Thursday, April 29, 2021

From Ian:

The HRW Apartheid Report: Does It Matter?
It's a drill Israel knows all too well. A well-known NGO writes a report blasting Israel. The Foreign Ministry slams it as agenda-driven, anti-Israel drivel. The media runs a few stories. And the issue fades - until next time. How important is a report accusing Israel of apartheid by a veteran anti-Israel activist who was deported from Israel because of his BDS activities, even if that report is put out by one of the world's better known, but wildly imbalanced, human-rights organizations?

It doesn't matter that much anymore in the corridors of power in Western democracies. One Israeli official said the halo of the human-rights organizations has come off over the years and they don't command the same respect or influence among leading governments as they once did.

Where it does matter is among young people who do not have a good grip on the history of the conflict. It will provide ammunition for anti-Israel activists, primarily on campuses and the streets, but also in parliaments. A two-state solution won't be enough for those who view Israel as an apartheid state. For them, it will be necessary to cancel apartheid, which - in their view - means Israel.
The ‘Apartheid’ Smear, Antisemitism and the Unending Battle to Destroy the Jewish State
On December 14, 1979, the UN would apply a libel that Jews would be quite familiar with — that of seeking to control the world. In resolution 34/103, titled “Inadmissibility of the policy of hegemonism in international relations,” the UN declared that “racism including zionism and apartheid are all forces which seek to perpetuate unequal relations and privileges acquired by force and are, therefore, different manifestations of the policy and practice of hegemonism.” It went on to condemn:
imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, racism including zionism and all other forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination and interference, as well as the creation of spheres of influence and the division of the world into antagonistic political and military blocs.

You see, not only are Jews the ultimate racists, they are also seeking to manipulate and dominate the world.

Still, it did not stop there. A few years later, on May 4, 1982, the UN’s Economic and Social Council adopted resolution 1982/18 on the “Situation of women and children in the occupied Arab territories,” in which it:
Consider[ed] that international co-operation and peace are threatened by colonialism. neo-colonialism. fascism, zionism, apartheid and foreign occupation, alien domination and racial discrimination in all its forms.

Not only are Israelis the purveyors of racism and intent on world domination, they’re also fascists, too. Why not compare Jews to Nazis? They’d gotten away with the labels of apartheid and seekers of world domination.

The progression was not accidental. To understand this, one need only look at a 1974 speech at the UN by the head of the PLO’s political department, Faruq al-Qadumi. While boasting about a resolution that told the Palestinians they could use “all means” to achieve their “right of return,” as well as a second resolution that gave the PLO permanent observer status at the UN, Faruq said:
We did not come here to reconcile terrorism with Zionist usurpation. We came here to bear witness to the historic difference between us and the Zionists. We regard diplomatic activities as a part of our activities on the battlefield.

You see, Arab League Secretary-General Azzam Pasha’s 1948 “war of extermination and momentous massacre” had failed. Days before the Six-Day War, PLO founder Ahmad al-Shukeiri famously said of the upcoming war that “[t]hose who survive will remain in Palestine. I estimate that none of them will survive.” He was wrong, too, as were the invading Arab armies in 1973.

Knowing they could not defeat the Jews in conventional war, they still refused to accept the right of the Jewish people to live in their own state in their ancient homeland in peace. They instead chose to continue the battle in other ways, namely terrorism, and, as we see with HRW today, antisemitic libels that won’t end with the “apartheid” label.

Noa Tishby: A member of ‘The Squad’ is slandering the Jewish state — again
Contrary to Tlaib’s claim that “the violence was not stopped by” the government, a strong police force was present at the LEHAVA protest to curb potential violence, according to The New York Times, a paper not exactly known for its sympathy for the Jewish state.

Police arrested both Israeli and Palestinian agitators, though most of the detained were Jews from West Jerusalem. Plus, Israeli security forces created a buffer on both Thursday and Friday night in an attempt to isolate the two warring camps.

LEHAVA staged an unjustifiable, indefensibly racist demonstration. However, in all the coverage up to that point, I didn’t see a single outraged post or tweet by the Squad or other left-wing heroes condemning Hamas or the many live-streamed hate-crime attacks against Israeli Jews.

The hypocrisy, the double standards, the constant instinct to blame only one side in a complex and nuanced cycle of cause and effect — these amount to dangerous propaganda with immediate and lasting repercussions.

