Wednesday, July 14, 2021

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: The ADL head's disingenuous epiphany about left-wing antisemitism
He went on to say, "Demonizing Zionism as a concept represents a kind of anti-Jewish racism. Delegitimizing the Jewish state with exaggerated claims and unhinged charges, then dismissing the connection between that level of inflammatory rhetoric and the violence perpetrated against Jewish people, is willfully ignorant at best, intentionally malign at worst. Excluding Jews from political coalitions or public activities is discrimination, plain and simple."

All well and good, of course, though why this manifestation of antisemitism is only just dawning on the ADL chief is as curious as his referring to the demonization of Zionism as a "kind of" anti-Jewish racism, rather than part and parcel of its very essence. After all, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism includes singling out the Jewish state for condemnation.

Lest one was tempted by Greenblatt's words to give him credit for doing his job, however, he made sure to let his leanings come out in the conclusion.

"It has been heartening to see that some prominent progressive voices have spoken out against anti-Semitism or apologized for using overheated rhetoric," he wrote. Judging by the hyperlink under the sentence, he was referring to movie star Mark Ruffalo, who tweeted remorse for having suggested that Israel committed genocide in Gaza. How touching.

Greenblatt also gave a nod to members of Congress (i.e., Democrat Brad Schneider of Illinois) "who have made their problems with their colleagues' statements crystal clear."

Interesting that he's impressed with a Jew for bemoaning the blatant antisemitism of his fellow Democrat representatives. Pathetic that neither Greenblatt nor Schneider holds the party to which they belong accountable.

Instead, Greenblatt ends his piece with a generalized message about needing "all our allies to listen and others to engage authentically" – whatever that means.

"This might not be easy," he stated. "It may require some serious self-reflection on the part of some partisans in order to admit their biases and acknowledge their insensitivity. But it's imperative that leaders from all corners of society clearly, forcefully, unequivocally condemn antisemitism full stop. And it's even more important and meaningful to do so when the hate happens to come from their own camp."

Good luck if he thinks that platitudes are going to budge the Israel-bashers in his own camp whose intersectional endeavors he always rushes to defend. With self-described "proud Jews" like Greenblatt, who needs antisemites?
Remembering Bayard Rustin
Bayard was a resolute supporter of Israel, a position that put him at odds with both his own pacifist principles and left-wing activists who regarded the Palestine Liberation Organization a legitimate liberation movement. Even before the Six-Day War, some outspoken Black Americans, most notably Malcolm X, gave vocal support to armed Palestinian groups. But Bayard laid the problems of the Middle East squarely at the feet of the monarchs and dictators who brutalized the Arab people—he referred to some of them as “proto-fascist”—and who resented Israel as the region’s lone democracy and, thus, a living rebuke to their own despotic regimes. After the UN General Assembly adopted the notorious “Zionism Is Racism” resolution in 1975, Bayard organized a committee of Black leaders to support the Jewish state.

Tribalism: Because of his extensive international experience, Bayard was sensitive to divisions over race, tribe, and caste everywhere. He understood that race consciousness here was inevitable as part of the Black struggle for full citizenship but was skeptical that race consciousness would contribute to material progress.

More, he was mistrustful of policies meant to divide goods along group lines; he preferred old-fashioned social democratic strategies based on the premise that economic growth lifting all boats could be accompanied by policies meant to direct benefits to those most in need.

Bayard was struck by the way that identity-based laws and policies in Asian societies like India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia were either explicitly meant to benefit majority groups or, if designed to benefit lower castes, invariably failed to eliminate caste consciousness. He was not enthusiastic about the United States embarking on a similar course. Bayard did not use the term “racism” indiscriminately. When he applied terms of opprobrium like prejudice, bigotry, and, in the worst case, racism, he was a traditionalist: He tried to be precise.

