Thursday, April 22, 2021

From Ian:

Bernard-Henri Levy: Sarah Halimi’s Law
Everything about this case is heartbreaking.

The fate of a retired kindergarten teacher, beaten and then thrown from a window.

The evasiveness about whether a murder committed to cries of “I’ve killed the devil!” was or was not an anti-Semitic act.

The silence of the feminist groups that typically do such remarkable work in support of battered women and victims of domestic abuse, but who had nothing to say about this case.

The December 2020 decision of the court of appeals, confirmed by the high court on April 17, that Kobili Traoré, the killer, whose criminal record contains 20-odd convictions, was, in this instance, overcome with a delirious episode and thus could not be held criminally responsible.

Not to mention the good souls who, clearly perceiving that the courts have spoken but justice not done, keep repeating that they “understand the feelings of the Jewish community,” as if it were the latter alone, and not the French nation as a whole, that had reason to feel cheated by a trial that was whisked away, making it impossible to reach closure.

In the face of this legal and moral defeat, I offer three observations.

First, since judges are ordinary mortals, subject to prejudice, errors of judgment, and even emotion, it is not inappropriate, contrary to ubiquitous assertions to the contrary, to “comment on a court decision.”

Indeed, the derailment inflicted by the high court is revolting.

Indeed, we live in a country, France, where a man who throws his dog from his fourth floor is sentenced to a year in prison, whereas if he murders an old Jewish woman, he may face no consequences whatsoever.

Indeed, it is worrisome to know that the murderer, who had no history of psychiatric problems, who suffered and suffers from no pathology, and who, since his hospitalization, has received no medication, will soon regain his freedom.

And, no, it is not inappropriate to worry about the state of a legal system that is too often the prisoner of the culture of excuses: In Sarcelles, we witnessed the inability to call by its proper name the act of an individual armed with a knife who attacked three people leaving a synagogue wearing yarmulkes.


JPost Editorial: Sarah Halimi murder: No excuse for killing, hating Jews - editorial
The fact that the man shouted religious slogans during the killing provides evidence that this was not just a random drug-fueled murder. Throughout history Jews have been murdered for blood libels, hacked to death by Crusaders, and stuffed into gas chambers and crematoriums. In recent years, France’s Jews have often been targeted by Islamist extremists. For instance, in 2012 a Jewish school in Toulouse was targeted by a murderer who filmed the killing of a teacher and children. Mohammed Merah, the murderer, shouted “Allahu akhbar” while killing others during his campaign of terror.

Then, in 2015, four people were killed at a kosher supermarket in Paris. That attack was also mistakenly dismissed as “randomly shoot[ing] a bunch of folks in a deli” by former US president Barack Obama. One wonders again whether, had they not been Jews but another minority group, and had they been targeted in a unique traditional food store, it would have been labeled “random.”

It was not random when France’s “Gang of Barbarians” murdered Ilan Halimi in 2006. He was targeted for being Jewish, and during the trial the ringleader of the murderers claimed “all the Jews in the world are enemies,” a statement we Jews have heard before.

Unfortunately, in France there is a long list of wannabe Hitlers who have targeted our people, from Ilan Halimi, to Sarah Halimi. The difference is that the law has now decided in France that so long as people have taken a bit of drugs, they are no longer responsible for their murderous actions. Any “angry” person can now murder a Jew in France and claim he took drugs beforehand and have a reasonable chance of walking free.

While it is a positive step that Macron has called for the law to change, it is years too late. Macron has said that he wants to assure the family and relatives of the victim and all fellow citizens of the Jewish faith that they have his support. Then why do they keep getting murdered in France?

Jews make up a small, historic minority in France. Many have left the country over the years for Israel, the United States or Canada, seeking to build a new life. They shouldn’t have to flee for safety or put up more bars and walls around their synagogues to feel safe. It’s not enough to change a failed law that enables people to murder so long as they are “high.” Society in France should have been educated long ago not to hate Jews and not to call Jews “Satan.” Crimes of people shouting “God is great” while killing members of another faith should be prosecuted as religious-inspired hate crimes. The excuses have to stop.


Sarah Halimi's family to seek Israeli trial, lawyers say
Sarah Halimi’s sister is set to file a legal complaint in Israel against her killer who was recently found criminally not responsible by a French court.

Ms Halimi died in 2017 aged 65 after being pushed from her Parisian apartment window by her neighbour Kobili Traoré, who has since remained in psychiatric care.

