Thursday, February 25, 2021

From Ian:

BDS Is Anti-Semitic
I rarely ever feel comfortable talking about Israel in a university setting, despite the fact that the land of Israel is such a dearly held part of my Jewish identity. I have always found it interesting that sweeping dismissals of this part of my Jewish identity, the part that is tied to Israel, are so very welcomed in certain academic and progressive circles. In these groups, it feels like everyone else has the right to defend their cultural, ethnic and religious identities except for the Jew.

On Feb. 9, 2021, the student government at the University of California, Irvine voted 19-3 to pass a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution. BDS stands for the boycott of, divestment from and sanctions on the current Jewish state of Israel. The BDS movement will not be satisfied until there is no Jewish state existing within the land of Israel.

From a principled perspective, the notion of divesting from one nation in the name of helping an entirely separate nation strikes me as odd. Why divest from Israel to help under-resourced Palestinians? Why not invest directly in Palestinian aid or grassroots movements?

It is a lack of satisfactory answers to these questions that leaves me and many other Jewish people feeling like these movements are more about opposing Jewish self-determination than they are about supporting Palestinian liberation.

Calling for the mass boycott of Israel is a way to publicly stand against the existence of a Jewish nation in a land that Jews are indigenous to. In doing so, the movement is denying a huge part of the Jewish identity from having an acceptable place in social life. If that is not anti-Semitism, what is?
David Collier: Na’amod – toxic anti-Zionism with no students to be seen
Nobody should be in any doubt that the group called Na’amod are at the core – an anti-Zionist organisation that was set up to undermine Jewish community support for Israel. They are targeting our children and their focus on the ‘occupation’ and ‘Gaza’ is little more than a strategic deflection.

If you mistakenly think Na’amod is some innocent student ‘anti-occupation group’ – you will be shocked to find out what they are really about – and who is helping to fund their attacks on the Jewish institutions (such as on the JNF, Zionist Federation or the Board of Deputies). Want to know more – Read on.

Talking about Na’amod
I rarely acknowledge Na’amod – it is a Jewish-led organisation that sits to the left of the left on the political spectrum. Like most astroturf groups they need external attention to survive. It is why for Na’amod, provocation is a primary strategy.

This is what they do. They provoke – Zionists respond – they play the victim – they get attention. When you respond to them – when you speak their name – you give them oxygen.

It is why I never rise to their bait – never allow them to dictate the narrative. This article on Na’amod is different. It had to be written as a vital part of our community conversation.

The journey begins last Tuesday. I tuned in to an Oxford University Zoom talk by Jamie Stern-Weiner. It was about the history of the IHRA definition of Antisemitism and his entire argument was to suggest the examples included in the IHRA definition were never properly adopted by the IHRA as part of the definition itself. A pointless exercise that included cherry-picking comments from those involved when it suited him – and ignoring them when it did not.

Unlike the Jewish, academic, anti-Zionist old guard, such as Jonathan Rosenhead, Stern-Weiner is a fresh face. Yet the talk was incredibly boring. His delivery is poor and he fails to spark any interest or emotion in what he has to say. Unlike fanatics such as Tony Greenstein, he remains coherent but after a while I just found myself zoning out. He has the air of a man who thinks he is intellectually superior. Weiner’s problem is that he isn’t as clever as he thinks he is.
It's Time for Black People to Reclaim the Term "Apartheid"
As a young black South African, I am reminded that our parents and grandparents were compelled to live under the viciously discriminatory system of apartheid. Precisely because we South Africans know intimately what apartheid involved, we have a duty to question whether it is an appropriate term to be used in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Apartheid was about race, not religion or nationality, the domination by one race over another. By contrast, Arab citizens of Israel enjoy the same rights and freedoms as Jewish Israelis. Comparisons between the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the bantustans in apartheid South Africa are absurd. As foreign governments refused to recognize them, economic aid was withheld, while the PA has received billions of dollars in aid from international governments. It already looks after a range of functions in Palestinian society, including policing functions and healthcare.

