Wednesday, June 30, 2021

From Ian:

Not in Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities
Academic freedom is the liberty which academics have, within the confines of the law, to question and test generally-held beliefs, and to put forward different, sometimes unorthodox, maybe unpopular, alternative views without being at risk of losing their jobs or being silenced at their work. A complaint sometimes made against Israel is that it culpably suppresses academic freedom in Palestinian universities. This complaint is sometimes deployed by critics of Israel defending themselves against the charge that they focus too exclusively on Israel’s misdeeds at the expense of paying attention to other and worse political horrors elsewhere. Their reply is that academic freedom is a value especially in the care of academics everywhere, and so they have special reason to focus on Israel, since it’s illegitimately eroding academic freedom in vulnerable institutions, while purporting to be a liberal democracy which values academic freedom and free speech.

Cary Nelson’s new book: Not in Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities,[1] addresses this whole issue with exceptional thoroughness. He examines the state of academic freedom in Palestinian universities, and comments on the implications of this for the criticisms levelled by some Western academics, especially in the United States, against Israel’s handling of this matter. His central thesis is that academic freedom in Palestinian universities is indeed very badly eroded and in certain respects non-existent. It is true that Israeli measures are sometimes responsible for aspects of this erosion, where Israel has acted without sufficient justification and in ways that would have been better avoided; however Israeli interventions are greatly outweighed in their effect on academic freedom by measures taken by Palestinian students, academics, and wider political forces. These measures, often deployed by students though sometimes by faculty, involve intimidation and physical violence. They receive wide social support, have done so for many years, are very resistant to change, and are largely ignored by Western critics of Israel.

In Nelson’s view this singular focus on Israel’s impact on academic freedom in Palestinian universities is misplaced in three main ways: it fails to acknowledge the security context within which Israel has to operate; it fails to recognise Palestinian violence; and it fails to consider regimes, in the area and beyond, whose treatment of academic freedom is far, far worse. His book has useful and pertinent things to say about the first and third points, but it’s the second, central, one for which Nelson provides the fullest and most detailed examination, and the one on which I’ll focus here.

The book opens with an account of violent attacks on two senior academics in different Palestinian universities. One of these academics took some students to visit Auschwitz. In his absence, other students denounced him as a traitor, trashed his university secretary’s office, and threatened to kill him if he returned to the university. His academic union cancelled his membership; his university did not defend him (they eventually accepted his resignation); and he was the target of an assassination attempt. Academic freedom did not protect him. The second (unconnected) case involved a different academic, one who was opposed to reconciliation with Israel and was certainly not opposed to violence. Nonetheless when he criticised the Palestinian authorities, accusing them of corruption, he was arrested and imprisoned. Academic freedom did not protect him either.


David Collier: Black, Jewish and bullied into quitting – SCBWI and the April Powers story
SCBWI bow to the haters
Until now, we have a normal everyday occurrence on social media. An organisation or well-known public figure stands in solidarity with Jewish people – and for this, they are attacked. We cannot know exactly what went on behind closed doors, between SCBWI and the author of the post – their black, Jewish, Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer, April Powers – but what followed was disgraceful appeasement, abandonment of principles, and proof positive that SCBWI doesn’t really stand up to antisemitism at all.

Eventually, SCBWI actually issued a public apology for making the statement on antisemitism. And whatever did go on behind closed doors, left April Powers feeling so isolated that she felt the need to resign. In the end, the victim of the SCBWI statement on antisemitism – the person who paid the price and was bullied out of her job – was the black Jewish woman.

The SCBWI apology was written by their Executive Director, Lin Oliver. The statement says that they have accepted the resignation of April Powers and that they apologise for absolutely everything. SCBWI bowed before the haters, stripped down and publicly flagellated themselves.

They even specifically apologise to the very person who had been harassing them with the ‘all lives matter’ argument – Razan Abdin-Adnani:

SCBWI apology
It is important to understand who SCBWI apologised to. Razan Abdin-Adnani is not some innocent, peace-loving and misunderstood victim, but rather a hard-core, and rather extreme activist. The tweet below not only spreads lies about co-existence (Jews were never more than vulnerable second-class citizens under Ottoman rule) – but also suggests that millions of Israelis should be forcibly removed and sent to Poland or Russia.


Make no mistake about how racist this is. If this were a post about black people or Muslims in the US, needing to be forcibly sent away to wherever people believed their ancestors came from – the author would rightfully be called a neo-Nazi. There is no difference here. This person has no tolerance, no understanding of human rights and no knowledge of actual history. It is clear that her issue with the SCBWI post was not that it didn’t mention Muslims, but that it was written at all. Razan Abdin Adnani picked a cheap fight with SCBWI and boy, did she win easily.
Prominent children’s literature organization apologizes to antisemite for condemning antisemitism
On June 22, Abdin-Adnani wrote a 31 post Twitter thread/manifesto retconning the events that had transpired and included her thoughts about being dismayed when SCBWI released a powerful statement in support of the Jewish community. Abdin-Adnani claimed "I left an affirmative and polite comment on SCBWI’s Twitter," but at no point does she admit that this comment was followed by dozens more, including antisemitic statements, on the original SCBWI statements condemning anti-Semitism.

In response, SCBWI asked their Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, who is black and Jewish, to resign, then posted the following statement apologizing to Abdin-Adnani by name and joined the writer in "all lives mattering" the situation.