Tlaib and her fellow activists, especially those who hold elected office, should broaden their frame to get the full picture of what’s going on in Israel and the wider region. If they had done so, they might have seen that while a fringe group was representing the worst of Israeli society, another group of Arabs and Jews led by the organization Peace Now were marching jointly in Jerusalem, calling for calm.

Israeli peace marches, unfortunately, get fewer clicks and retweets.

The Tikvah Podcast: Christine Rosen on the New Crime Wave and Its Consequences
The United States is undergoing a spike in violent crime. Murder rates have increased drastically in big cities across the country, from Atlanta and New York to Milwaukee and Seattle. For the roughly 7 million Jews in the United States, four out of five of whom live in cities, incidents of violent crime can’t be ignored. The cities where most American Jews live are the very places that are growing more dangerous.

American Jews aren’t the only ones affected by rising urban crime, of course. Hate crime directed against Jews is very high, but as Christine Rosen wrote in the March 2021 edition of Commentary, “the vast majority of these homicides were black Americans, including many children, 55 of whom were killed in Chicago last year alone.” Here’s a case where two of America’s most urban populations, black people and Jews, are together imperiled by the return of urban disorder.

On this week’s podcast, Rosen joins Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver to discuss her essay, and how different ways of looking at law enforcement reveal different philosophical understandings of the human condition.

I Left Apartheid South Africa. Applying the Term to Israel Is Dishonest
Human Rights Watch's new report is blind to fact and reality. I left South Africa as a teenager in 1965 because of its policy of apartheid. To me, this document is a disgrace to the memory of the millions who suffered under apartheid in South Africa - including many anti-apartheid activists in the Jewish community, some close to me, who lost their freedom.

The report reads as especially surprising now, as Mansour Abbas, leader of the United Arab List in the Knesset, may determine who will form the next governing coalition in Israel. Both Netanyahu and his opponents are courting Abbas, hardly a sign of the kind of subjugation associated with apartheid.

Justice Richard Goldstone, who was appointed to the Constitutional Court of South Africa by Nelson Mandela, wrote in the New York Times in October 2011, "In Israel there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute....The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony."

US Rejects Human Rights Watch’s ‘Israeli Apartheid’ Claim
The United States on Wednesday rejected a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing Israel of “committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against Palestinians under control of the Israeli government.

“It is not the view of this administration that Israel’s actions constitute apartheid,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The New York-based advocacy group on Tuesday released the 213-page report, titled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” which specifically calls out Israel for what it claims is a policy of Jewish Israeli “domination” over Palestinians.

In response, Israel’s foreign ministry on Tuesday dismissed the report as “propaganda” and said that HRW has an “anti-Israel agenda” that promotes boycotts against the Jewish state.

“The fictional claims that HRW concocted are both preposterous and false,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The HRW report calls on countries to condition military and security assistance on Israel “taking concrete and verifiable steps toward ending their commission of these crimes.”

‘Preposterous And False’: Human Rights Watch Slammed For Report Demonizing Israel; Omar, Tlaib Celebrate
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), however, celebrated the announcement, saying, “We cannot continue to ignore reality.”

“This is an exhaustive, credible, and damning report from one of the most respected human rights organizations in the world, [Human Rights Watch], detailing crimes against humanity,” she tweeted. “I urge everyone to read and address the reality of modern-day apartheid.”

Omar was voted as 2019’s biggest anti-Semite by, and has a consistent history of peddling anti-Semitic rhetoric. She has accused American Jews of possessing dual loyalty, alleged that Jews buy their influence with money, accused “evil” Israel of having hypnotized the world, supported the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and submitted a resolution in the House of Representatives comparing boycotting Israel to boycotting the Nazis.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also commented, tweeting, “Human Rights Watch officially recognizes that Israel is committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people.”

Tlaib also has a demonstrated history of anti-Semitism. She has shared and promoted rhetoric calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, including the Palestine Liberation Organization’s slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” as well as cartoons mocking Holocaust victims.

She also supports the BDS movement, has spread blood libels, and described a false history of Israel, saying that the home of Judaism for thousands of years was created out of thin air in the aftermath of the Holocaust to “create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time.” Tlaib also favors a one-state “solution” to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Abraham Cooper: No Justice for Jews in France
When Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, raised these issues with then French President Jacques Chirac, the French leader lectured our delegation on how he personally felt empathy for a Palestinian youth who supported terrorism.

Later, Dieudonné, a popular comedian turned antisemitic polemicist, leveraged his TV appearances and interviews to fan the flames of Jew-hatred. On numerous occasions he was condemned and fined, but always let off the hook by the French judiciary — too often on grounds of “freedom of expression.” It was left to YouTube to stop him; and they only banned his hate channel in 2020.

