Monday, July 26, 2021

From Ian:

A hatred that dwells alone? Antisemitism debate cuts to heart of Zionist vision
Left and right

When the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville in 2017 chanted “Jews will not replace us,” they were deploying the same mechanism: Explain away real anxieties and fears by misdirecting them onto a nefarious Jewish power.

To European conservatives of the 19th century, Jews were the unwanted liberalizers or communist agitators. But they were no safer in the Soviet sphere in the 20th century, where they quickly became the regime’s favorite target.

Where conservatives and nationalists hated the Jews’ “cosmopolitanism,” communists depicted them as a capitalist vanguard and nationalist reactionaries whose clinging to their cultural distinctiveness threatened the global progressive revolution.

In hindsight, it might astonish us that Zionism could ever have believed the solution lay in changing the Jew. Antisemitism, then and now, was simply too useful to be abandoned just because the Jews of the eastern hemisphere had reorganized themselves into a nation-state.

Strident opposition to Israel’s existence on the ideological left has its intellectual roots in that Soviet antisemitism. In Soviet discourse, Jewish peoplehood was a very specific sort of threat: a retreat from the progressive project toward the old nationalisms that communism (and more to the point, Soviet imperialism) sought to eradicate. The USSR invested a great deal of effort in erasing Jewish distinctiveness, systematically persecuting and killing off the Jewish cultural elite and outlawing the study of Hebrew.

It was in Soviet ideology and its response to Jewish nonconformity that antisemitism became anti-Zionist — Israel was the epitome of the distinctiveness they sought to uproot. The Soviet intertwining of antisemitism and anti-Zionism swept through the Arab world to become a dominant paradigm of Arab politics for generations.

In March 1945, as Adolf Hitler hid in his Berlin bunker awaiting the Soviet advance on Berlin, Arab leaders met in Cairo to declare the founding of the Arab League. “It was organized around one principle unifying idea: being anti-Israel, the prevention of the creation of the State of Israel, and then after 1948, war against the State of Israel,” said Wisse.

Resisting Israel wasn’t one of the Arab League’s policies, it was its raison d’etre, the organizing principle of pan-Arab politics from that moment on.

“Why did they need to do that? They could have organized in 1945 against any other thing. It was a marvelous time for the Arabs. All their imperial overlords had been involved in this devastating war. Britain was crawling home. So suddenly the whole Arab world was free. They could have done anything,” Wisse said.

“But they couldn’t, because their leaders were worried about democracy, modernization. So the handiest thing was to organize [their politics] against the emergence of the State of Israel. This was their organizing tool. They used opposition to Israel as a unifying element among all these disparate and politically dysfunctional countries and leaderships.

“The more dysfunctional you are, the handier it is to point to Israel, to make Israel the target, to make Israel and the Jews” — and not your domestic troubles and failings — “the subject.”
David Collier: Twitter discriminates against me because I am a proud, unapologetic Jew
Twitter discriminates against me because I am a proud, unapologetic Jew. If you are Jewish and active on the platform – Twitter probably discriminates against you too.

Twitter is a biased platform. We all know that. But their ability to influence goes a lot further than simply not banning antisemites. They also decide who to legitimise and who to refuse to give that credit to. As an example, Twitter have just turned me down as a candidate for verification for the third time.

Last year there was a Jewish boycott of Twitter because of the platform’s unwillingness to take antisemitism seriously. Twitter provides a blatantly visible example of open discrimination – in which anti-Jewish racism is treated very differently. You can say almost anything about Jews on Twitter- yet Twitter rarely responds to complaints of antisemitism the way they would if the target was a different minority group. This blindness explains why antisemitism is so rampant on the platform.

When their own ‘partners’ point out their failings, Twitter cuts all contact – just as they did recently with the Campaign against Antisemitism. Through their inactivity and unwillingness to act, Twitter permit daily racist abuse against people like me.

But the non-banning or suspending of anti-Jewish racists is only one element of Twitter’s multi-faceted discriminatory environment. ‘Zionists’ are errantly seen as ‘right wing’ and the Twittersphere leans ‘progressive’ left – which means openly unapologetic Zionists are disfavoured on the platform. It is a shifting Overton window. As right-wing voices are cut more frequently, and for lesser crimes, than left-wing voices – what constitutes the middle ground, slowly, but consistently moves further left. Eventually what was once a centrist opinion becomes right-wing, and what was centre-right is then viewed as an extremist position- and those promoting it become vulnerable to censorship or expulsion. In such a manipulated test-tube, everyone who does not conform to the progressive mindset – is standing in quicksand.

