Monday, May 24, 2021

From Ian:

Matti Friedman: The Americanization of the Israeli-Palestinian Debate
The story of the Jewish minority in Europe and in the Islamic world, which is the story of Israel, has nothing to do with race in America. My grandmother’s parents and siblings were shot outside their village in Poland by people the same color as them. If you stand on a street in the modern state of Israel and look at passersby, you often can’t tell who’s Jewish and who’s Arab. Many Israelis are from Arab countries, and for the 6 million Jews living in the heart of the Arab world (300 million people) and in the broader Islamic world (1.5 billion people), the question of who’s the minority is obviously a tricky one. Most Black people here are Jews with roots in Ethiopia. The occupation of the West Bank is supported by many Israelis mainly because they have rational fears of rockets and suicide bombings, tactics that weren’t quite the ones endorsed by the American civil-rights movement. All of this is to say that although Israel, like America, is deeply messed up, it’s messed up in completely different ways.

Nonetheless, the belief in a fundamental similarity has caught on. While following the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, which to me seemed just and necessary, I saw a sign that read From Ferguson to Palestine. This was puzzling: American soldiers still occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, and American aid money was flowing to repressive regimes throughout the Middle East and beyond. If activists were seeking foreign inspiration for a domestic movement, they had hundreds of ongoing ethnic conflicts to choose from. But something about Palestine struck Americans as relevant to their own experience.

That sentiment has moved into elite opinion. In 2019, The New York Times published an op-ed by the respected scholar Michelle Alexander, the author of an important book on incarceration, that described Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians as “one of the great moral challenges of our time,” the scene of “practices reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States.” The essay didn’t explain why this conflict constitutes one of the great moral challenges or offer any indication that the author had ever visited Israel. Last year the Times ran an essay by the author Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a college professor in Los Angeles, that ridiculed “white writers” for their “white privilege,” identified the American dream as “settler colonialism,” and then segued into an attack on Israelis as settler colonialists.

For these Americans, distant Jews have become an embodiment of the American evil, racial oppression. People have always projected fantasies onto other places and groups, but this particular type of projection, in which Jews are displayed as the prime symbol of whatever’s wrong, has a long history. When it surfaces, it usually heralds an impatience with logical analysis and normal politics, and a move toward magical thinking.

Noah Rothman: The Radicalization of the University of California Press
On May 21, a prestigious activist organization expressed its “solidarity and support for Palestinians in their fight for liberation.” In accordance with the radicalism of this organization, it pointedly did not refer to Israel by name, placing the Jewish state instead within “historic Palestine.” This activist organization encouraged us to donate to “local organizations,” like the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), presently celebrating what it takes to be a “courageous victory” over the Zionist regime and its “Zionist settlers” across “all of Palestine.”

The activist organization in question is the University of California Press, the “nonprofit publishing arm of the University of California system.” Because it is associated with a university system, it dutifully notes in its solidarity statement that it will “prioritize pedagogies that reflect intersectional, anti-colonial, anti-racist action.”

This statement is not exactly a departure for the press, which includes a commitment to “drive progressive change” in its mission statement. On the Israel front, it published Sunaina Maira’s Boycott, which risibly asserts that there is a virtual ban on “pro-Palestinian” speech in the academy. The assertion is risible because her book is part of a UC Press American Studies series, co-edited by scholars prominent in the successful effort to win the American Studies Association over to boycotting Israel. If there was any doubt that they had a home in one of the biggest university presses in the country, the Press has now invited them to leave a toothbrush and offered them a drawer.

In recent months, defenders of academic freedom have worried about the ham-fisted and, in some cases, unconstitutional, GOP-led legislative efforts to combat left-liberal “social justice” ideology on state university campuses. State legislators hold the purse strings and are a formidable threat to academic freedom. Perhaps that threat is more deserving of our attention than student op-ed writers. But the defense of academic freedom rests in no small part on the university’s claim to be a center of “the free search for truth and its free exposition.” When the publishing arm of a state university system decides that it is also the publishing arm of anti-Zionism, it undermines that defense.

How to halt the criminalization of Israel
Israel’s dilemma is that it is forced to wage asymmetrical wars against terrorists embedded in a civilian population while, at the same time, it occupies the Palestinians in the West Bank. To be perceived as morally credible in our battle against Hamas, we need to prove ourselves committed to a fair resolution of the Palestinian tragedy.

That depends on periodically renewing Israel’s historic commitment to a two-state solution. At every crucial juncture of this conflict, Israeli leaders have said yes to a two-state solution, and Palestinian leaders have effectively said no.

