights era—“discriminatory secondary boycotts that solely relate to foreign conflicts are not absolute protected speech under the First Amendment.”
David Hirsh: A safe space for hate? How the UCU has an antisemitism problem
Rising the Labour ranks The antisemitism spread into the wider trade union movement and then into the Labour Party. The story of how it coalesced into the Corbyn faction and came close to Downing Street is now well understood.

It has been told in books, journalism, the Jewish press and social media. It has been told in the testimonies of the victims of antisemitism who were excluded and demonized, not least the women, Luciana Burger, Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth, Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman, Rachel Riley and Tracy-Anne oberman, who were subjected to relentless waves of misogynist and sexually violent antisemitism.

And the story has been told by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the statutory body set up by the last Labour Government to defend the Equality Act. EHRC focused on the way the culture in the Party had othered opponents of antisemitism by treating them as a conspiracy to ‘smear’ and to ‘fake’. EHRC also said that antisemitism took hold in the institution and culture of the Party, that it was not only hatred that was important but also the roles played by ordinary members and officials.

Back on campus
Now that movement is re-grouping back on campus and in the UCU. The rump of Labour antisemitism is trying to disavow the most explicit Jew-hate that coalesced with it when it went mainstream, and to purify itself again in an academic and respectable discourse of ‘criticism of Israel’.

The IHRA definition of antisemitism is a response to this kind of antisemitism. It offers eleven examples of the kinds of things which Jews know and scholars have shown are often antisemitic. It says that when such examples are seen, then a judgment should be made according to the context of the particular case. That is why the UCU antizionists fear IHRA.

The UCU never faced up to what it became or what it did. The clever people on campus and in the union are carrying right on – teaching our young people that between ‘us’ and ‘socialism’ stands ‘Zionism’.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Apparently Hebrew Has Words Other Than ‘Tikkun Olam’ …? By Rabbi Andy Kahn (satire)
Today I Learned that the language of most of the Hebrew Bible contains words that are not ‘Tikkun’ and ‘Olam.’ I was Today Years Old when I discovered that. Who knew?

For the uninitiated, ‘Tikkun Olam’ means “repairing the world,” and it bespeaks the supreme, ancient Jewish value of subordinating all other values to twenty-first-century American progressive politics.

Imagine my shock, then, to discover that the language of the Bible, even the Bible itself, contains many other words. Hundreds of thousands of them, even millions! One rando on Twitter even had the audacity to mention that the word “Tikkun” itself occurs not at all in the Bible, with the root T-K-N (Hebrew has roots? I guess you DO need roots if your language has more than two words, huh?) appearing less than a handful of times, and the word “Olam” appearing many, many times, but in only two of those cases does it mean “world” and not “eternity.” Can you believe that?! I couldn’t either! Next you’re going to tell me solidarity with Palestine isn’t in the Ten Commandments! (I wonder what language was used for those?)

Words in Yiddish, I do know. “Shanda,” for example. It’s related etymologically to the English “scandal,” but it means more like “You should be ashamed!” and it sounds better because Yiddish. Everything sounds more authentically Jewish in Yiddish. That’s why Mizrahi Jews only count as Jews when being invoked to prove Israel is a racist endeavor. Jews with a Semitic language as their mother tongue? You’ve got to be kidding me. They don’t even eat gefilte fish, and – this came as a shock to me also – Mizrahi tradition eschews the eating of dairy and fish together – how can they be authentically Jewish if they won’t eat a bagel with lox and a shmear of cream cheese?! Pull the other one, sand Jew.
AP, WaPo, LA Times Blame Israel For Hamas Decision to Restrict Women’s Rights
The Associated Press (AP) this week published a story titled, Hamas court says women need guardian’s approval to travel, that was reprinted by mainstream media outlets such as The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Incredibly, the article drew a connection between a decision by the Palestinian terrorist group to severely curtail women’s rights in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the enclave.

How exactly does a security measure imposed in response to incessant attacks against the Jewish state, as well as the smuggling of weaponry through the Sinai Peninsula and Hamas’ support for terrorists therein, have anything to do with an internal policy enacted by Gaza’s Islamist rulers?

Sharia law imposed in Gaza? The blockade made Hamas do it.