So, it was left for Jews to mourn the murder of Ilan Halimi, a mobile-phone salesman kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by an antisemitic gang in 2006.

It was left to Jews to mourn the murders of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, his 4- and 5-year-old sons, Gabriel and Arieh, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school’s principal, murdered on the campus of their yeshiva on Toulouse.

Hundreds of thousands filled the streets of Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. But it was left to French Jews to mourn the murder of four of their neighbors killed at a kosher supermarket in Paris by Amedy Coulibaly, who declared he was murdering the people he hated most in the world: “the Jews and the French.”

Jewish memory won’t allow us to forget Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll, who was just a child in Paris when, in the summer of 1942, the French police, cooperating with the Germans, rounded up thousands of the city’s Jews, stuffing them into a cycling stadium, the Vélodrome d’Hiver. Virtually all were subsequently murdered at Auschwitz.

Despite surviving the Holocaust, she was stabbed to death as a senior citizen, and her body was partly burned by her attackers.

Today, we mourn the murder of our sister Sarah Halimi by a neighbor who beat this beautiful soul while screaming “Allah Akbar” and antisemitic epithets, and then threw her out of her third-floor window to her death. We mourn our sister Sarah who was murdered a second time by French judges who snatched justice for her soul because the killer smoked marijuana.

Simon Wiesenthal always taught that it always starts with the Jews, but never ends with the Jews.

That bodes ill for the people of France.
‘Should We Decriminalize Antisemitism?’: French Satirical Magazine Charlie Hebdo Protests Shock Decision in Sarah Halimi Murder Case
The latest cover of France’s world-famous satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo features a devastating cartoon about the case of Sarah Halimi — the Jewish woman beaten to death in her Paris apartment in April 2017 by Kobili Traore, an antisemitic intruder — alongside a headline that asks, “Should we decriminalize antisemitism?”

Traore was excused from a criminal trial by France’s highest appeal court earlier this month, on the grounds that his consumption of marijuana on the night that he killed Halimi had rendered him temporarily insane. The decision rocked France, with politicians from across the spectrum condemning the court for allowing an alleged antisemitic murderer to walk free, and thousands of people attending demonstrations demanding justice for Halimi in several cities last weekend. One senior judge even resigned in protest on Tuesday, asking, “What is this justice, that takes up the cause of what appears to be an antisemitic assassination?”

The cartoon on the cover of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo reflects the widespread mix of fury and bewilderment that greeted the Court of Cassation’s decision, using the coarsely-drawn imagery which the magazine is known for to maximum effect.

The image depicts a highly stereotyped, knife-wielding Muslim man wearing traditional garb. There are seven large marijuana joints stuffed into his mouth which he lights using the candles of a menorah — a possible reference to the claim that Traore made to court-appointed psychiatrists that he had been traumatized by the sight of a menorah and other Jewish symbols in Halimi’s apartment.

Alongside the cartoon, the text asks sarcastically, “Faut-il dépénaliser l’antisémitisme?” — “Should we decriminalize antisemitism?” Another headline above the image reads, “Sarah Halimi: A ‘delirious puff’ in the Court of Cassation.” The phrase “delirious puff” was coined by the psychiatrists consulted by the court to supposedly explain how Traore’s ingestion of marijuana led him to lose all mental awareness and self-control.

The magazine also featured a hard-hitting editorial by its editor-in-chief, Gérard Biard. “The martyred corpse of this poor woman had hardly cooled when they were already questioning the antisemitic motive of her murderer,” Biard commented, in a reminder of the widespread indifference and skepticism that the Halimi family faced from law enforcement and the media in the days and weeks after the murder.

France arrests Italian Red Brigades members it harbored for decades
France has arrested seven fugitive Italian leftist militants after harboring them for decades following their conviction in Italy on terrorism charges, in a turning point for Paris and Rome on an issue that had long poisoned relations.

Italy has long sought the extradition of dozens of leftist guerrillas, who had been given refuge in France on condition they renounced violence following the so-called Years of Lead from the late 1960s to the 1980s. The period saw hundreds of people killed in violent campaigns by both far-left and far-right groups.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said the arrests followed months of discussions between Italy and France, with police targeting those militants guilty of "bloody crimes."

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who took office in February and has established a close working relationship with Macron, welcomed the French action.

