Tuesday, March 02, 2021

From Ian:

Why the Left struggles on the Israel question - opinion
These debates on the role of the Jewish people and Israel in the global scheme does not take into consideration a second factor: internal tensions within the Left. The initial development of Israel as a social-democratic state with some revolutionary implementations of socialist practice via the kibbutz movement made the country a beacon for the labor-movement oriented Old Left in the West, but the sudden creation of the New Left in the 1960s, which emphasized Third Worldism, reshaped that perception. Israel’s miraculous victory in 1967 cemented the changed perception and split between the Old and New Left.

While the initial perception of Israel among the Old Left was that beleaguered social-democratic state surrounded by reactionary Arab regimes, the Six Day War, leading to the capture of Jerusalem and West Bank, paved the view in the New Left of a Western state with irredentist goals. Where one stands in the current makeup of left-wing political parties, whether Old or New Left, inherently shapes your perception of Israel.

The left-wing debate over the 1967 war, as a justified war of defense or conquest, is another fundamental point of contention the Left currently struggles with. The change could be seen in the UK Labour party, initially dominated by the Old Left and strongly supportive of Israel up until the 1980s, then following the Blair era, becoming increasingly supportive of radical anti-Zionism, hitting its peak with Jeremy Corbyn. The same struggle today can be seen within the two camps of Antifa in Germany, the fiercely Zionist anti-Germans and the dominant anti-imperialist camp that is also anti-Zionist. It remains unclear if the US Democratic Party will follow the same path as Labour, but the split does exist, between the weaker democratic-socialists and liberal/moderate factions of the party.
Jewish Voice for Peace fights to preserve anti-Zionist hatred online
The group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) claims to oppose bigotry and to support security and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians. But a new campaign JVP has joined aims to block rumored plans by Facebook to add the term "Zionism" to its hate speech policies. Zionism is the belief in Jewish self-determination in their ancestral homeland: In other words, supporting Israel's right to exist.

"@Facebook is considering whether to treat 'Zionist' as proxy for 'Jew' in its hate speech policy," JVP tweeted last week during a Twitter town hall. "This would make 'Zionist' a de facto protected category, letting FB shut down critical conversations about Zionists under the guise of fighting antisemitism."

"If @Facebook restricts use of the word 'Zionist' on its platforms, already severe censorship will grow," the anti-Semitic BDS Movement also wrote during the Twitter town hall. "Palestinians will be blocked from describing our daily lives under Israeli apartheid, and our family histories of dispossession and military occupation."

An anonymous Facebook employee sent out an email detailing how the social media company should moderate anti-Semitism on its platform, technology news website The Verge reported in November. A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge that the term Zionist is removed from its platform if and when it is used as a proxy for anti-Semitism.

"We are looking at the question of how we should interpret attacks on 'Zionists' to determine whether the term is used as a proxy for attacking Jewish or Israeli people," the Facebook employee wrote. "The term brings with it much history and various meanings, and we are looking to increase our understanding of how it is used by people on our platform."

JVP joined the campaign opposing the policy, "Facebook, We Need to Talk." It has received support from nearly 52,000 people. It claims that the social media giant may decide on a policy this month. JVP will be on board to virtually deliver the petition to Facebook during a webinar this week.
Alexander Joffe: IHRA Definition of Antisemitism Becomes a BDS Battleground
Pushback against the IHRA definition of antisemitism also intensified in February. A discussion hosted by the leading BDS organization IfNotNow laid out the stakes, stating, “the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism has been destroying the progressive movement.”

Angrily claiming that BDS and hatred of Israel are not antisemitism despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, various “human rights” groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and Jewish groups such as J Street, the New Israel Fund, and American Friends of Peace Now, use opposition to IHRA as a means to consolidate institutional power, split Jews and liberals, and legitimize opposition to the definition.

Misrepresenting the IHRA definition is critical to this approach — especially in higher education. At Syracuse University, a motion in the student government to adopt the IHRA definition was tabled due to allegations that it conflated antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

At University College London (UCL) the student union rejected calls for the university to rescind its adoption of the IHRA definition. Jewish students also complained that the debate had been scheduled for Holocaust Remembrance Day. In contrast, a faculty board at UCL rejected the definition, demanding the administration “retract and replace [IHRA] with a more precise definition” that presumably does not include mention of Israel. The faculty decision prompted the angry resignation of a faculty member specializing in antisemitism, who accused some of his colleagues in Jewish Studies of spearheading the assault on the IHRA definition.

