Tuesday, June 01, 2021

From Ian:

International Legal Forum releases landmark report amid unprecedented explosion in global anti-Semitism
The International Legal Forum, an Israel-based legal network of over 3,000 lawyers and activists in 30 countries, committed to fighting anti-Semitism, terror and delegitimization of Israel in the international legal arena, has released a groundbreaking report titled: “Recognizing Anti-Zionist Antisemitism” The report, authored by ILF lawyer Russell Shalev, is the first in-depth study of its kind, to comprehensively examine and summarize recent policy-statements, legislation and case-law on anti-Zionist anti-Semitism.

This report comes in the wake of unprecedented explosion in global antisemitism and violence against Jews in Europe and North America, following the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas. In the UK alone, according to the Communal Security Trust, there was a staggering 500% increase in anti-Semitic incidents since hostilities between Hamas and Israel began, with jarring scenes of a convoy of cars with Palestinian protesters driving through central London, screaming “f*ck the Jews, rape their daughters.” At another rally in London, protesters could be heard chanting “we want the Zionists, we want their blood”, while elsewhere, Jews have been assaulted in broad daylight.

In Germany, Austria, France and elsewhere across Europe, there have been similar scenes of virulent antisemitism, incitement and violence, amplified and exacerbated by social media. Likewise, across the United States and Canada, there have been shocking and sickening scenes of Jews viciously attacked, harassed and beaten in the streets, with the ADL noting there was 75% increase in anti-Semitic attacks since the conflict between Hamas and Israel broke out.

In response, President Biden declared “such attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad – it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.”

It is time, once and for all, to dispense with the notion that these acts of wanton intimidation, harassment and violence are anything but Jew hatred and antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism, with a direct correlation between the vilification of Israel and violence against Jews.
US antisemitism far worse than reported, say Conference of Presidents leaders
Antisemitism in the United States is even more pervasive than it appears, Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Monday.

“It’s worse because the majority of incidents are not reported,” Hoenlein told The Times of Israel at a meeting with staff in Jerusalem alongside the Conference’s chair Dianne Lob and CEO William Daroff.

“We get reports all the time of it. I see it not only in my own community but from rabbis who call me and others. And often the police will not classify it as a hate crime because then the FBI has to come in, and the FBI doesn’t necessarily want to because it’s a lot of paperwork et cetera… But they’re encountering more hostility and the vast majority of incidents don’t go reported even though the number of reports is increasing sharply.”

There has been a drastic spike in antisemitism across the US surrounding the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza.

In New York City, amid dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian rallies earlier in May, Jews were assaulted in the street. In the days following, Jews across New York posted on social media about being threatened, harassed or otherwise attacked for being Jewish. Synagogues in Florida, Illinois and Arizona were targeted. Two antisemitic incidents were caught on video in Los Angeles.

The antisemitic incidents have led some to refrain from wearing Jewish symbols publicly out of fear of being attacked.
What Do Messrs. Marx, Sanders and Blanter Have in Common?
The Middle East conflict is really a series of successive conflicts. At first, it had been only a religious conflict, which grew into a territorial one with Israel's revival. In turn, the territorial conflict, due to the Sisyphean labor of Soviet communists, was transformed into an ideological conflict through the injection of Marxist rhetoric.

President Trump tried to finish off the ideological phase of the conflict in the Middle East and put it on a rational economic track. Trump made an offer that could not be refused in exchange for ending the multi-billion dollar financing of terrorism franchise wars, Arab countries would receive multi-billion dollar American investments. The benefit is twofold. The Arab countries generally agreed because the Palestinian problem, purely economically, is very disadvantageous to them.

Trump tried to end what began long before him but had touched a raw nerve. The termination of the ideological phase of the conflict turned out to be unprofitable for the American Left, and the Biden administration returned the conflict to square one. In fact, Joe Biden uses taxpayer dollars to assist Palestinian Arabs in buying Iranian missiles to attack Israel. In addition, Biden appointed an Islamic activist to "cleanse" the US military of "extremism." Without a doubt, Iran, Russia, and Hamas still cannot believe their luck with the current occupant of the White House. As a result, in 2021, Jews are welcomed in the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries, but not in America.

