Thursday, July 08, 2021

From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: The Apartheid Accusation Against Israel Lacks is Baseless – and Agenda-Driven
Blacks in South Africa were deprived of their political rights. Israel Arabs have full voting rights for the Knesset, while Palestinians in the territories have voting rights for the Palestinian Legislative Council. Israeli citizens do not have voting rights in the Palestinian government, because it is a different and independent government. By the same token, Palestinians do not vote in the Knesset – not because it is apartheid, but because since the 1993 Oslo Accords, they have had their own government. The international community recognizes the independence of the Palestinian government, and there can be no denying that its decision-making is independent of, and antagonistic to, that of Israel. It would be hard to imagine the ICC admitting a Bantustan as a state party.

Unlike non-white South Africans, the Palestinians have been offered full statehood by Israel in numerous times – in internationally-backed and legitimized diplomatic processes. They have turned it down as many times. The repeated offers of full independence to the Palestinians themselves negate any intent of “maintaining domination” over them as required by the legal definitions of apartheid. The PA viewed the proposed diplomatic deals, which offered more than 97% of the West Bank as inadequate, in part because they required an end to the conflict. This is entirely unlike the South African model, where credible independence for a majority-black state was never on the table until the deal that ended the regime.

Another major methodological failing is that the report treats the Palestinian as silent objects, rather than as political actors who have shaped their own destiny. In particular, it ignores the reality of Palestinian self-government and systematic Palestinian efforts to murder Israeli Jews. Yet since 1993 the Palestinians have had their own government, which regulates almost every aspect of their lives. Unlike South African Bantustans, the PA government is recognized by most countries of the world, and functions outside of Israeli control. Unlike South Africa, Israel does not tax the Palestinians, draft them, or impose other legislation upon them.

Under the Oslo Agreements, the PA government and Israel agreed on a framework for dividing authority and jurisdiction in areas where their governments and populations are intertwined. The HRW cites those very features as evidence of apartheid – in effect saying that the internationally-backed Oslo Accords, for which several Nobel Peace Prizes were awarded, is equivalent to apartheid, for which Nobel Peace Prizes were awarded to those who ended it. Gaza has been entirely ruled by Hamas since Israel withdrew in 2005.

By pretending the Palestinian government does not exist, the report remarkably ignores actual apartheid-like policies. The Palestinian Authority pays generous salaries to people simply for murdering Jews – with bigger payments for bigger attacks. It prohibits Palestinians – with severe penalties – from selling land to Jews. It indoctrinates children with anti-Semitic textbooks. These policies resemble apartheid, and are not found anywhere in the HRW’s long report. Indeed, the report speaks of “Israeli Palestinians,” but it never speaks of Jewish Palestinians – because the PA has created a regime where it is impossible for Jews to live in its jurisdiction, and actively campaigns for the expulsion of all Jews from the West Bank.

All of the movement restrictions and the Separation Wall were established not as far of a policy of racial separation, but only in response to the murderous wave of terror unleashed by the PA in 2000, which killed over 1000 Israelis. It is undisputable that such restrictions did not previously exist. HRW tries to paint self-defense as subjugation, and thus makes no mention of the mass-murder of Israeli civilians.

Indeed, the report whitewashes terrorism against Jews while smearing Israel. It refers to terror organization Hamas as a “political party.” In 13 references to the organization that rules Gaza, it never once acknowledges that Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union and others. At 217 pages, HRW can hardly claim space constraints for such omissions. This is not the approach of an intellectually serious report, but of a politically-motivated campaign.
Is Israel Really a Settler Colonial State?
When academics call Israel a "settler colonial" state, it is meant to isolate the Jewish state from the legitimate family of nations. Yet historically, colonies have related to a mother country. The Puritans saw themselves as English, Afrikaaners as Dutch, Muslim conquerors as Arabs. They spoke the mother country's language and attempted to transfer its culture to their new land.