‘Junk Science’: Ashkenazi Jews Are Not Descendants of Khazar Converts
Indeed, the Khazarian hypothesis has been debunked by virtually every field of science. For instance, historians stress that the kingdom most likely never converted to Judaism. Archaeologists excavating in the former Khazar lands have found almost no artifacts displaying Jewish symbols. Moreover, linguists point out that Yiddish — for centuries the language spoken by Eastern European Jews — is in no way similar to the vernacular used in Khazaria, nor do Jewish surnames from the last 600 years contain any link to the kingdom.

Experts in Jewish genetics have lambasted Elhaik’s “findings,” arguing that he “appears to be applying the statistics in a way that gives him different results from what everybody else has obtained from essentially similar data.” In fact, most DNA research proves precisely the opposite: namely, that European Jews are closely related to Middle Eastern populations.

Most of this research has long been readily available, with leading scholars having refuted Elhaik’s paper within a year of its publication. Nevertheless, Jew-haters and anti-Zionists alike continue to use the Khazarian myth to deny the Jewish people’s millennia-old connection to the Land of Israel.

Interestingly, Elhaik — who served in the Israeli army for seven years — has said that it bothers him that individuals utilize his research for nefarious purposes. For his part, Koestler stated that the “problem of the Khazar infusion a thousand years ago… is irrelevant to modern Israel,” as the Jewish state’s existence is, in his view, predicated on decisions made by the international community.

The anti-Zionist argument is flawed for another major reason: that is, most Jewish Israelis are not of European descent. According to Tel Aviv University research, in 2018 only 31.8 percent of Israeli Jews self-identified as Ashkenazi (Eastern European). A significantly larger share, about 45 percent, identified as Mizrahi – an umbrella term for those Jews that fled Arab countries to nascent Israel. Israelis of Yemeni origin, for example, trace their roots in the region back to biblical times.

The fact that millions of Israeli Mizrahim are indigenous to the Middle East is indisputable.

Dexter Van Zile: Palestinian Christians Defends Hamas
Most would-be “peacemakers” in the Middle East know better than to shill for Hamas, a jihadist organization whose leaders have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and regularly exhort their supporters to murder Jews. And most peacemakers, Christians especially, would understand that downplaying Hamas’ hostility toward Israel would elicit disdain and contempt from people who pay any attention to political realities in the Holy Land.

There is at least one person, however, who has not gotten the memo about Hamas. It’s Rev. Alex Awad, a Palestinian Christian who resides in America and is a US citizen. Awad, a member of the well-known Awad family from Bethlehem, seems to think that he can shill for Hamas without damaging his credibility.

In a recent letter to US President Joseph Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Awad declares that Hamas should not be dismissed as a terrorist organization, saying that “assigning the label of ‘terrorist organization’ to Hamas hides the more complicated truth that Hamas is a reflection and result of the untenable and unjust status quo in the land.”

In the same letter, written on behalf of a group that calls itself the “Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace,” Awad writes that a “sizable number of Palestinians support Hamas because it is seen as less corrupt and more effective in governing than Fatah, not necessarily due to its ideology.”

Awad also reports that “Hamas even has a number of Palestinian Christians among its representatives and constituents,” and that the organization has “called for a decades-long truce (hudna) with Israel, which the latter has consistently rejected.”
BBC presenter lets whitewashing of Labour antisemitism pass
One would have expected the BBC’s presenter to recall that less than two years ago the BBC reported that story in a report headlined “Louise Ellman: MP quits Labour over anti-Semitism concerns” which included a link to her resignation letter.

“MP Dame Louise Ellman has quit the Labour Party, saying Jeremy Corbyn is “not fit” to become prime minister.

The Liverpool Riverside MP said in a letter she had been “deeply troubled” by the “growth of anti-Semitism” in Labour in recent years.

Dame Louise, who is Jewish, has been a party member for 55 years but said she “can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM”.”

The background to the resignation of Louise Ellman and others from the Labour party is provided by David Hirsh in this film with Ellman explaining her decision from 11:09.