Yet under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has stopped seeking a credible two-state solution. The last prime minister to do so was Ehud Olmert in 2009. Olmert offered to withdraw from the West Bank, uproot dozens of settlements and redivide Jerusalem; Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas ignored him.

There is no reason to assume that Palestinian leaders would be any more responsive today. But that doesn’t free Israel from the moral and strategic responsibility of offering the Palestinians an alternative future.

Israel is the only country whose neighbors have sentenced it to death. Israel is also the only democracy that is a long-term occupier of another people. To effectively fight terror, Israel must strive to maintain moral credibility as a reluctant occupier. A renewed Israeli peace initiative is our opportunity to convey our vision for a different Middle East.

A new peace process would also ensure that the next time we are forced to fight those committed to our destruction, our friends at least will be able to unequivocally affirm Israel’s moral high ground.
Street Violence as a Political Tool
The Democratic Party has had a problem. It’s a small, incoherent, and privileged clique funded by billionaire oligarchs to push policies that even mainstream Democratic voters oppose. How to bridge the gap? The solution they chose, which party officials made clear this week, was simple: the way third-world elites always do—by using street violence to keep their clients in line.

This week, pro-Palestinian demonstrators auditioned for the chance to join already established Democratic Party militias antifa and Black Lives Matter by attacking Jews in New York and Los Angeles. Apologists for the violence reason that the demonstrators are angry about the deaths of innocent Palestinian babies under Israeli fire in Gaza so they’re taking their frustrations—admittedly misplaced!—out on American Jews.

That is not what’s happening.

Who knows how many of the activists waving the Palestinian flag as they beat Jews and detonate fireworks in front of Jewish-owned businesses are genuinely Palestinian Americans? Maybe some aren’t even Arab or Muslim, but that’s irrelevant—they are staking their claim to recruit, promote, and represent Arabs and Muslims as an interest group. And so the flag they’re really flying isn’t for the Palestinians but rather for the Democratic Party.

This is all “intersectionality” really is — a branding mechanism to unite the various sects the Democratic Party has gathered under a big and potentially bloody tent. The current-day Democratic Party is a top-down structure paid for by the corporate establishment, led by Big Tech and finance, that appeals to a small class of managers, technocrats, and educators who for a variety of reasons, from self-pity to psychopathy, really do back the party’s most sinister policies—like open borders, designed to impoverish America’s working middle class. The party has lots of money and owns virtually all of the country’s major institutions, from the press to the Department of Justice. What it lacks, however, is voters. So they packed together interest groups and turned them into clients.

The trick is making them all fit. From the outside, for instance, it makes no sense that activists from the LGBT wing show up in support of the pro-Palestinian terror wing. But what might seem to you like hypocrisy actually illustrates the basic premise, which is that these seemingly disparate groups actually do share a goal: upholding the Democratic Party. When LGBT activists are called to demonstrate on behalf of Islamic terrorists, they show up to fly the flag not for Hamas but for the Democrats.
TikTok intifada: the role of new media in old conflicts
In Israel last month, a video on the social media platform TikTok encouraged users to film themselves assaulting Orthodox Jews. That video became a spark that ignited outrage across the country. A band of Jewish extremists, Lehava, organised a march in response. They clashed with Arab groups at Damascus Gate. In a situation that was already a tinderbox, things escalated from there.

Why did it happen? Why would any ordinary person get pleasure from assault? ‘There is a competition for likes and views,’ a 15-year-old victim told an Israeli news organisation. ‘A video of an Arab slapping an ultra-Orthodox man will get you both.’ A violent riot set off by teenage longing for likes. Welcome to the TikTokisation of global politics.

The genius of a social media algorithm is to find out what you like and give you more of it. YouTube brought videos. Facebook and Instagram brought photos. Twitter added argument and then soon ended up exerting a powerful hold over traditional media. But the big entrant in the past few years has been TikTok, which combines all of those elements in arguably the most addictive format yet.

The Chinese-owned social media platform has about 730 million users worldwide, of whom an estimated ten million are in Britain. To its fans, it’s a harmless stream of silliness. To critics, it’s an inferno of narcissistic rubbish. In just a few minutes, a user can watch everything from inspirational baking recipe videos and make-up tutorials to viral challenge clips — in the vein of the famous ice bucket challenge, which raised more than £150 million worldwide for motor neurone disease. But as the Israeli video shows, it’s not all so wholesome.

