Sunday, April 18, 2021

From Ian:

Cary Nelson: Accommodating the New Antisemitism: a Critique of ‘The Jerusalem Declaration’
In this comprehensive critique Cary Nelson argues that the recent ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ on Antisemitism should be rejected because it accommodates, rather than challenges, what has been called ‘the new antisemitism’. After reviewing the debate (and the falsehoods) about the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism, to which the Jerusalem Declaration presents itself as an alternative, Nelson rejects the Declaration for several reasons: for defining antisemitism in an excessively narrow way, uncomprehending of the ideological versions of antisemitism that are now so influential; for dissolving antisemitism into antiracism, discrediting and obliterating Jewish identity; for employing rhetorical strategies that repeatedly draw empty or banal distinctions to disclaim antisemitic content; for naively absolving the anti-Zionist industry of any probable freight of hatred; and for being marred by a conceptual confusion about, and an impoverished history of, antisemitism. Nelson also reviews, and more positively, the ‘Nexus Declaration’ on antisemitism, described by its authors at the University of Southern California as complementing and clarifying IHRA. We invite the signatories of the Jerusalem Declaration and the Nexus Declaration to respond to Nelson’s essay in Fathom.

Controversy is swirling anew around the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016 and subsequently endorsed by a wide range of nations, agencies, and organisations. The Definition opens with a brief summary definition of antisemitism and then lists eleven major forms or examples of contemporary antisemitism, such as ‘accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust’ and ‘using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.’ [I use ‘Definition’ in initial caps to refer to the entire document, not just the brief definition at its outset]. The Definition includes numerous warnings that these examples should not be applied without analysis that takes their contexts into account. Nor does the Definition claim the list of examples is exhaustive; it does, however, enumerate much of the antisemitism encountered in contemporary writing and daily life, including the antisemitism now focused on the State of Israel and the antisemitism that proliferates on the internet and through social media.

The history of the Definition dates to 2005, when the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) issued the first version of a Working Definition. From the outset, it provoked warnings that it could inhibit free speech or even be used to sanction it. Indeed, in 2011 I coauthored an open letter (distributed by the AAUP) stating that the EUMC Working Definition should not be used ‘to censor what a professor, student or speaker can say.’ But debates about that potential intensified after IHRA issued a version of the Working Definition that began to be both endorsed and officially adopted worldwide. Widespread commitment to free speech, academic freedom, and the IHRA Definition’s own guidelines have prevented the fears of pervasive restrictions on speech from ever materialising, though a growing chorus of dire warnings and unfounded complaints about the IHRA Definition persists nonetheless. The mounting number of attacks on the Definition suggest frustration at its increasing legitimacy.

Lara Friedman, who runs a left-wing organisation called the Foundation for Middle East Peace, has been among the Definition’s leading critics. Her annotated list of ‘Challenges to the IHRA Definition’ has 21 entries for 2018, 23 for 2019, 41 for 2020, and 55 for the first three months of 2021.The 2021 increase is due in part to the publication of two new formal definitions of antisemitism, both adapting the structure of the Working Definition. Like the IHRA Definition, they begin with a revised definition and general comments, and then follow with examples. Instead of just listing examples of antisemitism as the Definition does, however, they each offer two lists—with examples differentiated between those the authors consider antisemitic and those they think are not. The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism criticises IHRA and aims to replace it. The Nexus Document has been described by its authors as complementing and clarifying IHRA, effectively a friendly amendment. But these new lists have generated a further round of critical debate and multiplied the confusion over what IHRA does and doesn’t say or do. After giving an overview of the current state of competing views about the IHRA’s Working Definition, I will discuss the Jerusalem Declaration in detail, followed by comments on the Nexus Document.
Funding the Palestinian Authority Is a Betrayal of American Values
The Biden administration has announced that payments will be “consistent with US law,” but that is impossible. Any money the United States gives the Palestinian Authority frees up funds to be used for the nefarious activities of the dictatorship.

Only recently, the PA, through its propaganda machine, accused Israel of failing or refusing to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians — something that the Israeli government, of course, has no obligation to do. However, the Israeli government did in fact make such an offer, but the Palestinian Authority turned it down. They proudly claimed they could — and would — get the vaccine on their own.

The PA continues to deny Israel’s right to exist, and continues its relationship with other terrorist groups, especially those in the Gaza Strip. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that for prior fiscal years, the USAID office “did not consistently ensure” that grants would not be passed along to terrorist groups and individual terrorists.

Why, when our own needs are so great and we are in terrible debt as a result of the recent pandemic, are we giving money to those who not only hate our country, but are waging a continual war of annihilation against the Jewish people? Have we not learned the lessons of the Holocaust and genocide throughout the world? When a nation as great as the United States empowers and finances terrorism, the consequences will always rebound to our detriment.