Other examples in the UK include Bristol University professor David Miller, who has a long history of antisemitic abuse of students and overt anti-Israel hatred. Most recently, Miller was condemned by students, the university, and others for demanding “the end of Zionism as a functioning ideology” and for alleging that “Jewish students on British campuses [are] being used as political pawns by a violent, racist foreign regime engaged in ethnic cleansing,” and that Jewish student “lobbying for Israel is a threat to the safety of Arab and Muslim students as well as of Jewish students and indeed of all critics of Israel.”

An American counterpart to Miller is Marc Lamont Hill of Temple University, who claimed that the Black Lives Matter movement supports the “dismantling of the Zionist project.” Hill also stated that Israel was a “settler-colonial movement in Palestine” which was responsible for police violence in the US.

Austria, Denmark turn to Israel to make future vaccines, won’t rely on EU
Austria and Denmark have further dented the European Union’s already-fragile coronavirus vaccine solidarity by announcing plans to team up with Israel to produce second-generation vaccines against coronavirus variants.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz plans to visit Israel with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen later this week and confer with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on vaccine research and production cooperation. Kurz said Tuesday that his country and Denmark intend to stop relying solely on the European Union for coronavirus vaccines.

As part of its strategy, the EU has six contracts for more than 2 billion doses of vaccines, with Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech and CureVac. It is in negotiations with two other manufacturers, but only three vaccines have been approved for use so far in the bloc.

Amid delays in production and deliveries of shots, the rollout of vaccines to the EU’s 27 member states is lagging far behind that of Israel and some other countries including the US and Britain.

According to the EU, almost 33 million doses of vaccine have been given so far, but only 11 million Europeans have been fully vaccinated. Israel, a country of 9.3 million people, has immunized over half of its population since late December.

Kurz said in a statement to the Austria Press Agency that it was right in principle to take a European-wide approach to inoculations, but maintained that the European Medicines Agency, the EU medical regulator, has been too slow to approve vaccines and pointed to companies’ delivery shortfalls.

“We must prepare for further mutations and should no longer be dependent solely on the EU in the production of second-generation vaccines,” he said.
Coronavirus: Israel's excess mortality rate rose 10% in 2020, study finds
Israelis suffered a 10% higher mortality rate from March-December 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies.

The increased mortality wasn't limited to those aged 75 and up, but was in fact seen among all Israelis aged 55 and up, indicating better protection of its elderly against COVID-19.

The findings also revealed that Israeli life expectancy was cut by around 2.2 months on average. However, this is actually better than what was expected, with this reduction being much smaller than in other developed contrives.

During the pandemic, infections have been disproportionately concentrated among Israelis aged 20-55. This trend, the study argues, points to efforts at shielding Israel's elderly from COVID-19 as having been successful. Had infection rates been proportionate to age structure, Israel would have seen an estimated increase of 1,048 deaths.

And if these infections were in line with the OECD age structure - which would mean disproportionately affecting the elderly - then there would have been 3,403 additional deaths, doubling the mortality rate.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Scientists: Debate Over Palestinian Vaccine Responsibility Will Outlast Sun (satire)
Astrophysicists predicted this week that the brouhaha concerning whether Israel must provide COVID immunizations to non-citizens living in areas under Palestinian self-rule will continue far beyond the lifespan of the solar system’s current arrangement, a new article reports.

Writing in the journal Space, researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory published an article in this week’s edition to the effect that the debate over responsibility for vaccinating Palestinians – who have their own health care system and government with authority and capacity to fill that niche – will evidently keep raging beyond the sun’s projected remaining five billion years, and certainly beyond its growth into a red giant before that time.