Anti-Semitism has been around for several thousand years, although this term has officially existed only since 1879. The overwhelming majority of more or less reasonable people perfectly understood that this nefarious phenomenon is irrational. There is not and cannot be a rational explanation for it. However, the Left decided to take the next step, and in America, under the leadership of the Floydenized Democrats, the process of normalizing anti-Semitism has begun. If before, in a decent society, anti-Semitism was a taboo, now the taboo has been lifted. The new American norm will not be the complete absence of anti-Semitism but the establishment of some level of anti-Semitism acceptable in a decent society.

Normalizing what was previously considered impossible or unacceptable is the hallmark of the Left. At the beginning of the 21st century, leftists normalized the attribution of the red color (the color of enemies) for conservatives and republicans. Previously, this color was associated only with the Left. In the twentieth century, the term "Palestinians" was normalized and redefined by the Left. The term "Palestinian" had meant Jews exclusively, but since 1967, at the suggestion of the KGB, they began to call "Palestinians" exclusively Arabs. Symptoms of this normalization of anti-Semitism were the simultaneous and well-coordinated attacks on Jews in Israel, New York, and California.

A ceasefire has now been declared in Israel. However, there is never a ceasefire in the struggle between Good and Evil, even a temporary one. Especially when Good and Evil are on opposite sides of ideological barricades.


Time for Jews to bid farewell to France?
The Jewish community in France has an illustrious history. The first to be emancipated in Europe, Jews have made it into the crème de la crème of French society. They have become influential figures in politics, academia, economics, entertainment, and more. And yet, the same community that 30 years ago experienced its golden age in France is now experiencing a momentous period of distrust.

Three weeks ago, France's high court ruled not to prosecute Kobili Traore, a Muslim man who killed his Jewish neighbor Sarah Halimi in 2017.

Why? Traore smoked a lot of marijuana before the murder, and that made him "not responsible for his actions," the court decided. More than 7,000 people gathered at the Trocadero Square in Paris in protest of the ruling and to seek justice for the victim.

Unfortunately, the Halimi case is the latest of a series of antisemitic events that have caused a rift between France and its Jews.

In 2003, Jewish French DJ Sebastian Selam was killed by his Muslim neighbor and childhood friend Adel Amastaibou, who was sent to a psychiatric infirmary. In 2006, Ilan Halimi was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by a group of Muslims. In 2012, an Islamic State terrorist opened fire in a school in Toulouse and killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two sons, 5-year-old Arie and 3-year-old Gabriel, as well as 8-year old Myriam Monsonego. In 2015, Elsa Cayat, a columnist for the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, was killed by two French Muslim brothers, along with 11 other employees. Two days later, a terrorist opened fire in the Hypercacher kosher supermarket in Paris and killed Yohan Cohen, Philippe Braham, François-Michel Saada, and Yoav Hattab. In 2018, Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll was killed in her home by a young Muslim.

According to data published by the French Jewish community's security service, there was a 50% decrease in the number of antisemitic incidents in 2020 (399 compared to 697 the year before), but there was almost no decrease in the number of physical assaults on Jews (45), despite the coronavirus pandemic and multiple lockdowns.

Add to that the most recent uptick in antisemitism in the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict. Thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Paris and marched in areas heavily populated by Jews. The local government banned the protests for fear of them turning into violent riots, but to no avail. Some 4,200 policemen were deployed to the streets of Paris to disperse any illegal gatherings and arrested dozens. All Jews were advised to close their businesses early and not to wear distinguishably Jewish signs outdoors. Authorities advised them to stay at home on Shabbat altogether. Local synagogues, which haven't even returned to full functioning because of the coronavirus pandemic, reduced their activities even more.

Besides the fear of being targeted for an attack, French Jewry feels that they are being betrayed by the local government, especially law enforcement, and the elite, which created an alliance between the Left and Islam. And it is not the first time something like this has happened. It took France 40 years to officially admit the role it played in the Holocaust, and the public conversation on this matter still continues.

When in 1980 Arab terrorists carried out an attack at a synagogue in Paris, killing Israeli citizen Aliza Shagrir and three non-Jewish passers-by, the government condemned the "terror attack against Jews that went to the synagogue and innocent Frenchman who were walking by."
Bullet holes found at Ukraine synagogue as mass Holocaust victims grave raided
In two separate disturbing incidents in Ukraine, bullet holes were found in a synagogue and grave robbers allegedly raided a Holocaust-era mass grave, exposing and scattering human remains.