The first paragraph of the article, widely considered by professional journalists to be the most important, exposes a form of bias:
A Hamas-run Islamic court in the Gaza Strip has ruled that women require the permission of a male guardian to travel, further restricting movement in and out of the territory that has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt since the militant group seized power.”

While author Fares Akram does not go so far as to openly hold Jerusalem accountable for the Sharia Judicial Council’s decision to forbid unmarried women from traveling without the permission of a male “guardian,” he reveals his actual agenda by making an association between two unrelated circumstances. Inadvertently or not, Akram is engaging in a type of manipulation known in the world of public relations as ‘transfer.’ By doing so, he is conjuring up a negative image of Israel while deflecting attention away from Hamas’ authoritarianism.
BBC Arabic corrects more inaccurate portrayals of Israel’s capital
Readers may recall that last October BBC Arabic corrected five out of ten reports which erroneously referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel. Nevertheless, those corrections did not bring about a substantial change in editorial policy and soon after they were made, yet another report was published with the exact same error.

Following our post on the matter in November, two more false references to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel appeared in late December 2020 and early January 2021.

Later in January – after several reminders from CAMERA Arabic – BBC Arabic finally adhered to its own previous editorial decision not to refer to the Israeli government as “Tel Aviv”. It corrected all the remaining eight reports published between July 2020 and January 2021 that included the inaccuracy, bringing the total number of corrections on that issue to thirteen.

BBC Arabic editors also assured CAMERA Arabic that “internal actions” were taken with the journalists who edited the reports in question and that “a reminder to all staff” about the outlet’s impartiality guidelines was subsequently sent.

BBC Arabic hence joins a growing list of media outlets which acknowledge that Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel.
Independent Arabia frames Palestinian terror glorification as 'activism'
Part I. Independent Arabia says online “Palestinian content” is under persecution; extensively quotes “digital rights”-oriented NGOs but fails to deliver concrete examples

As the worldwide debate surrounding social media content restrictions intensifies, a news story about online censorship used against Palestinians because of their nationality or political views bears considerable traffic potential, making it desirable to publish (from the perspectives of the journalist and the outlet, at least). Judging by its headline, Independent Arabia’s October 31st, 2020 report, authored by the website’s Gaza correspondent ‘Izz ad-Deen Abu ‘Eisheh, seems to provide just that to its readers:


In the body of the report, (admittedly, not the first of its kind; see “Facebook Chains the Palestinians’ Virtual Mouths” from May 2019) Abu ‘Eisheh indicates that recent weeks saw a significant increase in the number of Palestinian Twitter accounts that were suspended, removed or partially blocked. The two “experts in Israeli affairs” he interviews on the issue, each on behalf of his respective social media oriented (“digital rights”) NGO, are adamant that this is in fact part of an ongoing operation, jointly orchestrated by Twitter and the Israeli government which aims to further oppress Palestinians.

The first is Iyad Rifai, who heads the NGO “Sada Social”. Quite characteristically for a civil society activist from the Palestinian Territories, his main argument against Twitter’s response to Israeli alerts (about bots posting hateful anti-Israel content) involved hurling the usual “International Law!!” mantra around without apparent relevance, let alone well-formulated logic:
Tom Bateman continues to cloud the Oslo Accords despite BBC clarification
As noted here previously, on February 9th the BBC acknowledged, in response to a complaint, that the Oslo Accords “give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health”. Nevertheless, even after the publication of that clarification the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman continued to promote the simplistic and erroneous notion that it is Israel’s responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians.

The February 11th edition of BBC World Service radio’s ‘Coronavirus Global Update’ podcast was titled “Israel begins vaccinating Palestinian labourers” and its synopsis read:

“Believed to be first time Israel has offered jabs to non health workers from West Bank.”

Presenter Jackie Leonard introduced that lead item (from 00:20 here): [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Leonard: “Israel has begun vaccinating small numbers of Palestinians who enter the country to work. It’s believed to be the first time the Israelis have offered jabs to Palestinians from the occupied West Bank other than health workers there. Israel’s impressive Coronavirus vaccine drive has been the fastest in the world but its reluctance to include Palestinians living under occupation has attracted international criticism. Tom Bateman reports from Jerusalem.”