Unlike black people in apartheid South Africa, Arabs in Israel are entitled to vote in national elections and elect their own representatives. They currently have the third-largest party in the Israeli Knesset. In Israel, Arabs are found in the highest ranks of political, civil and even military life. Arabs in Israel enjoy more freedom than those living in the rest of the Middle East.

Those who apply the term "apartheid" to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse are guilty of cultural appropriation by denying the uniqueness of the racism and hatred that we faced and overcame with much blood and tears.
10 Things You Never Knew About Israeli Arabs

UN malpractice harms Palestinian children - opinion
Back in 2017, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., introduced a House resolution to prohibit “US assistance to Israel from being used to support the military detention, interrogation or ill-treatment of Palestinian children.” It included a proposed budget of $19 million for human rights NGOs to monitor the treatment of 12- to 17-year-old Palestinian youth detained by the Israeli military. Two years ago, a similar bill was introduced and we have no doubt that dozens of Democrats will join McCollum in 2021 to push this narrative which paints a picture of Israelis bent on seeking out innocent children to traumatize with the butts of their rifles or worse.

McCollum is right to raise the issue of the safety and trauma of children everywhere in the world, including the Holy Land. Tragically for targeted and abused Palestinian children, she is willfully blind to the main perpetrators – Palestinian adults, from genocidal Hamas that uses summertime to train child soldiers and to get children to fill balloons not with helium but with kerosene to float towards Israeli kindergartens, to the Palestinian Authority itself which spends more on its diabolical pay-to-slay Jews rewards program than it does on welfare for the poor.

This is a pivotal moment for Palestinians not only because there is a new US president, but because the Middle East peace train has already left the station without them. Don’t blame the Emirates or Bahrain or Morocco. It wasn’t they who boycotted an international conference devoted to improving the economic situation of every Palestinian family, it was the PA and Hamas.

Some of the main enablers of this sorry state of affairs, rife with danger for Palestinian children, lies within the nomenclature of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA.
Canada deepens probe into UNRWA's anti-Israel school textbook materials
A February report by IMPACT-se shows that educational materials for Palestinian students have not been changed to be less anti-Israel since UNRWA promised it would tweak them back in November, when the UN organization in charge of Palestinian relief came under investigation for the materials.

Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was forced to answer for it in the Canadian Parliament. Canada has committed C$90 million ($72 m.) in the last year to UNRWA.

Since the report, the materials have actually been locked away, "blocking further external scrutiny," the report states.

Conservative MP Marty Morantz raised concerns over the problematic UNRWA-subsidized material being taught to Palestinian children.

Morantz quoted some examples, including encouraging Palestinian students to "defend the motherland with blood," and "portraying child-murdering terrorists as heroes," while depicting Israel as the enemy.
Now the Israel Haters Turn on Facebook
You can say you don’t like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Facebook — or any other social media platform — won’t look twice. You can also freely criticize Israeli policy towards the Palestinians.

But according to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the US State Department, and others, if you say Zionism is inherently racist — especially if you have no quarrel with far more ethnically or religiously homogeneous countries — you’ve crossed the line into antisemitism.

On Wednesday, Israel bashers went to Facebook offices in the United States, Europe, and even in Israel, to present petitions insisting they be allowed to continue spewing their bigotry and hatred.

Facebook is reportedly considering updating its hate speech policy to include negative references to Zionists and Zionism, and that development has groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslims for Palestine, the BDS movement, and MPower Change worried. The petitions are part of a campaign called “Facebook, We Need to Talk.”

During an online program promoting the petition effort, University of California, Berkeley, professor Judith Butler engaged in the very stereotyping behavior that is fueling the debate. Jews who are Zionists inherently cannot be good, she said.

“It’s not because they’re Jewish that they’re wrong. It’s because they’re Zionists. And as Jews, they have a chance not to be Zionists. So we should be encouraging that position because that’s the only possible, just position.”