As noted at the Jewish News, in October 2020 Labour leader Keir Starmer said:
” To the people driven out of our Party, the Jewish Members driven out of Parliament, including Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger. And to the members of Labour Party staff who spoke out, I want to say this: I know how hard these last few years have been for you.”

Especially given the BBC’s generally poor record of reporting on antisemitism within the Labour party, it is highly disconcerting to see a BBC presenter fail to challenge an obvious attempt to whitewash that topic just months after the publication of the findings of the EHRC investigation into the issue.

Cornel West Resigns From Harvard, Partly Blaming School’s ‘Hostility to Palestinian Cause’
Activist and scholar Cornel West announced his resignation from Harvard University on Monday, blaming in part what he termed a “cowardly deference to the anti-Palestinian prejudices of the Harvard administration.”

Professor West posted his letter of resignation, dated June 30, on Twitter with a message saying, “I try to tell the unvarnished truth about the decadence in our-market driven universities!”

West held a dual appointment in the Harvard University Divinity School and Department of African and African-American Studies.

He cited several reasons for his resignation, including a denial of tenure that he has previously pinned, in part, on his pro-Palestinian activism.

“To witness a faculty enthusiastically support a candidate for tenure then timidly defer to a rejection based on the administration’s hostility to the Palestinian cause was disgusting,” West wrote in the resignation letter. “We all knew the mendacious reasons given had nothing to do with academic standards.”

He also alleged being denied sabbatical, said that his courses were unfairly categorized as Black studies, and charged his colleagues with being cowed into not offering condolences after the death of his mother Irene B. West — a former civil rights activist and the first Black public school teacher in Elk Grove, California.
Franklin and Marshall Alumni Letter Backs Faculty Condemnation of Israel’s ‘Jewish Supremacy’
A volley of community statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resumed Monday at Franklin & Marshall College (F&M), when over 130 alumni endorsed a hotly-debated faculty expression of “solidarity with Palestine,” criticizing university administrators’ response to it.

The letter was written in support of a June 22 faculty statement that said in part, “The brutal system that controls Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is ideologically founded upon Jewish supremacy, rules over the lives of Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel alike, and is practically committed to territorial theft from Palestinians who continue to resist physical removal and existential erasure.”

That statement drew sharp responses from other faculty and alumni, who criticized the use of the “misguided” and “libelous” use of the phrase “Jewish supremacy.”

It also drew reaction from the president and other senior staff at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania college, who noted that the original statement had left members of the campus Jewish community “angry, hurt, and confused.”

On Monday, the group of 130-plus alumni called that response “alarming.”

“While we echo the commitment of the F&M Leadership Team to fight antisemitism along with all other forms of racism, discrimination, and intolerance, we reject the message’s implied connection,” it said. “F&M, as a highly regarded academic institution, must explicitly differentiate between antisemitism and standing up for Palestinian human rights, regardless of how uncomfortable it feels to read about the apartheid reality on the ground.”
Brandeis Center and StandWithUs Demand Action at Johns Hopkins University
After more than six months and no public action by Johns Hopkins University to address its teaching assistant’s overtly anti-Semitic posts, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) and StandWithUs demanded in a joint letter that Johns Hopkins University leadership finally publicly affirm that any attempt by faculty or staff to harass, marginalize, or discriminate against Jewish students based on their Jewish identity will not be tolerated.

The Johns Hopkins teaching assistant in question posted a series of antisemitic online statements last Fall that both encouraged students to turn against Zionist peers and targeted Zionist students for discriminatory treatment. On November 15, 2020, she tweeted, “[E]thical dilemma: if you have to grade a Zionist students [sic] exam, do you still give them all their points even though they support your ethnic cleansing? like idk.” Her tweet was in the form of a poll, asking respondents to choose between “yes rasha. be a good ta” and “free palestine! fail them.”