It’s not that violent clashes in Jerusalem are anything new. The difference today is that any one incident is far more likely to be filmed, uploaded and shared to millions within a matter of minutes. This has a radicalising effect, especially since clips can be edited to inflame passions. Last week, a video circulated of an Israeli car being stoned — then the driver ramming the crowd. The clip went viral in Gaza. At the same time, outrage in Israel was stoked by a film of a Jewish man being beaten up and ending up in hospital.

‘Everyone is calling it the TikTok intifada,’ Dr Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, said last month. ‘We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.’ Her point was that TikTok videos are at least visible. The Jewish youth are more likely to use WhatsApp, which is private (and often impenetrable even to intelligence services), so it is harder to know what is being shared. But the trend is well understood: filming and sharing violent videos accelerates conflicts. And it’s never been easier to film or share. PodCast: TikTok intifada: what’s the role of new media in old conflicts?
29-Year-Old Jewish Man Beaten by Pro-Palestinian Supporters in NYC

Ted Cruz accuses 'the Squad' of acting like 'press secretaries for Hamas terrorists'
Omar accused Israel of being an "apartheid" state and committing war crimes for its targeting bombing campaign in its response to rocket barrages on Israeli cities.

Tlaib, the first Palestinian American elected to the U.S. Congress, struck a similar tone while claiming that Israelis are conducting a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" and racism.

Liberal Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders have urged the Biden administration to stop military aid to Israel. Sanders introduced a resolution expressing disapproval of the sale of $735 million of joint direct attack munitions and small-diameter bombs to the country.

“At a moment when U.S.-made bombs are devastating Gaza and killing women and children, we cannot simply let another huge arms sale go through without even a congressional debate,” Sanders told the Washington Post. “I believe that the United States must help lead the way to a peaceful and prosperous future for both Israelis and Palestinians. We need to take a hard look at whether the sale of these weapons is actually helping do that, or whether it is simply fueling conflict.”

Cruz is introducing a resolution of approval on the arms sales, telling Fox News that it would force Democrats to "own" their rhetoric on Israel.

"I’m introducing a resolution to approve the arms sales, and I’m going to fight for a vote because there are a lot of Democrats in the Senate who want to play footsie, who want to say, ‘Well, no. I don’t agree with that antisemitic language from the Squad.' Well, let’s vote," Cruz said. "Let’s decide if you’re willing to send weapons to support Israel, or if you’re going to sashay up to the anti-Israel Left, then you need to own it."

Rep. Reschenthaler to Introduce Resolution Condemning Rep. Jayapal Remarks Excusing Hamas
After providing Breitbart News with an advanced copy of a resolution to be introduced this week to Congress condemning Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) gave an exclusive statement detailing his views on the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.

The statement, given on Friday, began with Reschenthaler expressing his outrage over recent comments made by Jayapal which seemed to provide some legitimization for the Gaza terror group’s recent attacks against Israel.

“I am appalled that anyone in America, let alone an elected member of Congress, would blame Israel for Hamas’ firing over 4,000 rockets at innocent Israeli civilian populations,” the Pennsylvania Republican congressman said.

He then accused those of shifting the blame to Israel as harboring antisemitic motives.

“Blaming Israel and justifying terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians is wrong and deeply antisemitic – pure and simple,” he said.

Reschenthaler, who is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee, called on others to issue condemnations.

“I call on my colleagues to join me in condemning Rep. Jayapal’s antisemitic statements and affirming our unwavering support for Israel,” he said.

He concluded by stating categorically that disputing Israel’s role as an ally or Hamas’ as an enemy, hampers national security worldwide.

“The evidence is clear: Israel is our ally, and Hamas is our mutual enemy,” he said. “Anyone who disputes that paradigm impedes U.S. national security at home and abroad.”
Dem Rep. Sherman: Democrats Who Don’t Support Israel ‘Don’t Really Have an Understanding’ of the History
Sunday on “Fox News Live,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) addressed some of the members of his own party not supporting Israel in its ongoing conflict with terrorist organization Hamas.

Sherman pointed out that he has been combating the lack of knowledge regarding Israel’s history and the conflict among his fellow Democrats since the 1980s, so “this is nothing new.”

“This is nothing new,” Sherman advised. “There have been elements in the Democratic Party. I’ve been combating them since the 1980s who don’t really have an understanding of Israel’s history or of the history of the Middle East conflict. I think that the latest attempt is to try to deny Israel the JDAMS. Well, what are the JDAMS? I don’t think the opponents of Israel have noticed that this is a device designed to make sure that a bomb doesn’t hit the wrong target. So, if you’re going to complain that Israel’s bombing is imprecise, to deprive Israel of the very mechanisms it needs to make sure that the bombs don’t hit the wrong target is critically important.”