He had shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ before the attack.

Lawyers representing the victim’s Israeli sister, Esther Lekover, said they will lodge a complaint in Israel where some antisemitic offences committed abroad may also be prosecuted.

Gilles-William Goldnadel and Francis Szpiner said they “deplored” having to take the step but “could not accept a denial of justice which offends reason and fairness far beyond France’s Jewish community.”

They also expressed their “consternation” at the cour de Cassation’s recent ruling.
France's Jews Outraged After Sarah Halimi Murderer Acquitted



JDA is an attempt to gaslight Jews and protect anti-semites
This is highly problematic. It tries to muddy the waters and create ambiguity over what constitutes antisemitism. This would only make it easier for antisemites to spread hate without facing the consequences that should go along with that. The reason IHRA is so widely accepted is because it details and represents the lived experience of Jews who have been discriminated against in order to provide clarity for governments and institutions so they can take appreciative actions to protect the Jewish community. The JDA completely ignores one of the most prevalent forms of modern antisemitism which is to attack Jews in the name of attacking Israel.

Support for the JDA is rooted in antisemitism. One of the main sponsors of this petition is Richard Falk, a devoted anti-Semite. Falk has been officially denounced by the United Kingdom on THREE separate occasions for antisemitism. He has praised the protocols of the Elders of Zion and antisemitic cartoons and has described Jews as Nazis – and ironic and deeply offensive comparison. If that doesn’t convince you that the JDA is illegitimate, Falk once said “I don’t agree with the tactics of killing civilians and terrorist tactics. Of course, the armed settlers are an ambiguous category…”. We cannot allow this petition to advance farther than it already has. It is clear that those who aim to implement this definition do not care about the wellbeing of the Jewish people, as they have perpetuated antisemitism themselves.

The JDA has already started to impact campus activities. Student groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Penn Against the Occupation have started to call for the rejection of IHRA to silence pro-Israel and Jewish students. The only goal of this effort is to counter the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism with one that would safeguard antisemites and fail to protect the Jewish community. The petition also states that in order for Jews to protect themselves they must ally with explicit enemies of Israel. The JDA petition is rife with contradiction and clear bigotry.

There is a reason that the IHRA working definition of antisemitism has been accepted worldwide. Don’t let this petition fool you. It only serves to gaslight Jews and undermine the IHRA definition of antisemitism, while protecting antisemites and those who wish to delegitimize Israel.
Who’s Afraid of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism?
By masking one’s Jew hatred as an allegedly legitimate criticism of the State of Israel, the delegitimization campaign against the State of Israel, led by the terror-linked Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has openly promoted and fostered the new antisemitism.

The IHRA definition helps categorize and identify both types of antisemitism — old and new — by creating clear guidelines and providing specific examples of each. Unsurprisingly, anti-Israel groups in Canada, the US, and the UK, have launched campaigns advocating against the growing adoption of the IHRA definition.

Why is the BDS movement and their allied groups including IfNotNow, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) so afraid of the IHRA definition? The answer is simple — it reveals their true antisemitic intent and holds them accountable for their hatred. The IHRA definition exposes their stated mission of social justice as a hoax and a cover up for promoting Jew hatred and the demonization and sometimes destruction of Israel.

To counter these antisemitic groups campaigning against the IHRA definition, especially on college campuses, more than 400 leading intellectuals, professors, and scholars from around the world have joined together in support of the IHRA definition. These academic leaders signed a letter of support, validating and reinforcing the importance of the IHRA definition, which has been adopted by nearly three dozen countries, numerous government agencies, and countless academic institutions, student governments, and non-governmental organizations.

With antisemitism spreading like wildfire in every facet of society, the IHRA definition is one of the most effective ways to expose and counter it. We must work relentlessly to amplify its power by advocating for its wide adoption by multilateral organizations, government institutions, states, universities, and school systems.
War of the words: The conflict between definitions of antisemitism
The IHRA definition has a main definition and 11 guidelines to serve as examples of how antisemitism may manifest. According to IHRA, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Of the guidelines, four were for classic antisemitism, and the remaining seven on antisemitism involving Israel. The inclusion of examples with Israel would later become contested, but for counter-antisemitism activists it was necessary to combat a rising trend of “new antisemitism” involving the Jewish state.