The early, pre-state Zionists, however, sought to escape Europe, not to replicate it. They rejected Yiddish and adopted an old Middle East language - Hebrew - which they updated for modern purposes, while changing their German or Russian-sounding names.

Central to the Zionist enterprise was the conviction that they were returning home. No other transplanted society made such a claim. Jews had lived in the area continuously for thousands of years. The Hebrew language is Semitic, not Indo-European. Ancient Jewish artifacts could be found everywhere.

It is therefore more accurate to see Zionism as a form of nationalism - and Zionists as fulfilling a people's aspiration for self-determination in what they regard as their own land.
Ireland's Hostile Anti-Israeli Narrative Lacks Honesty
The Irish government and parliament's obsessive, selectively critical, hostile anti-Israeli narrative is economical with the truth. Its demonization and delegitimization of Israel lends international credibility to the malign narratives of Iran, Syria, Turkey, Hamas, Hizbullah, and Islamic Jihad. For the Irish government to make a truly beneficial contribution to peace, an entirely different approach should be adopted.

The Irish government ignores the inconvenient fact that the Israeli government has no party with whom to currently negotiate. For 14 years Gaza and the West Bank have been ruled as two separate Palestinian entities by acrimonious Palestinian factions (Hamas and Fatah) who are incapable of agreeing on the parameters of any resolution with Israel.

The Irish government also needs to address Palestinian violations of Israelis' and Palestinians' human rights, the murder by Palestinian factions of their Palestinian critics and opponents, the jailing and denigrating of Palestinian peace activists for engaging with Israeli peace activists, the military training and arming of children by Palestinian militant factions, and the use of Palestinian civilians, including children, as human shields when firing rockets from within civilian locations.

As other EU states have done, the Irish government should also address the Palestinian education system, partly financed by Ireland, which a recent EU report confirms encourages child martyrdom, glorifies terrorist atrocities, and teaches narratives designed to escalate division and conflict instead of encouraging greater understanding, peaceful engagement, and conflict resolution.


The Joshua and Caleb Network: Busting the Myth of Illegal Settlements in the West Bank
You have probably heard that the settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The question is: which international law? Joshua and Luke break it down on today’s program.

Today’s program covers the latest eviction of the settlement of Evyatar in Samaria and why the left and right-wing political camps are happy about it. We also give a crash course on the history of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, what the 1967 borders are, what international law says regarding the settlements, and why they are 100% not illegal.

Buckle up, this is a fact-filled, mythbusting program!


David Collier: Victory – as Glasgow University apologises for publishing antisemitic article
Last December I ran an exclusive about a deeply antisemitic conspiracy article that was published in the academic esharp magazine at Glasgow University. ‘esharp‘ is an ‘international online journal for postgraduate research’ and Glasgow University is very proud of the outlet. The University website even states that all the post-graduate papers are double-blind peer-reviewed.

Having read the paper and researched it thoroughly, I complained that the article was ‘so bad and the errors so numerous, that it would need a book to address them all.’ The work was shoddy, the references did not support the article’s argument, many assertions were academically unsupported – and worst of all – the whole thing was neck-deep in blatant antisemitic conspiracy. The paper basically argued that people like myself (I featured prominently) have been recruited by Israel to lie, smear and spread disinformation. In the eyes of the author, I – and those like me – are enemies of British democracy – 5th columnists. A classic antisemitic trope.

I turned to Glasgow University and asked how on earth this antisemitic diatribe was ever published – worse still, that it had appeared in a peer-reviewed journal.

The esharp apology
Following their own internal investigation, Glasgow University has recently published a comprehensive apology online. Their statement has been added as an introduction to the original journal – so anyone who tries to access the paper today will first read a statement pointing it out as both promoting antisemitic conspiracy as well as representing a complete failure in academic standards.

“This article does not meet those standards of scholarship. In particular, this article employs some discursive strategies, including a biased selection of sources as well as the misrepresentation of data, which promote an unfounded antisemitic theory regarding the State of Israel and its activity in the United Kingdom. We would like to apologise that our editorial procedures did not identify those failures in scholarship” – esharp Editorial Team, Glasgow University May 2021.