The dangerous anti-Semitism of SNL and its media cronies
It wasn't shocking that this past Saturday night, an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel (yes, anti-Zionism is equivalent to anti-Semitism) joke was casually said on the NBC show Saturday Night Live. What was surprising was that the "comedy" bit made the social-media rounds shortly afterward, mostly in disgust by Jews who still watch the tiresome show. Anti-Zionism racism most strongly entered the mainstream during the Obama years, when the BDS movement really took hold in liberal colleges across North America. The Jewish homeland was erroneously maligned while pro-Israel advocates were being labeled as "radicals" for standing up to student groups espousing anti-Semitism.

Jews have always been able to take a collective joke well, even if it falls within the news framework. Jews don't behead anyone Charlie Hebdo-style for making fun of prophets, nor do they find fault with those who make humorous observations about myriad mannerisms, cultural practices and dietary laws (particularly of the Ashkenazi variety). However, there is a fine line between comedy and untruths. Humor halts though when the only Jewish country in the world – one that gives its Arab minority equal rights, and where they freely vote, and yes, get vaccinated like any other citizen of Israel – is falsely accused of trying to withhold life-saving coronavirus support.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that gave refuge not only to the nearly 1 million Jews expelled from the Arab world, to the European Jewish survivors of the Holocaust – the vilest atrocity in modern history – but has given a home to the Circassians and the Baha'i who were persecuted in Iran. And lest the anti-Semites forget, Israel did not banish Arabs who wished to remain in 1948 as regional Arab armies were attacking Israel while promising a swift annihilation of the Jews.

Anti-Semitism should have been the original #MeToo movement, but for decades, it only applied to neo-Nazi hate – not to anti-Israel casual cultural anti-Semitism, which is far more pervasive. It took the likes of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to equate Jews to termites, as well as other horrific slurs and tropes iterated in the United States and elsewhere before a real backlash occurred. In 2020, as COVID raged globally, out came old anti-Semitic quips from TV celebrities, sports stars, musicians and more. Social media became the ideal outlet to spread falsehoods about Israel and the Jews.
Producers Behind Controversial ‘Nurses’ Episode Apologize for False Portrayal of Orthodox Jews
Canadian producers apologized for the offensive and inaccurate portrayal of Orthodox Jews in an episode of its television medical drama “Nurses” following outcry from prominent Jewish organizations and leaders.

“Nurses” is produced by Toronto’s ICF Films, Entertainment One and Corus Entertainment.

In a statement sent to Honest Reporting Canada, which was shared on Twitter on Thursday, Entertainment One and Corus Entertainment said, “We take matters of this nature very seriously and deeply regret all inaccuracies related to religious beliefs as well as the negative portrayal of any religious community in our content, characters and storylines. We sincerely apologize to the Jewish community, our viewers and series fans, and are working to understand what transpired and ensure our research practices are exhaustive moving forward and lead only to well-informed storylines.”

Corus Entertainment “shares these concerns raised about the episode,” the statement added, “and have removed it from all digital platforms and future airings on our networks,” which include Canada’s Global Television Network.

“Nurses,” filmed and set in Toronto, takes place in a hospital and was acquired by NBC in 2020. The controversy was sparked by episode 8 from the show’s first season, titled “Achilles Heel,” which aired in Canada last year on Global Television Network and on NBC on Feb. 9.
NBC Pulls 'Nurses' Episode After Massive Backlash Over 'Jew face,' 'Anti-Semitic' Scene
NBC is pulling an episode of its medical drama Nurses after falling under heavy fire for an “anti-Semitic” scene, in which a Hasidic patient refuses a bone graft from a “goyim” — the Yiddish word for a non-Jewish person.

“The graft, where does it come from?” asks the Hasidic patient in the scene.

“It’s called an allo bone graft, it’s harvested from a deceased donor,” replies the doctor.

“A goyim leg, from anyone, an Arab? A woman?” asks a second Hasidic character.

“Or God forbid an Arab woman,” says a third character.

Allison Josephs — founder of the nonprofit organization Jew in the City — resurfaced the clip Tuesday on Twitter, where she included her blog post calling on NBC to apologize for its Nurses scene.

“There is no prohibition on getting a dead body part surgically inserted into one’s body,” wrote Jospehs. “In fact, Jewish law says we should use the best medicine of our times to recover from our illnesses.”

