Thursday, September 02, 2021

From Ian:

Parole for Sirhan B. Sirhan? RFK’s help for Israel drove his assassin
During a television interview in 1989, the Jerusalem-born Sirhan said he felt betrayed by Kennedy’s Israel proposal. The assassination occurred a short time after Kennedy, a senator from New York, delivered a victory speech upon winning California’s Democratic presidential primary.

“The prisoner killed my father because of his support of Israel,” former U. S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II wrote in response to the recommendation, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. “The man was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Yet he now may walk free, no doubt to the cheers of those who share his views. Let there be no mistake, the prisoner’s release will be celebrated by those who believe that political disagreements can be solved by a gun.”

Joseph Kennedy also wrote of other aspects of his father’s assassination, including its impact on his family.

Sirhan was lucky to receive the life sentence. He was initially sentenced to death, over the objections of RFK’s younger brother and Senate colleague Edward M. Kennedy. Sirhan’s punishment became a life sentence when California’s top court temporarily ruled against the state’s death penalty in 1972.

Many Americans can think of a few compelling reasons why Friday’s recommendation should be rejected. First, the parole board’s legal division must review it in a process that could take four months. If Sirhan gets past that step, Gov. Gavin Newsom will have 30 days to review the matter, and then he can approve, veto or return it to the parole board, or do nothing and allow it to go into effect, The New York Times reported.

RFK’s backing of Israel intermingles with a slew of other issues arising from the prospect of Sirhan’s release, the subject of a virtual hearing last Friday. Sirhan’s hostility toward Israel is a crucial reason for keeping him forever isolated from society. It extends beyond the horrid act of murder and even the shock that a prominent elected official was slain.

RFK’s assassination was motivated by enmity for an American ally whose diplomatic relationship was just starting to develop, and has grown into an essential partnership. If Sirhan is allowed to walk, then others who seek to murder for political issues can expect to avoid serving their full sentences.

Politicians who take controversial positions – as they all must sooner or later - can feel intimidated if they know that assassins will receive this kind of treatment.
Rory Kennedy: Robert Kennedy Was My Dad. His Assassin Doesn't Deserve Parole
I never met my father. When Sirhan Sirhan murdered him, my mother was pregnant with me. My father's murder was absolute, irreversible, a painful truth that I have had to live with every day of my life. In 1969, Sirhan was found guilty by a jury of his peers and sentenced to death. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional and suspended it.

My mother and the majority of my siblings agree with what I now write. Sirhan is not someone deserving of parole. Across the decades, right up through last week, he has not been willing to accept responsibility for his act and has shown little remorse. The recommendation to release Sirhan still has to be reviewed by the full parole board and then by California's governor. I ask them, for my family - and I believe for our country, too - to please reject this recommendation and keep Sirhan Sirhan in prison.
Why Grocery Stores Get Jewish Holidays All Wrong
Did you hear the one about the grocery store that was selling ham (yes, actual ham) for Hanukkah? How about the supermarket that constructed a pyramid’s worth of matzo boxes just before Rosh Hashanah, or the one that stocked hamantaschen next to the honey bears? Over the last decade, the arrival of the Jewish holidays has increasingly been heralded on social media (and traditional media, too) with a parade of anecdotes from customers encountering stores’ well-meaning attempts to offer holiday products that spectacularly miss the mark.

People’s reactions over finding yahrzeit candles on a Hanukkah display, or photos of challah announcing the Passover section range from amusement to profound annoyance. How difficult, these posts and articles ask, could it be for a supermarket to do a little research? A Christian shopper would never be subjected to the humiliation of finding a Cadbury Creme Egg display before Christmas, or packaged fruit cakes on Easter!

As it turns out, however, “getting it right” is harder than one might think. And while a photo of a grocery store marketing boneless smoked ham as ideal for a Jewish holiday is objectively startling, there is more to the story than just a meme. Behind the punchline is the rather remarkable fact that the holiday section is there at all.

If you walk into a typical grocery store in a town with any discernible Jewish population, you are likely to find a shelf or two dedicated to Ashkenazi comfort and ritual foods: things like matzo ball mix, egg noodles, bottled borscht, and kosher grape juice. These products are often squashed somewhere along the store’s vaguely defined “ethnic” food aisle, which houses Indian curry sauces, packaged soba noodles, and other products that are deemed outside “mainstream” American tastes.

“Today, grocery stores, as part of the civic square, are attentive to a wide variety of backgrounds, but that was not always the case,” said Jenna Weissman Joselit, a professor, author, and historian of Jewish American culture (as well as regular Tablet contributor) According to a recent New York Times article, the ethnic aisle was born in the mid-20th century with an express purpose: “to serve returning WWII soldiers who had tasted foods from countries like Italy, Germany, and Japan while abroad.” Some of the foods eventually found a home in different aisles (think: jarred marinara), but the section itself remained, creating a ghetto of otherness amid a vast terrain of white bread, mayonnaise, and corn flakes.

