Sunday, July 25, 2021

From Ian:

Yes, BDS is a terrorist group
This is not about semantics, and it's a shame the State of Israel needed an ice-cream crisis in the summer to be reminded of the existence and effectiveness of the BDS campaign. One need only visit a European, Canadian, or American college campus during Israeli Apartheid Week to see why to understand that, to put it mildly, you wouldn't want to make your Jewishness overly obvious to others. If there is one challenge Herzog can tackle head-on, in direct continuation of his previous role as Jewish Agency chief, it is to make Israelis aware of this shocking terrorism.

For some reason, here in the Jewish state, the issue has been downplayed. It's not spoken about or taught. Television studios don't bring in Jewish or Israeli students studying overseas to share their stories. In Israel, there is complete ignorance of the issue.

The utter silence in response to a number of lecturers from Haifa University, Bar-Ilan University, and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev calling on Berlin not to recognize the BDS movement as antisemitism is absolutely stunning. Through their letter, these lecturers not only lent a hand to antisemitism, but they also lent a letter to violence, meaning actual terrorism, against Jews, Israelis, and their supporters in Germany. Those unfamiliar with the overseas campus experience could be forgiven for being naïve enough to think this was just another show of support for an ideological movement that sends letters to the editor of Haaretz and The New York Times. This simply isn't the case.

The amazing thing is that this movement does not conceal its objectives or actions: It is a movement that opposes Israel's existence within any borders, whose supporters wave signs with Nazi symbols, and promotes conspiracy theories on every issue on the agenda, accusing Israel of anything and everything from the September 11 attacks to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. On campuses, BDS terrorizes any lecturer who merely contemplates teaching a course that offers a balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not only will doing so put any future promotions at risk but their physical safety and ability to get through a seminar will also be threatened, ultimately leading to their firing.

The BDS movement seeks to remove the Jewish or Zionist voice from the non-Israeli space by any means necessary, regardless of whether that requires connecting to radical leftist or radical right-wing cells. In Israel, BDS proponents support the movement either in excessive good or bad faith. We must hope Herzog's much-needed call leads to greater coverage of the BDS movement's activities.
You’re focused on the wrong thing
No, dearest friends, it's not enough to just kick both Ben and Jerry out of your homes and stores. You need to kick yourselves out of your foreign countries as well! All these signs that have been posted by stores proudly displaying that they “We Stand with Israel” need to be changed to “We Stand in Israel” because that is what the Jewish nation needs more than anything else.

This twisted attitude reminded me of the difficult time in Israel during the knife attacks. It started on Sukkot, a few years ago, when an innocent Jew was stabbed – almost daily - as he/she was shopping or simply standing at a bus stop. Remember the holy Ari Fuld? He was one of those victims, may HaShem avenge his blood. After one of those horrific stabbings inside a Rami Levy supermarket, by an Arab employee, the owner - Rami Levy himself, announced that all knives would immediately be removed from the shelves. Wow! What a bold move… no more knives will be sold in Rami Levy!! There’s only one small problem… 80% of Rami Levy employees are Arabs and – last I checked – it wasn’t the knife that did the stabbing…

Throwing out the knives is similar to throwing out the ice-cream. The intention is good, but the action is meaningless. Let’s be honest; keeping the Arabs but throwing out the knives won’t save Jewish lives and keeping the Jews in America while throwing out the ice-cream won’t accomplish much either.

Therefore, here’s what really needs to be done. Call Nefesh b’Nefesh and get your Aliyah moving along. Then, at the big “Going Home to Israel Party”, serve Ben & Jerry’s to all your guests. Get the Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake (my personal favorite) and take as many selfies as possible. Send them to both Jerry & Ben with the line; “Thanks to you, we are moving to Israel with a sweet taste in our mouth!” Then get on the plane and never look back.
'Ben & Jerry's will regret the day they boycotted Israel'
In a letter to Unilever, Shurat Hadin asserted that it plans to assert ownership of the brand in Judea and Samaria, citing us legislation that under US law, in order for Unilever to preserve trademark protection for the Ben & Jerry's brand name against use by other entities, it must demonstrate full intent to conduct business in a particular area.