"I would like to apologize to everyone in the Palestinian community who felt unrepresented, silenced, or marginalized. SCBWI acknowledges the pain our actions have caused to our Muslim and Palestinian members and hope that we can heal from this moment."

SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver also apologized to a the antisemitic writer and stated that Abdin-Adnani had been unblocked from the group’s feed.

Abdin-Adnani did not accept the apology and has called for a boycott of SCBWI. The activist also demanded an investigation into how supportive SCBWI is of the Jewish state.

Had SCBWI researched Abdin-Adnani before apologizing to her, they would have discovered tweets from as recently as June 2 from the activist that said, "Zionists need to go back to Europe and Brooklyn," and "I hear Germany and Poland are quite nice these days."


Ilhan Omar Knows What She’s Doing
The Jews can never seem to live up to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) exacting standards.

The Minnesota congresswoman’s latest broadside came Tuesday afternoon, when she told CNN’s Jake Tapper that her Jewish Democratic colleagues "haven’t been partners in justice" and have yet to apologize for their allegedly Islamophobic comments.

Omar’s statement came after Tapper asked whether she regrets her comments last month comparing the United States and Israel with terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Taliban. Her answer was unequivocal: "I don’t."

That’s funny, because Omar at the time "clarified" that statement, which elicited a rebuke from Democratic leaders and a dozen Jewish Democrats, saying that she did not say what in fact she said: "I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries." To be clear, she also believes Israel is a terrorist nation.

Omar, as the kids say, is owning her truth. Her tap dance follows a pattern that is by now well established, in which the justice-seeking congresswoman makes nakedly prejudicial remarks, pretends to walk them back in the face of muted criticism from her colleagues, characterizes the criticism itself as Islamophobic, and proceeds to reoffend.

That pattern gives the lie to the apology Omar issued after arguing that American support for Israel is "all about the Benjamins, baby": Her offenses were born of ignorance rather than prejudice, she said, and thanked her colleagues for "educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes."

Omar could give a master class on anti-Semitism, and the pattern of her offenses makes clear she is using that knowledge to perpetuate it. That’s probably why a Punchbowl News report earlier this month indicated that "a number of Omar’s fellow Democrats believe Omar is an anti-Semite, even if they don’t say so publicly."

It is, of course, the only prejudice about which Democrats are tight-lipped and the only one tolerated in the party’s ranks.
Rep. Ilhan Omar Claims Jewish Colleagues ‘Haven’t Been Partners in Justice’
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) lashed out at her Jewish House Democratic colleagues during a CNN interview Tuesday, claiming that they “haven’t been partners in justice.”

During Omar’s appearance on “The Lead,” host Jake Tapper cited some of the congresswoman’s statements that have led to accusations that she is anti-Semitic. Tapper specifically cited a February 2019 tweet that stated the alliance between the US and Israel is “all about the Benjamins” and a 2012 message in which she claimed that Israel “has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel”.

“Do you understand why some of your fellow House Democrats, especially Jews, find that language anti-Semitic?” Tapper asked.

“I’ve welcomed, you know, anytime my colleagues have asked to have a conversation, to learn from them, for them to learn from me,” Omar responded. “I think it’s really important for these members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice. They haven’t been, you know, equally engaging in seeking justice around the world.

“And I think, you know, I will continue to do that,” she added. “It is important for me, as someone who knows what it feels like to experience injustice in ways that many of my colleagues don’t, to be a voice in finding accountability, asking for mechanisms for justice for those who are maligned, oppressed, and who have had injustice done to them.”

Omar did not mention any names in her answer. However, earlier this month she blasted a group of Jewish House Democrats who pushed back on her claim that the US, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban had all committed “unthinkable atrocities.”


Ilhan Omar defends comments comparing Israel, US to Hamas, Taliban
Rep. Ilhan Omar defended her statements comparing Israel and the United States to terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Taliban, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Following the 11-day escalation in May between Israel and allied terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Omar attempted to draw comparisons between the war in Afghanistan and the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating atrocities have been committed by all sides and each should be held accountable for their “crimes against humanity.”

Tapper called out Omar’s original tweet, which drew criticism from members of Congress, asking if she regretted sharing it with the public. “I don’t,” Omar replied on Tuesday. “I think it’s really important to think back to the point that I was trying to make. Obviously, I was addressing Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken.”


Ilhan Omar Condemns Joe Biden Ordering Air Strikes on Iran-backed Militias
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has condemned the U.S. air strikes on Iran-backed militias near the Iraq-Syria border on Sunday, which killed at least seven fighters.

The bombardment took place a day before Israel's new president was scheduled to visit U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House. The U.S. carried out three airstrikes on Iranian targets on the border — two landed in Syria and the other landed in Iraq.

"This constant cycle of violence and retribution is a failed policy and will not make any of us safer," Omar said in a Twitter post.

"Congress has authority over War Powers and should be consulted before any escalation."

Omar has been criticized previously for speaking out against attacks against Iran and has condemned U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In a statement on Sunday night, the Pentagon explained why it had carried out the strikes.

"At President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.

"The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities."


Interview: Former Labour MP: Corbyn’s continued denial of antisemitism makes him culpable
Few voices in the British parliament have been more passionate and consistent in their support for Israel than that of the former Labour MP Joan Ryan.