The aftermath of a shooting at the synagogue of Kremenchuk, a city located 130 miles southeast of Kyiv, was discovered early last month but reported by the local Jewish community on Monday. The delay was planned “in order to prevent panic in the Jewish community of the city,” the news site Jewish.ru reported, quoting a spokesperson for the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, a communal interest group.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Jewish sites have been vandalized multiple times in Kremenchuk in recent years. In 2016, the tomb of a local Hasidic rabbi was set on fire. The same site was vandalized in 2013, 2014 and 2015, sometimes with Nazi symbols spray-painted. In 2012, unidentified individuals tried to set fire to the synagogue and in 2009, paint was splashed over the building.

The grave desecration happened in the village of Pikov, located 110 miles southwest of Kyiv, according to Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, another communal interests group. He wrote about the incident on Facebook on Saturday, and posted pictures of bones protruding from a hole in the ground.

“Nazis and local collaborators shot more than a thousand Jews, including women and children in May 1942 there,” Dolinsky said. “Now some people who have lost their humanity are looking for gold in their grave.”
The Pursuit of Human Rights and the Myth of Israeli ‘Pinkwashing’
On March 8 of this year, the so-called “human rights” group Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) at York University in Toronto, Canada, launched an Israeli “Pinkwashing” campaign targeting the Jewish State with slanderous and baseless claims regarding its treatment of gays and other minorities.

Throughout the campaign, false accusations, such as “Israel ethnically cleanses, imprisons, and kills Palestinians, whether queer or non-queer,” were regularly employed to attempt to discredit the only truly free and tolerant nation in the entire Middle East.

In its most basic terms, pinkwashing is defined as: “a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.”

Being gay and Catholic myself, compassion and the pursuit of justice are what I strive towards for everyone. That is why I took it upon myself to search out the truth behind such claims. In this research, I discovered that these accusations of genocide against Israel are totally false, and that unlike in the Palestinian territories, Israelis of all nationalities (including its Arab citizens) have true freedom.

One of the most significant accusations touted by the PSC of York is the claim that Israel “portrays itself as the ‘only democracy’ and ‘gay haven’ in the Middle East … while Palestinians suffer from Israeli state racism and terrorism.”

As a gay Russian myself, state persecution against minorities is something I have seen firsthand. And while Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza abuse their citizens, deprive them of rights and elections, and persecute their gay minorities, Israel is indeed the only democracy in the region; and yes, it is a “gay haven.”
Dutch university removes pro-Palestinian banners after Jews protest
A public Dutch university removed a series of banners about Israel made by resident artists, including one reading “from the river to the sea,” after protests by local Jews.

The State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam was “not aware of some of the meanings of the phrase and have decided, with the resident artists who displayed banners on the subject, to remove them,” Emily Pethick, the Academy’s director, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Tuesday. “We deeply regret it.”

The slogan is an abbreviation of the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which refers to the area between Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — a region comprising the West Bank and Gaza and Israel. Advocates of the slogan say it calls for freedom for all inhabitants. Critics say it references the widespread sentiment among Palestinians that all the land is occupied and should be liberated by dismantling the Jewish state.

“This chant isn’t about supporting a Palestinian state but all about expelling the Jews from Israel. This will never happen,” wrote Ronny Naftaniel, chairman of the Central Jewish Board of the Netherlands, or CJO, on Facebook.

“One Final Solution was enough,” he added, referencing the Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust.

A separate arts institution in Amsterdam, De Ateliers, which is housed in the Academy’s former address, also displayed banners about Israel last week, including one reading “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” De Ateliers did not immediately reply to JTA’s request for comment.
Schenectady High School email on how to ‘ally with the Palestinians’ stirs controversy
A recent schoolwide email at Schenectady High School suggesting educators refer to the actions of the Israeli government as “ethnic cleansing” and “colonialism” stirred concerns among staff and the broader Jewish community that school leaders were backing a “one-sided” view of the complex Middle Eastern conflict.

The email sent by the school’s “culturally-responsive committee,” which works to advance the school’s anti-racism and equity goals, offered staff across the school buildings resources on the Palestinian perspective and included a list of “words to use” in class when discussing the ongoing violence in the Middle East.

“As we continue in our anti-racism journey, it is important to bring attention to the injustices that have escalated against Palestinians in recent weeks,” said the May 20 email, which the Daily Gazette has obtained.