By announcing that the company does not intend to operate in Judea and Samaria, the British conglomerate has forfeited the right to claim said trademark as its own, the NGO argued.

Shurat Hadin chief Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told Israel Hayom that "Unilever is no longer in a position to enforce its trademark in these areas.

"These are our new weapons and approach in the war against BDS: Anyone who stops selling their products in Israel will find that we have taken over their trademarks and rights. Ben & Jerry's will regret the day they boycotted Israel. "

Brooke Goldstein, executive director of the Lawfare Project and co-founder of the End Jew Hatred movement, said last week that the sheer size of Unilever opens it up to possible significant financial penalties.

"By virtue of its wayward subsidiary, Unilever – a massive international conglomerate – risks potentially crushing financial consequences in terms of its ability to receive investments from, or do business with, the majority of US states," she said.

Joseph Lieberman: The inspirational life of Menachem Begin
Winston Churchill once wrote, "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to go."

I thought of those words recently after watching "Upheaval," a new documentary film produced by the Hidden Light Institute in Denver about the life of Menachem Begin, Israel's sixth prime minister. Begin's public life ended almost three decades ago, but this film offers insights and lessons in leadership, civility, antisemitism and Israel that are surprisingly relevant in our time.

Menachem Begin was born in 1913 in Brest, Russia, now Belarus. Motivated by strong Zionist ideological beliefs and the antisemitism he saw around him, he became active in the Zionist youth movement, and in 1940 was arrested and imprisoned in a Soviet gulag. His parents and most of the rest of his family were murdered in the Holocaust.

After his release from a Soviet labor camp, he made his way to Israel, then administered by the British under a League of Nations mandate. There, he became a leader in Irgun, an underground Zionist paramilitary organization that had split from the mainstream Zionist movement to pursue the more aggressive goal of forcing the British army out of Israel by publicizing British repression and carrying out acts of violence against British personnel.

When the British Army did leave and the State of Israel was reborn in 1948, Begin became the leader of a conservative political party, Herut (Freedom), which for 30 years was in opposition to the dominant Labor Party. Labor's reign ended in 1977 when Begin's newly formed coalition, known as Likud, shocked the Israeli political establishment. Begin became prime minister, largely by organizing and energizing so-called Mizrachi voters – Jews who had immigrated to Israel from the Arab world and North Africa.

During his time in Israel's top job, Begin showed that he was capable of making both war and peace. Not only did he preemptively attack and destroy an Iraqi nuclear power facility in 1981, but he also made peace with Egypt and then-President Anwar Sadat, the first such accord between modern Israel and an Arab country.
Pro-Israel event draws hundreds of fervent Christian supporters
Jews are rarely so uninhibited in their support of Israel as evangelical Christians in the United States, whose support for the Jewish state during the weekend's Christians United for Israel Summit in Dallas, seemed to be a testament of faith.

The organization's founder, evangelical Pastor John Hagee, set the tone during his address to more than 700 donors and leaders of the organization in person in a hotel ballroom, as well as general membership who watched it livestreamed, during the first night of the summit titled "A Night to Honor Israel."

"Israel is not a political issue," said Hagee. "Israel is a biblical issue. If you believe the Bible, you will support the Jewish people."

He said that especially, those who do not believe the 12th Chapter of Genesis do not understand the Bible.

"I shall bless those who bless you, and shall curse those who curse you, and all clans on earth will bless themselves by you," the verse states.

Hagee believes that besides blessing Israel, non-Jews are indebted to Jews and should provide them with material blessings, as the Jews have provided gentiles with spiritual blessings.

"What spiritual things? The Jewish people have given us the Bible. Every word in the Bible was written by Jewish people. They [gave us] the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," he said. "They gave to us the prophets. There's not a Baptist in the bunch; they're all Jewish people."

And finally, he said, the Jewish people gave the world Jesus, without who they would not be there at all.
Israel officially launches direct flights to Morocco
Direct flights between Israel and Morocco began Sunday, seven months after the two countries officially signed an agreement to normalize relations.

El Al and Israir both launched their first flights to Marrakesh on Sunday with a ceremony marking the historic flights.