Ryan, who quit Labour at the height of the antisemitism crisis which roiled the party under the hard-left leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, left the House of Commons 18 months ago.

This month, however, she is returning to the heart of Israel advocacy in the UK as head of the new London office of ELNET, a nonprofit which works to strengthen ties between Europe and Israel. (Full disclosure: the author of this article worked with Ryan on speeches and articles when she was an MP.)

Britain’s departure from the European Union, believes Ryan, makes ELNET’s decision to set up shop in the UK well-timed.

“I think it’s very important because the UK was a very positive voice for Israel in the EU, and now that the UK is not in the EU we don’t want to see that voice diminished, we don’t want to see those relationships disappear,” Ryan tells The Times of Israel. “I think we might have left the EU, but we have not left Europe.”

ELNET, which brings together European and Israeli decision-makers and opinion-formers from across the political spectrum, facilitates policy discussions on key strategic issues. In addition to its new London base, it already has offices in Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Warsaw.

“I think its USP [unique selling point] is this amazing European network that ELNET has built and the leaders, policymakers and thinkers that it can bring together,” says Ryan, who served as a minister in former prime minister Tony Blair’s government.

ELNET’s high-level delegations to Israel, she believes, have a crucial play to part in building support for the Jewish state and a greater understanding of the challenges it faces.
Stop Funding Hate accused of ‘militant prejudice’ over tweets by adviser
Stop Funding Hate, the campaign group calling for advertisers to boycott GB News, the recently launched news channel, has been accused of “militant prejudice” and an “extreme far left worldview” after a series of tweets by its strategy adviser and logistics facilitator.

The JC has unearthed comments by Stu Moran, CEO of the Web Foundry, a consultancy that provides logistical and strategic support for SFH. In one, he wrote that, "Much of the UK media seems to be in thrall to Israeli propaganda".


In another, he defended Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey after she was removed from the Shadow Cabinet by Sir Keir Starmer after sharing an article containing an antisemitic conspiracy theory around the death of George Floyd.

Mr Moran wrote: "How have we ended up with criticism of the Israeli state - openly involed in US police training it seems - being branded anti-Semitic @Keir_Starmer? And how can Labour face up to Israel's treatment of Palestine & UN resolutions against it without such criticism"
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Mr Moran described Israel as "the incredibly well-funded and now nuclear power" and defended website The Canary after its editor tweeted "Arbeit macht frei": "Yes, I get that it's not good but compared to things I've seen in almost every tabloid, the Times, Telegraph and even the BBC that cause hate crime on our streets a daily basis - I'd argue that tweet won't - I'm struggling to understand the size of the furore against the Canary?"


Commenting on the tweets, the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “For Stop Funding Hate to collaborate with people making these sorts of comments is the height of hypocrisy. They should stop funding the hate spread by their own contractor.
Co-founder of JVL ousted from local Labour party’s executive committee
The co-founder of Jewish Voice For Labour has been ousted from her position on the executive committee of Chingford and Woodford Green constituency Labour Party (CLP) as part of a major shake-up of official posts.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi had previously been vice-chair of the east London CLP – where she had regularly spoken out in support of Jeremy Corbyn and disputed claims of antisemitism in Labour.

But in the latest elections for Chingford and Woodford Green’s new executive committee, Wimbourne-Idrissi and supportive CLP chair Gary Lafley were amongst those to replaced in a co-ordinated move by led by local members.

Wimborne-Idrissi had been suspended by Labour in December 2020, after a local CLP meeting left several Jewish members complaining they had felt “uncomfortable” with the conduct of the JVL media officer and that of Lafley.

A continued investigation into Wimborne-Idrissi’s conduct by the party meant that she was unable to stand for the latest round of elections.

While Lafley has subsequently been readmitted to the party, it is understood that he also failed to stand as a candidate at the annual general meeting.
Train drivers’ union publishes article calling Zionism ‘racism’
Britain’s trade union for train drivers has published an opinion piece by one of its members stating that Zionism, the Jewish movement for self-determination, “is racism”.

The article, which is printed in the most recent edition of Aslef's monthly journal, is an extract from a speech delivered last month at the union’s annual assembly of delegates.

The piece condemns Britain’s trade union movement as historically “complicit” in its “support of Zionism” and describes Israel as a settler-colony practising apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

Hussein Ezzedine, the secretary of Aslef's Edinburgh no.1 branch, who delivered the speech, said: “The narrative must change, and we should avoid the intentionally misleading narrative which is – at best – of an ‘insoluble and complex conflict’, with both sides responsible.

“It isn’t. It is, actually, very simple. There is an occupier and an occupied…

“Let us be clear – Zionism is racism.”


Commenting on the article, Board of Deputies President, Marie van der Zyl, said: “Aslef's Jewish members will be very concerned to see the union publishing such a one-sided and offensive tirade against Zionism, totally ignoring the 4,000 year relationship of Jews to the land of Israel and their right to self-determination following genocide in Europe and persecution in the Middle East.

"It is also a disgracefully biased perspective of the Israel-Hamas conflict which fails to mention let alone condemn the terrorist group against whose rockets Israel was defending all its citizens.”
Congressman Urges Rutgers University President to Speak Out Against Anti-Israel Rhetoric by Union
Expressing concern for Jewish students at Rutgers University who may be the target of antisemitic attacks after a union of part-time lecturers at the university singled out Israel in a recent statement, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) sent a letter on Monday to Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway asking him to “clearly and quickly” speak out against hate-filled rhetoric and misinformation campaign against Israel at the university.