Ms. Anayah’s discriminatory conduct targeting Jewish pro-Israel students was not limited to this single instance. On November 20, 2020, Ms. Anayah tweeted, “we had an undergrad in lab who had been on birthright and had one of the street signs to tel aviv on her laptop. it stabbed me every time she opened it. if i had been paired to one of them or one of these conceited white boys i would have lost it.” In another November 20 tweet, Ms. Anayah said, “y’all allah looking out for me. the majority of undergrads in chem here are white and i was blessed enough to be paired w a black woman to mentor who has good race analysis. didn’t get pinned with an israeli or some b**ch white boy to have to share my knowledge with. alhamdulilah.” Later that same day, Ms. Anayah added, “alhamdulilah for the opportunity to give to students who actually deserve it.”

Although the university informed SWU that it has concluded its investigation, it has remained silent on its institutional response and failed to condemn publicly any of the TA’s conduct, citing privacy laws. LDB and StandWithUs’ letter informed Johns Hopkins that privacy laws do not shield the university from its obligation to protect Jewish students, prevent a hostile campus climate for Jewish students, and deter similar acts of antisemitic discrimination and harassment. At a minimum, this should include an official public statement by Johns Hopkins.

Lamenting Gaza’s Water Woes, Haaretz’s Amira Hass Conceals Pipes-to-Rockets Industry
In addition, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad Al-Nakhala boasted to Reuters this past May: “The silent world should know that our weapons, by which we face the most advanced arsenal produced by American industry, are water pipes that engineers of the resistance turned into the rockets that you see” (“Israel’s Gaza challenge: Stopping metal tubes turning into rockets“).

Also in May, blogger Elder of Ziyon shared a video published by Hamas’ Al Qassam Brigades showing its men digging up rockets and converting them into rockets.

“The water and sewage system in Gaza presently lacks about 5,000 items,” laments Hass. “The most urgently needed items are valves and water and sewage pipes — all materials made of plastic and metal.”

Imagine had Hamas recycled the settlements’ abandoned water pipes to fill the gaps in their own water infrastructure, instead of repurposing them into 10 years worth of rockets. The Gaza Strip’s water infrastructure might be in an entirely better place. But then what would Amira Hass write?

Life's certainties death, taxes and fawning profiles of anti-Zionist 'activists'
The Financial Times correspondent introduces Kurd as “a 23-year-old Palestinian writer and hero to many young people around the region” who “lambasts Israeli repression as he points to stun grenades fired by police the night before”. Kurd, we’re then told, “is fighting Israeli settlers’ attempts to evict him from his home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood”.

Of course, no information is provided to inform readers that the court battle has been going on for decades, centers around the Palestinian tenants’ refusal to pay rent, and that the tenants have reportedly refused compromises that would have given them protected status and allowed them to continue living in the homes.

As one Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah resident clearly put it, he “would never recognize Jewish ownership of his Sheikh Jarrah home”.

The FT article continues, with rhetoric that was featured in the strap line:
Kurd and his twin sister Muna are part of a new Palestinian generation, whose calls for justice echo the same values of equality that fuel global campaigns such as Black Lives Matter. The twins, who have a huge social media following, post regularly about their fight to save their home.

In addition to the fact that the Black Lives Matter organisation (as opposed to the general movement for Black equal rights) has been compromised by antisemitism, the comparison between BLM and the Israeli-Palestinian issue is intellectually unserious, as the conflict has never been about race, equality or Palestinian rights as the words are understood in popular Western discourse.

Rather, to the degree that it has been around rights, equality or race at all, it’s about the Palestinians refusal to recognize the Jewish right of self-determination, the Israeli demand that Jewish nationalism be granted equality with other expressions of nationalism, and the fact that anti-Jewish racism within Palestinian society is a main driver of the conflict.

As far as Kurd’s social media presence, the FT journalist fails to note that he has, at times, shared false, incendiary and hateful content to his “huge” Twitter following.