The last half of the decade saw a surge of antisemitism in the US. According to FBI religious hate crime statistics, in 2016 Jews represented 53% of all victims, which rose by 10% in 2019. That year, Jews were the targets of a series of street and shooting attacks.

During the pandemic, Jew-hatred shifted online with COVID-19 conspiracies and rants by celebrities, which often touched on Israel.

On American campuses, while “classical” manifestations of antisemitism were dropping, incidents that involved Israel rose by 300% in 2019, according to the AMCHA initiative. This coincided with a steady rise in US campus Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activity. American Jews were experiencing multiple forms of antisemitism that academic institutions, social media platforms and authorities didn’t understand, and therefore didn’t know how to address.

“Today, we are seeing not only a resurgence in ‘classical’ antisemitism directed towards Jews as individuals, but also a manifestation of antisemitism directed against the Jewish state, which takes on false claims and malicious distortions of truth dangerously disguised as acceptable criticism of Zionism and Israel,” Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum (ILF), told the Magazine.

Antisemitism is identifiable to most when it mirrors racism, but many are unfamiliar with classic antisemitic imagery or tropes, or how “Jew” can simply be substituted with “Zionist.” Activists were frustrated that authorities couldn’t hear the dog whistles.

“Jewish students support IHRA because they recognize they are being targeted under the context of anti-Zionism,” Daniel Koren, executive director of Hasbara Fellowships Canada, told the Magazine. “They see that administrators do not have the tools or guidelines to understand the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel as opposed to the outright hatred of Jewish people.”


University of Bath adopts International Definition of Antisemitism
The University of Bath has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

In a statement, the University said: “Our University is committed to being an inclusive community, which cherishes diversity. We seek to create a community where hate, harassment and discrimination are never tolerated. Condemning antisemitism and tackling any antisemitic incidents is very much part of this commitment.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by universities.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has consistently backed efforts by the Government to encourage widespread adoption of the Definition by local authorities, universities and public bodies. The UK was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Lord Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street.
What J Street means for Progressives' views on Israel - analysis
The Obama administration honed this use of J Street into an art. How could one criticize president Barack Obama on the Iran deal or for publicly quarreling with Israel over the Palestinian issue and settlements, when those policies were supported and trumpeted by the Jewish “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby in Washington?

And the third telling aspect of the virtual confab was the degree to which few people seemed to be paying attention in Israel.

Even though the conference featured some big hitters – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with Sanders, Warren and a number of other senators and representatives – it was hardly covered in the Hebrew-language media in Israel.

Had AIPAC not canceled its annual policy conference this year, it is safe to assume that – as usual – the goings-on at the conference, even a virtual one, would have generated more of a buzz in the Hebrew media.

The J Street conference did not. And that shows two things. First, while the organization likes to think of itself as having an impact on American policy, in Israel few are paying attention – or seem to care – what the group thinks or has to say.

And the second thing this lack of attention reveals is a certain Israeli shortsightedness. Agree or disagree with J Street, it is an organization that does reflect the mainstream view of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party on Israel – not the mainstream of the Democratic Party, but the mainstream progressive view.

And if what is being discussed at this conference is restricting aid to Israel, something both Sanders and Warren came out in favor of, it is incumbent on Israel to take note. Not because this is the view of US President Joe Biden or the mainstream of the party, but because it could – if left unchallenged – gain traction and become the view of the party.

J Street, with its predictable talking points and focus on a two-state solution, should not be dismissed as a one-trick pony with little impact. The organization both shapes progressive thinking and policy on Israel and provides a peephole into this thinking and strategy. And while the progressive wing has not yet taken over the Democratic Party, Israel should be monitoring and paying close attention to what is going on inside that camp, in the eventuality that someday it will.
J Street Embraces Mahmoud Abbas; How Will US Jews Respond?
If less than three years ago, Abbas was — according to J Street — an antisemite, how is he now acceptable as a featured speaker at their national conference? Does antisemitism have a shelf life and an expiration date? Or does J Street simply think it is now acceptable to partner with Abbas to advance his radical, antisemitic agenda?

And is J Street simply hoping that the rest of us will not notice that under Abbas, antisemitism still fills both the Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled media and its school textbooks?

Or does J Street acknowledge that Abbas is still an antisemite? And if so, why was he invited to speak? And what about the fact that Abbas’ PA continues to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists? Is the PA’s policy of naming parks, streets, and other venues after terrorists something that J Street endorses?