The statement was issued June 12 by the executive board of the Part-Time Lecturer Chapter of Rutgers AAUP-AFT Local 6324 declaring that they, as teacher’s union members, “can no longer allow ourselves to be complicit in the illegal acts of the Israeli government,” and accused Israel of “military actions that have targeted, killed and maimed civilian populations.”

The letter also accused Israel of upholding “a regime of legalized racial discrimination perpetrated against the Palestinian people.”

Gottheimer’s letter called for universities to be open to free expression and robust exchange of ideas, while remaining inclusive and respectful to people of all backgrounds, religions and nationalities.

“To be sure, Rutgers’ part-time lecturers are entitled to hold their own opinions, even those which may be disagreeable. However, it is important to recognize that invective which singles out, disparages, delegitimizes, or demonizes Israel can and in many cases does fall outside of bounds,” he wrote. “In addition, in recent months, we have seen American Jews targeted in a series of unacceptable antisemitic attacks. That is why I am deeply concerned for the wellbeing of Rutgers students who identify as Jewish or pro-Israel and who worry that they might face a hostile environment in the classroom or on campus because of such sentiments.”

Gottheimer asked Holloway to send a clear message so that Jewish and pro-Israel students at the university are not made to feel unwelcome or singled out.
Antisemitic vandals target San Diego State University Chabad house
Vandals targeted a Chabad house at San Diego State University (SDSU) in what seems to be an antisemitic attack, attempting to topple the large menorah outside, local CBS affiliate CBS8 reported.

The two vandals were recorded on CCTV Friday morning breaking off a branch of the large menorah outside the Chabad house and ripping a banner with the faces of students on it.

“They just came by the Chabad House and started tearing out the banner behind us,” SDSU Chabad Rabbi Chalom Boudjnah told CBS8. "They went from one side, grabbed a piece of it, went to the other side and started tearing the banner. If that wasn’t enough, they decided to go and destroy part of the menorah. It's just very, very upsetting; it's frustrating."

The university condemned the vandalism, releasing a statement in support of the Jewish community.

“To members of our Jewish community: Our campus community stands with you and is in opposition to every act of bias and discrimination targeting you – all of which fail to undermine who you are and the many positive contributions you make to our community,” SDSU president Adela de la Torre said in a statement, according to local ABC affiliate KGTV.

The university's Hillel further condemned the incident.

"San Diego State University should be a safe place for Jewish students at all times," the Hillel wrote in an Instagram post. "We will continue to work with the administration, Chabad, [Anti-Defamation League] and other community partners to ensure Jewish students feel seen and heard."
Nation’s Largest Teachers’ Union Will Debate Resolution Accusing Israel of ‘Ethnic Cleansing’
The nation's largest teachers' union will debate two resolutions aimed at boycotting Israel and recognizing a Palestinian state at a conference this week.

The National Education Association will take up the proposals at their multi-day annual meeting, which is set to begin Wednesday. One measure calls on the United States to cut material support and funding to Israel. Another would have the union promote Palestinian causes through a variety of programs at an estimated cost of $71,500.

Teachers' unions across the country have come out against Israel and Jews in recent months. Three local unions affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the country's second-largest teachers' union, passed statements in June condemning Israel as an apartheid state. Federation president Randi Weingarten criticized Jews as being "part of the ownership class" dedicated to denying opportunities to others in an interview earlier this year.

The National Education Association is slated to debate more than 30 proposals at its upcoming meeting. One resolution, New Business Item 29, would "publicize" the union's support for the Palestinian authority.

More than 50 members of the National Education Association cosponsored Item 29, which says, "The Arab population of Palestine has again risen up in a heroic struggle against military repression and ‘ethnic cleansing' by the Israeli state and extreme nationalist forces in Israeli society."

New Business Item 51 calls for the union to "recognize the existence and sovereignty of Palestine and Palestinian children and families and their human right to access a quality education and live freely as outlined in United Nations Declaration of Human Rights."

The union will also debate measures on "decolonizing curriculum," creating a racial justice task force, opposing police unions, and sending a letter to the University of North Carolina calling for the school to grant tenure to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the controversial New York Times writer behind the 1619 Project.

Activists are criticizing the union for attacking Israel instead of working to close learning gaps caused by a year of remote learning—which teachers' unions supported—during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chicago Dyke March Bans Gays and Lesbians After Learning Israel Supports Gay Rights (satire)
The Chicago Dyke March, a pride event held each June, has announced that it will no longer allow gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people to take part in the march after learning that Israel is a strong supporter of gay rights.

The event’s organizers, who previously previously banned flags portraying the Star of David and earlier this month posted a cartoon of a woman burning Israeli and American flags, discovered that while they were committed to destroying Israel and defeating Zionism, Israel was the only country in the region that promoted gay rights.

“We realized that there was this huge contradiction in that we were advocating LGBTQ+ rights while at the same time trying to destroy the only country in the Middle East in which LGBTQ+ people have any rights,” event organizer Jill Raney said. “There is only one solution; we have to stop supporting LGBTQ+ rights immediately.”