The email passed along a chart urging educators to “use the correct terminology” when teaching about current events in Israel, where a recent ceasefire brought weeks of violence to an end. The chart listed “words not to use” and “words to use” when talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The “words to use” list included: apartheid, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, boycott Israel, and anti-Zionism. “Words not to use” included: ‘clash, war, both sides and conflict.”

The email drew almost immediate backlash among teachers, particularly social studies and Jewish educators, who thought the email lacked the necessary nuance and failed to represent the Israeli point of view.


Star Columnist Shree Paradkar Denies Jewish Indiginieity to Israel, Utters Antisemitic Trope
In a free society like Canada, differing opinions and perspectives on any given topic is expected, even welcome. That is one of the benefits of living in a democratic country. But while having the right to express varied opinions is a protected right in Canada, sharing blatant misinformation should be challenged.

In her oped in the May 30 edition of the Toronto Star, “The surprising bonds that link Palestinian, Black and Indigenous liberation movements,” Shree Paradkar attempts to rewrite history by drawing a link between indigenous movements in Canada, and the Palestinian cause, suggesting that the Jewish People in Israel are colonizers and have no indigenous rights.

Paradkhar writes that (emphasis added) “It was white supremacist thinking that fueled settler colonialism of Indigenous lands, white supremacy that justified slavery in an era of European enlightenment, white supremacy that created the system of apartheid, white supremacy that fueled the evil of Nazism and white supremacy that decrees that Palestinians must atone for the sins of the West.”

This common, though utterly unfounded argument, claims that the Jewish people finally achieved self-determination in their historic homeland in 1948, not because of their three thousand year long history in the land, or their legal title to the area under the British Mandate, or even having won a defensive war against invading Arab armies, but rather because of Western guilt over the Holocaust. It’s also equally appalling that she casts Israelis as all implicitly being caucasian, despite the fact that there are Jews of every colour, whether from Ethiopia, Syria, Egypt, Iran, etc. Keep in mind, this screed was written by the Star’s race and gender columnist!

This point is not only without any factual basis whatsoever; it is incredibly offensive and bigoted. Paradkar’s oped is ostensibly written to support the claims of the Palestinians to live in their own land, and yet ends up denying the Jewish People’s right to live, unmolested and harassed, in their own land as well.
CBC The Current’s Bias Against Israel On Full Display
The last few weeks have seen a dramatic upsurge in violence between Hamas and Israel. And CBC News, like most mainstream Canadian broadcasters and news outlets, covered the news regularly, with frequent updates and reports.

Unfortunately, while there were some elements of fairness and balance, those were outweighed by a notable and disproportionate anti-Israel misinformation being peddled by guests, which often went unchallenged by CBC News hosts, and sometimes, even anti-Israel misinformation was uttered by the hosts themselves.

On the May 28 edition of The Current, host Matt Galloway interviewed Bessma Momani, a professor from the University of Waterloo, and Daniel Kurtzer, the former US ambassador to Egypt, and later to Israel. The segment discussed the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and future prospects for peace, but while discussing disagreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Kurtzer made the unsubstantiated comment that Israel is doing “malign activities in Jerusalem.” Presumably he is commenting on the evictions of a small group of Arabs in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shimon HaTzaddik, known in Arabic as Sheikh Jarrah, whose court-ordered eviction is as a result of nonpayment of rent to their legal landlords, and not as a result of any “malign activities.”

Kurtzer also remarked that “Israeli occupation practices must change,” but gave no evidence to back up his claim that Israel is illegally occupying any Palestinian land. In fact, as international legal scholar Professor Eugene Kontorovich has pointed out, prior to Israel’s possession of Judea & Samaria (commonly called the West Bank), there was no sovereign nation previously owning that land, and therefore Israel does not occupy the West Bank illegally at all.