Jerusalem and Rabat agreed to normalize relations last December following the Abraham Accords. The agreement followed similar ones with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

On December 22, the first-ever flight between the two countries carried an American and Israeli delegation led by then-White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Sunday’s flights marked the beginning of normal air travel for commercial passengers.

Israir’s flight left Israel at 8:15 a.m., with stewardesses dressed in traditional Moroccan garb and Moroccan foods served on board. Supermarket magnate Rami Levy was among the passengers.

The El Al flight that took off at 11:20 a.m. was decorated with Moroccan flags and carpets.
A Palestinian State Would Cripple US Interests in the Region
Would a Palestinian state resolve or exacerbate the Israel-Palestinian conflict?

Would a Palestinian state enhance or erode Middle East stability?

Would a focus on the Palestinian issue bolster or cripple the expansion of the Israel-Arab peace process?

Would a Palestinian state advance or undermine US interests?

The “two-state solution” policy is based on the following assumptions:
- The Palestinian issue is crucial to Arab countries and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
- The proposed Palestinian state would peacefully coexist with the Jewish state.
- Land-for-peace is a prerequisite for the resolution of the Palestinian issue, requiring an Israeli retreat from land (the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria), which is the cradle of Jewish history and pivotal to Israel’s national security.
- A dramatic Israeli territorial concession, buttressed by a game-changing international financial package, would entice the Palestinians to abandon the goal to eliminate the Jewish state.
- The Palestinians are amenable to a permanent (not tactical) peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state.

Are these assumptions consistent with the Palestinian track record?

NSO Group Executives Discusses Pegasus, Says Company Has Nothing to Hide Pt. (I)

NSO Group Executives Discusses Pegasus, Says Company Has Nothing to Hide Pt. (II)

European Union, Amnesty, ACLU: Give Terrorists Unemployment Benefits, Psychological Counseling (satire)
As numerous cities head back into lockdown due to the coronavirus Delta variant, jihadists still continue to find themselves out of human targets, and therefore out of jobs.

The European Union released a statement about the financial distress that Covid19 is causing terrorist organizations.

“The European Union is concerned by the shutting down of entire cities, and indeed countries, causing militant Islamists a devastating loss of livelihood. Terrorism as a profession is met with severe discrimination on the job market, and militant Islamists therefore find themselves unable to apply for unemployment benefits alongside millions of others who have lost their jobs because of Covid-19. Just as corona does not discriminate, governments should not discriminate. The European Union strongly recommends that terrorists be allowed to apply for unemployment benefits”, according to an EU spokeswoman.

The Mideast Beast also spoke to Amnesty International:
“More than anything”, a spokesperson for Amnesty said, “The emotional distress and psychological harm that militant Islamists experience from being unable to target Westerners who have become inaccessible due to self-isolation at home, is probably incalculable. Terrorists experience greater levels of depression and anxiety than many other victims of unemployment, because they see their profession as a calling from God”.

The destruction of the Jewish Temple is a “myth,” according to PA TV’s “Israeli affairs expert”
PA TV “Israeli affairs expert” Fayez Abbas: “Today is a [day of] fast and mourning for the destruction of the Temple (i.e., Tisha B’av)… They [the Jews] are attempting to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque today because of the fast and this anniversary of what they call- or the myth of the destruction of the Temple.”

Tisha B’Av - Jewish day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem (586 BCE and 70 CE) and the forced exile of most of the Jewish people from the land of Israel.

The PA and its leaders misrepresent all of the Temple Mount as an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, they vilify any presence of Jews on the mount as an "invasion." It should be noted that Jews who visit the Temple Mount only enter some sections of the open areas, and do not enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Israeli police ban Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount because of threats of violence by Palestinians.