“There is no prohibition to get a non-Jewish body part inserted, nor is there a prohibition if the part belongs to a woman or an Arab,” she added. “The idea that such a surgery would be problematic in general or problematic because of where the bone came from not only is categorically false according to Jewish law, it is a vicious lie that endangers men who walk around with curled side locks and black hats.”
An Open Letter to Peter Beinart
Your defense of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is touching - not due to its intelligence and insight, but because it reminds me of the naïve words of Anne Frank claiming that “people are really good at heart”. In other words, you project your pet ideas and aspirations on people with very different values to those you – and Anne Frank – were raised with.

In “Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine“, you make a seemingly erudite argument for a one-state solution in Eretz Israel. The argument is flawed because it fails to recognize that the current inequality between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land does not just reflect IDF coercion or the power of Jewish wealth. This inequality reflects a pre-existing cultural, religious and ethical chasm.

This chasm would not be mitigated by a one-state solution. A one-state solution would exacerbate it. The reason is simple: Palestinians have always aspired to more than what they can realistically achieve. When the yishuv and the United Nations offered them independence and equality, they fought for the destruction of the Jewish state; when the state of Israel conquered Judea and Samaria, the PLO only recognized Israel’s existence in order to expiate its support for Saddam Hussein.

Now that a full return to 1967 borders is no longer on the table, Mahmoud Abbas finally qualified the so-called “right of return” of Palestinian refugees. All this suggests that if Palestinians were granted equality, they would use this equality to achieve their 1948 goal of expelling all Jews from their homeland.

Can you imagine Jews choosing bloodshed over compromise at every turn of history? Can you imagine Jews siphoning $350 million every year from healthcare and education to pay off the relatives of stabbers and suicide bombers? Can you imagine Jews launching rockets from hospitals and schools in the hope that retaliatory attacks provide them with valuable PR images of butchered children?
Pro-Palestinian Activist Accosts Mayoral Candidate Yang for Anti-BDS Stance
New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, also a former Democratic candidate for president, was confronted over his strong opposition to BDS by a group that included Malik Hassan from the Muslim American Society New York and the Democratic Socialists of America while touring businesses in Brooklyn, NY.

According to a video published on Twitter by Politico reporter Joe Anuta, Hassan, who has defended the Hamas terrorist organization in the past, accused Yang of comparing the Palestinians to the Nazis.

“Saying that it is akin to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses, that completely disappoints many Palestinian activists, many Arabs and many Muslims,” said Hassan.

Yang replied that he had “never made comments to that effect.” When he attempted to walk away, he was temporarily prevented from leaving.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ahashverosh Enlists J-Street To Oppose Temple Reconstruction (satire)
Shushan, Achaemenid Empire, February 17 – The emperor issued a proclamation today boasting that his administration has earned the support of a progressive Jewish group that bills itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” in ceasing rebuilding of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem, pointing to that support as evidence of his attentiveness to Jewish concerns and that he could not possibly be antisemitic.

Ahashverosh announced via his extensive courier system that J Street endorses his policy of preventing continued work on the reconstruction of the Temple, and that unlike other, suspicious elements in his realm, that organization understands that allowing the Jews to reassert sovereignty of any sort, even religious autonomy, in their ancestral homeland would threaten the stability of all one-hundred-twenty-seven provinces of the empire, so they should just keep their heads down and not pretend they enjoy the same rights as other people, if they know what’s good for them.

The king halted work on the Temple that began more than a decade ago under Cyrus the Mede. At the time, Cyrus issued broad permission for peoples under his domain exiled or scattered by previous empires to return to their places of national origin and reestablish themselves as subject political entities. Tens of thousands of Jews availed themselves of the proclamation, while millions more remained in what had been the Neo-Babylonian Empire that exiled the Jews from Judah and destroyed the Temple there. Many of those who remained, however, contributed funds to support the resettlement and reconstruction effort.