David Friedman launches ‘Friedman Center’ to advance peace made by Abraham Accords
Seven months after leaving office, former US ambassador David Friedman has established a new institute with the aim of expanding and scaling the Abraham Accords he helped broker last year among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo and Morocco.

Called “The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength,” the nonprofit institution said that it will work from its offices in Florida and Jerusalem to build on existing accomplishments and advance peace and prosperity throughout the Middle East.

The Friedman Center will hold its kickoff event on October 11 at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. The event – a gala dinner – will feature the world premiere of The Abraham Accords, a five-part documentary on the normalization deals, co-produced by Friedman and the TBN Network. The full documentary will air on TBN in the late fall.

“Since leaving office, I felt it important to preserve the legacy and advance the message of the Abraham Accords through the voices of those responsible for this extraordinary achievement,” Friedman said this week. “Partnering with the exceptional skills and reach of TBN, I believe that we have created a documentary film that will inspire other nations and other leaders to embrace this path to peace. I am so happy to unveil this film in Jerusalem as we launch our Center.”

The Friedman Center event is co-sponsored and co-chaired by Larry Mizel, chairman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a founder of The Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem, and Sylvan Adams, an Israeli-Canadian businessman and philanthropist known for bringing large scale sports and cultural events to Israel.
Israel Appoints First Ambassador to Bahrain
Israel has named its first ambassador to Bahrain, after normalizing relations with the Gulf Arab state a year ago, an Israeli government Arabic-language Twitter account said on Thursday.

Ambassador Eitan Na’eh had for eight months served as temporary head of mission at the Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates, the first Gulf state with which Israel established diplomatic relations in August last year.

In September 2020, the UAE and Bahrain both inked US-brokered deals to establish ties with Israel, a move later followed by Sudan and Morocco.

Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousif Al Jalahma, arrived in the country this week.

The Tikvah Podcast: Dara Horn on Why People Love Dead Jews
The celebrated novelist Dara Horn’s new book People Love Dead Jews has an arresting title, one designed to make the reader feel uncomfortable. That’s because Horn makes an argument that tries to change the way people think about the function of Jews in the conscience of the West.

In the book, and in this podcast conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, Horn suggests that Jewish communities, figures, and abstract symbols of “the Jews” have come to serve a moral role in the Western imagination that, when one takes a step back, is bizarre and grotesque.

It’s easy to acknowledge the darkness of the Holocaust and to marvel at the optimism of Anne Frank, but Horn detects in that acknowledgement something insidious that hasn’t yet been fully revealed or explained.

Elliott Abrams wrote a review for Commentary that's subscriber only but it's avaliable via google cache: Horn of Plenty Review of 'People Love Dead Jews' by Dara Horn

Antisemitism: The world's oldest hatred lives on - opinion
Woefully, the longest hatred is still with us. As I write these words I am reminded of having had the honor of sharing a platform (back in 2006) with the late Robert Wistrich, author of Antisemitism: the longest hatred, one of 29 books he either authored or edited.

Wistrich was head of the Hebrew University‘s Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and considered to be one of the world’s best-known and informed scholars on antisemitism. The symposium’s subject we jointly addressed was “A New Antisemitism? The Case of Great Britain.” As historian Wistrich pointed out, antisemitism has been with us since time immemorial. He recalled, as a 16-year-old schoolboy in Britain, his English literature lessons embracing Chaucer’s “The Prioress’s Tale,” part of The Canterbury Tales; Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Christopher Marlow’s The Jew of Malta – all with antisemitic overtones.

It is 124 years since Theodor Herzl initiated the First Zionist Congress in Basel on August 29, 1897. Herzl, an assimilated Jew, was the Paris correspondent for the Viennese newspaper Neue Freie Presse, which covered the Dreyfus trial in 1894. For Herzl, the trial proved to be a sharp reminder that Jews are not equal to others. Dreyfus, a French artillery officer of Jewish ancestry, was convicted for treason. The trial was a political scandal that divided the Third French Republic from 1894 until 1906. It was viewed by many as pure antisemitism. Dreyfus was falsely accused of spying for Germany.

Herzl later explained that it was the Dreyfus trial that turned him into a Zionist; he was particularly affected by crowds chanting “Death to the Jews.” In 1896, Herzl wrote Der Judenstadt (The Jewish State) where he envisaged that the coming into being of a Jewish homeland would end antisemitism.

Fast forward to today when we can but wonder what Herzl would think if he could see that – in spite of 73 years of Jewish statehood – the longest hatred is still with us.