By supporting those who do not share American interests and whose continuing goal is the destruction of the Jewish state, we are betraying our country’s founding values and principles.
Biden’s funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency harms Palestinians
For years, Congress has attempted to shed light on this farce by demanding the State Department release a congressionally mandated report that gives the number of refugees under a normal definition. While this number technically remains classified, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tipped his hat to this truth toward the end of his tenure, pointing out the real number is less than 200,000. While it is probably far less than that, perhaps 30,000, his statement at least acknowledges that people generations removed from the 1947 conflict aren’t meaningfully “refugees.”

The agency’s real job in practice isn’t taking care of refugees but propagandizing against Israel’s existence. Anyone who has seen an agency “refugee” camp firsthand, as I have, will immediately notice two things. First, it’s not a “refugee camp” in any normal sense of the word. There are no tents, temporary facilities, or other signs of a recent catastrophe. Instead, it resembles a poor area of most any city, complete with institutions aimed at helping the needy. Second, it features nonstop propaganda aimed at telling Palestinians that the “right of return” to a country that 99.5% of them have never known is their ultimate goal in life, with a few homages to suicide bombers thrown in. These messages are repeated ad nauseam.

But it isn’t limited only to public artwork. The agency's schools frequently laud violence and demonize Jews, and teachers employed by the agency even praise Adolf Hitler.

These unfortunate realities do not mean that there are no Palestinians in need. Corrupt leadership and the futile, propaganda-spurned efforts to destroy Israel have left many Palestinians far worse off than they ought to be. However, funding the agency is not the right way to help needy Palestinians. The State Department simultaneously announced new funds for Palestinians to be administered through the United States Agency for International Development and not through the agency. While the USAID has its own problems, such as funding extremism, at least it isn’t institutionally dedicated to eliminating Israel.

In other words, the effect of funding the agency is to perpetuate a status quo that leaves Palestinians poor, stateless, oppressed, and dedicated to eliminating Israel rather than building their own polity, economy, society, and culture.

Were the agency to adopt a normal definition of a refugee, not one aimed at ending Israel, and cease funding violent, anti-Semitic agitprop, it could help alleviate problems. But the agency has rebuffed attempts at change from its foul mission of destruction.

The Biden administration should reverse course.

In France, Antisemitism Is Systemic
In the series “Letters to a German Friend,” written clandestinely during the Nazi occupation of France, the celebrated French writer and resistance figure Albert Camus conducted a debate with an imaginary German correspondent who believed fervently that any act was justified if it contributed to a greater destiny for his nation. “I loved you then, but at that point we diverged,” Camus wrote. “There are means that cannot be excused. And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice.”

Nearly 80 years after the liberation of Paris, would Camus be able to love both his country, France, and the idea of justice without perceiving a conflict between the two? Certainly, a philosopher of his pedigree would be anxious to establish whether justice was universally applied to all citizens, regardless of confession or origin, as should be the case in any democratic republic. In doing so, he or she might notice that for most of the present century, a steady stream of Jewish victims of antisemitic violence have received partial justice at best — or no justice at worst — from the French legal system. It is a record that shames a country whose ethic is built upon the triangle of “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”

The list of French Jews who died because they were Jews includes Sebastien Salem, a DJ murdered in 2003 by a Muslim childhood friend; Ilan Halimi, a mobile-phone salesman kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by an antisemitic criminal gang in 2006; Sarah Halimi (no relation to Ilan), a child-development expert beaten to death and thrown out of her apartment window by a Muslim neighbor in 2017; and Mireille Knoll, a Holocaust survivor who was robbed and then burned to death in her own home by two youths, one of whom she had known since his childhood, in 2018. Then there are the victims of the Islamist terrorist attacks on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 and a kosher market in Paris in 2015 — eight in all, among them three young children. All those lives were snuffed out in the name of Jew-hatred amid a broader context of soaring antisemitism, and still the French judiciary acts as though there are far more important problems to worry about.

Last week, the insult to French Jews escalated to new heights when the Court of Cassation, France’s highest appeals court, ruled that Sarah Halimi’s accused murderer, Kobili Traore, would not face a criminal trial for his bestial act. In the early hours of April 4, 2017, Traore, who lived in the same Paris public housing project as Halimi, broke into his victim’s apartment. Once inside, he kicked and punched her relentlessly while bellowing the word “Shaitan” (Arabic for “Satan”). Traore ended the ordeal by hurling Halimi’s broken body out of the window of her third-floor apartment to her death.

Israel pledges to prevent a nuclear Iran in UAE, Cyprus, Greece talks
Israel pledged to do “what-ever it takes” to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons, when it participated Friday in the first ever quadratic meeting with the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus and Greece.

“We will do whatever it takes to prevent the extremist and antisemitic regime [in Tehran] from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told reporters in Paphos, Cyprus.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias also issued statements, as did UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash. Ashkenazi invited the three diplomats to visit Israel in the near future.