Just in the last few weeks of tweets we scrolled through, he’s tweeted that all Jewish settlers are “psychotic”, characterised Zionism as inherently genocidal, praised an assassinated PFLP terrorist, falsely claimed that the IDF “tortures” Palestinian children, and retweeted a video of the late American radical Kwame Ture (aka, Stokely Carmichael) referring to Zionism as a “satanic movement”

Your ABC’s [Australia] complaints process might surprise you
A case in point was the May 27 “Q & A” episode that in part focussed on the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. It featured, on its panel, not only pro-Palestinian activist Randa Abdel-Fattah, but also lawyer Jennifer Robinson, who has represented Palestinians at the International Criminal Court, and no equivalent advocate for Israel. According to the program, that perspective was to be given by Federal Government MP Dave Sharma, who was Australia’s Ambassador to Israel. However, Sharma was there to discuss political matters, and was balanced by ALP MP Ed Husic, who also called for recognition of a Palestinian state.

Yet A&CA dismissed complaints that this imbalance blatantly breached the Code requirement that the ABC “Do not unduly favour one perspective over another,” stating that Israel’s acting Ambassador had been invited to “participate” (in fact, he was only invited to sit in the audience and maybe ask a question) and insisting Sharma provided the necessary balance.

To give another, earlier, example, in 2015, a Radio National program “Earshot” featured two unrelentingly one-sided anti-Israel documentaries, produced and narrated by an ABC producer who also happened to be an activist in the anti-Israel BDS movement. A&CA dismissed complaints about demonstrably false claims by saying they were “opinion” so any requirement for accuracy didn’t apply. Furthermore, regarding complaints about bias, A&CA made the Orwellian finding that a belated acknowledgement of the producer’s activism on the website and recording of the program contributed “to the overall impartiality of the program.”

There doesn’t even seem to be a requirement that ABC journalists abide by previous A&CA decisions on those rare occasions complaints are upheld. For example, A&CA found in 2016 that it was incorrect to describe Gaza as “occupied”. However, a subsequent complaint in early 2021 that Gaza had once again been described as “occupied” was dismissed.
Down the BBC Complaints procedure rabbit hole
Listeners were not told that the person twice laconically described only as being from Nottingham University is also a policy advisor for Al Shabaka, a former employee of Badil and a former legal adviser to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Project which advises the PLO.

As we noted at the time, one would of course have expected that Kattan’s writings on the topic of the ICC (which include the claim that “A Palestinian state existed prior to 1967”) would have prompted the ‘Newshour’ production team to comply with BBC editorial guidelines concerning ‘contributors’ affiliations’ but that was not the case. Not only were listeners told nothing of Kattan’s “particular viewpoints”, they were wrongly led by presenter Tim Franks to believe that he is an impartial academic.

CAMERA UK submitted a complaint on that issue on March 10th but no acknowledgement was received. We therefore resubmitted the complaint on March 14th and on the same day received an acknowledgement and a case number (B1S6G9). Once again, that was the last we heard in relation to that complaint.

Last year the BBC reported that its licence fee-funded World Service radio content in English was reaching a weekly global audience of 97 million people and ‘Newshour’ is considered to be the station’s flagship news and current affairs programme.

The fact that editorial guidelines concerning contributors’ affiliations are repeatedly ignored on that programme is hence a cause for concern. The fact that complaints on that issue have repeatedly disappeared down the rabbit hole of the publicly funded BBC Complaints system should be no less perturbing to a media organisation which touts itself as trustworthy and transparent.
Mark Zuckerberg ‘Inundated With Antisemitic Abuse’ After Posting Photo of Family Dog Wearing Kippah
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was subjected to a torrent of antisemitic abuse on the social media platform after posting a photo of his family dog Beast wearing a kippah and prayer shawl embroidered with Jewish stars.

Zuckerberg posted the snapshot of Beast — a Puli breed of Hungarian Sheepdog, according to the pet’s own Facebook page — among a series of eight photos employing other themes, including St. Patrick’s Day and a Disney film.

At writing, the picture of Beast in Jewish garb prompted over 3,000 comments, with many of those that drew the most engagement featuring explicitly antisemitic memes and other content. Other top responses portrayed the Palestinian flag and included calls to “Free Palestine.”