J-Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami stated that his organization rose to combat the common misperception that the Jews give monolithic support to their own redemption and restoration. “Mainstream organizations and outlets have ignored or suppressed dissenting voices in the Perso-Median-Jewish community,” he explained. “Not that we’re anti-Jewish restoration! We simply oppose achieving it at the expense of other values, such as total Jewish subservience to non-Jews. If Jews doing something collectively sparks non-Jewish anger or opposition, we must avoid that something. We’re pro-Jewish, pro-Temple, and we’re also pro-anti-Jewish, pro-anti-Temple.”
Israeli Troops ‘Executed’ Terrorist? British Media Spread Biased ‘Investigation’
Sometimes the lows to which some NGOs stoop to attack Israel are truly breathtaking. After a Palestinian man crashed his car into a checkpoint near Jerusalem in 2020, it was abundantly clear that his actions were deliberate. But apparently not to journalists at the Guardian and Sky News, who are taking a malicious, tendentious anti-Israel ‘investigation’ far too seriously.

Before directly addressing the reporting and the original investigation by Forensic Architecture titled “The Extra-Judicial killing of Ahmad Erekat”, funded by the radical anti-Israel group Al-Haq, it’s worth taking a moment to watch a video of the incident.

Footage of the incident clearly shows Erekat’s car speeding up at the last moment, and simultaneously suddenly veering rightwards — directly at a group of Israeli border police, one of whom is sent flying through the air by the force of the impact.

Within moments of the crash, the driver hastily exits his vehicle and the startled troops shoot him in self-defense before he could continue the attack.

Before proceeding any further, it should be pointed out that there is a recent history of Palestinian terrorists using cars to ram Israeli troops, police officers, and civilians. In one horrific case, a three-month old baby was killed. There has also been a pattern of such attacks proceeding to a secondary stage, in which assailants have exited their vehicles and then used knives to attack Israelis.

Back to the incident analyzed by the Forensic Architecture ‘study.’ According to Sky News’s Mark Stone, “The video showed him exiting the car and walking backwards with his arms raised as he is shot several times.”

That’s a spectacularly misleading, false description. Erakat was not “walking backwards.” He exited his car swiftly and in a manner that was taken to be aggressive, especially given what had happened a second earlier. In the video above, Erekat car door opens at 0:05, and he plants a foot on the ground at 0:06. Within two seconds, he is on the ground having been shot multiple times (0:08). Those are facts. The statement that he was “walking backwards” is not.
Guardian, Sky and Indy promote Forensic Architecture's anti-Israel propaganda
FA suggests that it may have been a driver “error or a vehicle malfunction”, but the report offers literally zero evidence to back up either far-fetched scenario. First, what mechanical error would make the car behave that way? And, how could this conceivably be a driver’s error? Are we to believe Erekat’s foot ‘accidentally’ pressed down on the accelerator, and that, at the same time, his hands ‘accidentally’ turned the steering wheel to the right?

Also telling is FA’s own 3-D computer generated video of the car’s trajectory. At 3:25 of their video, they show a different view of the car’s collision. Watch (2 seconds in) as the car initially veers slightly to the left, presumably to avoid hitting the rectangle shaped barrier in front of the booth, and enabling the car to achieve greater velocity when making a hard right directly into the booth.

This would suggest that the driver knew exactly what he was doing.

Regarding the second point, that the soldiers’ lives weren’t in danger when they fired at Ahmad: Let’s remember the context. Prior to this incident, there had been dozens of such car ramming attacks in recent years, in which Palestinians intentionally rammed into security personnel or civilians in a similar manner.

Also, Shani Orr Hama Kadosh, the Israeli border police officer whom Ahmad hit, said in an interview that it clearly appeared to be intentional. Times of Israel reported:
“I signaled to him to halt, the car started to slow down, and I moved in his direction,” Kadosh told Channel 13 news. “He saw that I took a step, he looked me in the eye, turned the steering wheel and rammed into me, and I flew to the other side” of the median.

Additionally, despite the fact that the soldier only suffered minor injures, soldiers at the scene saw the car swerve into the booth, and an impact that sent Kodesh flying through the air.

Ahmad then exited the vehicle, and was moving erratically away from the scene. Though that scene only lasted a couple of seconds, Ahmad’s movements hardly seem like those of someone completely innocent who had ‘accidentally’ veered his car into soldiers.