Israel, Cyrus and Greece already have a regional partnership, which they expanded on Friday for the first time to include the UAE, as a sign of the shifting alliances brought about by the Abraham Accords. Under the rubric of those accords, Israel normalized ties with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

“The meeting we held today is the first real step to expand the impact of the Abraham Accords with our partners Greece and Cyprus,” Ashkenazi said of the meeting. "This new and important four-way partnership stretches from the shores of the Arabian Gulf to the shores of Europe."
Elbit inks $1.65B contract to run flight training center for Greek Air Force
Israel's Elbit Systems Ltd. has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $1.65 billion (approximately €1.375 billion) to build and operate the International Flight Training Center for the Hellenic Air Force, the company announced Sunday.

The deal is part of an agreement between the Israel's Defense Ministry and the Hellenic Ministry of National Defense.

Under the contract, Elbit Systems will supply the Hellenic Air Force with new M-346 training aircraft and will maintain the entire training fleet, comprised of dozens of M-346 and T-6 training aircraft, for a period of approximately 20 years.

In addition, Elbit Systems is contracted to provide its latest advanced Embedded Virtual Avionics (EVA) onboard the training aircraft, deliver networked flight simulators and an array of Ground-Based Training Stations (GBTS) as well as command and control systems to enable efficient management of the flight training operation.

Bezhalel Machlis, President and CEO of Elbit Systems, said: "We are honored to have been awarded this contract to provide such an important capability to the Hellenic Air Force. This contract award attests to the leading position we hold in the area of pilot's training solutions, providing tested know-how and proven technologies that improve operational readiness while reducing costs."

Israel one of eight countries to be on UK's travel 'green list'
Israel will be one of the few countries on the UK government’s green list for safe travel if Britain reopens its borders on May 17, British media reported Sunday.

Eight countries, including the US, Iceland and Malta, are expected to be included on the list.

Research conducted by former British Airways strategy chief Robert Boyle and the airlines owner, IAG, could lead to the opening of Britain’s skies as planned on May 17.

The UK has been under a coronavirus lockdown since the first week of January; the government recently imposed a £5,000 fine on anyone planning to fly abroad without good reason.

“The surest case for green must be Gibraltar. It has essentially zero cases of any type and the population is fully vaccinated,” said Boyle’s research, according to UK daily The Telegraph.

“Israel must be the next most likely. Again, it has vaccinated close to its entire population and case numbers are below even last year’s threshold.”
Direct flights between Israel and Bahrain starting in June
Gulf Air, the national airline of Bahrain, announced that in June, the airline will provide direct flights between Bahrain and Israel, according to a report by Mako.

Direct flights from Bahrain will be landing at Ben-Gurion Airport. The first flight will take off from Bahrain to Tel Aviv on June 3 and land in the Israeli city at 11:50 a.m.

This news comes months after the peace agreement between Israel and Bahrain that was part of the Abraham Accords, as well as meetings in recent months between Gulf Air and senior figures in the Israeli aviation industry, where both sides have expressed support for both countries to have direct flights.

The flights themselves will be operated on an Airbus A320neo aircraft with two service classes: the business class, which will have 16 seats and charge $1,299, and the tourist class, which will have 120 seats on the plane and will cost $299 for a seat.

The official currency of Bahrain is the Bahraini Dinar, which is equivalent to approximately 9 NIS. Bahrain also has a small Jewish community.
The Return of Palestinian Politics
The international response was uneasy silence. Rather than addressing the looming challenge of terrorist participation in the Palestinian election, the Biden administration prioritized allocating additional funds to the Palestinian Authority. In March and April, Washington announced plans to provide $15 million in COVID-19 support, $10 million in “peace-building” programs, and $75 million in other indirect assistance. A leaked four-page memo expresses a desire to reestablish ties with the Palestinian Authority (after former U.S. President Donald Trump curtailed them) while only articulating “concern” that Hamas could beat Fatah in the forthcoming elections.

News reports swirled. One Israeli news outlet reported that U.S. President Joe Biden had pushed the Palestinian Authority to proceed with elections “to renew the legitimacy in the Palestinian Authority.” The London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat wrote the Biden administration asked Abbas for “clarifications on the partnership with Hamas in the upcoming elections.” Indeed, reports suggest the Hamas slate of candidates include current inmates in Israeli jails as well as a terrorist commander.

One Palestinian outlet claimed the United States asked Abbas to postpone or cancel the elections, which Abbas allegedly rejected. However, Israeli and Palestinian officials both candidly say the White House has given a green light. U.S. officials say they will not interfere, and they have little right to make demands after some of the United States’ own recent political woes. This is somewhat awkward in light of the fact that Biden, while serving as a U.S. senator, spearheaded the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, which prohibits U.S. assistance if the Palestinian Authority is “effectively controlled by Hamas.”

Jordan and Egypt, both traditional Palestinian allies that oppose the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is a splinter faction), were also relatively quiet. Qatar-based Al Jazeera noted that “uncertainty about the readiness of the Fatah movement for the elections has raised concern in Egypt and Jordan.” The network also reported that Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence chiefs Abbas Kamel and Ahmad Husni met with Abbas in Ramallah, Palestine, and “urged him to unify Fatah on the eve of the elections and to participate in a unified list to reduce the chances of Hamas winning it.” Officially, however, both countries issued statements supporting elections, even if they were “still not convinced that the elections will actually take place.”