J Street’s May 2018 condemnation of Abbas was a rare and impressive criticism of a figure whom J Street had almost never previously criticized. For J Street, though, that honest perspective seemingly lasted just for a moment.

Recently, J Street has tried to take advantage of the Jewish community’s desire to have a big tent, and gain legitimacy in the eyes of the independent organizations that govern much of Jewish establishment life in America.

But J Street should not be offered safe harbors within our federations and councils. J Street’s giving a platform to Abbas is all of the evidence for this that we need.

No one is demanding that other far left groups such as Americans for Peace Now, a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for decades, be put outside the tent. J Street, however, through its embrace of Abbas, and its other actions, has put itself in a far different category — much closer to extremists like Jewish Voice for Peace, Neturei Karta, and IfNotNow. American Jews who support Israel’s security must have red lines, and J Street has violated them.

I hope that American Jewish individuals and organizations who are blessed with morality and common sense will soon find their voice and speak out forcefully against J Street, and put them outside the tent.
Leading Jewish Groups ‘Deeply Disappointed’ After Quebec Court Upholds Most of Religious Symbols Ban
Leading Jewish groups expressed disappointment on Wednesday after the Quebec Superior Court largely upheld a bill that effectively bans the wearing of religious symbols by most public service workers.

According to the official government explanatory notes, “Bill 21: An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State,” approved in 2019, will “prohibit certain persons from wearing religious symbols while exercising their functions” in public service, and that “personnel members of a [public] body must exercise their functions with their face uncovered,” along with “persons who present themselves to receive a service.”

The CBC reported that Justice Marc-André Blanchard ruled that while the Bill does violate the rights of religious minorities, this is nonetheless constitutionally permissible according to the “notwithstanding clause” of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which allows for sections of the Charter to be overridden by legislative decision.

Th ruling exempted English-language schools from the Bill, with Blanchard saying that their desire to foster diversity is protected by the Charter.

The Canadian advocacy group the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) said in a statement, “CIJA is deeply disappointed by today’s Quebec Superior Court decision to uphold provisions of Bill 21 that severely restrict religious freedom and the ability of Jewish Quebecers and other faith-based communities to freely pursue careers in the public sector.”

“We believe that secularism of the state is an institutional duty, not a personal one, and should not rest on the outward appearance of individuals,” the CIJA said.

“It is our view that the government failed to make the case that Quebec’s secularity faces a threat that justifies invocation of the notwithstanding clause,” the group added, and pledged to “continue to voice our community’s steadfast opposition to Bill 21.”
Exposing the Lies and Hate of the BDS Movement
In a conversation with American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) on March 31st Omar Barghouti appears to have charged Jews as thieves, settler colonialists, racists, purveyors of apartheid, ethnic cleansers, supremacists, and murderers — or at least the 95 percent of American Jews who support Israel.

Barghouti is one of the leaders of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He swears that neither he nor his movement is antisemitic. But perhaps that is because he believes the very definition of antisemitism accepted by most Jews is fraudulent and a ploy to silence Palestinians.

Still, Barghouti’s line is one that we’ve heard many times before — “we don’t hate Jews,” just the rootless cosmopolitans, globalists, and international Zionists.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — a staunch supporter of Israel’s right to exist — condemned what he viewed as cowardly anti-Zionist doublespeak, once saying, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking antisemitism.”

It’s ironic, then, that Barghouti would choose to open his latest essay entitled “Globalized Palestinian Resistance to Israeli Annexation and Apartheid” — the subject of the aforementioned AMP forum — with a quote about injustice from the American civil rights icon. But then, maybe it isn’t — because historical reinvention is the essence of anti-Zionism, an ugly myth supported by centuries-old tropes now repackaged as social justice.

Barghouti opened the virtual interview by explaining the BDS movement’s goals. The movement, he claimed, targets “complicity” and not “identity.”
Queens Council Candidate Kaur Questioned on Singling Out Israel
Queens City Council Candidate Jaslin Kaur today declined to answer if she supported the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement against Israel – a key question she was asked in a Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) survey in order to get the controversial but powerful organization’s support in the June 22 primary.

Kaur, 25, a first-generation South Asian-American whose parents are Sikh Punjabi immigrants, is running in Queens 23rd City Council district to succeed retiring Councilman Barry Grodenchik.