The day prior on May 27, The Current interviewed Daniel Taub, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Kingdom, to discuss the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Galloway challenged Taub asking “if the deaths of 60 children (in Gaza) is acceptable” to Israel, but did not mention the critical context: that Israel’s military actions in Gaza were a direct result of Hamas firing thousands of rockets indiscriminately into Israeli population centres from within Palestinian civilian areas. Galloway berated Daniel Taub and tacitly condemned Israel for Palestinian civilian casualties, without considering how Hamas embeds its weapons and terrorists from within civilian populations. Taub even had to plead to Galloway asking what alternative Israel has as it does everything to avoid civilian casualties, the implication being that Galloway would implicitly prefer that Israel should just let Palestinians fire deadly rockets without Israel taking defensive action. Galloway had no response to Taub’s rejoinder.
What The New York Times Hadn’t Told You About The Children
High Percentage Killed By Misfired Palestinian Rockets

Another unconfirmed element of the “They Were Only Children” story is how many were killed by misfired Hamas rockets. Here’s what The Times had to say on the topic:
While most of the children were Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes, there are exceptions.

At least two of the children killed in Gaza — Baraa al-Gharabli and Mustafa Obaid — may have been killed when Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Israel that fell short, according to an initial investigation by Defense for Children International-Palestine.


Even given the still partial information available at this time about all of the fatalities in the Gaza Strip, The Times has clearly grossly understated the phenomenon. According to a detailed analysis (Hebrew) carried out by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center of the fatalities in the first days of fighting (May 10-12), nine children aged 17 and younger were killed by misfired Palestinian rockets. According to the Meir Amit center, they are:
Ibrahim Al-Masri, 11, killed May 10, Beit Hanoun.
Marwan Al-Masri, 7, killed May 10, Beit Hanoun.
Rahaf Al-Masri, 10, killed May 10, Beit Hanoun.
Yazan Al-Masri, 2, killed May 10, Beit Hanoun.
Hasin Hamad, 11, killed May 10, Beit Hanoun.
Ibrahim Hassanain, 16, killed May 10, Beit Hanoun.
Mustafa Obeid, 17, killed May 10, Jabalyia.
Baraa Al-Gharabli, 4, killed, May 10, Jabalyia.

The last two names were the only ones that The Times identified as possible, unconfirmed “exceptions” to what the paper claimed is the rule: “most of the children were killed by Israeli airstrikes.”

The other six children were killed together by a misfired Palestinian rocket, according to the Meir Amit researchers. Here’s how The Times reported their deaths, leaving out any indication that a Palestinian rocket was the apparent cause:
Around the same time, four cousins — Yazan al-Masri, 2, Marwan al-Masri, 6, Rahaf al-Masri, 10, and Ibrahim al-Masri, 11 — were killed in Beit Hanoun, Gaza.

“It was devastating,” said Mukhlis al-Masri, a cousin. “The pain for our family is indescribable.”


(Rafah al-Masri, by the way, was the little girl misidentified by a totally random, unrelated picture.) The “paper of record” gave no additional information about Hamad and Hassanain beyond their names and ages.
Myths and Facts New York Times  Gaza Edition
The New York Times considers itself the world’s leading newspaper, boasts about its foreign bureaus in far flung corners of the globe, and spares no expense to cover the important stories no matter where they occur. With foreign reporting the underlying facts and background will be obscure for the vast majority of readers, so they have to depend on the paper’s journalists to be fair, honest and accurate.

Unfortunately, when it comes to Israel, readers of the Times will often know less than when they started, and this is especially true since Patrick Kingsley became Jerusalem Bureau Chief in January 2021.

The British-born Kingsley formerly reported for the Guardian, a paper not known for fidelity to the truth, especially when it comes to Israel, and the recent disturbances and fighting in Israel and Gaza have been the perfect opportunity for him to peddle Guardian-style agitprop to a new set of readers.

Consider Kingsley’s article of May 7, Evictions in Jerusalem Become Focus of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which unfortunately included numerous false claims about a property dispute in Sheikh Jarrah, and related Israeli laws and procedures. According to Kingsley:

MYTH: Palestinians and their advocates consider the evictions — coupled with restrictions on building permits, which force Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to either leave the city, or to build illegal housing vulnerable to demolition orders — as a kind of ethnic cleansing.

FACT: There are no special “restrictions” on building permits for Palestinians in Jerusalem that would force them to leave the city or build illegally. On average, Palestinians who apply for building permits in Jerusalem receive them at about the same rate as everyone else in the city, after the same waiting period, and at the same cost. See, for example, Illegal Construction in Jerusalem.