NYC mayoral candidate labels Israel 'apartheid state'
A recording has surfaced of New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales speaking at an event last December and referring to Israel as an "apartheid state," the Forward reported on Saturday, after obtaining the audio.

According to the Forward report, Morales – currently polling at around 3% in the mayoral race – met with a group of Jewish high school students and told them she could not advocate for "equity and justice" in New York City while turning a blind eye to "the challenges around those issues in Israel and with the folks living in Gaza and Palestine."

Morales said that while she agreed in principle with a recent initiative by the Democratic Socialists of America that asked candidates for New York City mayor not to travel to Israel if they were elected as a way of demonstrating solidarity with "Palestinians living under occupation," she would not rule out travelling to Israel if she were elected mayor.

In 2015, Morales visited Israel on a junket with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. She says she does not feel that participants in the trip were given "honest information," the Forward reported.

Jaffa yeshiva rabbi assaulted after inquiring about apartment; 2 arrested
A rabbi was violently assaulted in Jaffa in an apparent hate crime on Sunday while seeking to purchase an apartment to house his yeshiva.

Two men in their 30s were arrested over the beating of Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, who runs the Shirat Moshe Hesder Yeshiva in the mixed Jewish-Arab city adjacent to Tel Aviv.

Channel 12 reported that Mali and his colleague went to a building in Jaffa to view the property. The two were surrounded by Arab residents of the area, who began to yell at them and order them to leave. When they refused and began filming the incident, the suspects began beating Mali and his colleague.

Mali did not require hospitalization for his injuries.

Photos posted online showed the rabbi, in his sixties, being kicked to the ground.

Right-wing lawmakers strongly condemned the attack, calling it anti-Semitic.

“The State of Israel is not a shtetl in which Jews can be harmed,” Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett tweeted, referring to the Jewish hamlets of Eastern Europe. “The severe and overt violence against Rabbi Eliyahu Mali, the head of the hesder yeshiva in Jaffa, is a… national disgrace.”

“We are witnessing a series of attacks by Arab assailants against Torah-observant Jews, which are deliberate and anti-Semitic,” he said.
New Trend in Jerusalem: Arabs Attack Jews, and Then Post It On TikTok
Young male Jerusalem Arabs appear to have started a new trend in the capital similar to one that gained traction last year in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of New York City.

Within 72 hours four Jewish men were attacked by young male Arabs. All the attacks took place in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.

On Saturday night a gang of young Arab males hurled rocks at Jewish people while they were walking on the sidewalk outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. One man in particular became the target of the stone-throwers.

The attack was subsequently posted to the TikTok social media website with a music bed featuring a male Arabic-language singer, as on videos posted by Arab terrorist organizations produced in hopes of frightening Israelis.

Also Saturday night, a second such attack took place on a stone staircase in the Old City, with a group of young male Arabs knocking the hat off a young Jewish man as he was walking down the steps, and then kicking the hat further down the stairs before racing away laughing.

On Friday, Jerusalem Police arrested a 21-year-old Arab male from the city’s northern neighborhood of Beit Hanina in connection with another attack that took place Thursday on the Jerusalem Light Rail, also posted on TikTok.

The suspect in custody filmed a young Arab male attacker as he slapped an Orthodox Jewish man with great force while riding the Jerusalem Light Rail.
Joint Arab List MK Cassif: Palestinian security prisoners 'political prisoners'
Ofer Cassif, the lone Jewish lawmaker representing the Joint Arab List in the Knesset, referred to Palestinian security prisoners as "political prisoners" in a post to Facebook marking Palestinian Prisoners Day.

Cassif also shared an image of a prison cell with the caption: "May all the captives be released!"

"The vast majority of Palestinian prisoners in Israel have not been charged with criminal offenses – they are political prisoners due to their opposition to the military occupation of their people.

"From here, I send a message of freedom, of hope, and peace. We must stop holding captives, strive for an agreement that ends the occupation, stops the bloodshed, and leads to prosperity for all those residing in the land."

Cassif recently made headlines for injuries he sustained when police punched him and wrestled him to the ground in a protest against planned evictions in east Jerusalem last week.
In response to a rocket fired by terrorists from Gaza at Israel on April 17, 2021, on April 18 our forces struck Hamas terror targets including a training facility, an anti-aircraft missile launcher post, a concrete production plant and terror tunnel infrastructure.

Among most dangerous places for gays: West Bank, Gaza, Iran, UAE and Yemen
The travel blog Asher and Lyric published an updated 2021 list in March of the most dangerous countries for LGBTQ travelers, including countries and disputed territory within the Middle East.

“After 250+ hours of research, we’ve reviewed all countries’ individual laws and gathered data from a variety of trusted international sources to create the definitive ‘LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index’ that will help you find the safest (and least safe) countries for your next trip abroad,” wrote the journalists Lyric and Asher Fergusson, who oversee the travel safety blog.