Organizers hoped that the new rules for the Dyke March, which will now simply be called “The March,” would create a more welcoming atmosphere for Hamas supporters, who in past years complained that they felt uncomfortable being around so many gay people without being allowed to execute them. But some Hamas enthusiasts still balked at attending a protest in which women are allowed to march without their faces covered.
Guardian obfuscates fact that Palestinian child was killed by Gaza rocket
Though the word “rocket”, instead of bomb or airstrike, would indicate to the careful reader that the child’s tragic death was likely caused by a misfired projectile by a Gaza terrorist group, and not the IDF, it’s telling that the Guardian writer doesn’t inform readers anywhere in the article that this is the case.

In fact, in researching the boy in question, it seems almost certain that, though the journalist got some details wrong (His name is usually reported as Yazan al-Masri, and he was 2, not 1) al-Masri, as noted on these pages, and by Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, was indeed killed by a rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.

Moreover, though a signifacnt percentage of the 4,360 rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip between May 10th and May 21st fell inside Gaza, there’s been almost no coverage of that topic at the Guardian or other British media outlets.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the article was published on the Guardian’s ‘Global Development‘ page, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

However, by obfuscating Hamas’s responsibility for the death of al-Masri and other Palestinian children during the war, consistent with the media outlet’s broader failure to hold the extremist group responsible for their prioritisation of destroying Israel over the basic social and economic needs of Palestinian residents, the primary cause of the territory’s under development will continue to elude readers.
CBC Gives First Person Article to Palestinian-Canadian To Spew Outright Falsehoods
In his recent June 22 First Person commentary for CBC News, “Hope, disappointment, self-censorship: What it’s like to be a Palestinian Canadian,” Idris Elbakri tells his family’s story of coming to Canada, a narrative that was replete with misinformation about Israel.

Elbakri writes that his family were refugees who “fled the onslaught of the Jewish militias on their neighbourhood” when Israel achieved independence in 1948.

This claim of forced expulsions of Palestinians is widely made, but it does not stand up to scrutiny. When Israel gained it’s independence in 1948 as a Jewish State, after nearly two thousand years of occupation by the British, the Ottoman Turks, Saracen Arabs and others, many of Israel’s Arabs left the newly reborn State of Israel. Elbakri argues Israel kicked them out, but that is not true.

Many of these Arabs were threatened by their own Arab leadership to leave. As the Economist magazine reported at the time, “It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in (the Israeli city of) Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.” Another contemporaneous article by Time magazine reported that the Arab leadership wanted to harm Israel’s ability to function, and thus encouraged its Arab citizens to leave. “By withdrawing Arab workers, their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa,” Time reported.

Unfortunately, grandiose tales of alleged Israeli brutality have spread far wider than the truth, but it’s nonetheless important to set the record straight.

Elbakri also veers into absolute fiction, as he describes Israel “in the context of Western colonialism,” but this allegation is not only misinformation; it’s an erasure of three thousand years of Jewish history in Israel.

The Jewish People have more than three thousand years of uninterrupted habitation in the land of Israel, and though they have been occupied and oppressed by a variety of global powers during that time, they never lost the desire to determine their own future.
BBC WS radio business programmes rehash old Gaza blockade format
Abu Mezeid’s reply included the claim that “a hundred years ago when there was no occupation” Palestinians “were exporting barley to the UK”. Of course a hundred years ago there was no Palestinian political entity in the region, which was at the time under British military rule following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.

Abu Mezied also claimed that in the 1950s and 1960s Palestinians “were exporting citrus to Eastern Europe” but failed to clarify that the Gaza Strip was occupied by Egypt at the time before going on:

Abu Mezied: “So it shows that when there is no blockade, when there is no occupational politics, the Palestinians were able to tap into their potential…”

After alleging that Palestinian agriculture “has been deteriorating because of Israeli control over resources, water, in Gaza and in West Bank”, Abu Mezied’s agenda – which is clearly not limited to counter-terrorism measures imposed on the Gaza Strip – became even more apparent.

Abu Mezied: “The question should be how Israeli occupation policies are hindering the growth of the Palestinian economic and prosperity.”

The final interviewee was Manal White of the British organisation Zaytoun who likewise used the political term “the occupation” to describe Israel, claimed that the Gaza Strip is occupied and asserted that if there was no blockade, Gazans “could have water and electricity”. Saragosa failed to inform listeners that part of the supply of those utilities is provided by Israel.

Manuela Saragosa made no effort to ensure that BBC audiences heard any alternative views to the monochrome talking points promoted by three interviewees chosen to participate in this report and no Israeli voices were given a platform at all.

After past rounds of conflict we saw similar BBC amplification of one-sided campaigns against the anti-terrorism measures imposed upon the Gaza Strip in order to protect Israeli civilians. Saragosa simply rehashed the same superficial format, making no effort to bring listeners any new perspectives or information.
British Jews' fear and defiance amid record monthly anti-Semitism reports
A record number of anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded in the UK since the start of last month's violence between Israel and the Palestinians, the CST says.

From 8 May to 7 June, 460 incidents were reported to the charity - the highest monthly total since records began in 1984 - with 316 happening offline and 144 online.

The previous record was 317 in July 2014 - coinciding with the last major eruption of violence between Israel and the Palestinians as part of a decades-long conflict.