It is a devastating statement and a total vindication of my own research. I had claimed that the article was based on biased sources, misrepresented its own reference material and was promoting antisemitic ideology. Those behind the investigation at the University appear to have agreed with me on all three points.
JINSA PodCast: Tackling the Rise of Antisemitism in the United States
In this week’s episode, Ellie Cohanim, former Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department, joins Erielle to discuss her prior work at the State Department, as well as the recent rise in antisemitism in the United States. How have the Abraham Accords played a role in tackling antisemitism abroad? Conversely, what did the recent Gaza war between Israel and Hamas have to do with violence against U.S. Jews domestically? Is the Democratic Party mirroring the U.K. Labour Party when it comes to addressing antisemitism? What can we do in the United States to better confront antisemitism? Ellie discusses these questions and much more.
NGO Monitor: Support for Terror by Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation Employees
On May 21, 2021, the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation announced a commitment of €8 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza following the fighting that took place that month.

Disturbingly, some employees of this Ministry, responsible for reviewing, approving and distributing international aid, have previously expressed support for acts of violence and praised Palestinian terror on their social media accounts. Several of these government employees’ posts include violent and antisemitic imagery.

1. Haneen Abu Nahla has served as Gaza Intervention Officer at Enabel (the Belgian international development agency) since 2020, and was previously employed as Gaza Field Officer at its predecessor, the Belgium Development Agency (2015-2020).In May, Nahla participated in an online discussion for humanitarian workers, hosted by Development Cooperation Minister Meryame Kitir, which was meant “to get a clear picture of current needs and see how we can effectively provide this assistance to the people.”

Throughout the course of the 2014 Gaza War, Nahla posted several cartoons supporting terrorism:
On August 26, 2014, Nahla shared a cartoon of an armed combatant standing on the body on an Israel soldier with the text, “Today the victory was concluded.”

On August 20, 2014, Nahla shared a cartoon of an M75 Hamas rocket, bearing text reading, “talk with him in the language he understands.” Alongside the cartoon, Nahla wrote, “always innovative, chivalry in effect.”

On August 8, 2014, Nahla shared a cartoon of an Israeli soldier surrendering to a Hamas member with an M75 rocket, alongside a thought bubble reading, “Sign so I shall blind your lights with rockets.” The cartoon was captioned: “Gaza will win. The resistance’s conditions for a cease fire.” Nahla wrote, “God willing they will surrender and agree to the resistance’s conditions.”

On July 15, 2014, Nahla shared a cartoon of an Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades member stomping on an Israeli soldier in Gaza.

Catherine de Bock has held the position of “Advisor for Humanitarian Affairs” at the Belgian Ministry of Development Cooperation since November 2020. De Bock is also a former Oxfam-Solidarité employee (2015-2020).
Suspect Arrested in Firework Attack That Burned Jewish Woman at Manhattan Rally
New York police arrested a Staten Island man on Wednesday for throwing a firework at a Jewish woman from the back of a pickup truck, on a day that saw multiple violent attacks against Jews attending a pro-Israel rally.

The NYPD said 24-year-old Mohammad Othman of Staten Island was arrested for the May 20 incendiary attack, which left a 55-year-old Jewish woman with burns.

Othman was arrested for two other antisemitic incidents from the same protest, and was charged with first-degree gang assault as a hate crime, third-degree assault as a hate crime and second-degree reckless endangerment as a hate crime. He has six prior arrests, according to the New York Post, including on domestic violence charges.

Footage of the firework attack showed a crowd of frightened people fleeing from the blast.


Push to Rename Cynthia McKinney Parkway after she Tweets Zionists Responsible for 9/11
Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney came under fire Monday after she implied on Twitter that Zionists were responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, prompting some to push for the removal of her name from a Georgia roadway.