I’ve been active against antisemitism and extremism for over two decades – but only turned to publicly associating with my own research with the start of this blog in 2014.

Within a year my research saw an MP disciplined (Guardian, Independent). I was the one there – reporting on Gerald Kaufman when he made his antisemitic comments about ‘Jewish money’. My research also played a large part in the fight against the one-sided conference scheduled to take place in 2015 at Southampton University. My analysis of the participating academics was used as the evidence with which to expose the hypocrisy and bias, and thus delegitimise the delegitimisers.

The Enigma of Colonel Richard Kemp CBE explained in his own Words
“Why?” was the question I asked Colonel Richard Kemp CBE during our recent meeting in Jerusalem. Why is the former head of the British military in Afghanistan, who is neither Jewish or Israeli, such an outspoken, eloquent and effective defender of the IDF and the Jewish State? He began his answer with this statement,
I was taught when I was a child to know right from wrong. And when I hear some of the lies, the propaganda and the malice that’s churned out in the international media, in universities, in high schools and so-called “human rights” groups, I know it’s wrong. I know it’s wrong what’s being said in relation to the IDF (Israel Defense Force).

Colonel Kemp then went on to explain that he served as the Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, and was a veteran of thirty years-service, and that he had fought in combat zones around the world including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Macedonia and Iraq, and that he was also present throughout the conflicts in Gaza in 2014 and the most recent “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in May this year, when the Iranian-backed Hamas Terror organization fired thousands of rockets into Israel.

He added that based on his experience and on his personal observations: the IDF does more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. He gave three main reasons for this. Firstly, Israel is a decent country with Western values, run on democratic principles. Israel has no more interest in war than Belgium does. In fact, Israel has never started a war. The only reason it ever goes to war is to defend itself. And it has to defend itself because, unlike Belgium, it is surrounded by countries and armed groups that want to destroy it. Secondly, Judaism, with its unsurpassed moral standards, remains a major influence on the citizens of Israel. “I say this as a non-Jew.” Thirdly, the army is composed overwhelmingly of citizen soldiers. Israel is a small country with a small professional army.

He also went on to express admiration for “Lone Soldiers” from abroad. During his visit he met with Harriet and Mark Levin, the parents of fallen Lone Soldier Michael Levin z”l (whose 15th Jahrzeit was commemorated by the Levins, IDF comrades and friends on Mt Herzl this month)

Angry over settlement boycott, NYC grocery chain to limit Ben & Jerry’s sales
A New York City-based grocery store chain will reduce the amount of shelf space it dedicates to Ben & Jerry’s products, following the ice cream company’s boycott of Israeli settlements.

John Catsimatidis, CEO of Gristede’s Supermarkets and a 2013 Republican candidate for mayor of New York City, announced the decision in a tweet Friday.

“I authorized our stores to cut Ben & Jerry’s space by 30% & not advertise until further notice. It’s a tragedy that Ben & Jerry’s has politicized ice cream,” Catsimatidis wrote.

The decision to stop sales of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in what the company called the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” has led some grocery stores, including Morton Williams, another New York City chain, to limit or stop selling the product. Videos of store owners throwing the ice cream in the trash circulated widely on social media in the days after the decision, with some former fans professing their newfound love of Haagen Dazs and Baskin Robbins, two other ice cream brands with Jewish roots.

The decision to halt sales of Ben & Jerry’s in the West Bank has triggered a review by five states of whether they will need to divest from Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company. Several states have enacted laws in recent years that would bar the state from doing business with companies engaged in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The main pension fund for New York’s state government workers and retirees warned Unilever on Friday that it might restrict its investments in the company, the New York Post reported.
Legal Israeli Group Creates 'Judea & Samaria Ben & Jerry's'

Israel's Ben & Jerry's Controversy: Inside The Story

CUNY union claimed 'Israel massacres Palestinians,' professors resign
The PSC-CUNY document, titled "Resolution in Support of the Palestinian People," opens by saying that "as an academic labor union committed to anti-racism, academic freedom, and international solidarity among workers, the PSC-CUNY cannot be silent about the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of lethal force by Israel ."

The resolution refers to a "practice of dispossession and expansion of settlements, dating back to [Israel's] establishment as a settler colonial state." It also talks about what it calls Israel's "state-sponsored policies of settler colonialism," which it says "link the Palestinian struggle for self determination to the struggles of Indigenous people and people of color in the United States."