"The memory of those barbaric acts is alive in the Italian conscience," his office said in a statement.

An adviser to Macron said the move was made possible by the renewed "climate of trust" between Macron and Draghi, after years of tension between Paris and Rome, particularly when Italy was headed by a populist coalition.
European Universities Urge EU to Remove Threat of Research Ban on Israel
German, French and UK university bodies have joined a chorus of groups urging the European Commission to lift its threat to bar Israel, Switzerland and UK from EU quantum and space projects.

The place of the three countries in multi-billion euro projects under the EU’s Horizon Europe science scheme is up in the air, with a fierce debate behind the scenes over whether the bloc should open up access to research it considers of strategic interest.

In a statement published on Friday, five European university associations say they are "concerned" by the proposal and "urge the Commission to reconsider its stance."

The signatories include the German U15, a body representing the country’s leading research-intensive and medical universities; the Russell Group of UK universities; the UDICE (universités de recherche françaises) association of French research universities, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities.

"The role of scientists and researchers in the fight back against the pandemic underlines the benefits of cross-border collaboration, and Horizon Europe will provide the framework for many more successful collaborations. Researchers based in all our universities are now ready to seize these opportunities, work together, and submit bids with confidence," the statement says.

Key Commission officials believe exclusion of the three countries, which are expected to be formally involved as fee-paying associate members of the seven-year Horizon Europe, is necessary so the EU can protect its research base in rapidly developing fields
British MPs Challenge Government Minister on Antisemitism in UK Universities: ‘Protect These Students’
British Members of Parliament urged the government’s Minister of State for Universities to take stronger action against antisemitism on campus, with one MP saying, “Students should not feel that they’re living in 1930s Germany.”

The Telegraph reported that Minister Michelle Donelan was quizzed extensively on the issue by MPs at an Education Select Committee session. The MPs advocated ending government subsidies to universities that fail to combat antisemitism, as well as dismissing university heads.

The exchange came in the wake of an investigation by the University of Bristol into one of its professors, David Miller, who was found to have used virulently antisemitic language to attack Israel.

Miller, a Professor of Political Sociology and member of the university’s School for Policy Studies, was criticized by Jewish student groups and members of parliament for “inciting” antisemitism, promoting conspiracy theories, and calling for the “end” of Zionism. Miller claimed that the attacks on him were “directed by the State of Israel.”

MPs were told that, as a result of Miller’s actions, Jewish students were “subjected to weeks of harassment and abuse.”

The Education Select Committee Chairman, MP Robert Halfon, said the Bristol situation was “appalling” and a “disgrace.”

“Students should not feel that they’re living in 1930s Germany who go to Bristol University and other universities,” he said.
European Liberal Youth adopts International Definition of Antisemitism
European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) announced that LYMEC, the youth organisation of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, made the decision this past weekend at the online LYMEC Spring Congress.

In their press release, EUJS said: “EUJS is delighted that such a step forward was decided upon and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate LYMEC on its adoption of both the motion and the [D]efinition. Going forward, EUJS would like to note that the adoption of the [D]efinition represents simply a first step in the process and so we plan to be in regular contact with our contacts at LYMEC to ensure that the adoption is carried out and acted upon.”
Getting Rich in the Diversity Marketplace
The Racial Literacy Curriculum begins in kindergarten with 5- and 6-year-olds using Pantone Color Charts to match their skin tone so that they might start to see themselves and one another by skin color. “Recognizing and categorizing color is a foundational skill for early grades, and will be used as a platform for upcoming lessons that discuss skin color.”

This curriculum includes a unique view of nearly every educational discipline, such as in sixth grade history where children discover that the essence of Nazism was not the destruction of European Jewry but the rise of “whiteness.” Pollyanna’s main coverage of the Jewish experience is reduced to an odd and passing reference to the “Eastern European Hebrew” race.

By eighth grade, the curriculum’s goal is to create “social justice” action plans that address how “systemic racism provided social, economic, political, and legal advantages to White Americans.” Students devise plans and launch campaigns that seek to overturn white privilege in the “community or city of the student body, or may reach broader, such as to the national level and beyond.”

Across New York private schools, well-paid consultants have been implementing DEI programs by training faculty and students, while at leading Fortune 500 corporations, DEI firms like Collective and HRDQ offer unconscious bias training, with little opposition. The pandemic has accelerated the spread of such programs. Since last March, concern for schools has understandably been absorbed by debates on the resumption of in-person classes. But the nationwide focus on reopening schools and the economy has overshadowed the remodeling of a significant number of private schools and workplaces by DEI consultants with minimal publicity.