McKinney's tweet, which has since been removed by the social media platform, showed an image of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center as a puzzle. At the bottom of the image are the words "final piece of the puzzle," with one piece of the puzzle to be placed. When that piece, with the word "Zionists" on it, is added to the puzzle, the image then reads: "Zionists did it."

McKinney, who spent 12 years in the 1990s and mid-2000s as a Democrat representing various Georgia districts, faced immediate backlash for the controversial message.

On Tuesday, Georgia Republican State Sen. Butch Miller responded to the tweet by stating that he would introduce a resolution next year to rename the Cynthia McKinney Parkway, located in DeKalb, Ga.

"Cynthia McKinney's comments are indefensible, as well as nuts. Next year, I'll introduce legislation to change the name of the road in DeKalb that's named for her because we refuse to honor those who spew hate," Butch tweeted.

In 2007, several other Georgia Republican lawmakers attempted to rename the roadway at the end of McKinney's controversial Congressional career.
Jeremy Corbyn is under investigation by parliament's sleaze watchdog over his alleged failure to declare legal support
In a letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards earlier this year, Coyle claimed Corbyn may have benefitted from support to cover legal costs which he has not properly declared, Sky News reported in May.

Coyle told Sky News: “All MPs are expected to follow certain rules and some people seem to think they’re above it.

“We expect it from Boris Johnson with flat refurbishments, childcare and foreign holidays. But we cannot attack the Tories if we don’t equally take action when someone who seeks to be a Labour MP is receiving significant financial support and contributions, and not declaring it.”

Corbyn told Sky News: “I will be liaising with the commissioner in response to Neil Coyle’s correspondence.”

Corbyn is currently being sued for defamation by the blogger Richard Millett. He could also face legal action from the BBC Panorama reporter John Ware.

Corbyn’s entry on the register of members’ interests notes he is “likely to benefit from a legal fund managed by JBC Defence Ltd which was set up on 16 October 2020 to help meet any legal costs which I or my supporters incur in relation to allegations of defamation.”

One crowdfunding legal fund linked to JBC Defence Ltd has raised more than £370,000 since being set up in July 2020.
Israeli singer Noga Erez hits jarring note with BDS support
Israeli singer Noga Erez is facing backlash after an interview she gave to a UK magazine in which she voiced support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement has come to light.

Asked by the London-based Huck magazine in March for her opinion on artists such as former Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters' support for the BDS movement, Erez replied: "I have a complex answer to this question. I was very happy when Radiohead came to Israel. Even if something terrible happens in the country, it does not mean that people who live in it are part of it or they want it – and that is the case in Israel."

Erez, who has grown increasingly popular in Israel and around the world over the last year, told Huck: "90% of the 40,000 people who filled the audience at that Radiohead show do not want the occupation to continue. I believe BDS did an important job in putting the spotlight on the situation, but I hope all the effort, time, and money they put into it will be invested in discourse and connection. There are a lot of people on both sides who want it. Governments will not do it, it is very difficult to do. It's from the inside, and that's what makes the conflict deeper."

On Twitter, Israelis took Erez to task for her remarks, with one user tweeting a screenshot of a text message wishing she had died in a rocket attack: "Dear Noga Erez, BDS did not do a particularly good job if I received 200 of these kinds of messages over the last 24 hours."
The Antisemitic Tides Foundation Is Far Worse Than Previously Reported
Two weeks ago, I urged my alma mater, Temple University, to rescind its offer of the position of president to Dr. Jason Wingard. Until last week, Wingard served as chairman of the Tides Foundation, which funds, features, elevates and provides organizational and operational support for antisemitic, anti-Israel boycott and demonization groups, including Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC); Adalah Justice Project USA (AJP), Palestine Legal and Dream Defenders, and their leaders who oppose Israel’s very existence. Tides’ promotion of Israel-hatred is far worse than my previous article indicated, and includes direct demonization of Israel and grant-making to at least 13 more of the most virulent anti-Israel, antisemitic and BDS groups.