“Partisans will continue to talk past each other after the sun is a white dwarf amid a planetary nebula,” concluded the group of scientists in the article. “One side will stress Israel’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law, while advocates of the opposing viewpoint will invoke both the Palestinian commitment under the 1993 Oslo Accords to assume public health duties, and the specific treatment the Geneva Convention gives to the issue, assigning such responsibility to the local organs of government and not the occupying power. They will also continue to argue that Israel does not, in fact, constitute an occupying power, either because of Oslo or because the territories in question were never part of any recognized state whose territory is now ‘occupied.'”
‘Nurses’ and the Danger of Mainstreaming Antisemitism
The media can play a large role in sensitivity training for the public at large, but first it needs to take a course or two itself. Playing off Jewish stereotypes for shock value, or for a few laughs, is both irresponsible and reckless.

We need to see more positive programming about the Jewish community and its many contributions — in so many fields — to this country. School systems need to utilize textbooks that teach about our story as an immigrant people who came to America from dozens of countries to find a land of opportunity denied to them in the darker corners of Europe and elsewhere. And while people may know a bit about the Jewish religion, more attention needs to be paid to its history, customs, and traditions. Doing that might prevent a repeat of the “Nurses” debacle.

In May, we will observe the 15th anniversary of Jewish American Heritage Month. While positive programming about our community should be a 12-month-a-year endeavor, this special designation on the national calendar offers many opportunities for educators, government officials, media operatives, and others to spotlight our community in a positive way.

The danger we face is the mainstreaming of antisemitism. Where once these expressions of hatred were confined to the margins or were never discovered because there simply was no Internet megaphone, today they are seemingly everywhere, including network television.

As is often said, it may start with the Jews, but it never ends there. It’s not just about us: just follow what is written or said on social media, TV and talk radio, statements from political figures, and off-handed comments by celebrities; they are everywhere. It is one long parade of insults, put-downs, threats, loose talk, and worse.

Is the “Nurses” episode a wake-up call, or just another statistic in a week or month of egregious incidents? Our task is to speak up each time this happens, and as important, to ensure that our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others beyond our community do not become inured to the threats before us.
David Hirsh: The Meaning of David Miller
Now that antisemitic politics is being driven out of the Labour Party, it is looking to re-group back in its safe space, on campus and in the UCU. Some of the defeated rump of British left wing antisemitism is trying to disavow the most explicit Jew-hate that it picked up when it went mainstream, and to purify itself again in an academic and respectable discourse of ‘criticism of Israel’. If that is the case, the urge to be loyal to David Miller gives it a dilemma.

UCU has never had to face up to what it became or what it did. It incubated and normalised a culture which corrupted the Labour Party to such an extent that it could constitute no electoral threat even to somebody as politically unattractive as Boris Johnson. Ordinary working class people in Britain sniffed the UCU’s antisemitism, as manifested in Corbyn’s Labour Party, and they were repelled by it.

But the clever people, the cultured people, the lecturers, the creators of right and good opinion in new generations of journalists, teachers, politicians and the chattering classes, have not been held to account. They are carrying right on. And they’re giving an intellectual gloss to the story that between ‘us’ and ‘socialism’ stood ‘Zionism’, which appeared as the institutions and members of the Jewish community.

The danger is that this will inspire a new ‘stab in the back myth’ to explain the defeat of the Corbyn movement. ‘We were never even allowed to fight for socialism,’ that myth says, ‘because we were stabbed in the back by people within our own movement who pretended to be part of us but who were really part of a global, imperial, elite, conspiracy to defend capitalism and Zionism.’

Labour antisemitism is defeated for the moment, but the culture and the common sense notions it was built out of preceded it, and will outlast it. It was incubated, in part, in academia and the University and College Union, and now it is returning there, looking for a safe place where it can nurture and renew itself. That is the meaning of David Miller.
Attempt to release names of Labour antisemitism report leakers rejected
An attempt by a former senior official from the UK Labour Party to reveal the identities of the people who leaked the party's internal antisemitism report was rejected by Britain's High Court as it could risk harm to the individuals, the Guardian reported on Monday. The request to reveal the names was filed by former senior Labour staffer Emilie Oldknow, who has been ordered to pay the Labour Party's legal fees.

The judge ruled that the request "smacks of a fishing expedition, so that the claimant can cast around to identify potential defendants” to sue and that there was "a real risk that the order sought by the claimant… will release the names of innocent persons," according to the newspaper. Oldknow's lawyer stated that the party had kept her "unjustly in the dark" about its conclusions from its investigation into the leak of the internal report. The judge replied that while Labour's investigation had identified probable suspects, there are two other ongoing investigations into the matter which could unearth new information.