All this is happening without any real evidence that DEI training actually works. Just as with ethnic studies in public schools, the results for DEI in private schools are unimpressive. The widespread implementation of DEI across the corporate sphere, according to company performance studies, have found that DEI is turning offices into hostile environments, driving down worker productivity, and in some cases making employees more biased and prejudiced toward their colleagues.
New York Times Opinion Page Strips Peter Beinart, Shmuel Rosner of ‘Contributor’ Titles
Bye-Bye Beinart.

In October 2020, the New York Times promoted Peter Beinart to “contributing opinion writer” after Beinart renounced Zionism. Now, not even seven months later, the Times appears to have unceremoniously dumped him overboard, announcing “an update to our roster of contributing opinion writers” with Beinart noticeably absent.

“A smaller roster of regular contributors will allow space for even more outside views,” a note from Times opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury said.

Beinart did not immediately reply to an email from the Algemeiner seeking comment.

Beinart was one of two writers who had written frequently about Israel and the Middle East who was stripped of the “contributing opinion writer” title.

Another was Shmuel Rosner. In an email responding to a query from The Algemeiner, Rosner explained, “after almost a decade of writing for them, I will no longer be a contributing writer for the NYT. We parted ways cordially, and I thanked them for tolerating me for so long.”
What Media Won’t Tell You: The Root Cause of Riots in Jerusalem
Coinciding with the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the streets of Jerusalem have for the past two weeks been plagued by increasingly violent Palestinian protests. Night after night, hundreds of Palestinians, some of them hurling fireworks, rocks, and petrol bombs, have clashed with Israeli police. The riots have left dozens of police officers injured, and several innocent Israeli civilians have been brutally attacked by Palestinian mobs.

Nevertheless, many news outlets only reported on the Jerusalem violence after a widely condemned march was organized by a far-right, fringe Israeli group.

But beyond the “blame Israel” narrative, what was really behind the escalation in Jerusalem?

The “TikTok Intifada”
Palestinian violence began intensifying following a disturbing online challenge. On April 15, the second day of Ramadan, a Palestinian man attacked two ultra-orthodox Israeli boys on the Jerusalem light rail. The footage of the unprovoked attack went viral on the video-sharing app TikTok. In the days that followed, more and more clips of attacks on Israeli civilians started appearing on the platform.

The alarming development was quickly dubbed the “TikTok Intifada,” a reference to the Arabic term for a violent uprising. “There is a competition for likes and views,” a 15-year old victim told the Israeli Ynet news organization last week. “A video of an Arab slapping an ultra-Orthodox man will get you both.”
Omissions in BBC coverage of violence in Jerusalem
As in the written report, Bateman’s ‘analysis’ did not include any mention of Palestinian political factions engaged in an election campaign and their encouragement of the violence in Jerusalem. Neither did he bother to inform audiences of the fact that an uptick of violence during Ramadan is something the Israeli security forces have had to deal with for many years.

Both these BBC reports are notable for the fact that no effort was made to portray the ideologies of the Arab rioters who began the chain of events in Jerusalem: even those who attacked random Jews and uploaded videos to social media were not described as “far-right” or “ultra-nationalist”. Likewise, both reports completely ignored the broader background of the influence of Palestinian politics on the events taking place on Jerusalem streets. Those glaring omissions mean that BBC audiences were presented with only part of a story which is likely to form the basis for future reporting.
Toronto Star Apologizes for Photo Suggesting Wealthy Jewish Leaders “Take Our Money and Fail Us”
Today, after the Toronto Star published a photo to an opinion piece on its website which many felt suggested that wealthy Jewish leaders “take our money and fail us,” the Star removed the offending photo and issued an apology notice.

An editor’s note appended to the column states the following:
The photo accompanying this column has been changed. The Star apologizes for the choice of the previous photo, which was offensive.”

The photo depicted the 2017 funeral of pharmaceutical titans Barry and Honey Sherman in Toronto, which Prime Minister Trudeau attended and shook hands with Toronto Mayor John Tory, both who were pictured wearing yarmulkas (keppahs) and both who, it’s important to note, are not Jewish.

The column centred on a blame game for how Canada is in the state it’s in as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Author Judith Taylor stated the following which likely spurred the Star to choose this photo:
My first day dream takes me, strangely, to one of the largest funerals in Canadian history, that of the pharmaceutical titans, the Shermans, who were killed in 2017. Barry Sherman, estimated to be the 12th most affluent Canadian, had an estimated net worth of nearly $4 billion at the time of death from his company Apotex, which produces and distributes generic drugs.