Demonization of Israel: Tides’ article, “Meet These Extraordinary Palestinian Leaders,” prominently featured on its website with a picture of a Hamas-clad youth waving a Palestinian flag, begins with ugly demonization of Israel, and endorses anti-Israel BDS groups and leaders. The article falsely states: “We are witnessing—in real-time—massive, ongoing state-sponsored [Israel] violence against Palestinians,” and falsely accuses Israel of “pursuing a form of apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing and settler colonialism.” It then falsely claims that these phrases “are not hyperbole but descriptions of what Palestinians actually face.” Tides’ article further accuses Israel of “blatant human-rights violations that Palestinians suffer day after day, year after year.”

Additional Support for Anti-Israel/BDS Groups: Tides Foundation’s Form 990 IRS filings for 2018 and 2019 (the only years available after Wingard joined Tides’ board on Jan. 1, 2018), and some other available Tides’ financial materials reveals shocking additional grants to anti-Israel groups. This appears to be only a partial list of the support that Tides provides to anti-Israel groups through its welter of related organizations.

(Note that Tides controls which groups get grants from Tides’ donor-advised funds. IRS rules require that the 501(c)(3) organization “maintaining the funds must have the ultimate authority over how the assets in the funds are invested and distributed.”)


BBC continues to parrot the PA ‘expired vaccines’ narrative
On July 6th the BBC News website published a report headlined “Covid: Israel and South Korea strike Pfizer vaccine deal” on its ‘Middle East’ page.

Two and a half weeks after the Palestinian Authority’s unjustified rejection of vaccines offered by Israel, in that report the BBC continues to unquestioningly promote the PA narrative.

“Israel has struck a deal to provide South Korea with vaccines in return for jabs in a future shipment.

The deal involves about 700,000 of Israel’s Pfizer doses that are due to expire soon.

It comes just weeks after the Palestinian authority called off a deal to receive a million doses from Israel, claiming the vaccines were too close to their expiry date. […]

Last month the Palestinian Authority cancelled a deal under which Israel was to give it at least one million Covid vaccines.

Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai Alkaila said they had been told the jabs would expire in July or August, but, when they arrived, the marked date was June.

“That’s not enough time to use them, so we rejected them,” she said.”


On June 18th the Palestinian Authority rejected an initial delivery of some 90,000 doses that had an expiry date at the end of June – twelve days after the date of delivery – despite its health minister’s claim that “We have the ability to vaccinate 60,000 people every day”.

Vaccines from the same batch were used to inoculate Israeli teenagers in the 12 to 15 age group.
When the Washington Post’s World View Doesn’t Include Palestinians
“There is a wing of the pro-Israel establishment in the U.S.,” the Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor tweeted on May 28, 2021, “for whom simply recognizing the humanity of Palestinians is beyond the pale.” The World Views columnist added: “Even the most simple attempt at centering the Palestinian experience can constitute ‘blood libel.’ It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sick.”

Tharoor often pretends to care about Palestinians. The Post employee has authored dozens of omission-laden columns where he blames the Jewish state for a myriad of issues confronting the Palestinian people. But when Israel’s involvement can’t be conjured—when, for example, Palestinian leaders are brutally repressing their own people—Tharoor can’t be troubled to write an honest assessment.

Take, for example, the recent crackdown by the Palestinian Authority, which rules over the majority of Palestinian Arabs.

As CAMERA has documented in op-eds in The National Interest and the Washington Examiner, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the ruling clique of his Fatah movement have been arresting, imprisoning and torturing critics and dissidents. One critic, Nizar Banat, was reportedly murdered. As the reporter Khaled Abu Toameh has highlighted, Palestinian journalists, such as Fayhaa Khanfar, have been summoned—and reportedly beaten—by the PA’s intelligence services. The Authority has even attacked protesters as far away as Beirut, Lebanon.