The world’s most dangerous country for the LGBTQ community is Nigeria while the safest country is Canada, according to the study.

Within the top 20 most dangerous nations across the globe, Saudi Arabia ranked second among Middle East and North African nations, followed by Oman (5), Qatar (8), UAE (9), Yemen (10), Sudan (13), West Bank and Gaza (14), Iran (15), Morocco (18), Egypt (19), and Algeria (20).

“As of now, 28 countries have marriage equality, and 16 countries provide civil unions or partnerships," Asher and Lyric wrote. "Two countries – Bulgaria and Israel – do not allow marriage equality for their citizens but formally recognize marriages overseas.”

Israel does not criminalize same-sex relations in contrast to nearly all countries in the Middle East and North Africa regions.
PMW: PA: Munich Olympics massacre planners presented “spectacular aspects of pride, glory, and loyalty”
The PA never tires of celebrating their most lethal terror attacks against Israel and praising the “masterminds” behind them. One such attack is the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

Official PA TV News mourned the death of the “most prominent leaders of the Palestinian revolution,” Abu Yusuf Al-Najjar, Kamal Nasser, and Kamal Adwan - three members of the Black September terror organization – the group responsible for planning and carrying out the Munich Olympics massacre. The three were killed by Israel in the year following the attack. PA TV News said the life stories of the three “commanders” “emit a pleasant aroma” and that the “death as Martyrs” of the three terrorists “presented the most spectacular aspects of pride, glory, and loyalty”:
Official PA TV reporter: “48 years have passed since the assassination of the three commanders Abu Yusuf Al-Najjar, Kamal Nasser, and Kamal Adwan (i.e., senior members of Black September terror organization) … The night of April 10, 1973, has become a painful memory due to the loss of three of the most prominent leaders of the Palestinian revolution, through whose death as Martyrs the Fatah Movement and the revolution presented the most spectacular aspects of pride, glory, and loyalty… The bodies of the three righteous Martyrs disappeared from the scene of the Palestinian revolution that is continuing generation after generation to remove the occupation and take our legitimate Palestinian rights [from it], while the stories of [their] lives that emit a pleasant aroma remain present, so that they will always be the compass of preserving the national principles.”
[Official PA TV News, April 10, 2021]

The official PA daily likewise mourned the Black September terrorists:
“On April 10, 1973, the Israeli Mossad (Israeli Secret Intelligence Service) forces murdered leaders Muhammad Yusuf Al-Najjar… Kamal Nasser, and Kamal Adwan in Beirut due to their outstanding activity in the Palestinian resistance and a claim of their participation in planning the Munich operation the previous year.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 10, 2021]

The UN will create Nuremberg-like trials to try “Israeli war criminals” as Nazis were tried

“No one killed more Israelis than Fatah,” editor in chief of Palestinian news agency brags

Gaza sees record 23 deaths from coronavirus, marking pandemic’s deadliest day
Gaza saw a record 23 deaths from coronavirus in 24 hours, making Saturday the deadliest day in the coastal enclave since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The epidemiological situation in the Gaza Strip is getting worse, especially the number of severe and critical cases in hospital beds,” Hamas health official Muatasem Salah told Al-Aqsa Radio on Sunday.

Both the terror group and international observers have warned that the Gaza health system — worn down by years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and three wars between Israel and the enclave’s rulers — is ill-equipped to handle a severe spike in cases.

“Gaza is blockaded and enormously densely populated… We have a lack of oxygen with which to treat patients, and we currently only have enough medication to treat coronavirus patients to last for the next three months,” another Hamas health official, Munir al-Bursh, estimated in a phone call last month.

While Israel has leapt ahead in vaccinating its population, allowing a gradual return to normal life, the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip possesses only enough vaccines for a small fraction of its population.

Around 41% of coronavirus tests came back positive on Saturday, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The high number is likely due to limited testing; Gaza has only one main laboratory for processing coronavirus tests.

Pakistan targets Holocaust to appease far-right anti-French Islamists
In a cycle that has now become common under many far-right Islamist regimes, whenever an extremist group claims it is “offended” by a Western country, it lashes out at Jews and the Holocaust.

In the latest incident, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan compared “negative comments on the Holocaust” to “abuse of our Prophet” and called on Western countries to make criticism of the Prophet illegal. Khan doesn’t actually condemn Holocaust denial; he has met with leading Holocaust denier Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia.

The recent controversy began when the far-right Pakistan Islamist supremacist political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik began protests in Pakistan against France, which has told its citizens to flee the South Asian Islamic Republic.

The attacks on France are entirely invented and are commonly used in Muslim countries that have far-right governments to encourage extremism. For instance, Turkey also attacked France last year, claiming it had “insulted the Prophet,” which led to several terrorist attacks in France. Last October, a student in a French school lied to her classmates, claiming a teacher had “insulted” Islam. The teacher was beheaded.