History distortion: PA leaders deny existence of Jewish Temples
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein: There is an attack [by Israel] against the existence of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There are calls to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and establish the alleged Temple in its place. This became clear on the anniversary of what they call the memorial day of the so-called destruction of the alleged Temple (i.e., Tisha B’Av)…

PA Presidential Office Advisor Ahmed Al-Ruweidi: “They think that this is the best time for establishing the alleged Temple that they speak about … Our position is clear: This is our land, this is our mosque, the Al-Aqsa Mosque with its entire territory of 144 dunams (i.e., all of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall), and it is an exclusive right of the Muslims and no one shares this with them… In conversations with diplomatic representatives here in Jerusalem, we told them clearly: “What is happening at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is laying the groundwork for a religious war that will reach you, your countries.”

Muhammad Hussein also serves as Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman and Deputy Secretary-General and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem.

Tisha B’Av - Jewish day of mourning commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem (586 BCE and 70 CE) and the forced exile of most of the Jewish people from the land of Israel.

Abbas never opposed any…action that could contribute to this occupation leaving, says Fatah official
Fatah Revolutionary Council Secretary Majed Al-Fatiani: "It needs to be made clear that Fatah is not just raising slogans of “popular uprising”. Fatah is adopting and leading this popular resistance and it is part of the Palestinian organizational and fighting activity. Fatah – in cooperation with the forces and factions of the Palestinian national action – will establish the united leadership for this popular resistance... [PA chairman Abbas] never opposed any decision or position or action that could contribute to this occupation leaving."

The terms "peaceful uprising/resistance” and “popular uprising/resistance" are used by PA leaders at times to refer to peaceful protest and at times to refer to deadly terror attacks and terror waves. For example, ?Mahmoud Abbas defined as “peaceful popular” the murderous terror during the 2015-2016 ?terror wave (“The Knife Intifada”), in which 40 people were killed (36 Israelis, 1 Palestinian, 2 Americans and 1 Eritrean) and hundreds wounded in stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks. Abbas said: "We want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is."

Reports: Hezbollah Commander, IRGC Senior Official Killed in Israeli Strikes
Israeli strikes reportedly killed a Hezbollah military commander and an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) senior official.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that Hezbollah military commander Imad al-Amin was killed in western Syria and the Lebanese terrorist group confirmed his death.

Saudi outlet Al-Arabiya had originally reported the Israeli strike and also reported on another Israeli attack near Homs that killed Ahmad Qurayshi, a senior IRGC official.

A report on Saturday said that Russia intends to curtail Israel’s military operations in Syria by supplying the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with stronger air defenses.

Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, Israel has routinely carried out raids in Syria, mostly targeting government positions and allied Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces and weapons convoys.

Biden Needs a Long Spoon in Vienna
[T]he so-called "nuclear issue" has always been a diversion designed to focus attention on a phantom while the living monster, wielding blood-soaked dagger, goes around spreading mayhem and murder.

[Obama] failed, or refused, to ask the real questions: is the Islamic Republic not a threat to regional peace and the global rule of law with or without its ridiculous uranium enrichment show?

Hasn't the Islamic Republic been the world's number one sponsor of international terrorism for four decades with or without enriching uranium? Was the seizing of over 600 hostages from 32 countries, including the US and all major European states, ever linked to uranium enrichment?

The mullahs assume that as long as they can hoodwink the world, notably the Americans who are suckers for self-deception, by propelling the "nuclear" phantom they could have a free hand to kill and kidnap and destroy the very fabric of statehood in several regional countries while receiving cash rewards from the US and its major allies who pretend to be guardians of global law and order.

That long spoon could be made of a simple reversal of the order in which the talks are held. First, let's talk about terrorism, exporting revolution, money laundering, kidnapping and hitmen without frontiers. Only then we could talk about uranium enrichment and the unfreezing of assets.

There is even no need for Biden and allies to talk about "human rights" and things like that which have become a staple of hollow global diplomacy, because those who demand respect for such rights don't really mean it and those who hear them know that they don't.
Seth Frantzman: Iranian-backed militias in Syria are buying up real estate
Pro-Iranian and Iranian-backed militias are recruiting locals, buying up land and homes and even seeking “demographic change” in areas of Syria near the Euphrates River and along the corridor from the city of Deir Ezzor to Albukamal and other areas, according to a report. This area has become festooned with bases and facilities linked to Iran and its militias, including the Imam Ali base near Albukamal and areas along the river and further inland toward the T-4 base, where Iran has assets.