The accelerated campaign of repression began shortly after Abbas announced in January that he would be holding elections in the summer. The PA hasn’t held elections since 2006, and Abbas himself is currently in the sixteenth year of a single four-year term. Abbas’s Fatah movement lost those elections to its chief rival, Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that calls for Israel’s destruction and which seized the Gaza Strip from Fatah after a brief internecine war in the summer of 2007.

Abbas, in full violation of the Oslo Accords, allowed Hamas to participate in the announced elections. Yet, in April, with polls showing that Abbas was likely to lose to Hamas or internal Fatah rivals like Marwan Barghouti, the elections were “postponed.” Protests—and more repression—followed. The majority of Western journalists, however, turned a blind eye—including, for nearly six months, the Washington Post’s Tharoor.
BBC film on Lod promotes inaccuracies, raises questions
BBC audiences are not informed that Adalah is a partisan political NGO with a long record of anti-Israel activity.

At the end of the film the BBC tells its audiences that:
“The police say all who took part in the violence will face justice. But activists say police enforcement is disproportionately targeting Israeli Arabs.”

Viewers are not informed who those “activists” are and hence cannot judge the objectivity of that claim for themselves.

Coincidentally or not, just hours after Operation Law and Order commenced on May 23rd, Adalah’s general director had already decided that it was “a militarized war against Palestinian citizens of Israel” and “a war against Palestinian demonstrators, political activists, and minors”. Days later another Adalah official claimed that arrests were being made “on the basis of racial profiling”. Another political NGO – Mossawa – claimed that “90% of the detainees” were “Arab-Israeli or Palestinian” and Amnesty International put out a report in the same vein.

BBC audiences would no doubt be interested to know whether Anastassia Zlatopolskai was amplifying the talking points of any or all of those NGOs with a long record of delegitimisation of Israel in her film’s takeaway message and – given the use of footage provided by Adalah – whether or not any NGO facilitated the making of this report.
Boris Johnson says N. Ireland Jews facing ‘exodus’ over kosher food access
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of an “exodus” of Jews from Northern Ireland due to potential problems over access to kosher food owing to the Brexit trade agreement he signed with the European Union, which went into affect at the beginning of this year.

There are 67 members of the Belfast Jewish community, the only one in Northern Ireland, with a similar number of Jews not formally affiliated with the synagogue.

According to the trade deal secured following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Northern Ireland, a part of the UK, would remain within the EU’s single market for goods and services so as not to create a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, because that would threaten the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland in 1998.

This has meant however that a trade border has been created in the Irish Sea between mainland UK and Northern Ireland, in which goods coming from the UK are subject to various checks and delays.

Goods subject to such checks include chilled meats, including kosher meat, while other restrictions for other kosher food supplies will come into effect in September.
Jewish gravestones desecrated with swastika graffiti in Baltimore
Thirteen Jewish gravestones in Baltimore were found desecrated with swastikas last Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department confirmed that officers are looking into the vandalism that took place at the German Hill Road Cemetery.

Baltimore County Councilman Izzy Patoka uploaded photographs of the vandalism to Facebook, along with a statement. Mr Patoka wrote: “This weekend, someone spray-painted swastikas on more than a dozen gravestones at the German Hill Road Jewish Cemeteries in Dundalk.

“As the son of Holocaust victims and survivors, this symbol hits hard. We cannot allow fear, prejudice, division and hate to win out. We must stand actively engaged in the fight to combat antisemitism in all forms.”

Recently, Baltimore City Councilmember Zeke Cohen stated on Twitter that a man who is believed to have been in connection with a recent spate of antisemitic graffiti across Fells Point, Baltimore has been issued a criminal summons. However, Mr Cohen is also pushing for a hate crime charge.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.


Software giant Oracle is 'deeply committed to Israel'
Multinational software giant Oracle Corporation is deeply committed to Israel, its CEO Safra Catz told reporters Thursday in Tel Aviv.

Catz, who was born in Holon and was named CEO of the global company in 2014, said her visit to Israel was her first trip outside the United States since before the coronavirus pandemic.