Soldiers, given the events that had transpired during that brief time, and who had mere seconds to react, seem to have had reason to believe it was a terror attack.

Finally, it’s telling that, as noted by Joe Truzman, research analyst on Palestinian/Mid-East terror groups, Salafi-Jihadist groups in Gaza recognised it as an intentional terror attack:
LA Times Corrects Netanyahu Didn’t Threaten to Annex All of West Bank
CAMERA’s Israel office this week prompted correction of a Los Angeles Times opinion column which erroneously reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to annex the entire West Bank.

Nicholas Goldberg’s Feb. 21 Op-Ed (“The long demise of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process“) had stated: “Netanyahu has gone so far as to threaten to annex the entire West Bank.” Netanyahu’s annexation plan involved parts of Area C of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and settlements elsewhere in the territory, amounting to a total of some 30 percent of the disputed West Bank.

When the plan was still on the table this past summer, Haaretz reported that Netanyahu indicated that Jericho, the biggest population center of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, would remain a Palestinian enclave in the Jordan Valley, meaning that Israel does not have a claim to Jericho, although it is in the Jordan Valley.

In an April 6, 2019 Channel 12 (Israel) interview with Rena Matzliach, Netanyahu vowed to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank, along with the smaller outposts that Israel considers illegal; not the entire West Bank.
‘The Washington Post’ wants to pick Israel’s leader
The Washington Post’s editorial board has a fixation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Post’s board has devoted considerable column space to attacking the democratically elected leader of the Jewish state. But the obsession, and frequently unhinged tone, reveals more about the newspaper and its attitudes toward Israel than it does about the Israeli leader.

The Post’s latest blast appeared in a Feb. 17, 2021 editorial titled “Biden delivers a snub to Israel’s Netanyahu—and for good reason.” The Post hailed the fact that “during the first four weeks of the new U.S. administration,” President Joe Biden “spoke by phone with the leaders of virtually every major U.S. ally, along with those of Russia and China. But he did not call Mr. Netanyahu” until Feb. 16.

The Post claimed that if the belated call was a snub, it was justified, as “Mr. Netanyahu has a long history of allying himself with U.S. Republicans and of seeking to aid GOP presidential candidates.” Netanyahu, the Post asserts, had the temerity to travel to “Washington to endorse Mr. Trump’s soon-to-be stillborn Middle East peace plan” on the eve of an election. Even worse, the Post argues, Netanyahu has noted that he has “disagreements on Iran, on the Palestinian issue” with the new administration. How dare he!

Accordingly, the Post says, “striking a measure of distance from the Israeli leader is a wise move,” particularly since he is facing upcoming elections.

This isn’t the first recent broadside aimed at Netanyahu. As CAMERA highlighted in a JNS op-ed, in December 2020, Post editorial board member Jackson Diehl even compared Netanyahu to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin—a comparison that not only illustrates the paper’s hostility but speaks to its detachment from reality.

It is also curious, if not a bit hypocritical, for the Post to claim that by visiting Washington to sign the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, Netanyahu sought to influence an American election—only to simultaneously celebrate the possible political ramifications of a delayed call by the Biden administration on upcoming Israeli elections. Indeed, the United States has a long track record of doing precisely what the editorial board upbraids Netanyahu for allegedly doing.
Israel Advocacy Movement: The Youtube influencer with a dark past

Holocaust-denier David Irving Is reportedly charging £2,000 for private tours of concentration camps
Notorious Holocaust-denier David Irving is reportedly charging £2,000 per person for a tour of concentration camps.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post earlier this month, Mr Irving claimed that he was giving tours to thirteen people at camps and execution sites in Latvia and Poland. He advertises his tours with a title “The Real History Tour of the Wolf’s Lair”, and states underneath: “Don’t miss this lifetime adventure! Make up your own mind about the truth.” In his tours, Mr Irving’s groups visit Hitler’s headquarters, where Mr Irving apparently claims that the Nazi dictator was not aware of the Holocaust.