“To say to Israel you have the right to defend yourself but you should use dumb bombs instead of smart bombs is an invitation to far more civilian casualties,” he concluded.

David Singer: Al Jazeera and AP covered up the destruction of MEE, the Hamas media mouthpiece
An analysis of Al Jazeera and Associated Press (AP) reports on Israel’s demolition of the 14 storey building in which their respective offices were located - illustrates media anti-Israel bias that seeks to denigrate and delegitimise the Jewish State in much of the media reporting coming from the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera’s report claimed:
“A building that housed international media offices including Al Jazeera’s in the Gaza Strip has been hit by an Israeli air raid that demolished the structure… The building also housed The Associated Press news agency bureau.”

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt released the following statement:
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.

"The Israeli government says the building contained Hamas military intelligence assets. We have called on the Israeli government to put forward the evidence. AP’s bureau has been in this building for 15 years. We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building. This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”

Both these media outlets failed to report that one of the other media offices located in the building was Middle East Eye (MEE) – exposed as the alleged media mouthpiece for Hamas in this 2017 report:
“Middle East Eye (MEE) — an increasingly prominent web portal — often obscures its finances, but it increasingly fills the gap as Qatar’s chief agent of influence. Groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International incorporate MEE stories, as do newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Phyllis Chesler: In News and Film, the anti-Israel bias pervades
Israel is surrounded by the most insidious "Big Lies." In my view, this constitutes incitement to knifing, car-ramming, lynching, full-on pogroms, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, atrocities in which Jews are the victims, not the aggressors.

How can such blood libels be believed? In addition to our 3,000-year history of anti-Jewish propaganda, let me suggest that the modern, world-wide film industry now bears a singular responsibility for grooming people to believe only the worst about Israel and only the best about a Palestinian terrorist group that oppresses its own people and is dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Films can show us lies – which we believe because we saw them "with our own eyes." The purposeful "murder" of Muhammad Al-Dura at the Netzavim junction, the fake Israeli massacre in Jenin, the Israeli defensive action against the armed Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, etc.

The most recent example of such propaganda porn is Farah Nabulsi's short film, "The Present," which was nominated for a 2020 Academy Award, raved about by film critics, as well as by anti-Zionist Noam Chomsky and Alice Walker. Only 24 minutes long, we see the most soulful and soft-spoken of Palestinian men and his much-adored young daughter as they endure cruelty, humiliation, frustration, and extreme danger at the hands of Israeli army brutes. We also see the horrifying human congestion awaiting entry into Israel at checkpoints and army roadblocks.

What we never get to see is why such single file tunneling and ID checking came into being, namely the intense 2001-2002 terrorist bombing campaigns by Palestinians from the disputed territories – not the "occupied territories" – in the "West Bank," which claimed more than 1,000 Israeli civilian lives and wounded far more. Hence, the security wall and the checkpoints were added to protect Israeli civilians. Like the Iron Dome, they work.

Nabulsi's film is only the latest in a long line of similar propaganda films.

Shouting ‘Jews should die,’ Florida man leaves feces outside synagogue
A man yelled antisemitic remarks at a rabbi in front of a South Florida synagogue. He returned and dumped a bag of human feces in front of the building, authorities said.

Cellphone video captured the unidentified man on an electric bicycle, as he went on a rant outside the Chabad of South Broward on Friday, according to Miami television station WSVN.

The man left and returned a short time later, carrying a bag or pillowcase that contained human feces, said Hallandale Beach Police Capt. RaShana Dabney-Donovan.

He dumped the bag in front of the synagogue and yelled, “Jews should die,” according to a police report.

He also spat at a menorah near a sidewalk, according to the police.

Earlier this month, a Hallandale Beach man reported having rocks thrown at him as he walked to the Chabad of South Broward.

“It’s very important for us to combat these types of incidents,” said Dabney-Donovan.
Rock Thrown at Arizona Synagogue Smashes Front-Door Window Glass
A rock thrown at the front door of a synagogue in Tucson, Ariz., broke through the glass window, causing damage that was believed to have occurred overnight on Tuesday and discovered on Wednesday morning.

Congregation Chaverim includes Alma Hernandez, a member of the Arizona State Legislature, and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, is now the state’s junior senator.

Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 and spent years recovering from a head injury, took to social media to talk about the incident.

“Yesterday, my synagogue in Tucson was vandalized. It’s heartbreaking to see such a disgusting act in a place where so many are meant to feel safest,” she wrote. “Despite these actions, we will not be shaken. Hate has no place in Arizona.”

Hernandez posted on Twitter: “I’m a complete mess in tears as I write this. I just got off the phone with my rabbi; our synagogue was vandalized, someone [threw] a rock at our glass door. This was NOT an accident! I feel numb. … Send prayers our way.”
Chabad Center in Salt Lake City Defaced With Swastika
A swastika was scratched onto the front-door glass last weekend of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Police are searching for a suspect seen in surveillance footage from the building’s security cameras. The assailant is said to be a tall male wearing dark clothing at the time of the vandalism, according to the local newspaper, Deseret News. The incident is being handled as a hate crime, reported Newsweek.

“A swastika is not a political statement. A swastika is an image of hate,” said the Jewish center’s director, Rabbi Avremi Zippel, who also shared a photo of the vandalism on Twitter. “A swastika represents one thing and one thing only—and that is death to the Jews.”

Defacing a Jewish establishment with a swastika “is hateful, despicable and cowardly in every sense of the words,” he said. Surveillance footage showed that the vandalism was “pretty deliberate,” added the rabbi.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) condemned the vandalism on Twitter. He talked about how George Washington welcomed Jews to the United States, saying the first president set an example for how “all Americans” should act. He also wrote that “those who commit acts of vandalism against Jews or their places of worship in Salt Lake City or anywhere else only disgrace their own souls.”

New York Times Initially Rejected Anti-Hamas Ad; Only Published Revised Version After ‘Epic Battle’
The New York Times initially refused to publish an ad from Rabbi Shmuely Boteach’s World Values Network calling out three celebrities for falsely accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, according to Boteach.

The Times eventually backed down and agreed to print the ad in the Saturday, May 22 newspaper, but only after demanding significant changes, Boteach told The Algemeiner.

“It was an epic battle to get it published,” Boteach said in a phone interview.

The original version of the ad is viewable on Boteach’s Instagram page. The headline reads, “Bella, Gigi and Dua The ‘It Girls’ of Terror-Splaining.” It features images of Bella and Gigi Hadid and Dua Lipa, accompanied by menacing terrorists brandishing weapons. Beneath that image are the words, “Meet the new Hamas Influencer Brigades.”

“They had it for a whole week and they told us mid-week there were issues. They would not be specific. And then, suddenly, on Friday, just as the deadline was arriving, they said, ‘no, it’s been rejected,’” Boteach said. After being told at 1:54 pm Friday “the ad is rejected,” Boteach and his team rewrote it and redesigned it into almost a completely new ad. That version was subject to further Times pushback, until minutes before the Sabbath, he said. “They haggled with us — this line, that line. We had to remind them that as the newspaper of record, they ought to believe in the First Amendment and in the right of a nation that experienced a genocide just 75 years ago, to defend itself.”

As it finally appeared in the Times, the headline of the ad says, “Bella, Gigi and Dua, Hamas calls for a second Holocaust. Condemn them now.” The menacing terrorists brandishing weapons have been replaced by an image of rockets being fired through a night sky.

Following criticism, singer Dua Lipa denies antisemitism charges
Singer Dua Lipa rejected claims she was antisemitic after an organization published a full-page ad in The New York Times accused her of antisemitism, saying the group used her name "shamelessly" to "advance their ugly campaign with falsehoods and blatant misrepresentations."

In the ad, which appeared in Saturday's newspaper in the main section, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the head of the World Values Network, named Lipa, and the models Bella and Gigi Hadid as three "mega-influencers" who have "accused Israel of ethnic cleansing" and "vilified the Jewish State."

Lipa, who is Kosovar Albanian, took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to "reject the false and appalling allegations" and said the World Values Network twisted what she stands for. "I stand in solidarity with all oppressed people and reject all forms of racism," she wrote.

In a post to Instagram on May 31, 2020, she would later remove, Lipa referred to members of the Israeli government as "fake Jews," who she said, "created Hamas SIMPLY for all of you geniuses to believe that hamas is the reasons for the decades worth of occupation, oppression, ethnic cleansing, and MURDER."

Vogue Cover Model Slammed for Claiming That Fighting Antisemitism ‘Delegitimizes the Palestinian Struggle’
Vogue cover model Paloma Elsesser was slammed on Instagram for legitimizing antisemitism and claiming that fighting it “delegitimizes the Palestinian struggle.”