“In my view, if the Labour Party is required to identify individuals… It will be doing no more than identifying a list of who it reasonably believes are to be the culprits,” said the judge, according to the Guardian. “There is therefore no certainty that the information sought will lead to the identification of the wrongdoer or wrongdoers.”
ActBlue Facilitating Donations to Terror-Tied Charity, Legal Group Says
The ActBlue charity platform is facilitating payments to an anti-Israel group tied to multiple terror organizations, potentially violating U.S. anti-terrorism laws, according to a legal group.

ActBlue, an online donation portal that primarily services liberal and Democrat-aligned organizations, works with Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), "a hate group that is controlled by a coalition of organizations that the United States and other countries have designated as foreign terror organizations," according to the Zachor Legal Institute, a think-tank and advocacy organization that fights anti-Semitism.

The Zachor Legal Institute maintains that by hosting services for PACBI—a key organizational cog in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which wages economic warfare on Israel—ActBlue is violating its own terms of service and aiding a group that promotes anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel. The platform also could be violating state anti-BDS laws and federal anti-terrorism laws, according to a copy of the Feb. 11 letter the Zachor Legal Institute sent to ActBlue general counsel Steven Gold and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Donations to PACBI are being solicited via the BDS movement's central website, BDSMovement.net, and processed by ActBlue. A search for PACBI on ActBlue's online directory brings up a donation form for the group.
Rania Khalek caught lying about Israel

Global Student Forum adopts International Definition of Antisemitism
The Global Student Forum has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The umbrella organisation – which brings together the world’s major representative students’ federations from 118 countries – adopted the Definition after discussions with the World Union of Jewish Students and the European Union of Jewish Students.

Campaign Against Antisemitism applauds the decision, which comes at a time of rising antisemitism and demonstrates the students’ solidarity with their Jewish peers across the world.

Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism and Lord Pickles worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street.
Michigan Professor Fired for Antisemitic, Racist and Homophobic Tweets
A physics professor at a Michigan university was fired on Thursday after being put on administrative leave in November for posting antisemitic, racist and homophobic comments on Twitter.

Thomas Brennan, who taught at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, announced in a tweet on Saturday, “I’ve been officially fired from Ferris [State University].”

The university confirmed the termination but said it had no further comment, reported The Torch, Ferris State’s student newspaper.

When Brennan was put on leave, Ferris State President David L. Eisler said “individually and collectively, we were shocked and outraged by these tweets. They are extremely offensive and run counter to the values of our university … ”

Brennan, who once tweeted that COVID-19 “is another Jewish revolution,” according to screenshots obtained by The Torch, wrote in a statement on Feb. 15 that he was “acting out and speaking out of despair caused by a personal crisis involving extremely painful migraines, emf sensitivity and a series of repeated break-ins into my home.” He said he believed that he was “a targeted individual. I am one of thousands of Americans from all walks of life who claim to be victims of a secret program that harasses people, breaks into their homes, and uses emf along with bio, neuro or nano-technologies to poison and torture their targets.”

As Antisemitism Mutates, Is Media Coverage Failing to Evolve?
Reported: ‘Jewish Space Lasers’ Theory Widely Mocked By Media
In January, the media revealed that Greene had claimed in a 2018 Facebook post that a wildfire ravaging California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family.

In the post, Greene implied that the Rothschilds, along with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Solaren and California officials had all colluded to profit from the disaster.

So comprehensive and widespread was the reporting of Greene’s inflammatory language, that “Jewish Laser Beam” began trending on Twitter, as many people on the platform ridiculed the freshman legislator’s unhinged musings.

The intense backlash to the Greene story even reached the halls of Congress. On February 4, the House of Representatives ousted the lawmaker from two congressional committees because she, among other things, had spread dangerous and bigoted misinformation.

Unreported: Rashida Tlaib Participates in Event With Known Supporters of Terrorism
But while Greene dominated the headlines and national conversation, the mainstream media were silent when Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib spoke at a February 5 webinar sponsored by an offshoot of the Islamic Circle of North America, an organization with strong ties to Gaza Strip-based Hamas, Pakistan-based Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamic terror groups.