“Destruction engulfs entire Syrian cities,” Al-Ain media in the Gulf said in a report about how this will affect the Syrian countryside. The real-estate purchases take place not only in Deir Ezzor but also toward the city of Raqqa, which was once controlled by ISIS, the report said. Deir Ezzor was under siege by the global jihadist movement during part of the Syrian civil war. Since 2019, Iran has sought to play a larger role in this corridor. The strategic corridor connects the Syrian regime to Iraq and also connects Hezbollah to pro-Iran militias in the country.

Missiles and weapons flow through this area. Militias linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including some recruited from faraway Afghanistan and Pakistan, have come to this area.

According to the article, the militias have intensified recruitment efforts. The article is apparently based on a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said: “The Iranian militias, under orders from Tehran, have recruited young men from al-Mayadin, Albukamal and other areas in Deir Ezzor to implement their plan.”
Seth Frantzman: Will Russia try to close Syrian airspace to further Israeli airstrikes?
Russia could be moving to pressure Israel to stop airstrikes in Syria. Reports began to surface this weekend, beginning with an article at London-based Asharq al-Awsat that cited a “well-informed” Russian source.

The report was carried in Turkey and other media in the region with interest. According to these reports, Russia might even strengthen the Syrian regime’s air defenses.

What do the reports say? The Russian source hinted at the possibility of “closing Syrian airspace” to Israeli planes, Asharq al-Awsat reported. This comes in response to allegations that Israel has “intensified their raids in the past two days against Iranian and Hezbollah sites in northern and central Syria.”

Russia released two statements in the wake of a raid “targeting a research center in the countryside of Aleppo, and the other on a site for Iranian forces to be stationed in Al-Qusayr, near Homs,” the report said.

“This is directly related to the talks that were launched with the United States following the first summit that brought together presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden last month,” the Russian source told the Arabic website, adding that “Moscow was calculating its reactions in the past because Tel Aviv [Jerusalem] is coordinating all its movements with Washington, while the Russian communication channels with Washington were cut off, and it appeared, from the current contacts with the American side, that Moscow obtained confirmation that Washington does not welcome the continuous Israeli raids.”
Iranian medalist who fled country exacts revenge through Olympic win
Sunday's taekwondo match between Kimia Alizadeh and Iran's Nahid Kiyanichandeh at the Tokyo Olympic Games is not one viewers will likely forget soon.

Alizadeh is a former Iranian taekwondoin, who won a bronze medal for the Islamist Republic at the Rio Olympics back in 2016, the only woman to do so in her homeland's history. She has since fled to Germany, after having had enough of the regime that used her as a propaganda tool, she said.

Iran has a long history of using its athletes for its political agendas. It has repeatedly withdrawn athletes from international competitions that would match them up against Israeli athletes and in 2020 executed 27-year-old judoka Navid Afkari who dared criticize the regime.

Competing under the white flag of the Refugee Olympic team, 23-year old Alizadeh beat former compatriot Kiyanichandeh in the women's 57 kilograms (125 pounds) elimination round.

She was a clear favorite in the arena, and was received with applause by members of the media and the few spectators present in the venue. No general public viewers are allowed this year inside the Olympic arenas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheers erupted again when Alizadeh finished the match against Kiyanichandeh with an 18-9 win. She is one of three taekwondoins and 29 athletes competing for the refugee team at Tokyo.
CAIR Smears and Distorts an Israeli Police Exchange Program
The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was intent on making news this week, but apparently it couldn’t decide how.

The objective was clear — to smear the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), because GILEE takes American police leaders to Israel.

CAIR’s effort was part of a years-long campaign by Israel-bashers — such as the Jewish Voice for Peace “Deadly Exchange” campaign — to discredit similar police exchanges. For years, they have claimed that the programs are somehow responsible for police violence in America, especially against Black people.

CAIR issued a release Sunday touting a “Press Conference to Release Report on Anti-Muslim Police Training Program” the next day. The CAIR Georgia chapter also promoted its intent “to Publish Report Documenting Anti-#Muslim, Anti-#Arab Bigotry in #Georgia #Police Training Program.”