Bateman: “Tens of thousands of West Bank Palestinians work inside Israel, many on farms or building sites. There’s been growing pressure on Israel’s government to immunise them. Health officials said around 700 people were vaccinated, although the figure also included Palestinians from East Jerusalem who already come under Israel’s vaccine programme. Israel has immunised Palestinian staff in its hospitals, some prisoners and has delivered two thousand doses to Palestinian officials for West bank health workers. But this latest move amounts to a first, extending Israeli vaccines to some Palestinian labourers.”

As we see, while providing yet more amplification to the opportunistic political campaign concerning Corona vaccinations that the BBC has been promoting since early January, no effort was made to inform listeners that under the 1995 Oslo Accords “[p]owers and responsibilities in the sphere of Health in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” were transferred to the Palestinian Authority.
Polish Government’s Campaign to Control Holocaust Research Set to Continue, Warns Jan Grabowski, Historian at Center of Major Libel Trial
The historian at the center of a precedent-setting, Holocaust-related libel case in Poland warned on Tuesday that next year’s commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the deportation of more than 250,000 Warsaw Jews to the Treblinka extermination camp could be compromised by the country’s nationalist government.

“In 2022, we will have the 80th anniversary of the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto — let’s see whether the Polish government can resist the temptation to use this occasion to celebrate Polish virtue,” Prof. Jan Grabowski told The Algemeiner in an extensive telephone interview.

“If it was to become a joyful festival for nationalists to celebrate how ‘we helped our neighbors,’ that would be a catastrophe from a historical perspective,” said Grabowski, a specialist on Polish-Jewish relations during the Nazi occupation who teaches at the University of Ottawa in Canada.

Together with his colleague, the Polish scholar Dr. Barbara Engelking, Grabowski was ordered by a court in Warsaw on Feb. 9 to apologize to the plaintiff, who brought her case to court under legislation passed by the Polish parliament in 2018 that subjects historians and others who research Polish civilian collusion with the Nazi occupation to civil libel suits.

The law has served as the central instrument of a broader campaign by Poland’s conservative nationalist government to depict Poles solely as victims of the Nazis who saved their Jewish neighbors whenever they were able to do so — a version of World War II history that Grabowski described as “mythology.”
Bulgarian Authorities Lauded for Banning Neo-Fascist March for Second Year Running
The authorities in Bulgaria have won praise from Jewish groups for banning a pro-fascist march in the capital Sofia for the second year running.

First held in Sofia in 2003, the Lukov March annually has drawn neo-Nazis from elsewhere in Europe to Sofia in tribute to Gen. Hristo Lukov, who led the fascist Union of Bulgarian National Legions in the 1930s until his assassination in Feb. 1943.

Successfully banned in 2020, the February 13, 2021, Lukov March was again the subject of a banning order by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova. Police prevented a large-scale procession going ahead, though wreaths were laid outside Lukov’s house in central Sofia during last Saturday’s march, the Sofia Globe reported.

Shalom — the communal body representing Bulgaria’s Jewish community of under 6,000 — expressed its gratitude for the thwarting of the Lukov March to Fandukova, national coordinator against antisemitism Georg Georgiev, and other officials.

“The Bulgarian state has once again shown that it pursues a consistent and categorical policy against intolerance and hate speech, and in particular against the manifestation of antisemitism, xenophobia, hatred and intolerance in the form of a march through the streets of Sofia,” Shalom said in a statement.

“Once again, we would like to sincerely thank you for taking concrete steps to reduce the threat of far-right nationalism,” the organization said.
Web creator Wix revenue jumps to almost $1 billion as virus sends firms online, an Israeli firm that helps small businesses build and operate websites, said Wednesday that it had posted a “phenomenal year,” with 2020 revenue jumping 30 percent as enterprises turned online to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic social distancing restrictions.

The Tel Aviv-based company said that revenue for the full year came in at $989 million. Fourth-quarter revenue was $283 million, up 38% year on year, the company said. Losses widened, however, as research and development costs and other expenses rose.

The net loss for full year 2020 was $217 million compared to a net loss of $86 million in 2019. For the quarter, the net loss came in at some $63 million, compared to a net loss of $22 million for the fourth quarter of 2019.