The Daily Mail reported that Elsesser wrote Saturday that people posting about antisemitism needed to ask themselves “am I linking this to Palestinian liberation as a whole?” and “will people be able to use this to delegitimize the Palestinian struggle?”

Commenters criticized Elsesser’s post, with one asserting, “You know nothing about Israel about Palestinians or about Jews. Stay out of our affairs if you aren’t going to educate yourself.”

“You’re the biggest antisemite,” said another, while still another said, “We don’t tell you what racism is. Don’t tell us what antisemitism is.”

“That Wasn’t Me in the Israel Rant Video!” Claims John Oliver (satire)
John Oliver – the award-winning comedian, political satirist, and host of the eponymous HBO show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” – has vehemently denied that he had anything to do with the now (in)famous ‘Israel rant’, claiming to be a victim of deepfake technology. FBI agents have arrested Ronald Dahl, a 16-year-old London native now living in New York in connection with the apparently deepfake video of Oliver.

“I cannot believe that people think that was me spouting out a ridiculously one-sided, out-of-context, source-free rant on what everyone knows to be an extremely sensitive subject,” Oliver exclaimed. He continued, “just look at my past segments on other topics! Every time I cover a subject, especially ones that are politically crucial and ones that are culturally sensitive, I ALWAYS show the data, including screenshots of the sources where that data comes from. I use peer-reviewed articles and reputable polling. Jesus Christ, I even offer countless video clips as evidence for everyone to see. Nothing is off-the-cuff when it comes to my platform. My team and I may be passionate about what we do, even quite emotional at times, but we always let the facts do their work.”

When asked about the use of loaded terms and profanity being tossed about so nonchalantly within the deepfake video, Oliver made clear to The Mideast Beast the following. “I’m a political satirist. I’m here to make you laugh, sure, but I’m also here to get people to think about important socio-political issues of the day. I am not, nor have I ever claimed to be, an expert on policy, war, warfare, and history. So why would I suddenly jump on camera and rant as if I just left my weekly BDS meeting? Why would I call an entire country a war crime-committing asshole and not say much about a militant, sorry ‘terror’, organization – one that is not so different from ISIS and who is clearly committing a double war crime by firing rockets from populated civilian areas into populated civilian areas? Why would I single out Israel? I’m the least anti-Israel person you’ll ever meet. I have a Jewish friend! And yes, there is a power imbalance, like nearly every conflict does, but if I had actually produced a segment on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, I would have done exactly what I have always done: offer up a well-researched examination, you know, like the ones that earned me my Emmys.
NBA Teams Condemn Rise in Antisemitic Attacks Against Jewish Communities
Professional basketball teams spoke out this weekend against the recent rise in antisemitic attacks targeting Jews.

The Miami Heat released a statement Sunday on Instagram, saying “enough with the hate, hate speech and violence against Jews and cowardly, antisemitic acts committed against our Jewish friends and neighbors here in South Florida and elsewhere have got to stop. In the strongest terms possible, the Miami Heat stand with the Jewish community and engages in the fight against antisemitism.”

The Milwaukee Bucks, who will play against the Miami Heat in the 2021 NBA Playoffs on Monday, also released a statement on Sunday about the “devastating and appalling” rise of antisemitic attacks against Jews in America, saying “these hateful and dangerous acts MUST stop and be condemned.” The team concluded by saying, “We encourage our leaders to join us in speaking out vehemently against all forms of hatred.”

The Dallas Mavericks said on Saturday it stands against “antisemitism, prejudice, discrimination and racism of any kind,” and the Atlanta Hawks called for “#NoHateAgainstJews.”
Reese Witherspoon Denounces Wave of Antisemitism: ‘We Need to Stop Hate Here’
Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon expressed her opposition to the latest wave of antisemitism on Friday.

“I am so upset to see the recent surge in hate crimes against Jewish people in the US,” she wrote.

“While we ask for peace in Israel/Palestine, we need to stop hate here,” Witherspoon urged.

Biden Brings in Islamic Activists to Investigate U.S. Military for 'Extremism'
A decade ago, Hina Shamsi was fighting on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation whose leaders had been convicted of providing material support to Hamas.

As the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project, Shamsi, a Pakistani citizen, had fought fiercely for the Islamic terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. “We all must pledge — not one person more in Guantanamo, not in our names,” she recently declared.