This funeral interested me because our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was in attendance. Most of us understand close relationships among elites — heads of states and heads of corporations, for example. Depending on our social location we may think this is beneficial, or corrupt.

But in this moment we must ask why such close relations did not for example, lead to the production of vaccine manufacturing at home.”

It’s commendable that the Toronto Star removed the offensive photograph from its website and issued an apology. Trouble is that if you Google the headline of this commentary, this image still appears.
Rocket attacks on Israeli civilians get less than a minute of BBC coverage
On the night between April 23rd and 24th thirty-six rockets were fired at Israeli communities by assorted terror factions in the Gaza Strip, including Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. The following night saw two more attacks and the night after that – April 25th to 26th – three more attacks took place.

Visitors to the BBC News website – which is described by the corporation as “a permanent public record…in the public interest” – have to date seen no reporting whatsoever on those attacks.

Listeners to a news bulletin in the April 24th edition of the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme did however hear 59 seconds of reporting after the first night of attacks from the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman. The item began with a typical ‘last-first’ portrayal of events.

Ann Arbor Jewish Community Seek to Shut Down Weekly Antisemitic Protests Outside Synagogue in Appeals Court
Members of an Ann Arbor, Michigan synagogue were in court this week arguing for more enforcement to prevent the viciously antisemitic weekly protests that have greeted worshipers arriving for Shabbat services for nearly 20 years.

In a case presented before a Sixth Circuit panel on Tuesday, members of the Beth Israel Congregation sought to revive First Amendment claims against the city of Ann Arbor, as well as the group of antisemitic protesters who have demonstrated near its entrance every Saturday morning since September 2003.

Signs held by the protestors include “Jewish Power Corrupts,” “Resist Jewish Power,” and “No More Wars for Israel.”

Marvin Gerber and Miriam Brysk, a Holocaust survivor, filed suit in federal court in 2019 alleging the protesters cause them “extreme emotional distress,” and also accused Ann Arbor of failing to enforce several city codes, Courthouse News Service reported on Tuesday.

They have now appealed the decision of US District Judge Victoria Roberts in August 2020 to dismiss calls for the protests to be curbed. Roberts held that the plaintiffs failed to allege a concrete injury that would grant them standing to pursue constitutional claims, and reinforced the protesters’ right to gather peacefully outside the synagogue.

“Indeed, the First Amendment more than protects the expressions by defendants of what plaintiffs describe as ‘anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic,’” Roberts wrote in her opinion. “Peaceful protest such as this — on sidewalks and streets — is entitled to the highest level of constitutional protection, even it disturbs, is offensive, and causes emotional distress.”

Lawyers for Gerber and Brysk argued that Judge Roberts misinterpreted the scope of the relief they requested, which they claim involved only “the imposition of reasonable time, place and manner conditions” on the protests.
NYPD Releases New Footage of ‘Person of Interest’ in Stone-Throwing Attacks on Bronx Synaoguges
The New York Police Department Hate Crimes Task Force released a new video Wednesday night of what police called a “person of interest” in the investigation into a spree of rock-throwing attacks that have targeted four Bronx Jewish institutions seven times in recent days.

“In connection to an ongoing investigation of vandalism of synagogues in @NYPD50Pct, we need help to identify the individual seen in [the below] video on W. 235th St., by Henry Hudson Pkwy, Sat., April 17th at 7:45PM. 1-800-577-8477,” the Task Force tweeted. An NYPD spokesperson told the The Algemeiner on Thursday that the individual was wanted “in connection to the incident.”

“He’s a person of interest and we’re looking to question him,” the spokesperson said. “And we’re asking the public if they can help us to identify him.”

Israeli medical cannabis inhaler gets Canada’s marketing nod
The Israeli company Syqe Medical, a developer of a medical cannabis inhaler, said Wednesday that it had received a nod from the Canadian health authorities that will allow the company to market its metered-dose inhaler to patients in Canada.

This is the first approval given by an international regulatory authority to market a precisely dosed cannabis inhaler as a medical product, as well as the first approval to market a product that combines cannabis with a medical device, the company said in a statement, referring to the medical device license (MDL) received from the Canadian regulator.