“We have concluded the most successful year in our company’s history. In 2020, over 31 million new registered users joined Wix, we added nearly 1 million net new subscriptions, and we crossed $1 billion of annual collections for the first time. It was truly humbling to help lift millions of businesses through an extremely challenging year,” said Avishai Abrahami, co-founder and CEO of Wix.

He added that Wix can become a “dominant player” on the internet, “democratizing access and providing a place where the majority of people will build their web presence. My goal and belief is that at this rate of growth, in the next 5-7 years, 50% of anything new built on the internet will be done on Wix.”
Israel Aerospace Industries Unveils New Electro-Optical Surveillance System
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has unveiled MegaPOP, an advanced electro-optical surveillance system developed by TAMAM, its electro-optical and navigation system house. MegaPOP was designed for land duties such as marine and land border control, surveillance, or other missions that may require long surveillance performances.

MegaPOP can tape video on a thermal/HD channel at night or day and has continuous zoom capabilities, providing the user with high-quality footage under the most strenuous of weather conditions. It contains new sensor and laser features alongside digital tracking, image processing, and data processing to automate surveillance.

“MegaPOP is the outcome of decades of experience accumulated at IAI in developing some of the world’s most advanced surveillance systems, including inertial navigation,” said Avi Elisha, IAI’s TAMAM Division GM at the Systems, Missiles, and Space Group. “With MegaPOP, our customers will benefit from advanced and improved surveillance performance in every arena that demands uncompromised image quality, tough weather conditions, and optical threat detection in especially long ranges. MegaPOP offers a new standard to the global ER/IO market. We are proud to provide our global clients with another advanced solution.”
Association in Gulf States to Boost Regional Jewish Life From ‘Beit Din’ to Kosher Agency
As Jewish life continues to flourish and grow in the Gulf states, the local Jewish communities of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have officially come together to form the first working organization: the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities (AGJC).

Led by Dubai-based Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie and Bahrain-based Association President Ebrahim Daoud Nonoo, the organization will also include AGJC board members from each gulf country, hoping to “unite the Jewish communities under one umbrella organization that will provide the necessary religious, spiritual and life-cycle services for communities, families and individuals,” Abadie told JNS.

Sharing the common goal and vision for Jewish life in the Gulf to flourish for the benefit of both residents and visitors, the group is partnering on different communal programs and services, such as establishing the Beth Din of Arabia (the first Jewish court in the region) to assist with issues pertaining to personal status, inheritance and voluntary business dispute resolutions in the region. The Arabian Kosher Certification Agency is also in the process of being created to oversee kashrut (kosher certification) regionally using the same set of standards throughout all six Gulf countries to make it easier for Jewish individuals to live in or travel around the Gulf.

“While our communities vary in size, we each have something to offer the other and by combining our resources we can strengthen Jewish life in the Gulf,” Nonoo told JNS. “For example, the larger communities such as the ones in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates can assist those in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar when it comes to sending them matzah for Passover or yahrzeit candles for shivah.”
Dutch-Jewish resistance hero speaks of terrifying moment the Nazis nearly caught her
A Jewish Holocaust survivor who fought in the Dutch resistance has spoken about the moment she came terrifying close to being caught by the Nazis while travelling under a false name.

Selma van de Perre, who spent years concealing her Jewish identity, went under the alias ‘Marga’ as she criss-crossed the Netherlands delivering critical documents including letters and false identity papers.

Early in her double life, she was stopped by German officers while holding a ‘huge suitcase’ full of boxes of illegal documents, en route to Poland.

“I had to open it and I was very anxious of course,” she recalled.
“I thought, that’s the end of me. But when I opened it and he saw the parcels, he just said OK.
“So I went outside but I was trembling tremendously. I was very scared.”

Last week, the 97-year-old Londoner accepted a royal distinction from her native Netherlands.

Karel van Oosterom, the Dutch ambassador to the UK, and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau were among the 100-plus guests to honour the nonagenerian, who was liberated from Ravensbruck concentration camp on 23 April 1945.

Mrs van de Perre was shocked by the number of people who tuned in to watch her receive the title of Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau, awarded for longstanding meritorious service to society.

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