But now the Pakistani advocate for Islamic terrorists has a new job: going after our soldiers.

Shamsi (pictured above left) is one of the terror lawyers who appears on a list of partners for the Biden administration's crackdown on "extremism" in the military. The only kind of extremism that Shamsi appears to be an expert on is the Islamic kind and her expertise has been in denying it.

Furthermore, at least as of 2017, Shamsi had described herself as a Pakistan citizen with permanent legal residency in America.

She’s not the only apparent Pakistani citizen tasked by Biden to go after our troops.

Take Faiza Patel, another Pakistani immigrant, who co-wrote an article arguing against designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. The article claimed that "the Muslim Brotherhood is a religious organization, a political party, and a social service provider" and that it had "disavowed violence decades ago."

That would come as news to Hamas and its other active Jihadist network members.

Sacha Baron Cohen Slams Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey for Enabling Antisemitism Online
British Jewish actor Sacha Baron Cohen criticized Twitter and CEO Jack Dorsey on Saturday for allegedly allowing antisemitism to flourish on the social media platform amid the ongoing violence in the Middle East.

“The surge in antisemitism on the streets is fueled by antisemitism on social media,” the “Borat” star tweeted. He then tagged the Twitter executive and the platform he co-founded, asking, “Why do you allow #HitlerWasRight ?! Those who celebrate the Holocaust aim to perpetuate another. #StopHateForProfit.”

The actor’s post shared a report by the Anti-Defamation League released on Thursday, which showed data about an uptick in online and offline incidents of antisemitism across the United States since the recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas. The report revealed that more than 17,000 tweets used variations of the phrase “Hitler Was Right” between May 7 and May 14. The ADL said it has “also seen an increase in on-the-ground activity that demonizes Israel and that has crossed at times into antisemitism.”
BBC Monitoring’s Tala Halawa whitewashes antisemitic chant
Whether used as a call for the expulsion of Jews from their state or – as some claim – for the promotion of a bi-national state in which Jews would be an ethnic minority, the essence is the same: the negation of the right of Jews to self-determination and that – according to the IHRA definition – is antisemitism which Halawa – perhaps not surprisingly given her own record on social media – clearly refuses to recognise.

Halawa brings in a commentator called Ayesha Siddiqi to promote the risible claim that social media is contributing to public knowledge of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Halawa: “Social media is presenting a complex discourse given the fact that anyone, anywhere can be a content creator.”

Siddiqi: “More people having access to that testimony, particularly on Twitter and Snapchat, more and more people are presented with factual, video-based evidence and so there’s no longer intermediaries between what’s happening on the ground there and what we’re told about it here.”

As we have been documenting for years, social media has in fact had a negative effect on public knowledge and understanding because it is used by anti-Israel activists for propaganda purposes.

Tala Halawa’s pitch to whitewash an antisemitic slogan heard at all too many anti-Israel events around the world should obviously have raised editorial eyebrows at BBC Monitoring and BBC News before it ever saw the light of day. Had that been the case, the BBC might have avoided yet more bad publicity and the need to remove Halawa’s report from its prominent placing on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page just hours after it was published.

Instead, Halawa was given publicly funded resources to promote her personal political agenda under the guise of ‘building people’s understanding’ on a platform that claims to provide “news that you can trust”.
Indy deletes claim Muslim group was shunned by UK gov't due to 'Israel comments'
Earlier in the month, we posted about an article in the Independent by Home Affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden about criticism of Robin Simcox, the British government’s Interim Lead of the Commission for Countering Extremism, that were deemed offensive to Muslims.

The article (“Extremism boss dismisses use of ‘Islamophobia’ term”, May 4) included the following:
Mr Simcox has also risked alienating some community groups, including the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), by appearing to suggest they are “extremists” that should be “left out in the cold”.

The government has a policy of not engaging with the MCB – the UK’s largest umbrella organisation for mosques, schools and Islamic charities – which dates back to an official’s 2009 comments on Israel.

However, we pointed out in our post, and in a complaint to Indy editors, that the real reason why a Labour government, in 2009, broke off ties to the MCB was because one of their top leaders signed an Islamist declaration in Istanbul which supported Hamas, promoted violent Jihad and was widely interpreted as calling for attacks on British naval vessels, as well as on ‘Zionist Jews’ around the world.