In the month before 8 May, 119 anti-Semitic incidents were reported to the CST.

On 17 May, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick told the House of Commons that there had been a "deeply disturbing" upsurge in anti-Semitism in recent years, particularly on social media.

Police forces in London, Greater Manchester and Hertfordshire did not have readily available data on the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported to them in May.

Last month, Greater Manchester Police's Det Ch Insp Paul Coburn said that "following recent tensions in the Middle East", officers had seen a "rise in hate crime directed towards members of specific communities" - which he told the BBC has since "stabilised" since the force launched a dedicated response, Operation Wildflower.

Dave Rich, CST's head of policy, says 416 of the 460 incidents "used language or some other evidence" related to Israel. He adds that generally, most incidents involve verbal abuse, with a "relatively small" number involving violence.

"Every time Israel is at war… 2014, 2009, 2006 being the main ones, we've seen record totals each year, each time, [that are] always higher than the last," he tells the BBC.

Mr Rich says the current trends that have "stood out" are the car convoys that have driven through areas where Jewish people live - as well as the "disproportionate impact" on school pupils, teachers, and university students - with 30% of all reports recorded linked to the educational sector. (h/t Yerushalimey)
US non-profit releases new campaign to combat antisemitism
JewBelong.com has revamped its campaign to fight antisemitism, titled "JewBelong or JewBeGone," presenting a "powerful" new message intended to invoke feelings surrounding the Holocaust.

"We're just 75 years since the gas chambers. So no, a billboard calling out antisemitism is not an overreaction," said co-founder of JewBelong Archie Gottesman, reciting the new slogan. "If Jews stop talking about antisemitism, the haters win – it's that simple."

The message will debut on billboards at Times Square in New York and soon expand into other cities such as Philadelphia, Washington, Miami and San Francisco.

Aside from the campaign, JewBelong stands as a resource for those who want to learn about antisemitism, how to combat it and ways to share their own experiences. It is a not-for-profit online resource that attempts to offer "easy explanations and meaningful DIY rituals for Jews, allies and anyone who has felt like a Jewish outsider or feels disengaged from the religion." For now, its focus is centered on antisemitism.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a survey conducted after Operation Guardian of the Walls in May. It found that three-quarters of American Jews “are more concerned about antisemitism in the US and abroad, and 60% have personally witnessed antisemitism because of the conflict in May.”

“The poll also found that 40% of American Jews are more concerned about their personal safety than before,” the ADL said. “Likewise, three-quarters of those polled (75%) indicated they were more worried than before about rising antisemitism in other countries spurred by the conflict.”
Nassau County NY officially recognises International Definition of Antisemitism
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed an Executive Order last week officially recognising the International Definition of Antisemitism.

The Order directs all departments and officials in the Long Island county to be guided by the Definition in identifying and enforcing laws against antisemitic discrimination and harassment.

Ms Curran said: “In order to combat antisemitism effectively, it is important to be clear about what it is and how it may manifest itself. With antisemitism on the rise, Nassau County stands with our Jewish brothers and sisters and will continue fighting to ensure hatred never finds a home in our communities.”

Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism and Lord Pickles worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street.
Romanian Police ID Group of Minors in Synagogue Vandalism Reported on Eve of WW2 Pogrom Anniversary
Police in Romania have identified a group of minors who allegedly vandalized a synagogue in Orăștie, located in south-western Transylvania. The incident was reported on Monday, coinciding with the eve of the anniversary of a Holocaust pogrom that occurred in the Romanian city of Iași 80 years ago, and led to the killing of more than 13,000 Jews.

The identified minors aged between 9 and 14 years old are accused of smashing the windows of the synagogue building in Orăștie, a 19th-century historical monument, reported Romanian daily newspaper Adevărul.

The historical building is also being used as a cultural space and for exhibitions. The police will conduct further investigations into the incident, the report said.

On Monday, two archaeologists of the local Museum of Ethnography and Folk Art reported the acts of vandalism to police. They described broken windows and noticed a few dozen medium-sized stones inside the synagogue, according to Romania’s Stirile Transilvaniei newspaper, which published photos of the damage.

The Iași pogrom took place between June 29 to July 16 of 1941. During a commemoration speech on Tuesday, David Muniz, Chargé d’affaires of the US to Bucharest called for the “urgent need to invest more in Holocaust education, to help citizens better understand how such a tragedy unfolded, and to ensure that it never happens again.”

“We mourn the thousands of Jews from Iași who died in the massacres carried out by the army, police, and gendarmerie at the order of Marshall Antonescu 80 years ago,” Muniz remarked. “We remember and mourn the thousands of others who lost lives en route to and in the death camps. We must also remember that ordinary people did not choose to participate in this atrocity overnight; slowly, over time, influenced by years of political and antisemitic rhetoric, millions came to so devalue the lives of their fellow human beings.”
Far-Right GOP Congressman Paul Gosar to Appear With Holocaust Denier Nick Fuentes at Fundraiser
A far-right GOP Congressman from Arizona will appear at a fundraiser on Thursday with a notorious white supremacist and Holocaust denier for the second time this year.

Rep. Paul Gosar will appear at his July 1 fundraising event alongside Nick Fuentes, a 22-year-old white supremacist who spouts violently antisemitic propaganda from the safety of his social media feeds.