Posturing is No Policy on Iran
A nuclear armed Islamic Republic might be no more than a nuisance for the US, as is North Korea for example, while it would be an existential threat to Israel.

But what if the whole nuclear issue, built by former President Barack Obama as the core of the "Iran problem", is a diversion designed to put real or imaginary foes on a wrong trajectory?

So, is Iran enriching uranium to build a bomb?

He [Obama] cited a "fatwa" by "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei that forbids Muslims from building the bomb. (Needless to say possibly apart from Obama no one has seen the fatwa.)

What if what many see as the Islamic Republic's nuclear policy is a posture... not a policy? That posture serves the Khomeinist regime's interests by shifting the focus away from the real mischief and crimes it has been committing inside and outside Iran for four decades.

Its "exporting revolution" has already contributed to triggering and prolonging the war in Yemen. Without its involvement, the Syrian civil war may not have led to what is the greatest tragedy the world has seen in the new century. By creating Hezbollah, the mullahs have led Lebanon to the brink of ungovernability, not to say systemic collapse. By supporting the most radical rejectionist groups, the mullahs have also helped block the road to an Israeli-Palestinian coexistence accord.

To forget all that, not to mention the seizing of scores of hostages and the killing of hundreds of US, British and French soldiers with roadside bombs and terror attacks in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, and over 100 terror operations in 22 countries across the globe, would be the height of naiveté and a sure sign of moral decadence.
Biden is too eager to get a deal
In that sense, even though these alleged actions have taken place against the backdrop of Iranian provocations against Israel, their timing is apparently aimed at sending a clear message: Israel will not tolerate the turning back of the clock to the Obama era in which its positions are ignored, even if that means it has to raise its profile and risk Iranian retaliation that would lead to escalation.

Even though it would be premature to make definitive conclusions based on the past several days and in the wake of Iran's decision to raise its enrichment levels to 60%, it appears that the Israeli message was heard loud and clear in Washington. The White House's decision to unfreeze the arms deal with the United Arab Emirates (including the sale of the F-35 advanced fighter) just two days after Israel's alleged actions in Natanz shows that the US is listening. In fact, the green light for the sale is a confidence-building measure toward Israel, as this is a key part of the Abraham Accords aimed at making Israel and the Sunni Arab states embark on a path to normalization.

This is also designed to show Tehran that despite America's keen effort to join the nuclear pact from 2015 and improve relations with the Islamic republic, it is unwilling to do so by abandoning its key allies in the region and showing the same weakness of the Obama administration.

Time will tell if Obama's former deputy will manage to unshackle himself from the 44th president's ultra-conciliatory approach on Iran. It appears that despite the recent signal to Israel and Iran, Biden is determined to return to a deal that would be based on the 2015 accord, in defiance of Israel's opposition and non-verbal messages.
‘Eye for an eye’: Iran editorial urges retaliatory attack on Dimona reactor
An Iranian newspaper affiliated with the country’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei published an editorial Saturday calling on the government to strike Israel’s nuclear facility in Dimona in response to the recent attack on the Islamic Republic’s Natanz nuclear site, which was widely attributed to Israel.

Writing in the ultraconservative Kahyan daily, prominent regional analyst Saadullah Zarai lamented the response seen thus far from the Iranian government following the April 11 sabotage operation at Natanz.

Iran has since begun enriching a small amount of uranium up to 60 percent purity — its highest level ever, and a short step from weapons-grade — in open breach of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Unfortunately, by announcing that Iran will install more advanced centrifuges at the damaged facility and that it will increase uranium enrichment to 60 percent, the president [Hassan Rouhani] has effectively announced that Iran will not respond proportionally to the attack at all,” Zarai wrote.

“It is the clear position of this author that the appropriate response to the Natanz incident — based on [the concept of] an eye for an eye and based on the policy of creating a security deterrence — should be action against the [Israeli] nuclear facility in Dimona. This is because no other action is at the same level as the Natanz incident,” he added.
Iran said to ask Interpol to arrest Natanz ‘sabotage’ suspect
Iran has asked Interpol to help arrest a suspect in an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility which it blames on Israel, a local newspaper reported Sunday.

National television published a photo and identified the man as 43-year-old Reza Karimi, saying the intelligence ministry established his role in last week’s “sabotage” at Natanz.

The broadcaster said the suspect had “fled the country before the incident” and that “legal procedures to arrest and return him to the country are currently underway.”

The report also aired what appeared to be an Interpol “red notice” seeking his arrest. A red notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender or similar legal action, according to Interpol’s website.

Neither state TV nor other media provided further details on the suspect, and the intelligence ministry has not issued an official statement. A passport-style photo published by Iranian state television shows Reza Karimi, 43, whom Tehran says was behind the sabotage at Natanz on April 11 that it has blamed on Israel (video screenshot)

The ultra-conservative Kayhan daily reported in its Sunday edition that “intelligence and judicial authorities” are engaged in the process.
Seth Frantzman: Iranian-backed units may have targeted Turkish base in Iraq
A secretive Turkish base in Iraq came under rocket fire last week. Turkey’s Anadolu news, which represents the government’s narrative, said that the rocket pads used to launch the attack were found in an area controlled by the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Sha’abi or PMU in northern Iraq.