The district is about 35% South and East Asian-American but also has a sizable Jewish population. It includes the neighborhoods of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

Several sources told PoliticsNY, that Kaur, a DSA member, answered yes to the following questions the DSA asked all candidates citywide seeking the organization’s support:

When asked by PoliticsNY what her answers were to these questions, she responded with an emailed statement that she opposes all laws that would criminalize nonviolent protests.

“I don’t believe that councilmembers should be taking trips around the world funded by groups with special interests. When I’m in office, my travel schedule will take me block by block around District 23,” she said, refusing to elaborate further.

Kaur recently received the support of several progressive lawmakers including Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Queens State Sen. Mike Gianaris.

She also has the support of the progressive Jews For Racial & Economic Justice and other left-leaning Jewish leaders. She consulted with both before putting out a recent plan titled “Standing up to antisemitism and hate violence,” according to a story earlier this month in The Jewish Forward.

But several of her opponents in the nine-candidate race said they feel the questionnaire is antisemitic in that it singles out Israel.
Australia Postal Service Sells Globe with Israel Labeled "Palestine"
AUSTRALIA Post has pulled a world globe from sale at its outlets and issued an apology after The AJN alerted it to the fact that Israel was labelled as “Palestine”.

The globe, produced by the Discovery company, was bought at Australia Post’s Bentleigh East branch in Melbourne last Friday by a Jewish man as a birthday present for his grandson.

After noticing the error, he contacted the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) to express his shock and anger and has vowed to return the product.

In another blunder, the name Israel did appear on the globe but it was in Lebanon, above the region identified as Palestine. It was also printed across a border line, so all that is visible is “Isra”.

Speaking to The AJN on Tuesday, an Australia Post spokesperson said, “We are aware of this issue and have suspended the sale of this product and apologise for any offence caused.”

The spokesperson added that Australia Post “stocks a range of Discovery products in our stores, including this one, which was purchased in good faith”.

Stating, “Accuracy is of the utmost importance across all areas of the Discovery business,” a Discovery Australia spokesperson told The AJN, “We have immediately consulted our production partner of the 2-in-1 World Globe Light to rectify the geographical error relating to Israel. We apologise for any offence caused to our customers.”

Meanwhile, ThreeSixty Group, Discovery’s production partner for the product, blamed “a factory misprint error” for the mistake.
Does a 'report' cited by the Guardian on Palestinian children even exist
A photo collection in the Guardian (“Human Rights this Fortnight in Pictures: a round-up of the coverage on struggles for human rights and freedoms, from Mexico to China”, April 10) included this:

The caption next to the photo a young girl in Gaza reads:
Basketball practice on Palestinian Children’s Day in Gaza City on 5 April. Since the start of the year, Israeli forces have arrested more than 230 Palestinian children, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society. An Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, has said that the Israeli authorities are no longer replying to its requests for figures.

These figures on Palestinian children allegedly arrested by Israeli security forces were released around the time of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, which anti-Israel NGOs like Adalah characterises as an annual day to “raise awareness of the Palestinian political prisoners [sic] and to the human rights violations to which are they subjected”.

However, we were unable to find any information confirming the existence of the PPS report cited in the caption. It looks like the website of Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) hasn’t been updated in years and has no such report, and we were unable to find their presence on social media. Moreover, quotes or figures purportedly by PPS seem generally only cited on the websites of other anti-Israel propaganda sites, such as the website of the PLO , PressTV and the Tehran Times, none of which link to the original report – if one exists.

It’s also telling that the Guardian caption informs readers that the group B’Tselem concedes that Israel is “no longer replying to its request for figures”, possibly suggesting that editors reached out to the anti-Israel NGO to check PPS’s numbers, but they were unable to corroborate them. If Israeli authorities no longer provide a well-funded and highly visible NGO like B’Tselem with such stats, it seems extremely unlikely that Jerusalem would provide them to such an opaque organisation like PPS.

It’s also revealing that Senior Fatah official Qaddura Fares is often cited in mainstream news reports as the director of the “Palestinian Prisoners Society (sometimes referred to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club), which further undermines any notion that PPS is an independent, serious NGO, one that should be cited by reputable news outlets.


BBC Arabic journalist laments UAE wishes for Israel's Independence Day
A post by CAMERA Arabic and CAMERA UK

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip at the Sderot district just as Israel’s April 15th Independence Day celebrations were coming to an end did not receive any English language coverage from the BBC even though at least one locally based member of the corporation’s staff was aware of both that attack and another one the following evening that likewise went unreported.