It concludes with 3 resolutions. The first that PSC-CUNY "condemns the massacre of Palestinians by the Israeli state." The second that PSC-CUNY will facilitate discussions considering support of the BDS movement. The third resolution calls for the Biden administration to stop all aid "funding human rights violations and occupation that is illegal under international law."

PSC-CUNY President James Davis told the New York Post that the resolution caused some members of the union "distress," and said that there are conservative forces attempting to use the resolution to damage the union by causing members to resign.

Twenty ways the Western media attacks Israel
As reported by Fox News in June, an open letterfrom journalists representing mainstream and left-wing media outlets this week called on other journalists to cover Israel as a violent and oppressive "apartheid" state — all in the name of "objectivity" and better serving Palestinians.

"For the sake of our readers and viewers — and the truth — we have a duty to change course immediately and end this decades-long journalistic malpractice. The evidence of Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians is overwhelming and must no longer be sanitized," the signers wrote.

They went on: "We are calling on journalists to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards. We have an obligation — a sacred one — to get the story right. Every time we fail to report the truth, we fail our audiences, our purpose and, ultimately, the Palestinian people."

These signatories were not just from some publications clearly identified with antisemitic views. They included representatives from New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, BuzzFeed, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, NBC News, NPR, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, and the Chicago Tribune.

And so it is clear that our media and especially younger journalists now reflect the critical theory and relativism popularized in our universities and among leftist and Islamist politicians like “the Squad”.

Note especially how these supposed journalists refer to the need to tell the “contextualized truth”. What they really mean by “contextualized truth” is whatever meets their political goals, aids in lessening their hurt “feelings”, replaces morality with intersectional concepts of giving more “power” to the supposed “oppressed”. And in this new world, with its use of “cancel culture” we really need to worry about the ultimate cancellation – another genocide against the Jewish people, with few journalists standing up for us again, just like in the Shoah.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told Fox News the letter was part of a "fundamentally disturbing" trend in journalism which places feelings before facts.

"We’re not talking about journalists anymore. We’re talking about propagandists," the Rabbi said. "You have a set of beliefs and you go out and cherry pick whatever you want, whatever fits your world view."

Let’s explore the various invidious techniques of what Melanie Phillips calls media “malpractice”, hopefully to help readers in the future analyze media misreporting:
Palestinians Versus Everyone Else: Media’s Selective Outrage When Israel’s Not Involved
In April 2015, Ahmed Tibi, a member of Israel’s parliament from the Arab Joint List, issued a strong statement denouncing Islamic State’s (ISIS) war crimes against Syria’s Palestinian population. “What’s happening in the Yarmouk camp is a crime against humanity,” he said, referring to the terror group’s violent takeover of the refugee camp located near Damascus only days earlier.

“Over a thousand Palestinians were killed,” Tibi asserted.

Strikingly, his statement was ignored by virtually all media outlets outside of Israel, with the Washington Examiner being the only major news website to mention Tibi’s comments. The fact that the comments went unreported was especially remarkable when keeping in mind that media have often and extensively covered his allegations about purported crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians (see, for example, here, here and here).

Apparently, supposed crimes committed against Palestinians by Israel are more deserving of media attention than actual atrocities perpetrated by any other actors.

Before the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, Yarmouk was home to some 160,000 Palestinian refugees and their descendants, making it the largest such community in the country. The camp was initially established in 1957 with the goal of housing Arab refugees from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, in which five Arab armies attacked the young Jewish state.

The Syrian civil war completely destroyed Yarmouk. By January 2019, only a “few dozen families” were left in the camp, with just bombed-out buildings and rubble remaining.

After clashes between pro- and anti-Bashar al-Assad forces, the Syrian government imposed a siege on the area. Between July 2013 and February 2014, Amnesty International recorded 194 deaths in Yarmouk, including 12 babies, six children and 41 elderly people. Two-thirds died of starvation; others died because of a lack of medical care. In the years that followed, intensifying clashes, airstrikes and shelling brought more devastation, pushing the Palestinian death toll in Yarmouk up to an estimated 1,458.

“[Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad has killed more of us today than Israel did in its latest war on Gaza,” a Palestinian refugee told The New York Times on December 16, 2012.
BBC Uses Spyware Story to Slander Israel
CAMERA UK has previously looked at how the BBC News website and BBC World Service radio failed to inform their audiences that a company they portrayed exclusively as Israeli is — in fact — majority owned by a London-based firm.