"The missile launch pads that targeted the Turkish military base were found between the areas of Shalalat and Baaweza in the territory of the Hashd Brigade 30,” Rafaat Smo, the deputy governor of northern Iraq’s Nineveh province, told the Iraqi Kurdish RUDWA news agency Friday.

The report notes that last Wednesday, three rockets were fired on a Turkish base in the northern Iraqi town of Bashiqa. “One rocket landed inside the base, martyring a Turkish soldier, while the other two landed in a nearby village, injuring two civilians, including a 12-year-old girl,” Anadolu says. Turkey’s media is now pointing fingers at the PMU and linking it to Iran.

Some tensions have grown between pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and Turkey in recent months. They actually date back to 2015 when Baghdad complained about Ankara establishing new bases in northern Iraq. Turkey has had forces in Iraq claiming to be fighting the PKK since the 1990s. Turkish intelligence has also infiltrated Iraq at various times. In 2003 Turkish agents were detained in the so-called “hood incident” in Kirkuk.

Turkey has also had close ties to Turkmen in Tel Afar; it has historically had close relations with Mosul and Nineveh, an area it once claimed. Turkey also has close ties to Erbil and the Kurdish authorities there.
BBC Arabic anchor’s social media post amended two years after CAMERA Arabic complaint
Following his March 31stpromotion of a conspiracy theory from ‘Electronic Intifada’ involving “Israeli lobbyists” (which in fact targeted Jewish students and their UK allies), it would appear that the BBC had a word with BBC Arabic anchor, Nour Eddine Zorgui. On Tuesday, April 13th the Jewish Chronicle reported that:
“In response to the JC, a BBC spokesperson said: ‘The tweets have been removed and our journalist reminded of the BBC social media guidelines’”.

Indeed, Zorgui deleted his tweet last Monday afternoon (April 12th). Shortly after that, he removed the term BBC from his Twitter handle and Facebook profile.

However, by Tuesday night, the anchor had dubbed CAMERA Arabic “cheap propaganda” and blocked our Twitter account (screenshot of his short-lived tweet below). How did that happen?
Nour Eddine Zorgui, shortly after being called out for sharing a post by ‘Electronic Intifada’: CAMERA Arabic’s Twitter page engages in “cheap propaganda”

During Monday’s social media remake Zorgui also amended another Facebook post from more than two years ago and deleted its corresponding tweet. In both, he had originally described his location at the time as “in Palestine” although he was actually broadcasting from west Jerusalem and visiting the Israeli city of Nazareth.

‘I am the only Jew who prays for the good health of Nazis’
He describes himself as “the only Jew who prays for the good health of Nazis”. As the last Nazi hunter tracking down the last surviving Nazis from the Holocaust, Efraim Zuroff is in a race against time.

Those who took part in the systematic murder of six million Jews in Europe are now over the age of 90, and almost all are frail or sick. Zuroff himself is 72 – born three years after the end of the second World War – and has been hunting former Nazis for more than 40 years. He is as committed to the task as ever.

Currently his energies are focused on a Lithuanian woman, now probably 97, living in an English-speaking country, who as a teenager was seen smashing the heads of Jewish babies who were her neighbours. Three months ago, Zuroff had a positive lead, but the Covid pandemic has frustrated further inquiries for now. “She could die at any moment. It’s an occupational hazard,” Zuroff says in a Zoom call from Jerusalem.

In his four decades as a Nazi hunter, Zuroff has submitted the names of more than 3,000 suspects to 20 countries. Many states are slow to pursue legal action, he says; death has allowed suspects to escape justice as evidence gathers dust in prosecutors’ offices.

But there have been notable successes. Asked what was his biggest catch, Zuroff cites Dinko Šakic, who became commandant of the Jasenovac concentration camp in Croatia at the age of 22 and was responsible for the murder of 2,000 people. After the war, he moved to Argentina, where he lived for 50 years before being brought to trial in 1998. Zuroff was there to see Šakic laugh as he was found guilty and jailed for 20 years.
10 Jewish graves vandalized in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Ten Jewish graves at a cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland were damaged in what is being considered a hate crime by police, multiple news outlets reported.

Police are analyzing all CCTV footage from 24 hours before Friday.

According to local councilor Steven Corr, of the Sinn Fein Party, the incident is the latest in a series of vandalism acts at the cemetery. "These unbelievable attacks on the headstones of dead people needs to stop," he said, according to local news outlet Belfast Live, adding that he felt this was a "deliberate targeting."

“Parents need to impress upon their kids that the cemetery isn’t a playground or a place to gather. Parks, playgrounds and pitches are reopening and this damage and desecration of graves causes untold hurt and distress to all the families who have loved ones buried in the City Cemetery,” he added.