When asked if his denial tours might fuel antisemitism, an unapologetic Mr Irving replied to his interviewer: “The Jews should ask, Why us? It is not for me to ask that question. Maybe it’s how they have acted over the thousands of years. Maybe it is all our fault. Our Riga tour includes the NKVD [Soviet Interior Ministry] headquarters, and the Skirotawa train station, where Jews also played a role.”

When asked who his paying clients are, Mr Irving claimed that two were judges and three were lawyers, with the group including Russians, Britons, Americans and one from each of France, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada.

British-born Mr Irving was previously incarcerated for thirteen months in Austria for violating its Holocaust-denial laws. He is banned from Austria, Germany and Italy where Holocaust denial is illegal and he is also banned from Canada.

Mr Irving, who was discredited as a historian at a defamation trial in 2000, said during a far-right forum in 2017 that Auschwitz is “small beer” and now “like Disneyland”.
Buddhist Anti-Semitism
It is unlikely that Buddhism's founder or his disciples even heard of the Jewish people. Nor does Buddhist scripture talk about Jews or Judaism. Yet anti-Semitism has occurred within the Buddhist religious context.

Buddhism's reputation in the West as a religion of peace is an orientalist Western fantasy. Contemporary Buddhist monks in Burma and Sri Lanka frequently engage in nationalistic violence, especially against non-Buddhist minorities, and the history of Asia is filled with Buddhist rulers committing massacres.

The World Values Survey found that 33% of Buddhist respondents rejected having a Jewish neighbor, compared to 20% of Protestants and 18% of Roman Catholics. Buddhists who give greater importance to their religion were found to be more anti-Semitic than secular Buddhists.

Anti-Semitism became part of Buddhist Modernism in Japan. Zen master Hakuun Yasutani (1885-1973) was a virulent anti-Semite. He wrote in 1943: "It is, therefore, necessary to thoroughly defeat the propaganda and strategy of the Jews. That is to say, we must clearly point out the fallacy of their evil ideas advocating freedom and equality." Buddhist scholar Tanaka Chigaku (1861-1939) "argued that Jews were fomenting social unrest in order to rule the world."

The given examples are not representative of Buddhism as a whole, just as the Crusaders do not represent all of Christianity. Yet this specific form of anti-Semitism should not remain unnoticed.


Mobileye teams up with French firms to develop self-driving shuttles by 2023
Intel Corp’s Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based maker of self-driving technologies, has set up a strategic collaboration with two French-based firms to jointly develop and deploy commercial autonomous shuttles for public transportation services in Europe in 2023 and then globally.

The agreement is with France’s Transdev Autonomous Transport System (ATS), part of the Transdev Group, a private-sector public-transport operator, and the Lohr Group, a maker of car-transport and other vehicles. The companies will integrate Mobileye’s self-driving system into the i-Cristal electric shuttle, manufactured by Lohr Group, with plans to integrate it into public transportation services powered by fleets of self-driving shuttles across the globe, starting in Europe.

A pilot for the testing of the shuttles will start next year in France, the companies said in a statement on Thursday, with commercial services, the deployment of self-driving shuttles in public transportation networks, expected a year later in Europe.

“Our collaboration with Transdev ATS and Lohr Group serves to grow Mobileye’s global footprint as the autonomous vehicle (AV) technology partner of choice for pioneers in the transportation industry,” said Johann Jungwirth, vice president of Mobility-as-a-Service at Mobileye. “Mobileye, Transdev ATS and Lohr Group are shaping the future of shared autonomous mobility, and we look forward to bringing our self-driving solutions to regions all over the world.”
MyHeritage to be purchased by US equity firm in reported $600 million deal
The Israeli online genealogy platform MyHeritage announced Wednesday it has reached an agreement to be purchased by US private equity firm Francisco Partners.

A statement from MyHeritage said the sides signed a definitive agreement, but didn’t disclose financial details of the deal. Sources told Hebrew media the deal was valued at over $600 million.

“This move will enable us to reach new heights, invest more resources in creating greater value for our users and to reach a larger audience. We’re incredibly excited for this next chapter in our company’s evolution,” MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet said.

Francisco Partners called MyHeritage an “ideal investment” and said the companies share a commitment to further expanding the genealogy platform and ensuring user privacy.