The approval was obtained based on clinical trials conducted by the company at the Rambam Health Center in Haifa, Israel, and on data from patients using the product in the Israeli market. The data showed that the medical cannabis treatment offered by Syqe’s inhaler manages to achieve the desired result of pain relief while reducing 90 percent of adverse events, including psychoactive effects, the statement said.

The inhaler enables precise delivery of cannabis at the level of safety and precision of conventional drugs, the company says. Illustrative image of someone smoking cannabis. (Tunatura; iStock by Getty Images)

The Canadian market will be a significant boost to Syqe Medical’s business growth strategy, the company said. The medical cannabis market in Canada included at the end of 2020 some 370,000 licensed medical cannabis patients and a total of over 5.8 million Canadians suffering from chronic pain. It is estimated that the market will reach $380 million by 2024, the statement said.
Toyota Affiliate Teams With Israeli Startup to Create Electric Commercial Vehicles
Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors Co. and the Israeli startup REE Automotive announced on Tuesday their partnership to develop electric commercial vehicles to transport people and goods.

The companies said the signing of their business agreement shows their shared vision of “providing new value to society through next-generation commercial mobility” that is geared to “improve quality of life on a global scale by lowering carbon emissions, minimizing strain on infrastructure, reducing congestion and allowing companies to better allocate resources.”

The two companies provide vast expertise that will help their partnership: Hino obtains knowledge and technologies as a commercial vehicle manufacturer, and REE has developed innovative and highly competitive proprietary REEcornerTM EV (electric vehicle) technologies.

Their electric commercial vehicles will be comprised of a modular platform (powered by REE) that will carry on top a customized Mobility Service Module, which will hold passengers and goods, as well as deliver services. The Mobility Service Module can also be detached from the EV platform and serve as an independent unit that can operate separately and continue to its next project.

The companies will work to develop hardware prototypes by 2022.
Israeli metal band Orphaned Land to team up with Chamber Opera Orchestra
Orphaned Land, a prominent Israeli heavy metal band, will be teaming with the Israel Chamber Opera Orchestra in order to provide audiences with a unique musical experience, which was announced in a press release from the band on Thursday.

The concert is expected to take place on Thursday, June 10, at the Tel Aviv Hall of Culture, and will feature 45 musicians from the orchestra and the entire band lineup playing a repertoire of songs inspired by Tanach verses, piyyutim (liturgical poems), as well as verses from the Koran and Christian New Testament.

The planned concert comes as Orphaned Land celebrates three decades in the music world, having become known for its unique musical style that incorporates various cultural traditions. As part of the celebration, the band is also expected to release a live album of the upcoming concert.

Beyond their musical style, Orphaned Land has also become known for their humanitarian work, often focusing on bringing people together through messages of peace and mediation between peoples no matter religion or nationality.

Orphaned Land has thus far released nine successful albums in Hebrew, English and even Arabic, and has claimed to have fans throughout the Middle East, including in enemy states such as Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, as well as states at peace with Israel, like Jordan, Egypt and Turkey.
British Marine Archeologist Claims to Find Evidence of King Solomon’s Maritime Empire
A British marine archeologist says that he has found evidence of the existence of the biblical King Solomon — and that he was indeed the wealthy and powerful monarch described in the Bible, saying he built a maritime empire through an alliance with the ancient Phoenicians.

While there is controversial evidence of the existence of a royal “House of David” in the land of Israel, and conclusive evidence of later biblical kings such as Omri, no direct evidence of Solomon or his reign has yet been discovered.

As a result, archeologists and historians have begun to believe that Solomon was either an outright myth or a minor tribal chieftain who ruled only a small area around Jerusalem, rather than the vast kingdom described by the Bible.

Now, archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley is challenging that consensus, holding that the picture of Solomon in the Bible is largely accurate.

He has reached this view by adopting an alternative method of investigation. Rather than searching for evidence of Solomon in Israel itself, he has investigated the Mediterranean basin for evidence of the empire that the Bible says Solomon built in alliance with the Phoenician king Hiram.

“I’ve spread a very wide net,” Kingsley told the Observer. “That kind of maritime study has never been done before.”

“For 100 years, archaeologists have scrutinized Jerusalem’s holy soils, the most excavated city in the world,” he said. “Nothing definitive fits the book of Kings’ and Chronicles’ epic accounts of Solomon’s palace and temple.”
Former Israeli Army Soldiers Helped Save San Diego Shooting Victim
Former IDF medics are credited with saving the life of a man who was injured during last week's shooting in San Diego.

Shai Gino and Dvir Benesh, in their 20s, now live in San Diego where they work as home remodelers.