But there was no new report to release. The document CAIR officials touted Monday was issued in 2019. At some point, someone at CAIR may have realized a two-year-old report is a weak hook on which to hang a news conference. So the message changed.

CAIR’s national Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said his organization decided to “designate GILEE as an anti-Muslim hate group … that is an official designation now.” That language was not mentioned in the news release. But if Atlanta allows its police department to continue working with GILEE, “they’ll be working with an officially designated anti-Muslim hate group.”

This meaningless “designation” was not mentioned in CAIR’s news release or Twitter announcement. And, applying the same rigorous standards, CAIR could be “officially designated” as an anti-free press, pro-authoritarian hate group.
Uncritical Race Theory
Let me say at the outset that Critical Race Theory is a dangerous, completely unsubstantiated pseudo-theory of race that has now become dogma in academia. It, along with the equally false theory of Intersectionality, are the most serious threats to the sanity and unity of the United States since the Civil War. They are responsible for the current woke idea that the USA is systemically racist. And it is responsible for the increase in Jew-hatred that is discriminating against Jewish students and businesses across the country. And yet to dare to say so invites unbelievable counterattacks that impugn one’s integrity, honesty, and humanity.

The USA, like any other country, has its rich, poor, privileged, and disadvantaged of all races and colors. There are huge gaps between the rich and the poor and it is a problem that must be taken seriously. But it will not be achieved by stressing victimhood, any more than it has solved the Palestinian problem.

The theory claims that all whites are systematic racist and colonial oppressors and responsible for all the ills that have befallen the black community. This then links to the theory that all oppressed peoples share a common disadvantage and suffer in precisely the same way by similar forces. Yet if one is prepared to lump Islamophobia with racism and sexism, on what basis do they exclude antisemitism except as they define it. As if Muslims or Blacks would accept a Jew defining them? And to make matters worse these misplaced and inaccurate theories have precipitated the largest amount of Jew-hatred since Hitler and Stalin.

Every single empire, every people black, white, Christian, Muslim, Asian, and Western, and many years ago Israelite, has at some stage been colonial and oppressive to some degree. Some have managed to overcome disadvantages by being proactive. Others have fallen back on dependency and made a virtue out of failure.

There are pockets of racism. But does this mean that every institution in the USA is staffed by people who hate and discriminate against minorities or majorities? The changes that have taken place over the past fifty years have been enormous. Huge swathes of the Black population are now wealthy members of the middle and upper classes right up to the presidency. How can the USA be systematically racist if it voted twice for Obama and where black men and women are heads of some of the biggest companies and institutions in the land?
BDS: New York, New Jersey activists to block Israeli cargo ship
Thousands of activists in New York City and New Jersey are set to mobilize at the Port of New York Sunday morning to block an Israeli-operated cargo ship from unloading in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Scheduled for 6 a.m. EST at the Maher Terminal in Elizabeth, New Jersey – which, despite being in New Jersey, is still part of the Port of New York – the activists are set to block the ship ZIM Qingdao, operated by the Israeli international shipping company ZIM, from unloading.

According to a press release, this is part of a global movement, with over 8,000 people worldwide pledging to mobilize at different ports around the world to #BlockTheBoat.

This is not the first time BDS activists have mobilized at ports to stop Israeli cargo ships from unloading.

Legendary Jewish Stand-Up Comedian Jackie Mason Dies at 93
Jackie Mason, a former rabbi who went from Catskills comic to hit one-man shows, passed away on Saturday at the age of 93.

Mason died at 6:00 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. His death was confirmed by longtime friend and entertainment lawyer Raoul Felder, AP reported.

His memory was honored by celebrities of all stripes. Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame tweeted, “I took my folks to see Jackie Mason on Broadway twice. I have never seen them laugh harder. A comic from a different time but one of the best.”

Mason was born Jacob Maza in Sheboygan, Wisconsin on June 9, 1928. His family moved to Manhattan when he was five years old. He came from a family of rabbis.

“Not only his father, but his grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfathers had all been rabbis. His three older brothers became rabbis, and his two younger sisters married rabbis,” the New York Times reported in its obituary.