“The company has proven itself to be an innovation powerhouse through its robust subscription business, unique positioning, advanced technology portfolio, and international focus that has enabled it to build a superior user experience,” Matt Spetzler, a partner at the San Francisco-based equity firm, said in a statement.

Founded in 2003, MyHeritage provides private DNA testing services for individuals looking to trace their genealogy.
Iranian, Israeli chess players compete in international event
For the first time, Iranian chess players joined over 400 others from over 40 countries on Monday in an Israeli initiative. Chess players from around the world, including Indonesia, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen took part in the Chess4Solidarity competition hosted by the Abu Gosh council, the Chess4All organization, the French city of Sarcelles and the Beit Esther association.

The solidarity event was part of the sister cities agreement between Abu Gosh and Sarcelles, both of which place great importance on fostering coexistence, tolerance and solidarity, according to a press release.

Speaking at the event were Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper, head of the Foreign Ministry's Morocco and Maghreb Department Lior Ben Dor, Abu Gosh Mayor Salim Jaber, Sarcelles Mayor Patrick Hadad, French Ambassador to Israel Arik Danon, senior members of the Jewish Students' Organization in France, the Beit Esther association and senior members of the Israeli and French chess communities.

The total amount of prizes awarded in the tournament was 1,000 euros.
Seth Frantzman: UAE Jewish community gears up for Purim and 24-hour megillah reading
Across the Gulf states, from Kuwait to Oman, Jews are preparing for a Purim unlike any other they have ever had.

The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities is hosting a virtual Purim event on Thursday, February 25. It is the first of its kind and the first since the founding of the AGJC this month. It is also taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving it added value and resonance.

There are hundreds of Jews across the Gulf states, but many of them have had no organized communal public activities until recently, due to a variety of reasons.

In recent years, however, the Jewish community of Bahrain, which dates from the 19th century, and that of the United Arab Emirates have been more vocal. This was boosted by the Abraham Accords, which led to 130,000 Israelis visiting Dubai and large public Hanukkah events in 2020. There are Jews who also reside in the Gulf and are in the US military or large, multinational companies. Now, everyone in the Gulf and around the world can participate in the virtual Purim event that will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and 8:30 p.m. in Oman and the UAE, due to their different time zones.


Remembering Manfred Gerstenfeld - Jewish renaissance man
Manfred Gerstenfeld was a Jewish renaissance man and a prodigious writer who leaves a rich legacy in many different realms. Born in Vienna in 1937, he and his family were forced to flee, and survived the Holocaust by hiding in a small apartment in Amsterdam.

At a young age, he began to write the Dutch Jewish newspaper, including a series of articles on the vanishing Jewish communities of Holland which documented the memories of the survivors. As a university student, he also attended the Jewish seminary in Holland, while completing degrees in chemistry and economics. After graduation, he quickly established a reputation as an expert on international business strategy in the context of the European Economic Community (now the European Union), and relocated to Paris.

In the wake of the 1967 war, Gerstenfeld and his wife decided to move their lives to Israel, and he continued his professional activities from Jerusalem. Expanding his foundation in economics, he understood the growing significance of environmental issues, and published innovative research and analysis on these issues in five languages. Titles included Environment and Confusion: An Introduction to a Messy Subject and Judaism, Environmentalism and the Environment. In 1999, at the age of 62, he completed his doctorate in this field.

In the past two decades, Gerstenfeld became a leading expert on antisemitism – particularly the European resurgence, and warning of the “new” manifestations such as the BDS movement. In his view, these ideological campaigns were anchored in post-Holocaust inversion that demonized and delegitimized Israel and Jewish national self-determination. Working with Prof. Dan Elazar, he became closely involved with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, chairing the Steering Committee, and founding the project on post-Holocaust studies and antisemitism. He also edited the Jewish Political Studies Review. Between 2002 and 2013, he published 10 books on related topics, including Europe’s Crumbling Myths: The Post-Holocaust Origins of Today’s Anti-Semitism, and Anti-Semitism in Norway, as well as tens of articles.







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