The numbers for recent years bear this out. According to Israel’s State Party Report to the United Nations regarding the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
208.The Jerusalem municipality, via the local committee for planning and construction, issues building permits in the ENoJ similar to any other area in the city. Following the submission of building permits applications, these applications are examined and if they correlate with the approved outline plans, a permit is issued. In 2019 (until mid July), 102 construction permits were given in the ENoJ out of 173 applications. In 2018, 184 construction permits were granted out of 331 applications and in 2017, 115 such permits were granted. (ENoJ = Eastern Neighborhoods of Jerusalem, or East Jerusalem, for short)
Boston Globe Cartoon Lies by Inversion
On May 22, 2021 the Boston Globe published a crude, inflammatory cartoon titled “Love letter from Netanyahu” by Christopher Weyant that inverted facts and spread falsehoods about Israel (it appeared online May 21). At a time when Jews are being attacked on American streets in the context of wildly distorted charges against Israel about the conflict with Gaza, often relayed in distorted media coverage, New England’s leading newspaper published and then declined to remove or apologize for the hateful image.

As of this writing, it remains online.


Cartoonists have latitude to mock and exaggerate in presenting commentary on events, but responsible publications apply journalistic standards of adherence to truth, decency and fair play in choosing what to print and when to retract. A drawing that conveys virulent lies and fuels bigotry against Jews, Israel and pro-Zionist voices, needless to say, violates the fundamentals of responsible coverage.

Among Weyant’s lies is the primary cartoon image – a massive, invading tank crushing a Palestinian whose frail arm is all that can be seen, waving a small PLO flag from under the war machine. But there was no invasion and no Palestinians were killed by tanks. Likewise, contrary to the cartoon there was no carpet-bombing of Gaza such that entire neighborhoods were leveled; there was highly targeted, precision bombing of Hamas military tunnels used against Israel. The entire operation by Israel came in response to massive Hamas missile and rocket assault on the Israeli population – which is entirely absent from the drawing.

The inclusion in the cartoon of a downcast Arab woman reading a leaflet is a particularly abhorrent inversion of truth. The leaflet states: “It’s from Prime Minister Netanyahu: Please respect the right for the state of Israel to exist. We appreciate your cooperation while we build it on top of you. XO, Bibi”
Filmmakers seek WWII testimonies from diplomats who helped save Jews
Filmmakers have begun the search for testimonies from diplomats involved in saving hundreds of thousands people from the Holocaust, while be used as part of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, according to a press release from University of Southern California on Monday.

Thus far, USC has managed to gather at least 15 hours worth of interviews with these diplomats who became known for defying World War II-era policies in order to save people from meeting their deaths in the Holocaust.

The project, entitled 'The Rescuers-Last Chance Project,' features 13 diplomats, including Raoul Wallenberg and Americans Varian Fry and Hiram Bingham, who all worked in their time to save Jews from the Holocaust and were later honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” in Israel, a title given to non-Jews involved in saving Jewish lives during WWII.

The interviews are expected to be integrated into the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive that consists of the inaugural collection of testimonies to be named the Joyce D. Mandell Rescuers Collection. This collection, the world’s largest World War II-era compilation of testimonies, will be available to the public in the upcoming Fall 2021, coinciding with the 82nd anniversary of World War II.

“We can all be uplifted by the fact that the stories of these rescuers are themselves being rescued for posterity. Now they can inform and inspire future generations just as they are doing for viewers today,” said Stephen Smith, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation.
Director Roman Polanski Talks Holocaust Childhood in New Documentary Filmed in Polish Hometown of Krakow
Oscar-winning Jewish filmmaker Roman Polanski delves into memories from his childhood during the Holocaust in a new documentary that premiered on Sunday, opening the Krakow Film Festival.

The documentary — titled “Polanski, Horowitz. Hometown” — chronicles the director of “The Pianist” as he walks around his Polish hometown of Krakow with his lifelong friend, fellow Holocaust survivor and photographer Ryszard Horowitz, whom he met inside the Jewish ghetto, AFP reported. Horowitz, who arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp when he was five years old, was among the Jews helped by German industrialist Oskar Schindler.

The documentary is about “memory, confrontations with the past, transience, trauma [and] fate,” said Mateusz Kudla, who directed and produced the film with Anna Kokoszka-Romer. “Through these two characters who were lucky, who survived, we also wanted to show the tragedy of all those residents of the Krakow Ghetto who never made it out,” Kudla told AFP.