Our complaint was upheld, and the sentence revised thusly:
The government has a policy of not engaging with the MCB…which dates back to an official’s 2009 signing of a declaration which, a minister claimed, supported violence against foreign forces, including British naval personnel, and Jewish communities around the world.
After ‘From the River To Sea’ Tweet, New Yorker’s Pro-Palestinian Solidarity Trumps Journalism
The New Yorker, the elite journal which boasts that it is “considered by many to be the most influential magazine in the world, renowned for its in-depth reporting, political and cultural commentary, fiction, poetry, and humor,” just became renowned for something else entirely: calling for the obliteration of the Jewish state.

In a May 20 tweet, now deleted, The New Yorker Union account declared: “Solidarity with Palestinians from the river to the sea who went on a 24-hour strike yesterday for dignity and liberation. #palestineonstrike.”

As CAMERA’s Gilead Ini previously explained, the “river to the sea” mantra isn’t “much of a coded message”:
One doesn’t need a cipher, but just a simple map, to understand that the passage refers to the elimination of Israel. The river is the Jordan. The sea is the Mediterranean. And the land between the river and the sea currently includes three territorial units: Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The latter two territories are sometimes collectively (though sloppily) referred to as Palestine, a term meant to describe land presupposed as belonging to the Palestinians. Extending Palestine to the territory between the river and the sea, as called for by the well-worn anti-Israel mantra, means there is no Israel in that swath of land, and thus no Israel anywhere.

As Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh put it at a rally in the Gaza Strip this summer, “Palestine is from the sea to the river! And we will never, never, never recognize Israel!”

Later that day, The New Yorker Union deleted its “river to the sea” tweet, deeming it a distraction, while failing to disavow the call for the elimination of the Jewish state, which many Jews understand as nothing less than genocide. As American Jews are being beaten on the streets of New York and Los Angeles for their refusal to support demands that Israel should simply disappear, The New Yorker Union found it appropriate to churlishly dismiss its previous tweet calling for the Jewish state’s destruction: “We stand in solidarity with the Palestinians who went on strike for dignity and rights. We’ve removed our original post, which used a phrase with connotations that distracted from our intended message of solidarity.” There was no apology or reassuring explanation that the genocidal tweet, which was entirely in line with Hamas and Iranian calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, was the work of an inexperienced, uninformed social media underling who did not understand the significance of his/her words and was not appropriately supervised.
Israel signs deal for cloud services with Google, Amazon
Israel on Monday officially announced its signing of a deal with Google and with Amazon Web Services to set up regional data centers in Israel, which, according to Finance Ministry officials, will ensure continuity of service even if the tech giants come under pressure to boycott the country.

The two tech firms were selected as the winners of the NIS 4 billion tender to build and provide cloud-based regional data centers and services to the nation. The nation signed the contracts a few days ago and ministries and other entities will be able to start moving their data onto the cloud in two months, the officials said.

The announcement comes as Google employees asked management to review the company’s contracts and corporate donations with “institutions that support Israeli violations of Palestinian rights,” citing the Israel Defense Forces as an example of such an institution.

The letter, by Jewish employees of Google, was sent to the CEO Sundar Pichai last week, calling on the tech giant to increase its support of Palestinians as a response to the \fighting between Israel and the Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Asked if the tech giants could decide at any point to shut down services, leaving Israel in the lurch, attorney Zviel Ganz of the legal department at the Finance Ministry said, “According to the tender requirements, the answer is no.” The contracts also bar the firms from denying services to particular government entities, he said at a briefing with reporters on Monday.
New Israeli tech gives accuracy boost to microscopic scissors for DNA editing
Israeli scientists have developed a “quality assurance” method for genome editing, which they say has the power to make it easier to translate DNA technologies from theory to treatments.

The CRISPR genome editing system works by cutting DNA with microscopic “scissors” and fixing it. The method is deployed to address some genetic disorders, and there are huge efforts to expand its use.

But one of the teething troubles is accuracy. “Like every house has an address you use to find it, every gene has an ‘address’ that we use to target CRISPR editing, but sometimes there is a lack of accuracy and the tiny ‘scissors’ go to the wrong place,” said molecular biologist Dr. Ayal Hendel of Bar Ilan University.

He has pioneered a new method for assessing, with an unprecedented level of accuracy, how many mistakes creep in when a genome editing tool is used, and where the mistakes occur. An academic paper on the breakthrough is due to appear on Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.

Hendel said his tech — software that is already available for download — will give scientists a chance to fix errors quickly, potentially saving them months they may otherwise invest in developing inaccurate tools. It is also intended to prevent the false alarms that currently slow research by flagging problems that don’t exist.

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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 18 years and 38,000 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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