In contrast, visitors to the BBC Arabic website on April 16th found a report by BBC Trending headlined “Tweeters: “The UAE congratulates Israel on the anniversary of its independence while Gaza is under bombardment”” in which they were told that:

“…many [Twitter users] interacted with the Israeli bombing of several areas in the Gaza Strip, which, according to the Israeli narrative, came in response to the launch of a missile from the Strip.”

The first part of that report relates to reactions to a Tweet sent by the UAE embassy in Israel on Independence Day.

“A tweet posted on the account of the Emirati embassy in Israel, in which the UAE congratulates the Hebrew state on the anniversary of its independence, and coincided with the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip, sparked great controversy on social media.

The tweet read: “The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Israel wishes the citizens of the State of Israel a Happy Independence Day!””


Almost all of the non-Israeli comments presented in the BBC’s report condemned that tweet. CAMERA Arabic notes that this was indeed the dominant voice amongst Arab Twitter users, who generally viewed the Emirati message of friendship as allegedly betraying the Palestinian cause.
5 Pillars News corrects misleading 'Israeli war crimes' claim
Though the British Muslim site 5 Pillars has a track record of defending hate preachers and peddling wild anti-Israel conspiracy theories, they fancy themselves a serious news outlet, and is a member of IMPRESS – one of the UK’s two new press regulatory bodies established in 2016.

So, as they putatively hold themselves accountable to professional journalistic standards of accuracy, we’ve been monitoring their Israel related content recently, and have prompted two recent corrections.

The latest article at the site which we flagged was published on April 13th.

Here’s the original headline:
Boris Johnson says UK opposes investigation into Israeli war crimes

Here’s the original opening sentence:
In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the UK’s opposition to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) announcement of an icnvestigation into war crimes by Israel.

We complained to editors, arguing that the headline’s use of the words “Israeli war crimes”, and the article’s use of “war crimes by Israel”, are extremely misleading and in breech of IMPRESS’s accuracy clause due to the fact that the “war crimes’ are of course only “alleged” at this point, and the ICC hasn’t even begun their investigation.


Documentary About French Nazi Hunters Produced by Oscar-Nominated Filmmakers Set for 2021 Release
A new documentary titled “Klarsfeld” will focus on French Nazi hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, who have dedicated more than half a century to hunting and exposing Nazi war criminals around the world.

The film intertwines the couple’s past efforts with their present-day activism, while they are now in their 80s, against neo-Nazis and far-right extremists, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The documentary also addresses their loving relationship — from hunting partners, to activists, husband and wife and then parents — and will feature personal testimonies from presidents, Holocaust survivors, fellow activists, and friends and family members.

“Klarsfeld” is currently in post-production and is expected to be released at the end of 2021.

The project’s executive producer is Alexander Nanau, the Romanian director of “Collective,” which is nominated in the upcoming Oscars for best documentary and best international feature. “Klarsfeld” was acquired by Fremantle for international distribution, and is being directed by Mike Lerner and Martin Herring for Roast Beef Productions.

Nanau spoke The Hollywood Reporter about why he joined the project, saying: “Basically, I was taken by the actuality of what this couple did. Because it feels that this is exactly the kind of attitude and behavior one feels we need now in a world of so much populism and hidden agendas. And I thought that they were really among the first major whistleblowers of the post-war European society.”
Azerbaijan Seeks to Expand Bilateral Trade With Israel
Like other oil-producing states, Azerbaijan is looking to diversify its economy.

While economic ties between Baku and Jerusalem are strong, the coronavirus has led to a decrease in bilateral trade following a $1.4 billion high in 2019. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov are set to discuss kick-starting bilateral trade in a meeting of the Israel-Azerbaijan intergovernmental committee to be held next week.

In an interview from his bureau office in Baku, Jabbarov said, “Israel remains Azerbaijan’s third-largest export destination. It’s no secret that the oil and gas fields are taking a central place in bilateral trade, but I want it to expand even more.”

According to Jabbarov, officials in Baku have decided to establish an Azerbaijani tourism bureau in Israel.

Q: In what fields are you interested in expanding trade?
A: Tourism, agriculture and agrotech in particular. I would also like for us to cooperate in the fields of cyber defense, education, water resources and health … We’re interested in renewing the activity of the forum for bilateral economic cooperation that was established in 2019 and quickly had a positive impact. The opening of a tourism bureau in Israel would send an important message. Likewise, in the field of technology, we’re interested in further improving ties with Israel.