The Kashmir Solidarity Day event also featured Ahmed bin Qasim, a hardcore terror sympathizer. In addition, UK parliamentarian Afzal Khan spoke at the virtual gathering. In a previous webinar, Khan eulogized Jamaat-e-Islami’s Syed Munawar Hasan. In 2016, Hasan said that people like Osama bin Laden do not die but continue to live in the hearts of people, adding that “we need to develop readiness for Jihad and passion for shahadat [martyrdom].”

Tlaib’s participation is part of a disconcerting pattern. She is one of only a few members of Congress who has publicly voiced support for BDS, a worldwide movement that supports a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, in practice, would ultimately lead to the end of Jewish self-determination.
The BBC's defence of Politics Live is almost worse than the show
Prompted by a now infamous tweet on Saturday from Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, in which she hailed new Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar as the first ever ethnic minority party leader - thus proving the central thesis of David Baddiel's new book, Jews Don't Count, by ignoring her own former leader, Ed Miliband - a panel of four non-Jews were asked for their thoughts. Are we real? Should we be allowed to be classified as an ethnicity?

The show had invited journalist Benjamin Cohen on to discuss the tweet, and you can see how shocked he was by the angle the programme had chosen to discuss. As he tweeted afterwards: "I've just been on the BBC's Politics Live where the BBC literally just asked four non-Jews if they agreed with me that Jews are an ethnic minority. Imagine if I was Black and four white people were asked to judge if I was a member of an ethnic minority. It would be as offensive."

And all the while, as the discussion took place, a banner at the bottom of the screen asked, "Should Jews Count As An Ethnic Minority?". As Lee Kern, the writer whose latest Borat film has just won a Golden Globe for its puncturing of bigotry, wrote: "@BBCPolitics actually went to the trouble of creating a title card saying “Should Jews Count As An Ethnic Minority?” You absolute wankers. Please let us know how the trial went. We’ll check in along with all the other tests & prosecutions."

As if the basic question was not bad enough, at one point the host, Jo Coburn (who is herself Jewish) asked Mr Cohen a question I am still struggling to understand: "Many Jews have succeeded in reaching high political office therefore don't need to be seen as a group needing recognition in the same way as others." Yes, she really said that. Because a number of Jews have succeeded in politics, so the entire concept of ethnicity should simply be wiped away.

The programme provoked genuine rage from across the spectrum of Judaism. Some have written about how the programme reflects the false notion that Jews are 'white' and so cannot be a proper ethnic minority - and thus antisemitism is not proper racism.
CAA launches petition demanding BBC apologise for asking “should Jews count as an ethnic minority?” in response to Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner ignoring past Jewish political leaders
The debate was stirred by the social media backlash against Labour’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, who tweeted that Scottish Labour’s newly-elected leader is “the first ever ethnic minority leader of a political party anywhere in the UK”.

As Campaign Against Antisemitism pointed out, historically at least four party leaders have had Jewish roots, namely Benjamin Disraeli (Conservatives), Herbert Samuel (Liberals), Michael Howard (Conservatives) and Ed Miliband (Labour). There have been minority leaders in minor parties as well, for example the controversial Salma Yaqoob of the now-defunct Respect Party (she has since joined the Labour Party).

Despite the social media criticism — which, as many have observed, Ms Rayner never hesitates to issue herself — Ms Rayner has not clarified, deleted or apologised for her tweet.

It was recently reported that Labour had opened and promptly closed an antisemitism investigation into Ms Rayner based on a complaint from Campaign Against Antisemitism. The complaint relates to Ms Rayner’s promotion of a book entitled The Holocaust Industry, in which the author claims that the American Jewish establishment exploits the Holocaust for political and financial gain. Despite the reports, we maintain our expectation of a full and transparent investigation once the independent disciplinary system, mandated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is in place later this year, and that therefore our complaint remains open.