In one scene, Polanski, who was six years old when World War II began, remembered seeing a German Nazi officer shoot an elderly woman in the back. The Polish-French director recalled, “Terrified, I ran through the gate behind me … I hid behind these stairs. That was my first encounter with the horror.”

The documentary also showed footage of Polanski meeting for the first time the grandson of Stefania and Jan Buchala, a Polish Catholic couple who hid him from the Nazis. The late Buchala’s were honored last year by Yad Vashem with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” for helping to save Jews during World War II.
Uncovered report reveals details of UK island’s Nazi concentration camp killings
A report compiled on Nazi concentration and death camps set up on the British Channel Islands during World War II that was uncovered in the Russian State Archives details some of the atrocities that led to the deaths of at least 700 people incarcerated at the sites.

Sections of the “Report on Atrocities Committed in Alderney, 1942-1945” were published Sunday by The Times newspaper in the UK.

The report was compiled by intelligence officer Captain Theodore Pantcheff for the British government after the Channel Island of Alderney was liberated in 1945 when Germany was defeated in the war.

The history of the Nazi occupation of Alderney is murky because the residents were evacuated before the Germans came in 1940, leaving few witnesses. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in the war.

Pantcheff spoke to German guards and prisoners and estimated the number of people who died on the island to be about 400. The number was accepted by his superiors, who were allegedly embarrassed that the Nazis had set up a camp on British soil.

Accepted histories of Alderney hold that there were some 6,000 Jewish and Russian slave laborers on the island who were brought there to build massive fortifications.

Most of those sent to the camps were Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian prisoners of war and civilians. There were also French Jews, along with German and Spanish political prisoners. They were held in at least two camps at Lager Sylt and Lager Norderney.

Contrary to Pantcheff’s estimate, at least 700 people are believed to have died at the hands of the Nazis in the camps.
Nashville hat shop sorry for selling ‘Not Vaccinated’ yellow Jewish stars
A Nashville hat shop has apologized for selling yellow star patches opposing US coronavirus vaccination policies after the famed hat maker Stetson said it was pulling its products from the store.

HatWRKS last week posted on its Instagram account a photo of an unnamed woman, apparently the shop’s owner, wearing a yellow Star of David that read “Not Vaccinated.” During the Holocaust, Nazis forced Jews to wear the same type of stars with the word “Jude,” or “Jewish.”

“5$ each…strong adhesive back,” the Instagram post said. “We’ll be offering trucker caps soon.”

The post led to outrage including a protest last week outside the store.

“Using the yellow star, or any Holocaust imagery for anything is a disservice to the memory of the 6 million Jews who were systematically murdered during the Holocaust,” Rabbi Laurie Rice of Congregation Micah in Brentwood, Tennessee, told News 4, a local NBC affiliate.

Stetson took notice and said on Twitter Saturday night “Stetson and our distribution partners will cease the sale of all Stetson products” to hatWRKS.

The shop removed the post and apologized. “In NO WAY did I intend to trivialize the Star of David or disrespect what happened to millions of people,” the Instagram account said, hours after Stetson posted its decision.


Israel’s Monday.com Eyes Over $6 billion Valuation in US IPO
Israeli work management company monday.com is aiming for a valuation of more than $6 billion in its US initial public offering, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

The company, with backers including venture capital firm Sapphire Ventures and investment manager Hamilton Lane, plans to sell 3.7 million shares for $125 to $140 apiece, raising up to about $518 million.

Salesforce.com’s investment arm and Zoom Video Communications have each agreed to buy $75 million of monday.com’s shares in a private placement, the company said.

monday.com was valued at $2.7 billion after its last funding round, Bloomberg News reported in May last year.

Launched in 2014 and co-led by top bosses Roy Mann and Eran Zinman, the company handles work processes ranging from project management and tracking tasks to projecting sales and event coordination.
Israel’s military exports hit $8.3 billion in 2020, second highest-ever total
Israeli military exports reached $8.3 billion in 2020, buoyed by a 15 percent spike in the number of agreements signed compared with the previous year, the government announced Tuesday.

Despite fears the coronavirus pandemic would impact 2020 sales, Israel cited new markets in allowing sales jumping $1 billion from 2019.

It’s the second highest sales figure ever, behind 2017, when the total hit $9.2 billion.

“During the past year, we have worked intensively to deepen government agreements and cooperation with our partners around the world, and we will continue to do so,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.