The incident was condemned by other political representatives. One, North Ireland parliamentarian William Humphery, said he was “disgusted and appalled to hear that 10 Jewish headstones have been damaged” and remarked that "this is a very sad day for Belfast," Belfast Live reported.

"Those behind this appalling antisemitic attack are evil," he continued. "A graveyard is a sacred place and should be respected as such. Those responsible are guilty of a most heinous hate crime."
New York City now home to 21 Israel-founded tech unicorns
Following a flurry of investment activity in recent months, New York is now home to 21 Israeli-founded unicorns — privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more — according to the United States – Israel Business Alliance (USIBA).

Each of these companies’ global or US headquarters is based in Manhattan, making New York the city with the second most Israeli-founded unicorns in the world, behind Tel Aviv, the USIBA said in a statement.

“The numbers we’re seeing in New York are unprecedented,” USIBA president Aaron Kaplowitz said. “Despite a year filled with challenges and uncertainty, New York remains a global hub for growth industries that Israeli entrepreneurs continue to disrupt.”

Israel is transforming from a hub for early stage startups, which earned it the nickname “Startup Nation,” to a country developing higher valued and bigger firms, with many attaining unicorn status.

Over the past six months, 10 Israeli-founded companies based in New York have become unicorns: Axonius, BigID, Forter, Kaltura, K Health, Melio, Papaya Global, SimilarWeb, Talkspace, and Yotpo.

They joined Gett,, OrCam, Outbrain, Payoneer, Riskified, Sisense, Taboola, The We Company, VAST Data, and Via, the statement said.
Lost your car keys, again? Israeli app offers smart, ‘key-free’ driving
A minor but frustrating annoyance may soon go the way of the horse and wagon: getting held up leaving home because your car keys are missing. That is, assuming you know where your phone is.

Cobra, an Israeli maker of automotive safety devices and door-locking systems, is launching its Mobile-Key technology, initially in Israel, which will enable drivers to open their vehicles via a smartphone app suitable for iOS and Android devices.

The technology will enable drivers to have the same advanced door-opening features offered by Tesla and other luxury car manufacturers, the company said on Sunday at the launch of the app.

Losing a car key can cost not only time but money: between NIS 1,000 ($305) and NIS 4,000 to replace it, depending on the car manufacturer. Cobra’s Mobile-Key technology includes an electronic control unit beneath the dashboard that interacts with smartphone app (Courtesy)

Cobra proposes adding a small electronic control unit beneath the dashboard of any car. The unit interacts with the appropriate smartphone app via Bluetooth. The app allows the car owner to open and close doors, open the trunk, or flash the lights, and of course start the car without the key — just with the smartphone in the car.

Even following installation, the car key can continue to be used, so the driver has the option to open the vehicle either manually or via the app, the company said.
65% drop in severe asthma, Israeli hospital says it’s the masks
Sheba Medical Center found a 65% decrease in the hospitalization of severe asthma patients and a 49% drop in the number of urgent visits to the hospital’s emergency room by asthma sufferers in 2020 versus 2019.

Prof. Nancy Agmon-Levin, who conducted the study, told The Jerusalem Post that she believes “masks blocked infectious agents and definitely pollen.”

Agmon-Levin is the head of Sheba’s Clinical Immunology, Angioedema and Allergy Unit. She said that she and her team were hearing comments from patients that they had a lot less allergies this year compared to previous years.

“We thought this is probably because of wearing masks, but thought about how we could prove the idea,” she explained. “We checked the referrals to the emergency department due to asthma, of which 80% to 90% of all asthma patients are due to allergies.”

While there were such large decreases in asthma referrals, there was only around a 10% decrease in overall emergency department referrals during the same period.

Likewise, when looking at the first quarter of the year, pollution levels appear very similar to every other year, she said.
Israel to send COVID aid to Uruguay
Israel will send a team of doctors to Uruguay to help the country deal with a growing number of new coronavirus cases.

The country has been diagnosing between 2,000 and 4,000 new cases per day for the past month, according to the World 'O Meters website.

The Brazilian mutation, known to be more infectious and thought by some to be more dangerous, has spread across South America – especially to Uruguay and Peru, which border Brazil.

The Israeli delegation is being sent by Sheba Medical Center’s Israel Center for Disaster Medicine and Humanitarian Response. Before the team leaves, they are sending medical equipment to set up an operational critical-care coronavirus unit in Montevideo. It is still unclear specifically when the team will leave for their mission. The equipment is supposed to be sent in the next couple of days.

“It is our task to lend a helping hand to any nation in need of medical assistance,” said Sheba’s Deputy Director Prof. Arnon Afek, who also said that the hospital invited Uruguay’s doctors and nurses to come to Israel and train with members of the Sheba staff.

Bernardo Grevier, Uruguay’s Ambassador to Israel, upon hearing the news of the mission, said, “We are truly thankful for your assistance to the people of Uruguay, one of the first countries in the world to recognize Israel’s independence in 1948. So, your assistance to the people of Uruguay during the week of your celebrations has even more significance.”


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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