During the 2019 General Election, the Labour Party released an advertisement stating that every minority is “worthy of equality”, but the advertisement failed to reference the Jewish community at all in what appeared to many viewers, in view of Labour’s problem with Jews, to be a deliberate exclusion.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It is outrageous that the BBC has aired a segment on whether Jews count as an ethnic minority. The show’s own guest rightly considered the debate to be ‘ridiculous’. It is a question that the Corporation would never presume to ask of any other minority community in Britain, and it is telling that it does so in relation to the Jews. These segments show why, according to our research, two thirds of British Jews view the BBC’s coverage of Jewish matters unfavourably.

“We have submitted a complaint to the BBC and launched a petition calling on the Corporation to apologise for airing this appalling segment.

Throughout the month of February 2021, twenty-eight written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and six of which were carried over from the previous month.

Once again we see that the BBC has little interest in reporting on internal Palestinian affairs such as the scheduled election or social issues. As was the case in January, a considerable proportion (over 35%) of the BBC News website’s reporting during February related to the topic of Coronavirus and the vaccination drive in Israel, with continuing promotion of the related anti-Israel political campaign.

Did PBS and Henry Louis Gates downplay crimes against humanity?
Next, Gates talks about the hardship that befell Shalhoub’s grandmother:
‘In March of 1915, a locust plague descended on the Middle East, destroying more than 60 percent of Mount Lebanon’s summer crops… Soon, the region was ravaged by famine and disease.’

Yet the famine had man-made causes. From 1915 to 1918, Mount Lebanon was under the bloody fist of Djemal Pasha, one of the infamous ‘Three Pashas’ who oversaw the Ottoman Empire’s uniquely genocidal involvement in World War One. His brutality and cruelty were so notorious that he was known as ‘Djemal the Butcher’. During the War, Djemal applied the Ottomans’ divide-and-rule strategy to the Levant. The Maronite Christian population had historic ties to the French and the British. The Ottoman despots feared that the Maronites would sooner aid France and Britain than continue to endure their abusive rule. In a characteristic act of Ottoman inhumanity, Djemal imposed a land blockade on the Mount Lebanon region to starve it into submission. Recent articles have identified the blockade as the leading cause of the devastating famine, which killed as much as half of the population of Mount Lebanon.

The blurring of the Ottomans’ genocidal record continued:
‘[Shalhoub’s great-grandfather] died in 1895, in a region of the Ottoman Empire which was then part of Armenia. At the time, Armenian nationalists were pressing for political reforms, and the Ottoman state decided to make an example of them. An estimated 150,000 people died in massacres that made international headlines.’

Though he does not name them, Gates is speaking of the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1897, during which as many as 400,000 Armenians and other Christians were killed. Gates wrongly identified these killings as the politically motivated repression of Armenians. Instead, these were the overtures of the methodical slow-moving genocide of Armenians and other Christian minorities that accelerated during World War One.
MEMRI: Facebook Shuts Down Account Of International Union Of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Which Frequently Calls For Terror And Jihad
On January 5, 2021, Facebook shut down the account of the International Union Of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is based in Doha and has been supported since its establishment by the Qatari and Turkish regimes.[1] The IUMS was founded in 2004 by Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, a major ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood who lives in Qatar and has been sponsored by its regime for years. Al-Qaradhawi also headed the organization until 2018, when he was succeeded by Dr. Ahmad Al-Raissouni.

Neither Facebook nor the IUMS reported the exact reason for the closure of the account, but Arab media that support the IUMS stated that the reason was a fatwa posted two days earlier, on January 3, signed by the organization's president Al-Raissouni and its secretary-general 'Ali Al-Qaradaghi. The fatwa called for an economic boycott of Israel in response to the normalization agreements recently signed with it by several Arab states.[2] However, the closure was likely prompted not by the fatwa's call to boycott Israel, but by its explicit call to wage jihad against it by any means. Similar materials supporting jihad and terrorism have been published by the IUMS for many years.