It also earned 4,400 “angry” reactions, compared to some 6,000 positive reactions

Another photo of Beast sporting a red, blue and white headband drew over 4,700 positive reactions and only seven “angry” ones.
Orthodox Jews Call on US Congress to Pass ‘Pray Safe’ Act to Protect Houses of Worship From Violence
The main organization representing Orthodox Jews in the US has urged Congress to approve bipartisan legislation that would enhance the security of the Jewish community and other faith groups while at prayer.

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union) called on the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to approve the Pray Safe Act (S.2123) at its committee markup session on Wednesday. The legislation would establish a federal clearinghouse on safety and security to govern best practices for faith-based organizations.

Drafted by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), the Pray Safe Act would direct the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Department of Justice, the Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and other agencies, to create the clearinghouse, which would provide at risk houses of worship and other faith-based organizations with the most up-to-date safety and security recommendations, as well as information on federal resources and relevant grant programs.

The Orthodox Union’s Executive Director for Public Policy, Nathan Diament, said it was “tragic that in the United States today, synagogues, churches, temples and other houses of worship can’t be assumed to be sanctuaries from violence and have been the sites of faith-targeted violence.”
LAPD Statistics Show Serious Rise in Antisemitic Hate Crimes in the City
Antisemitic violence has risen precipitously in Los Angeles, with an increase of almost 60% over last year.

The data-focused local news resource Crosstown, based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, cited LAPD statistics showing 43 reported hate crimes against Jews in the first six months of 2021.

That marked a 59.2% increase over the same period in 2020, and twice as much as in 2018.

The spike corresponded with a general rise in reported hate crimes, with the LAPD recording 62 in April — the highest for a single month in a decade. In total, 295 hate crimes were reported for the first half of 2021.

Jews constituted the third-largest victim group, with 14.6% of all hate crimes being antisemitic. Slightly over 5% of the city’s population is Jewish.

Just over a quarter of attacks — the largest share — were recorded as “anti-Black or African American,” with 16.3% of incidents targeting Hispanics, the second largest category.

In addition, a special report released in June by California’s attorney general showed a 107% rise in hate crimes against Asians in 2020, likely motivated by stereotypes and racism resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

Besides the general trend, Los Angeles was not immune to the national rise in antisemitic hate crimes that took place during and after Israel’s 11-day conflict with Hamas in May. In one highly publicized incident, members of a convoy waving Palestinian flags was filmed attacking Jewish diners at a Beverly Grove restaurant.

Israel startups raised a record $11.9 billion from Jan-June
Israeli companies raised a record $ 11.9 billion in the first half of 2021, more than the total amount of $10.3 billion raised in 2020, according to the Israeli IVC-Meitar Tech Review published Wednesday.

38 investments of over $100 million each were responsible for approximately 50% of the total amount raised in the first half of the year, the report said. $50 million or more were invested in 79 deals, compared to 47 such transactions in 2020 and 39 such transactions in 2019.

During the second quarter of 2021, 230 transactions were completed, for a record investment amount of $6.52 billion. The number of transactions completed in the first half of 2021 was equal to 66% of all transactions completed in 2020, the report said.

The majority of capital flowed towards companies in the fintech and cybersecurity verticals. Cybersecurity companies raised $2.9 billion in the first six months of 2021, almost 25% of the total amount raised in this period. In fintech, there were 57 investments, compared to 26 deals in the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile, a record 48 Israeli companies completed their IPO in the first half of 2021, raising a total of $8.42 billion. Of those, 35 were done on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), accounting for about $1 billion, or 12% of the total. This indicates that TASE has become a valid platform for technology companies of certain valuations to go public, the report noted.
Former US treasurer Mnuchin leads $275 million funding in Israeli Cybereason
US-Israeli cybersecurity firm Cybereason, which uses behavioral analytics to discover threats, said it has raised $275 million in financing to increase its operations and the sale of its artificial-intelligence based software.