But the same BBC departments and an additional one have continued to promote that framing in subsequent reports.

Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on July 19, heard a news bulletin (from 2:37:18 here) in which they were informed that [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]:
A data leak suggests that thousands of activists, politicians, and journalists may have been monitored using mobile phone spyware designed to target criminals and terrorists. The Israeli company behind the technology denies it’s been used in this way.

Immediately after that news bulletin (from 2:37:43), presenter Mishal Husain introduced an item that included interviews with the BBC’s Gordon Corera and Agnes Callamard of Amnesty International. Once again BBC audiences were not informed of the relevant fact that in 2019, that political NGO had filed a lawsuit against NSO — which it later lost.
Guardian falsely suggests Efrat was built on Palestinian land
An article in the Guardian included interviews with a few residents of Efrat to gauge the views of Israelis living across the Green Line to the decision by the Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s to end sales to the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.

The piece (“‘It’s just ice-cream’: settlers’ chilly response to Ben & Jerry’s boycott”, July 23), written by their Middle East correspondent Bethan McKernan, included the following claim:
Houses [in Efrat] are expensive, reflecting the high demand from Jerusalem commuters seeking a suburban lifestyle on land that once belonged to four Palestinian villages.

Briefly: Efrat, 20 kilometers south of Jerusalem, was founded in 1983, has around 11,500 residents, and is considered the capital of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, land that’s been predominantly owned and populated by Jews since decades prior to 1948.

Gush Etzion has been recognized in past Israeli-Palestinian negotiations as an area that would remain part of Israel in any future peace agreement.

Contrary to McKernan’s suggestion, Efrat was built on state land and some private Jewish land, a fact CAMERA-UK confirmed in a phone call with the city’s mayor, Oded Revivi.

He told us that when it was declared state land by Israeli authorities in the 1970s, it was based on a thorough review of land registries during Ottoman, British and Jordanian control of the territory, which determined that there was no private Palestinian land in the area. So, the land in question has been state land going back hundreds of years.
Shield of David program battles antisemitism through Krav Maga, education
Cameron Kholos, a Jewish student at the University of Colorado Boulder, had been taking martial arts for more than 10 years and wanted to teach other Jewish students self-defense.

"I was really into Krav Maga," says Kholos, a mechanical engineering major in his third year. So when Rabbi Yisroel Wilhem and his wife, Leah, co-directors of the Rohr Chabad Center at the University of Colorado, shared during a student Shabbat dinner that they were starting a new program on it, including food and discussion, and they needed a volunteer to lead it, the 20-year-old's hand shot up.

"It turned out to be a really awesome experience," says Kholos. "These days, it's super important to be able to defend yourself and to have the reflexes and skills."

Called "Shield of David," the program was developed just prior to the pandemic by co-founders Brian Blehar, an entrepreneur in the wellness industry, and optometrist Eli Ben-Moshe. It quickly spread to 10 college campuses and synagogues.

The six-week pilot program at CU Boulder included 15 students who came together to study Jewish topics and history, share a meal, as well as learn Krav Maga. The program will officially launch during the next school year.

"It's important for Jewish students to understand what their role is in responding to antisemitism," says Rabbi Wilhelm. "Where they come from, their heritage, the story of what's gotten us here, how we have overcome thousands of years of antisemitism. And Judaism, its values and Torah still stand strong among everything."

He adds that it's important for students to have the ability to "stand up and explain Judaism to others, to their friends, to the world."
Actor Jonathan Lipnicki Uses MMA Skills to Protect Orthodox Jews | TMZ (h/t abeleehane)

As global demand for microchips surges, tech giants go all-in on Israel
In March, US tech giant Google appointed Uri Frank, a former Intel Corp. executive, vice president of engineering for server chip design and head of a team in Israel, thereby doubling down on the making of custom chips to boost the performance of its computing systems.

Google has had R&D activity in Israel since 2005, with teams in Haifa and Tel Aviv tackling machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and machine perception challenges. Frank’s appointment, however, marked Google Israel’s first foray into chip design and development, for which new employees will be hired.

Away from the splashy IPOs, mergers and exits of the Israeli tech world, a quiet revolution is happening on the ground in the not-so-sexy realm of semiconductors.

Multinational giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel and Nvidia are all setting up or expanding their chip design operations in Israel – cementing the country’s position as silicon workhorse alongside its status as Startup Nation.

The move toward Israel is being driven by a shift toward digitalization compounded by a global shortage of chips being felt across industries, spurring chipmakers and tech firms to begin developing their own semiconductors so they can expand operations.