Q: How do you intend to expand trade?
A: We can often give businesses a push, but that’s harder to do without removing red tape. In the private sector, ties are quickly growing stronger. Likewise, we even hope to open a trade bureau in Israel next year.


912 Israeli startups in EU employ 24,223 local workers, data shows
There are 912 Israeli startups operating in the 27 countries of the European Union plus the United Kingdom, employing 24,223 European residents, according to a first-of-its-kind map of Israeli tech firms active in Europe.

The report was compiled by EIT Hub Israel, an organization set up in 2019 to bridge the Israeli and European tech ecosystems; Israel Europe R&D (ISERD), an inter-ministerial directorate to promote Israeli participation in European R&D activities; and CQ Global, a recruitment firm. It examined the companies’ activities in various countries, in addition to assessing their contribution to employment and surveying their executives’ expectations.

The report was presented on Wednesday in Tel Aviv at an event honoring the 25th anniversary of the establishment of business relations between the EU and Israel, in which the ambassadors of the European countries were in attendance.

An examination of the activity of Israeli companies in Europe shows that more than a third of them come from the information and software technology sector, and the others from internet, telecommunications, biomedical, and cleantech.
Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian Invests in Israeli Podcast Platform Riverside.fm
Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian is leading a $9.5 million series A investment round in Israeli audio-video podcast platform Riverside.fm through his Seven Seven Six fund. Zeev Ventures, Casey Neistat, Marques Brownlee, Guy Raz, Elad Gil, Alexander Klöpping, and other strategic investors also participated in the round.

Launched one year ago, Riverside.fm is currently being used by customers including Disney, Fox Sports, Marvel, TechCrunch, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is the only platform in the market that enables local recording of lossless audio and 4K video tracks independent of internet connection speed.

Riverside.fm was launched in March 2020 by Nadav Keyson and his brother Gideon, who is still living at the student dorms at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva. The company currently employs 22 people after only including the Keyson brothers when it first raised funds.

“The platform my brother and I introduced has become the optimal technology for recording and publishing consumable audio-video content remotely,” said co-founder and CEO Nadav Keyson. “Riverside’s local recording engines are immune to bad internet connections and the technology enables interviewers, who are now increasingly recording and producing from their own homes, to look and sound like they’re using a million-dollar studio. We’ve outfitted the platform with user-friendliness that’s easy to understand and with efficient capabilities that expedite the recording, producing, and publishing processes like no platform has ever done before.”
TV series about 2014 abduction of Israeli teens to air in Indonesia
A critically acclaimed yet controversial Israeli TV show dealing with the 2014 abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers and later a Palestinian teen has been sold to a broadcaster the largest Muslim country in the world – Indonesia.

The show was also sold to Hong Kong and Australian broadcasters and has already aired in Europe and Latin America.

Set in the summer of 2014, Our Boys is based on the true events which led to Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, and focuses on the June 12 abduction and subsequent murder of Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Shaer (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19) by Hamas terrorists, and the July 2 murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir (16), by Jewish extremists.

The 10-episode series premiered on August 12, 2019, on HBO as a co-production between the American cable television giant and Keshet International, the global production and distribution arm of Israeli media company Keshet Media Group, which also operates Channel 12 News.

The series was filmed on location in Israel and directed by Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar and Palestinian writer and director Tawfik Abu Wael, who also co-created the series alongside showrunner Hagai Levi.

The series won 14 Israeli Academy Awards, including for Best Drama Series, Best Actor for Johnny Arbid, Best Actress for Ruba Blal Asfour, Best Photography for Yaron Scharf, plus Best Direction and Best Screenplay for Hagai Levi, Joseph Cedar and Tawfik Abu Wael.

Our Boys has also received nominations in the Entertainment category of the 2020 Peabody Awards, which honor the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in television, radio, and online media, and in the Foreign language category of the 2020 Multi-Ethnicity in Communications Vision Awards.

The show sparked controversy in Israel over what many claimed was its skewing of the facts.
Make some spaceNetflix scoops up Israeli thriller about high school shooting
The latest Israeli series to reach Netflix is “Blackspace,” a new thriller set in the aftermath of a high school shooting.

The eight-part series follows a police investigation into a massacre of four students at an Israeli high school, carried out by masked killers. While the police at first suspect terrorism, it begins to emerge that the murderous act may have been carried out by other students.