Oracle employs some 135,000 workers worldwide, including some 400 in Israel. Catz was named the company’s co-CEO in 2014 when the company’s Jewish founder Larry Ellison, who is listed as the tenth-wealthiest person in the world, stepped down from his role. Since 2019, she has been the company’s sole CEO after her partner Mark Hurd passed away.

Earlier this year, Oracle llaunched a massive underground cloud data center in Jerusalem, in partnership with Bynet Data Communications, constituting an unprecedented investment in the country’s capital city. Extending over four floors at a depth of 50 meters below ground level, it is designed to be one of the most secure in the Middle East, providing advanced cloud services to companies in Israel’s defense industry, government, banks, insurance companies, infrastructure, technology, retail and more.

“Larry (Ellison) and I are deeply committed to Israel,” Catz said. “We built an amazing, highly secured data center for Oracle Cloud in Israel because we love Israel and we know the country needs it.”
Carmaker Porsche invests in Israeli startup to give fans greater race thrill
The venture capital arm of the German sports car maker Porsche has acquired a minority stake in Israeli startup Griiip, a developer of cloud-based software that provides race car data in real time to fans, drivers and team players so they can get a feel of what’s going on inside the cars and compare performances.

The startup, founded in 2015 by Tamir Plachinsky and Gil Zakay in Petah Tikva, seeks to make motorsports more accessible by providing new and innovative ways for racing organizations, leagues, franchises and car manufacturers to engage with fans.

While data and technologies are being adopted by the sports industry, the “motorsports ecosystem has barely changed in decades,” the Israeli company said in a statement, announcing the investment. Griiip is stepping into this void.

The startup’s personalized digital media software, called Racing Media Platform or RAMP, targets younger audiences that seek a more immersive and personalized viewing experience via digital mediums, the company said.

The solution makes racing vehicles smart and connected, and uses AI technology and analytics to give fans insights about the races. The software gives viewers direct access to raw data from the vehicle’s electronic units through a hardware “Red Box” developed by the Israeli firm, which extracts the data from the cars during the race and processes it into data-driven real-time information.
Israel Aerospace Industries Signs MOU With Lockheed for Alliance on Air Defense
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Lockheed Martin announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday for joint collaboration in the field of integrated air- and missile-defense (IAMD) systems.

“Under this collaboration, the companies will explore potential joint opportunities in areas such as research and development, production, marketing and other activities,” the American and Israeli defense giants said in a statement.

They added that “both companies will establish an executive steering committee and working groups for the implementation of this MOU and cooperation.”

Boaz Levy, IAI president and CEO, called the development a “strategic agreement for us.”

“Combining the development capabilities and the vast know-how of Lockheed Martin and IAI experience accumulated over the years in IAMD systems will create win-win opportunities for both sides,” he said.

Tim Cahill, senior vice president and head of global business development for Lockheed Martin, said his company aims “to expand our businesses around the world while delivering unmatched IAMD capabilities to our customers.”
Israeli, Native American partnership brings clean water to Navajo Nation
Israeli company Watergen has installed a Gen-M water generator at Rocky Ridge Gas and Market (RRGM), located in the Hard Rock Community of the Navajo Nation in Arizona as part of a pilot project to ensure access to clean drinking water for Indigenous American communities.

The Gen-M water generator's innovative technology creates high quality drinking water from air, and the pilot project aims to address the lack of access to clean drinking water within the Hard Rock community. According to a recent study by the Global Water Institute, an estimated 10,000 families across Navajo Nation lack access to running water.

The generator produces up to 211 gallons of purified drinking water per day, depending on climate conditions. The effectiveness of the generator will be monitored in the Hard Rock Community, and if it proves to be successful, Watergen will evaluate the extent to which their technology can help other communities within the Navajo Nation.

The Navajo Nation is an Indigenous American territory covering parts of the states of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, and is over 27,000 square miles in size. It is the largest land area still retained by an Indigenous tribe in the United States and has over 330,000 members, 175,000 of whom reside on the reservation.