They saw the shooting and ran to help a man who'd been struck. "We put pressure on his chest," said Benesh.

Gino said the man later "texted me that he's okay and he's super grateful and we saved his life."
Israel Data Shows Pfizer Vaccine 97 Percent Effective Against British Variant
Israeli medical data has shown that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is 97 percent effective against the British variant of the coronavirus, the founder of BioNTech said on Wednesday.

Dr. Ugur Sahin, the co-founder of BioNTech, who helped develop the vaccine, told Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster that the company is currently examining the vaccine’s efficiency against the Indian variant.

Sahin praised Israel’s vaccine deployment, calling the organization of the mass vaccination program “simply perfect” during his interview.

He noted that recent meetings held by the pharmaceutical company have involved an analysis of Israeli data, allowing it to calculate how many lives the vaccine saved in the past four months.

In separate comments, Sahin said “we are still testing the Indian variant, but the Indian variant has mutations that we have already tested for and which our vaccine works against, so I am confident,” according to AFP.

Also on Wednesday, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kish said during a Knesset plenary session that Israel will likely remove its last remaining internal coronavirus restrictions, known as the “Green Pass,” next month if infection rates continue to drop and remain very low, according to Maariv.

Fearing the return of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s last Jew plans move to Israel
For decades, Zebulon Simentov refused to leave Afghanistan — surviving a Soviet invasion, deadly civil war, brutal rule by the Taliban and the US-led occupation of his homeland.

But enough is enough for Afghanistan’s last Jew, and the prospect of the Taliban’s return has him preparing to say goodbye.

“Why should I stay? They call me an infidel,” Simentov told AFP at Kabul’s only synagogue, housed in an old building in the center of the Afghan capital.

“I’m the last, the only Jew in Afghanistan… It could get worse for me here. I have decided to leave for Israel if the Taliban returns.”

That appears likely given the deal struck by Washington to withdraw all US forces by later this year, and ongoing peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government.

Born in the 1950s in the western city of Herat, Simentov moved to Kabul during the Soviet invasion in the early 1980s for the capital’s then relative stability.

Jews lived in Afghanistan for more than 2,500 years, with tens of thousands once residing in Herat, where four synagogues still stand — testimony to the community’s ancient presence.
Houda Nonoo: Ramadan reminds me how lucky I am to be a Jew living in the Gulf
Nearly 1.9 billion Muslims around the world are currently celebrating Ramadan. It is very exciting to scroll through social media and see photos and videos from hundreds of interfaith iftar meals taking place globally. Someone recently asked me if I remember my first iftar experience. As I thought about it, I realized that I could not pinpoint my first iftar because growing up as a Bahraini Jew, iftar — and Ramadan more broadly — has always been part of my life. That is what led me to host the first-ever interfaith iftar at a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country’s embassy when I was in Washington in 2009.

Bahrain, an island long known for its tolerance, coexistence and its freedom of religion has always welcomed people from different faiths and backgrounds to its shores. In the 1880s, Jews from Iraq looking for better economic and living prospects came to Bahrain. Since then, Jewish life in the kingdom has flourished. Many of our families were traders and started their own textiles, electronics and money exchange businesses. Others worked for the oil companies, banks, schools, or even the government. In 1934, Ebrahim Pinchas Nonoo was elected into the municipality council — he was the first of many Bahraini Jews to be appointed to government positions. Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo was appointed to the Shura Council in 2001, I was appointed in 2006, and Nancy Khedouri was appointed in 2010.

Our Bahraini Jewish families have always lived alongside Bahraini Muslim families. Our grandparents shared stories of their neighbors helping to heat their food on Shabbat. Generations later, we naturally continue to celebrate important events together, including attending each other’s weddings, our participation in their iftar meals, and their visits to our recently renovated synagogue. Under His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s leadership, Bahrain has been committed to spreading a culture of peace, dialogue and coexistence. These values are inculcated within us as young children, and they guide how we live as adults.

Our community is flourishing. We are blessed to live in an Arab country that provides equal opportunities to us Jews as it does to citizens and residents of all religious backgrounds. Over the years, many have asked me what it was like to be appointed as the first Jewish ambassador from an Arab country. The truth is that non-Bahrainis are more surprised by my appointment than Bahrainis are, because His Majesty has always supported equal rights and opportunities for people of all faiths — it did not strike me as odd that a Jew would be appointed to this position. It was an honor to represent Bahrain in my role as ambassador.


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