The IUMS condemned Facebook's decision to shut down its account, which had over three million followers, attributing this to the organization's insistence on "telling the truth and defending the just causes of our nation," without mentioning any specific post that had prompted the closure. It's statement on this matter says: "We were surprised to hear today that the justified positions of the International Union of Muslim Scholars and its support for the causes of our nation have prompted the closure of our Facebook page, after there have also been intensive efforts to hack our website… The Facebook authorities have retaliated against us just for telling the truth and defending the just causes of our nation in Palestine and elsewhere." The statement informs the readers that a new Facebook account has been opened and urges them to follow it.[3]

Several days later, the new Facebook page posted a written statement and a video by IUMS president Al-Raissouni, in which he addresses all those who follow the organization the various media and social networks and thanks them for their support and solidarity. He promises that "the union will not succumb to the attempts to hobble or silence it and will continue to serve as a free platform for defending the causes of our nation."[4]

‘By 2025, 55% Of Our Products Will Be Made of Recycled Plastic,’ Says Israeli Plastics Company Keter’s Co-CEO
“We have given ourselves a short-term goal that by 2025 more than half of our raw materials will be made out of recycled materials,” Iftach Sachar, co-CEO and MD Global Marketing, Innovation, and Sustainability at Keter Plastic said during an interview as part of Calcalist’s online conference on the circular economy. According to Sachar, the company is already leading the way when it comes to the use of recycled materials in manufacturing, with its current rate of 40% far above that of the competition.

“It is very difficult to manufacture products from recycled raw materials because the materials are hard to work with, but we are answering the challenge and attacking it from the earliest stages of product development and manufacturing process design, so that at the end of the process, we will be able to include as much as possible of the recycled materials into our products. We use 120 tons of recycled raw materials and that’s a good starting point relative to our competitors. We will eventually reach a company-wide average of 55% recycled materials, but we already have products that are made out of 100% recycled materials. Some of our garden furniture is made up of 80% recycled materials and some of our packaging is even 100% recycled,” Sachar said.

“We are not evading the link between the use of plastic and environmental harm, but rather are facing it head-on. Sustainability is a broad and diverse issue and as a company that manufactures plastic products, we have for years been involved in the circular economy and our role within it. When it comes to circularity, there is an important emphasis on what’s done with plastic products at the end of their lifecycle and we have taken on a very active role and a lot of responsibility in that respect too. I hope to think that we are providing at least the beginnings of a solution when it comes to our activity of plastic product reclamation. To that end, we cooperate with several local authorities in Israel, gathering used products and taking them to our plants for shredding and reuse as raw materials for new products,” Sachar explained.
Israel's CropX brings smart farming to Mexico
Israeli agro-tech startup CropX and rieggo, Grupo Rotoplas' new company dedicated to providing smart water services to farming operations in Mexico, have announced a new partnership to help Mexican agribusinesses reduce water consumption and improve crop yields.

rieggo is a joint venture by Renewable Resources Group Mexico and Grupo Rotoplas that aims to provide smart water solutions and services and increase agricultural yields in a sustainable manner.

CropX's sensors and technological solutions have been piloted by rieggo in Mexico. Upon successful conclusion of the testing, rieggo decided to integrate CropX's technologies as part of its commercial offering and become an official reseller of CropX in Mexico.

"rieggo is enthusiastic and is looking forward to expanding its business by partnering with CropX, an AgAnalytics leader", said Eduardo Carrillo, CEO of rieggo.
New TV Series Announced About Judo World Champions Saeid Mollaei From Iran and Israel’s Sagi Muki
A scripted television series is being developed based on the lives of judo world champions Saeid Mollaei from Iran and his Israeli counterpart Sagi Muki, Deadline announced on Monday.

MGM/UA Television and Israel’s Tadmor Entertainment have acquired the life rights to the judokas and are collaborating with the International Judo Federation to develop the series.

According to the show’s logline, the series will tell “the incredible true story of Iranian Saeid Mollaei, one of history’s bravest athletes, who despite threats from his handlers, refused to give in and chose to compete against his friend Sagi Muki from Israel. As a result, Mollaei was forced to flee from his country and live as a refugee in Germany. Soon these two incredible judokas will meet on the mat for the first time during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This is a story of bravery, friendship against all odds, and the true spirit of sport.”

“It’s my privilege to take part in this unusual project,” Muki told The Algemeiner Monday. “We want to send the message that sport is outside of politics, and we are all one family. When Sayed and I meet in the final, the first victory will be the friendship between us. I truly believe that with the help of this project, the second victory will be the understanding between our peoples. I want to say thank you to MGM and Tadmor Entertainment.”