In a bid to be the US far-right’s star tough guy, the diminutive Fuentes has questioned the Nazi Holocaust on several occasions and mocked it on others, once comparing the slaughter of Jews in gas chambers to “cookies baking in an oven.”

Fuentes loudly hailed the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection on Capitol Hill by extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump as “awesome.” He has also expressed support for racial segregation in the US, so as to preserve the country’s “white demographic core.”

Gosar’s planned appearance with Fuentes on Thursday, at a time and location still to be announced, will be the second time that the pair have appeared together in public this year. Fuentes followed Gosar as a speaker at February’s America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) gathering in Florida, declaring from the podium that “white people are done being bullied.”

A flyer for Thursday’s fundraiser showed Gosar sitting alongside a grinning Fuentes. “Here’s Nick Fuentes — proud white nationalist — openly denying the atrocities of the Holocaust and doing so in sick fashion, with a smile on his face,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) stated on Twitter. “Rep. Gosar, an elected official, should be actively speaking out against this hate, not actively supporting and emboldening it.”
Ohio Man Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Antisemitic Harassment of Jewish Neighbors
A Columbus, Ohio man who harassed his Jewish neighbors with antisemitic insults and threats has pleaded guilty in a federal court to criminally interfering with the right to fair housing.

During 2020, Douglas G. Schifer, 66 repeatedly targeted his neighbors, Nick and Tiffany Kinney, a Jewish couple from California who had recently moved to the Olde Towne East neighborhood of Columbus.

Documents filed by the prosecution revealed that Schifer had told the couple, “all you f***ing people, it’s no wonder Hitler burned you people in ovens,” “f***ing Hitler should have gassed you,” and “Jews burn, you belong in ovens.”

On Nov 7. 2020, three days after the US presidential election, Schifer shouted antisemitic slurs, obscenities and other derogatory language at the couple and the guests they had invited to their home. He also broke one of their windows and spat at them, while ranting about “gassing Jewish people, chopping them up, and burning them in ovens.”

In an interview following last November’s incident, the Kinneys described how Schifer had showered them with antisemitic abuse.

“Real disappointing and painful, the way this man must feel about Jews,” Tiffany Kinney commented.
Israel named cyber powerhouse in new rankings
Israel is one of the strongest nations when it comes to cyber capabilities, according to a report published Monday by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Israel was ranked on par with Australia, Canada, China, France, Russia and Britain, and above Iran and North Korea.

The report assessed the cyberpower of 15 countries, separating them into three categories based on their ability to assist national decision-makers in calculating strategic risk and deciding on strategic investments.

The United States ranked highest on the list and was the only country in the highest-ranked category.

"Dominance in cyberspace has been a strategic goal of the United States since the mid-1990s," the report said. "It is the only country with a heavy global footprint in both civil and military uses of cyberspace… The US retains a clear superiority over all other countries in terms of its ICT [Information and Communications Technology] empowerment."

Israel was ranked in the second-highest category, along with six other countries.

According to the report, Israel "was one of the first countries to identify cyberspace as a potential threat to its national security, and started to address the issue more than 20 years ago."

The document said that technological and geopolitical changes had caused several organizational reforms in Israel, which culminated in 2018 with the establishment of the Israeli National Cyber Directorate within the Prime Minister's Office.

It also cited several cyberattacks attributed to Jerusalem by foreign publications against Tehran.
Israeli weapons maker Rafael unveils new state-of-the-art anti-ship missile
Israel’s Rafael defense contractor this week unveiled a powerful new naval missile system known as the Sea Breaker that it says can knock out a full-sized warship from hundreds of kilometers away in one shot.

The fifth-generation missile is principally geared for use against targets at sea or near the shore, but can also navigate over land, according to Rafael. At this stage, the Sea Breaker is primarily being marketed to customers abroad, the weapons manufacturer said.

Rafael announced the creation of this new long-range missile on Wednesday, saying that it combined state-of-the-art capabilities with existing technologies, making it one of the most powerful weapons of its kind.

The Sea Breaker is designed to be fired either from ships at sea or from a land-based launcher on shore. The missile uses a variety of sensors, supported by artificial intelligence, to identify targets autonomously, though human operators are meant to remain in the loop.

The winged missile can essentially function as an incredibly fast drone, flying low at “high subsonic speeds,” over the sea or the land, changing direction as necessary. It can be directed to hit a target from up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) away with an accuracy of a few meters, the company said.

According to Rafael, the missile carries a “250-pound penetration, blast and fragmentation warhead, making a single hit effective enough to neutralize a frigate-sized ship.”
Israeli scientists at forefront of mRNA vaccination revolution
In the past year or so, mRNA vaccines have become headline news as their development has been key to the successful rollout in many countries of an immunization program to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

What might be less well-known, however, is that an Israeli immunology researcher affiliated with the Lautenberg Center in the Medicine Faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI), completed a series of research experiments more than a decade ago that showed the potential for mRNA therapeutics in autoimmune and cancer diseases.

“I read that CNN reported that U.S. scientists suggested extrapolating mRNA vaccines technology of COVID-19 for use in auto-immune diseases and cancers,” said Prof. David Naor, the immunologist in question.

“I realized that I had already done this more than 10 years ago, performing research that showed the potential for mRNA vaccines to combat autoimmune diseases and cancers. Practically, we used cDNA vaccines, which were the first generation of mRNA vaccines, and they were efficient in the therapy of animal models of autoimmune diseases and cancer.