The funding was led by Liberty Strategic Capital, with additional backing provided by Irving Investors, certain funds advised by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers LLC, and Softbank Vision Fund 2. Liberty Strategic Capital is the private equity firm set up earlier this year by former US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin. Cybereason is the fund’s first investment.

The latest round of investment “triples” the Israeli firm’s valuation, the statement said. Industry sources estimated that the latest funding round brings the valuation of Cybereason to over $3 billion.

The latest funding follows $389 million raised in prior funding by the nine-year old firm, from Softbank Group, CRV, Spark Capital and Lockheed Martin, the company said in a statement.

“Cybereason is fast becoming the global leader in cyber defense technology, and we could not be more pleased to make this extraordinary innovator the first addition to Liberty Strategic Capital’s portfolio,” said Mnuchin, founder and managing partner of Liberty Strategic Capital.
A Better Cocoa Bean? Israel Launches Accelerator to Give Ghana’s Farming Startups a High-Tech Boost
Before he became the poultry king of Ghana, Kwabena Darko was a young student in central Israel.

Hailing from a small village in Ghana’s southern Ashanti region, Darko won a scholarship in the late 1950s to study poultry science and agriculture at the Ruppin Institute, near the Israeli city of Netanya. By 1967, he had returned to his home country and left his family pasture to start Darko Farms, which has since grown to become a chicken-producing empire and one of the largest agricultural businesses in Ghana.

Fledgling Ghanaian entrepreneurs inspired by Darko’s journey will now have their own chance to learn from Israel’s world-renowned agriculture expertise, and use it to improve the local production of cocoa, yams or other key crops. At least five local agri-tech startups will be chosen to participate in the Israel-Ghana AgriTechAccel — a six-week week virtual program starting on October 11.

“A lot of Ghanaians were sent to Israel, came back and became preachers for Israeli agriculture. One of them is now a millionaire. They know that Israel is very big on agriculture and technology,” Shani Cooper, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to Ghana, told The Algemeiner after having recently ended her 5-year tenure. “They adore Israel also because of the religious, biblical-oriented education. I can drive on the road in Ghana and I can see people selling Israeli flags together with US flags.”

The pilot accelerator program — managed by the Israeli Embassy in Ghana, the Pears Program for Global Innovation in Israel and Innohub Limited — seeks to help promising Ghanaian startups bring their ideas to the next level with the help of Israeli tech experts, and to support Ghana’s desire to expand productivity in the agricultural sector.

“These will be agricultural startups that already have a prototype, a solution at hand; they tried it out and now it is time to upgrade it. The idea is that startups and farmers will gain,” said Cooper. “The Israeli experts will mentor the startups on technology rather than how to do business in their own country.”
Druze hospital director chosen as new coronavirus commissioner
Prof. Salman Zarka was appointed by Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz as Israel’s next coronavirus commissioner on Wednesday. He will replace outgoing commissioner Prof. Nachman Ash, who was selected as the ministry’s new director-general, at the helm of Magen Israel, the special task force set up to coordinate the fight against COVID-19.

“I will work in full partnership with experts and political leaders in a professional and determined manner, always having the values of the medical profession before my eyes,” Zarka said. “The coronavirus pandemic is not just a health issue, it is a complex issue concerning the national security of the State of Israel. We must take into account all the considerations and broad implications of dealing with the virus.” Zarka has been director-general of Ziv Medical Center in Safed for the past seven years and was already a member of the committee of experts advising the authorities on the pandemic.

A graduate of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the doctor is an epidemiologist, teaches at both Bar-Ilan and Hebrew universities, and is also an expert in public health and public health administration.
Holocaust Survivor Recalls Atrocities and Reflects on Current Antisemitism
Ernest Weiss, a Holocaust survivor, recalled his experiences during the Holocaust in a sit-down interview with the Journal.