The TV series will feature exclusive footage of the athletes and a documentary about the two judokas is also in production, Deadline reported.
Zaka emergency group co-founder awarded Israel Prize for contribution to society
A co-founder and chairman of the Zaka volunteer emergency response group was declared Tuesday a winner of the Israel Prize’s life achievement award for his contributions to Israeli society.

Education Minister Yoav Gallant announced that the prize would go to Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, for his decades of work in the organization.

In addition to Meshi-Zahav, the prize was also awarded to former Foreign Ministry director-general Joseph Ciechanover, for his work in the civil service.

Meshi-Zahav, 61, made headlines in January when his parents both died of COVID-19 within days of each other and less than a month after his younger brother died of a different cause.

The prize selection committee said in a statement that Meshi-Zahav has made an “outstanding” contribution to advancing assistance at disaster events and creating unity in Israeli society while having “a sense of purpose and a true belief in the need to build bridges and hold dialogue.”

For three decades now Meshi-Zahav has led Zaka, which has become an essential element of Israeli’s emergency response operations at home as well as abroad, the statement said, and he “is an example and role model for the spirit of volunteering in Israeli society in all its forms.”
Holocaust survivor Miriam Linial celebrates 100th birthday with friends
Holocaust survivor Miriam Linial celebrated her 100th birthday, with cakes flowers, friends, wishing to tell her life story to those willing to hear it.

Holocaust survivor Miriam Linial celebrates her 100th birthdayHolocaust survivor Miriam Linial celebrates her 100th birthday Linial was born in the town of Kozminek in Poland in 1921 to a family of nine, with two parents, seven siblings, and one grandmother. Synagogues in her area were closed down.

This later led to the creation of the ghetto near her town, at which point she saw many Jews being sent to their deaths, though she was unaware at the time believing they were sent to another ghetto until further denial was impossible.

"We did not know what a day would bring. It was a difficult and unbearable time in the ghetto and every day we saw people being sent to die 'like lambs to the slaughter.' "

"I remember at first we did not believe that people were sent to die. We only thought that they would be transferred to another ghetto or to work in the field. Slowly the token fell.
Mordechai Ansbacher, one of last Eichmann trial witnesses, dies in Jerusalem
Mordechai Ansbacher, one of the last witnesses of the Eichmann trial, passed away in Jerusalem at the age of 94 on Saturday. Holocaust survivor and historian, Ansbacher survived the Theresienstadt Ghetto, and the Auschwitz and Dachau death camps. Ansbacher was born in Würzburg, northern Bavaria in Germany. As a child, he was educated at the Jewish school in Würzburg and was a member of the city's Ezra youth movement.

During Israel's War of Independence, he fought as an IDF soldier to protect Jerusalem within three years of his being liberated from the death camps in Eastern Europe.

During the Six Day War, Ansbacher participated in the Battle of Jerusalem and then continued with his unit to Bethlehem, Gush Etzion and Hebron, where he received the key to the lower door of the Cave of the Patriarchs. He was also the author of 100 articles on Jewish art and Ashkenazic Jewry in the Encyclopedia Judaica.

Known as one of the founders of Yad Vashem and the first director of the Holocaust Museum, Ansbacher was one of the key witnesses at the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in the District Court of Jerusalem.
Pebbles from bereaved families to be flown in from around world for Memorial Day
With the coronavirus pandemic expected to still be disrupting international travel next month, the Israeli government has turned to alternative methods of commemorating Memorial Day for the many relatives of fallen Israelis who live abroad.

Hundreds of pebbles, each with a personal message handwritten by bereaved families, will be brought to Israel from around the world in time for the April 13-14 commemoration, when they will be laid on the graves of fallen soldiers and those killed in terror attacks.

The placing of a small stone on a grave is an old Jewish tradition.

The Foreign Ministry and Israeli embassies will assist in gathering 500 pebbles from 15 countries, which will be flown to Israel via diplomatic mail, Zman Yisrael, the Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site, reported Tuesday.

Navah, an Israeli organization that offers support for bereaved families, said the project is an expansion of an initiative it began last year in Mexico, and aims to enable families to make a physical connection with their loved ones despite the limitations on travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each pebble will be laid on the appropriate grave by volunteers in Israel, and images of the event will be sent to the family abroad.


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