Actor and comedian Guri Alfi plays the chief police investigator, who suspects his answers may be found in Blackspace, the app used by students to communicate with one another, sharing their secrets away from their parents and teachers.

Written by Anat Gafni and Sahar Shavit and directed by Ofir Lobel, “Blackspace” was produced for Israel’s Channel 13. A second season is already in the works.

“Blackspace” has also been sold to Germany’s RTL, NPO in the Netherlands and a streaming service in Latin America.


Israeli innovation will allow oxygen to be produced from moon's surface
An Israeli start-up has developed a method for producing oxygen from the surface of the Moon.

The project, titled HELIOS after the company behind it, has received funding from the Israel Space Agency, and is expected to develop a system that will launch two missions into space in the next three years.

The technology behind the ambitious idea is based on a special furnace that was designed to extract oxygen and various metals directly from the surface of the Moon, without requiring any supplementing materials brought from earth.

This potentially means reliant technology that would allow future human settlements on the Moon to quite literally live off the land for long periods of time without needing constant shipment of supplies from earth.

"The technology we've developed is part of a value chain that will allow permanent bases to be established outside the limits of planet earth," CEO and co-founder of HELIOS, Jonathan Geifman said, stressing the importance of focusing on basic infrastructure and the ability to produce raw materials from natural resources "in order to avoid having to endlessly transport equipment."

And while the oxygen produced by HELIOS would potentially serve astronauts for breathing, most of it would be used for launching and operating space vehicles due to its part in the chemical process leading to a combustion reaction.
'COVID vaccine saved 6,000 Israelis' lives'
Had Israel not embarked on its unprecedented vaccination campaign, 12,000 Israelis would have lost their lives to the coronavirus, according to a model presented by pediatrician and epidemiologist Professor Eli Somech at a meeting of the Health Ministry's epidemiology division, Wednesday.

To date, half that number, 6,346 people, have succumbed to the virus in Israel.

Somech's model relies on the number of daily deaths from the coronavirus in Italy ahead of the vaccination campaign there, around 400, which given the size of the European country's population, is equivalent to 50 daily deaths in Israel.

Israel currently has 2,019 active cases of COVID-19, 173 of which are serious. Of those in serious condition, 102 are on ventilators.

Of the 544,443 people who tested for the virus, Wednesday, 148 were found to have COVID-19 for an infection rate of 0.3%.

The country's reproduction rate now stands at 0.75.
Saluting South Africa's 800 Volunteers in Israel's War of Independence
Zan Swartzberg from Bethlehem in the Free State was one of 800 South African Machal volunteers who heeded Israel’s call for help after it was surrounded by seven armies determined to obliterate it in 1948. He was just 21.

As he celebrated his 94th birthday and the launch of his fourth book this past weekend, he recalled those heady and harrowing days. “My first book is called The Hammers: A Personal Story of the 1948-1949 Israeli War of Independence. It’s called The Hammers because we flew huge American B17 flying fortresses. Three of them, day and night, for weeks on end. In other words, we hammered them, so our official name was The Hammers,” Swartzberg says.

As Israel mourns those lost in defence of the country and to terrorism on Yom Hazikaron, and celebrates its 73rd year of independence on Yom Ha’atzmaut, the man who was there at the start says the country shouldn’t be taken for granted.

His memories are still vivid of joining thousands of other Machal volunteers in fighting for Israel’s independence, and the enormous stress and challenges they faced.

“Many were World War II veterans, and knew the odds were against us,” says Swartzberg. “An air shuttle service was started to transport volunteers, and I needed to get 100 hours of experience, so I got it on the shuttle flights. Each flight could take only 19 volunteers at a time. The South African government was aware of the volunteers heading off to fight, but turned a blind eye. We should always be grateful for that.”

His latest book, launched on Sunday, is titled I Salute you Sir!. “This is because a few years ago, I got a call late one evening from an Israeli official, inviting me and my wife, Noreen, to celebrate Israel’s independence. He said, ‘Are you Zan Swartzberg? Are you still alive?’ A special meeting was arranged with President Benjamin Netanyahu. And when he saw the ribbons on my windbreaker, he knew exactly who I was. He came and put his hand out and said, ‘I salute you sir’.”

The book tells other fascinating stories. “First, how my father escaped Lithuania, and about the Jew hatred that we as schoolchildren went through in Bethlehem.” It also tells how the Swartzbergs were reunited with their long-lost daughter, and how his brother Joe cheated death – twice.









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