Weiss, 94, was born in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia. “Under the Czechs, we didn’t feel the antisemitism,” he said. “It’s not that it was not there, but the Czechs did not allow it.” But when Nazi-allied Hungary took control in 1938, “you are beginning to feel the antisemitism.” “Children … got beaten up on the street. Even if you go to school, you get beaten up because you were Jewish.”

Eventually, Nazi soldiers entered the city and began implementing discriminatory measures against the Jews, such as forcing them to wear the yellow Star of David badge. “We felt discriminated, but we had no choice. But we were still doing our things.”

Weiss recalled his oldest brother’s (Weiss had two older brothers) love for the United States and how he dreamed of going there with Weiss and starting their own business. But that dream was never fulfilled, as Weiss’s brother was conscripted into the Hungarian army; Jewish members of the army were put into forced labor. Weiss’s brother was never seen again after he was sent to the army and his body has never been found.

The Nazis later turned Munkacs into a ghetto and forced all the Jews to move into it; groups of Jews were moved to a brick factory on the outskirts of the ghetto, where there were railroad tracks for cattle cars to take them to the Auschwitz death camp. At Auschwitz, when Weiss was 16, he was sent to the workforce with his father and other brother. Weiss was lucky because he looked young. If he had been sent with the children, Weiss would have gone straight to the gas chambers.
First Temple-era walls, razed in biblical account, found unbreached in Jerusalem
In a potential contradiction to the biblical account of the 586 BCE destruction of Jerusalem, continuing excavations in Jerusalem’s City of David National Park have revealed a previously unseen section of the First Temple-period fortification wall that was breached — but apparently not entirely razed — by the Babylonians.

According to 2 Kings 25:10, “The entire Chaldean [Babylonian] force that was with the chief of the guard tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side” (The Jewish Publication Society Tanakh). But this newly found extant section of the eastern city wall, connected to two previously excavated and documented sections, means that potentially the entire length of the eastern border was not in fact torn down by the conquering Babylonians.

With this discovery, archaeologists are now able to reconstruct the run of the wall that encircled the ancient Kingdom of Judah capital on the eve of its destruction, which is commemorated by the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av on Sunday.

The new eastern section connects with two other previously discovered adjacent wall sections found in the 1960s by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon and in the 1970s by archaeologist Yigal Shiloh. By connecting the dots on the map, there is now an almost continuous 200-meter (656-foot) fortified wall on the eastern slope of the City of David facing the Kidron Valley. This new section was uncovered during excavations in 2020.

The fortification wall was constructed in the late 8th century or early 7th BCE, Israel Antiquities Authority excavation co-director Dr. Joe Uziel, who is also the head of the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls unit, told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

Whether the fortifications were built before the earlier siege of the Assyrians in 701 BCE or later is still unclear. Pinpointing a more precise date is “a little too fine-tuned in terms of archaeological data we have,” said Uziel, who added that “hopefully in the future we’ll be able to narrow it down more.”
NBA Legend Rick Barry Visits Kids at Basketball Camp in Jerusalem
Barry, who played for the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, told them: “You can talk about preparation, dedication, determination; you can talk about all these wonderful characteristics to help you be a successful person. What it all boils down to—the one characteristic you have to have if you really want to be good at what you’re doing in life—you have to get confidence in your ability to do what it is you’ve trained to do.”

He also shared on Twitter photos from his visit to the basketball camp.

The camp is run by former American-Israeli basketball player Tamir Goodman, dubbed by Sports Illustrated magazine as the “Jewish Jordan.”

While speaking with StandWithUs, Goodman thanked Barry for taking time to speak at the camp, saying, “You see how much he cares about the kids; he cares about the game. It’s something that the kids will always remember and it definitely enhanced their life, so I’m thankful for it.”

Barry later talked to StandWithUs about enjoying his stay in Israel, which he called “an amazing country.”

“I don’t think people around the world understand how many amazing innovations have come out of Israel,” he added. “The Jewish people are an amazing group of people. Wonderful people. I told Tamir yesterday that I don’t think you can have a better friend than a Jewish friend.”

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