Commenting on the decision to launch the pilot project, Doctor Michael Mirilashvili, President and CEO of Watergen, said, “the drinking water crisis is the most important issue of our time, and it is for that reason that Watergen is working tirelessly to realize one goal: to bring drinking water from the air to people everywhere.

"When I heard about the dire situation in Navajo Nation, I immediately decided that Watergen would be active in delivering our solution there as quickly as possible. It is our great pleasure to work together with the local leadership, StandWithUs, and Bright Path Strong in providing this sustainable and innovative source of clean drinking water. The result will be increased water access to local residents, which in turn fosters better public safety and health in this time of crisis. I am sure that this is just the beginning, and that together we will bring even more devices to the region and to Native American communities around the country.”
Israel sends Nepal vital supplies to fight pandemic
Israel on Wednesday sent Nepal supplies meant to help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic battering its population. The south Asian nation has recorded over 650,000 cases of the virus so far, including almost 9300 deaths.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry spearheaded the operation, which saw leading organizations such as IsraAid, Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, and the Commerce Ministry for Israel and Nepal, as well as other organizations, donate essential supplies.

The coronavirus aid, including ventilators, oxygen tanks, and advanced protective gear, was delivered to Kathmandu via a Nepal Air aircraft.

"The State of Israel is proud to help Nepal fight the coronavirus pandemic," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. "Israel's allies and friends know that Israel will stand by them in times of trouble."

Israel and Nepal mark 61 years of diplomatic relations in July.
Matti Friedman: Israel’s Country Music Wizard
Who is the most important Israeli musician of the last generation? Not the most gifted or popular, but the most influential, one without whom the country’s sound wouldn’t be the same?

My vote goes to Kobi Oz—the mix-track trickster, the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down, the Tunisian from a town of Moroccans who brought the South to Tel Aviv and changed what we mean by Israeli pop. Of course, more than one person is responsible for the rise of the once-disdained sound known by the generalization “Mizrahi,” or “Eastern,” which has become Israel’s spiritual equivalent of American country and western music, though the two genres sound absolutely nothing alike. If we must choose one musician responsible for the mainstreaming of the Israeli Eastern sound, it might be Oz.

Listening to Oz’s work over the past 30 years, you get a portrait of a changing country—one constantly in crisis but also one with an irrepressible life, a place that has given up on being someplace else and has come to terms with itself. Because Oz and his band broke through in the ’90s, the age of the music video, it’s actually possible to witness the crucial moments in their rise on YouTube, like the release of “In Newsprint” in 1993. The odds were stacked against the song, which has prickly lyrics about Israelis—describing them as people diverted by jokes, journalism, and self-delusion—and a complicated melody that changes rhythm abruptly in the middle and moves into explicitly Moroccan territory. The song was unlike anything people had heard before. It wasn’t immediately clear if the band was earnestly channeling the North African sound or laughing at it, as was common in those days, when Mizrahi culture was still mocked by the wardens of popular taste.
Herzog given virtual NFT copy of dad’s presidential oath of office
Israel’s parliament has hopped on latest trend in digital artwork and presented the country’s new president with a digital copy of his father’s signed oath of office from 38 years earlier.

The Knesset presented Isaac Herzog with the NFT ahead of his inauguration as Israel’s 11th president on Wednesday.

Non-fungible tokens — or NFTs — use a version of the encryption technology employed to secure cryptocurrencies to create one-of-a-kind digital objects. The technology provides digital creations a kind of certificate of authenticity, allowing ownership of something that could otherwise be replicated endlessly.

This new kind of encrypted digital artwork has become popular and a rare few have been sold for millions of dollars.

The Knesset’s Technology and Computing Division dug out the oath of office signed by former president Chaim Herzog — father of the newly instated president — from the parliamentary archives and created an encrypted digital image. That NFT was loaned to the President’s Residence and presented to President Herzog ahead of his inauguration.

The parliament said in a statement that Herzog “was visibly moved by the gesture.”











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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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