As in previous years the bulk of the military exports went to countries in Asia and the Pacific region, the ministry statement said.

The government figures said radar and early warning systems, and ammunition and armament, each contributed 16 percent of sales, while manned aircraft and avionics accounted for 13 percent, as did observation and optronics.

Missiles, rockets and air defense systems sales contributed 10 percent.

Other areas included communication, drone and intelligence systems.
Israel signs $200 million deal to sell UAVs to Asian country
The Israel Aerospace Industry said Tuesday it has signed a $200 million deal to supply drone technology and services to an unspecified Asian country.

The deal is for the sale of the IAI’s Heron drone, including the more advanced MK II version.

“The signing of this deal clearly expresses the satisfaction of our customers around the world, with the operational and technical performance of the Heron UAV system,” said IAI director-general Boaz Levi.

The Heron is a medium-altitude long-endurance drone that can perform missions including intelligence gathering, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance, according to the IAI. It was used extensively during the recent fighting with the Gaza Strip in IDF Operation Guardian of the Walls, the statement said.

Herons are in use in over 20 countries around the world. The MK II version has improved operational capabilities and can provide communications with a range of units in real time, including to units in the field.
Israeli carrier Israir to start flights to Morocco in July
Israeli carrier Israir announced that it would begin flights from Tel Aviv to Marrakesh next month following improved ties between Israel and Morocco in recent months.

Israir said the six-hour nonstop flights would begin on July 19 and operate five times a week.

“We estimate that the demand will be high, and hundreds of thousands of passengers from Israel will visit the destination as part of vacation packages or as part of the organized trips,” Israir vice president of marketing Gil Stav said on Tuesday.

Israel and Morocco agreed in December to resume diplomatic ties and relaunch direct flights, part of a deal brokered by the United States that also includes Washington’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Morocco was home to one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East for centuries until Israel’s founding in 1948. As Jews fled or were expelled from many Arab countries, an estimated quarter of a million left Morocco for Israel between 1948 and 1964.

Today only about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco, while hundreds of thousands of Israelis claim some Moroccan ancestry.
Israel, UAE sign tax treaty to encourage investment, boost economic cooperation
Israel on Monday signed a tax treaty with the United Arab Emirates aimed at bolstering economic ties between the two countries as they pursue normalization, the finance minister said.

“This is a historic agreement that will stimulate the development of economic ties between the countries,” Finance Minister Israel Katz said in a tweet announcing the deal.

He said the agreement would “provide certainty and favorable conditions for extensive business activity.”

The deal, which must still be ratified by the Knesset, is the latest move following the normalization of ties between the two countries last year.

With their economies hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE and Israel are hoping for rapid dividends from the US-brokered normalization deal signed in September known as the Abraham Accords.

They have already signed several treaties, including on direct flights and visa-free travel, investment protection, science, and technology.

The Finance Ministry said the latest treaty stipulates lower taxes to encourage investment.
Blindfolded Jewish Man ‘Standing for Peace’ Gives Free Hugs to New York Strangers in Video
A social experiment filmed in New York City that encouraged peace and understanding amid a spike in antisemitic incidents was widely circulating on social media over the weekend.

Meir Kalmanson, also known as Meir Kay, filmed himself standing blindfolded in New York City, while wearing a mask, and with his arms stretched out to offer hugs to complete strangers. By his feet stood a sign with his name and the message, “I am a Jew. I stand for peace, how about you? Let’s share a hug between us two. And show the world what LOVE can do.”

Just 30 seconds after he placed the blindfold over his eyes, people began coming over to give him a hug, Kay said on Instagram. Some simply hugged him and walked away, while others exchanged words. One woman in the video — which was uploaded onto Kay’s various social media channels on Thursday — hugged Kay while telling him that she was Muslim. Another man hugged Kay and told him, “I’m a Palestinian-Muslim that stands against antisemitism. I’m educating my people every day and I’m doing the best I can.” Kay responded by thanking him for his efforts and calling him “a legend.”

Christians, atheists and many others from different ethnic groups, backgrounds and religions also stopped to hug Kay, he said on his Instagram page.

“With the rise of antisemitism I took to the streets to stand for peace, for understanding and connection,” Kay explained. “I had many open and honest conversations, which only reminded me how we have more in common than we are lead to believe.

Love and respect one another. Let’s make this world that much more of a peaceful and brighter, together.”











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