“It was unheard-of to think of anything else,” Mason once said. “But I knew, from the time I’m 12, I had to plot to get out of this, because this is not my calling.”

He eventually settled on comedy.

“I don’t think people who feel comfortable or happy are motivated to become comedians. You’re searching for something and you’re willing to pay a high price to get that attention,” he told AP in 1987.

Mason started his show business career working summers in the Catskills in upstate New York, known as the “Borscht Belt” for its summer resorts that catered to Jewish families starting in the 1920s.
Seeing Jackie Mason was seeing a genius at work
Jackie was alone in Los Angeles and he and I spent a great deal of time together. In our hours together going to events, interviews and late-night kibitzing sessions, I was surprised at the depth of his interest in me and my family and, even more surprisingly, his almost tender questions about the state of my marriage and relationship to other members of my family. A rabbi doing pastoral work, perhaps? It was during these hours that Jackie and I became friends.

His show ended but in the ensuing years, when I was traveling more than 200,000 miles a year for business, I would get together with him any time we were in the same city. We met and kibitzed in Sarasota, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Chicago and others and, of course, New York. Every time I was in New York, I would see Jackie; mostly at his late-night “meeting” of friends, a collection of sad sacks, has-beens and losers (he called me his only “normal” friend) where no subject was taboo and everything was on the table, but sometimes for dinner with his wife, Jyll Rosenfeld and his best friend Raoul Lionel Felder (the lawyer and former client of mine who introduced us).

What do I remember most? Anytime Jackie did television interviews he would refuse makeup. And concerned that the makeup artist would be punished for his appearance after he refused, he would ask “Will they blame you?” and shmear them with a green bill or two in their palms. In all of those late night coffee sessions, he took the check and left a more-than-generous tip for the server. And, most of all, he always stopped and talked to anyone who recognized him and he did so in a warm and genuine way.

Jackie Mason was my friend and an inspiration and mentor to me. May my friend Jackie know peace, and may Jyll, Raoul and all of those who, like me, loved Jackie, know peace. And may his memory be for a blessing.
Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg, celebrated scientific mind, dies, 88
Born to Jewish immigrants, Weinberg's scientific accomplishments fueled his activism as a proud liberal and outspoken defender of Israel.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist and astronomer Prof. Steven Weinberg passed away Friday at the age of 88, according to a statement from the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin).

The cause of death has not yet been determined, though according to the Washington Post, he had been hospitalized for some time. Born in 1933 in New York City to Jewish immigrants, Weinberg would go on to have a landmark career in academia. His most famous work was a paper he published in 1967 that discussed the interaction between electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force – two of the universe's four fundamental forces, which work as part of a unified electroweak force.

Simply titled "A Model of Leptons," the paper was barely even three pages long, published in the academic journal Physical Review Letters. However, the impact it has has on the field of physics is nothing short of immense, being one of the single most cited works ever in the field of high-energy physics.

The equation-filled article discussed and theorized concepts and properties that had never been observed before, but which played key roles in the progression of the field. His predictions were supported in later years, including by the discovery of the Higgs boson particle in 2012 at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
Israeli coach of Czech basketball team, Iran counterpart shake hands at Olympics
The Israeli coach of the Czech Republic’s national men’s basketball team shook hands with his Iranian counterpart, Mehran Shahintab, during the Olympics tournament Sunday, in a rare exchange between members of the hostile nations.

“I shook his hand before the game started, and at the end, we also talked a bit about basketball,” Ronen Ginzburg told the Ynet news site.

“Obviously it’s special that an Israeli coach is leading a team against Iran,” he told the news site before the game.

“Perhaps this is also a message to the leaders [in Iran],” he added.

Iranian athletes have in the past thrown matches to avoid competing against Israelis. The Iranian Olympic basketball team did not, however, protest playing against the Israeli-coached Czech team on Sunday and was subsequently defeated 84-78.

During the game, Patrik Auda scored 16 points, Blake Schilb added 14 and the Czech Republic wasted most of a 22-point lead before holding on to beat Iran 84-78. Jan Vesely added 11 for the Czech Republic.

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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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