“Israel has very many advantages with a lot of experience and is in a very good place in this respect,” said Eyal Waldman, the founder of Mellanox Technologies, which was snapped up by US chipmaker Nvidia in 2019 for $7 billion.

There are billions of chips, also called semiconductors, used for everything from phones and laptops to cars and cloud computing, making them the engine of the tech industry. But manufacturers can’t do much without a steady supply of them.
Israeli Startup Helping the Disabled Regain Their Independence With a Flick of a Wrist
Being disabled doesn’t only inhibit a person’s ability to move but also limits their social, financial, and physical independence. Israeli startup 6Degrees focuses on improving disabled persons’ mobility with its wearable bracelet device that studies a patient’s movements similar to how a voice-activated device “learns” a person’s voice, and alongside Bluetooth connectivity, allows users to control their electronic devices. Its second-generation device, still in the works, functions as a virtual reality (VR) video game, and helps disabled and amputee persons overcome the pain caused by phantom limb syndrome.

Yet, the impact-oriented startup is about more than just doing good. Its founders, husband-and-wife team Miri Berger and Aryeh Katz, understand the pain of being disabled from up close. Katz was injured during his military service in a paratrooper’s unit, and alongside a disabled college professor, the duo searched for ways for them to regain their independence.

“The thing that hits you isn’t just the pain or the loss of a limb,” 6Degrees CEO Miri Berger noted, “it’s the loss of independence. We want to encourage the disabled or those suffering from an amputee or mobility-restricting disease such as cerebral palsy to ‘get back on their feet’ both financially and socially.” Israel promotes impact-oriented businesses that are sustainable, and the group jumped at the chance upon their return from the United States. Berger holds a background in industrial design, while Katz, who serves as CTO, was Head of the Innovation Lab at NYU and holds a background in electrical engineering and software development.

6Degrees operates in the digital health field, and its first-generation device is already available, while its second is in the works. “We created this technology to empower mobility-challenged individuals who have lost mobility. Our product addresses key human needs, such as gamification, employment, and recovery as well as encouraging individuals to pursue social, financial, and physical independence.”
Hydrogen Engine Company Aims to Lower Carbon Footprint

Israelis win 6 medals, including 3 golds, at math Olympiad
Israeli high school students picked up six medals — including a record three gold medals — at the International Mathematical Olympiad this month in Russia’s St. Petersburg.

The national team finished seventh overall among countries, its best-ever showing in the competition.

The gold medal winners were Yahel Manor of Haifa, Yair Shoham of Ness Ziona and Almog Wald of Petah Tikva. Omri Zemer of Re’ut and Shahar Friedman of Rehovot picked up silver medals, and Dror Frid of Tel Aviv finished with a bronze.

The showing was the strongest for the Israeli team since it began competing in the Olympiad in 1979, and the first time it finished in the top 10. The squad has won six medals in past competitions, but this year was the first time it brought home three gold medals.

Students’ training is led by the Education Ministry and the Future Scientists Center, a group that aims to maximize the potential of gifted students, and the team prepared for the tournament at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton congratulated the squad, with a statement from the group quoting her as hailing the team’s performance as unprecedented.
Jewish Museum of Oporto Opens Permanent Exhibit on Historic Entebbe Raid
The Jewish Museum of Oporto in Portugal on July 19 opened a permanent exhibit dedicated to “Operation Thunderbolt,” Israel’s historic 1976 hostage-rescue raid in Entebbe, B’nai B’rith International announced.

“The [exhibit] is aimed at educating young Jews who lack awareness of the many counter-terrorism actions that the Israel Defense Forces and Mossad have undertaken in the past and are prepared to undertake in the future,” said B’nai B’rith Portugal President Gabriela Cantergi.

“The idea of building a room dedicated to the Entebbe operation arose out of an event on June 21 in Oporto that brought together young Jewish leaders of various nationalities, and their main concern was whether Israel could stop a new Holocaust in any country in the world,” she explained.

Israeli Ambassador to Portugal Raphael Gamzou said that the exhibit teaches “that neither distance, logistics nor any other challenge would ever prevent Israel from doing the utmost to save the lives of its citizens.”

B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin concurred.

“The hostage-rescue operation in Entebbe exemplified Israel’s strength and resolve,” he said, adding, “Dedicating an exhibit to that historic moment enables all visitors to the museum to know that Israel protects its people, wherever they may be.”


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