“We published our findings in scientific literature,” he explained. “We wanted to encourage mRNA vaccinations [we called it then “gene vaccination”] — and the technology used to make them — to be used against infections and other diseases.” “I used a technique of mRNA-like vaccines to test them against animal models of autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis as well as breast cancer. We experimented on mice — because it is easy to recapitulate the pathologies in these rodents by simple manipulations. Naor said that the technology showed that mRNA vaccines were able to ameliorate or even nearly cure the diseases under investigation.
Israeli medtech firm testing new AI-based device for early detection of blood cancer
Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem wants to improve its blood testing speed and capabilities in order to faster diagnose blood cancer and other infections, and has signed a research collaboration agreement with Sight Diagnostics, a company specializing in the development of artificial intelligence (AI)-based devices for blood count.

Research will focus on developing the capability to detect and classify white blood cells, and specifically, to differentiate between different types of lymphocytes. Detecting malignant lymphocytes in the blood can aid in the early detection of the types of cancer that affect blood. This is a highly complex and often lengthy task using existing technology.

The research will be conducted using Sight Diagnostics' flagship device, Sight OLO, which performs a blood test in a matter of minutes using just two drops of blood.

Sight's Research and Development Team will analyze the images of the blood cells collected during the study and employ AI-based algorithms to cross-reference the visual information with clinical data from Shaare Zedek.

The company believes that the results of the research will lay the foundation for innovative diagnostic capabilities for different types of lymphocytes, and that these diagnostics could eventually help detect and monitor infections, as well as uncover malignant cells at an earlier stage than is possible at present.

Shaare Zedek and Sight Diagnostics began cooperating two years ago after the medical center inaugurated an innovation center that focuses on working with digital healthcare companies. The innovation center provides access to a database of samples and data collected at the hospital. A previous collaboration between Shaare Zedek and Sight Diagnostics focused on early detection of the coronavirus.
SentinelOne completes NYSE IPO at $9 billion valuation
The Israeli cybersecurity company again upped its value and raised $1.2 billion on Wall Street.

Israeli cybersecurity company SentinelOne has completed its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), raising $1.2 billion at a company valuation of $8.9 billion.

The company sold 35 million Class A shares at $35 per share, having announced on Monday that it would sell 32 million shares priced between $31 and $32 per share. If the underwriters exercise their options to buy 5,250,000 class-A shares at the IPO price within 30 days then SentinelOne's valuation could climb to $11.5 billion. The company will begin trading on Wall street today with the S ticker.

In addition to the shares sold in the public offering, SentinelOne announced the concurrent sale of 1,428,568 shares of its Class A common stock to certain of its existing stockholders, at a price per share equal to the initial public offering price, in a private placement.

SentinelOne was founded in 2013 in Israel by CEO Tomer Weingarten and Almog Cohen, who no longer has an active role in the company. The company has its headquarters in Mountain View, California and its development center in Tel Aviv. SentinelOne has developed an AI-based platform to protect end-points including laptops, desktop computers, servers and cloud servers as well as other web-connected devices.

According to IVC, the company has raised $797 million to date in eight financing rounds, the last of which were completed over the past year at a company valuation of $3.26 billion.  
How a staunch rightist gave her kidney to a Gaza boy — simply to do a good deed
When Idit Harel Segal, a 50-year-old married mother of three, told her loved ones she was planning to donate one of her kidneys simply to do a good deed, they were aghast.

And that was before the staunchly right-wing family found out that the recipient would be a Palestinian from Gaza.

“I wanted to do something big — and what is bigger than saving a life,” Segal told Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site. She said she was inspired by her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor who always taught her to live a meaningful life.

Said Segal, a resident of the northern village of Eshhar: “I read stories about people who donated kidneys and was disappointed to see they were almost only men. I told myself, I’m a strong woman, and I’m going to do it. Something inside me felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Her husband, Yuval, was baffled by the decision to risk her health, and possibly her life, for someone she didn’t know.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she quoted him as saying. ” How are you doing this to yourself? You are young, this isn’t a joke, and what if one of your children needs a kidney?”

While Yuval didn’t question her right to make decisions regarding her body, he repeatedly begged her not to follow through, she said.
Dr. Miriam Adelson donates 150 ambucycles to United Hatzalah in Jerusalem
Israeli-American philanthropist Miriam Adelson spurred the creation of United Hatzalah’s Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Ambucycle Unit, donating 150 vehicles to the new squad.

Emceed by Channel 12’s Ofer Hadad, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion was also present at the event on Tuesday in Jerusalem’s Safra Square. Married to American business magnate Sheldon Adelson, who passed away in January, she has had an illustrious career as a physician in Israel and the US.

Adelson’s own connection to United Hatzalah began when she helped save the life of its president and founder, Eli Beer, who was deathly ill at the start of 2020 in Miami with COVID-19.

The event’s organizers arranged the 150 ambucycles in the form of a menorah all across Safra Square. Each United Hatzalah volunteer personally thanked Adelson for her generosity before venturing off in the convoy across the Old City.

While the ambucycles will be used across the country, a specific focus will be made toward the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria. “This will significantly increase the effectiveness of emergency medical response in Israel,” Beer said.











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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 14 years and 30,000 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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