Fortunately, Herzl (and we) can take comfort in the fact that in September 2021, a time of an unprecedented rise in antisemitism, we Jews are privileged to have Israel – a state whose gates remain open to every Jew in every place. How pertinent when we recall September 1939 – the beginning of the end for millions of Jews who might have survived had they been given refuge in countries whose gates remained firmly closed. Shana tova, may it be a year blessed with good health, happiness and peace for Israel and Klal Yisrael.
Unpacked: Can Jews Be Antisemitic? | Antisemitism, Explained
When a Jewish person expresses anti-Jewish ideas, is that antisemitism? It might sound odd, but yes. From the Middle Ages until the present day, there are plenty of examples of Jewish people perpetuating antisemitism, despite being Jews themselves. Sometimes it is what scholars call “internalized racism,” which is something that many minorities, including Jews, have experienced. Other times, Jews attempt to separate themselves from other Jews as a defense mechanism. But whatever the reason behind it, antisemitism from Jewish people is no more acceptable than antisemitism from non-Jewish people.

Tree of Life synagogue disputes Biden’s claim he visited after massacre
President Biden on Thursday told Jewish leaders that he spent time at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh after the October 2018 mass murder of 11 people there — but the synagogue told The Post he never visited.

“I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,” Biden said in a 16-minute virtual address ahead of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life, said that Biden did not visit the synagogue in the nearly three years since the anti-Semitic attack.

In a phone interview, Feige, executive director since July 2019, said firmly that “no” Biden didn’t visit, even before taking office when he had a lower public profile as a former vice president and then-Democratic presidential candidate.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Then-President Donald Trump visited the Tree of Life three days after the worst anti-Jewish hate crime in US history. Trump was joined by prominent Jewish members of his administration, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Pro-Israel Group Urges Ethics Investigation of Tlaib for Retweeting Charity with Terror Ties
A pro-Israel group in the United States is calling on Congress to investigate Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her apparent support to a charity group tied to terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip.

In a news release on Tuesday, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) pointed to an Aug. 21 retweet by Tlaib promoting the Dallas-based Islamic charity, Baitulmaal. The retweet was later removed.

According to the release, the organization was investigated by the Israel-based Alma Research and Education Center, which indicated that some of the money donated to Baitulmaal goes to the Gaza-based charity organizations United Friends Association for Social Development (UFA).

UFA has been accused of maintaining close ties to the Hamas terrorist organization and holds strongly anti-Semitic views. The organization is also accused of distributing money to families of “Palestinian martyrs.”

Baitulmaal’s director, Mazen Mukhtar, is an Egyptian-born imam and activist who was subject to a counterterrorism investigation for running a website that solicited donations for the Taliban and other jihadists, according to a 2004 Washington Post article.

“Unfortunately, many Islamic terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, take on a benevolent façade and do give some of their funding to hospitals, schools and orphanages to win the hearts and minds of the people. They use this as an attractive marketing device to recruit fighters for their cause,” said EMET founder and president Sarah Stern in the release. “Unfortunately, there are front groups in the U.S., such as Baitumaal, who appear harmless but funnel money to Hamas or other terrorist entities, aiding the enemies of the U.S. and Israel.”
Joshua Washington: College Democrats Should Reject Jew-Hater, Al-Michaels
One of the biggest claims of America’s College Democrats is that they have always taken a proud stand against bigotry, hatred, and racism. Since the times of former President John F. Kennedy, College Democrats have stood for equal rights, justice under the law, and the common good.

College Democrats stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement. Democrats steadfastly stood with American Muslims in the wake of baseless racist attacks after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Now, Democrats must live up to that claim and stand against Tasneem Al-Michael’s bigotry by rejecting his candidacy for the College Democrats National Presidency. Al-Michael is an avowed anti-Semite and racist, going as far as using the “N-word” on his Twitter account.

Nobody with such a well-documented history of racist name-calling and extreme antisemitic views, like Tasneem Al-Michael, should represent any student political group; yet somehow, he maintains his following and is considered a worthy candidate. This would not be acceptable other any other circumstances, and should not be acceptable now.

Al-Michael’s overt racism and antisemitism has embarrassed and stained College Democrats enough during the past few years. He consistently refers to Jews as “occupiers” and holds them collectively responsible for what he deems “ethnic cleansing” and “acts of genocide and state violence” by the Israeli government. He has even gone so far as to share social media content from notorious antisemite Linda Sarsour calling for violence against Israelis and Jews.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel to Israel’s Competition Authority: Global Ben & Jerry’s Demand for Boycott Illegal
Ben & Jerry’s Israel’s fight against the demand made by the global owner of the brand to boycott Judea and Samaria entered a new phase when it submitted an official complaint with Israel’s Competition Authority saying that the conduct of the global brand constitutes a serious violation of the terms of the merger between them and Unilever.

Unilever, which owns the global Ben & Jerry’s, stated in July that it was ending sales in Israel as “we believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

“We have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year,” the company said.

Avi Zinger, the Israeli license owner, refused Ben and Jerry’s demand to withdraw his sales from Judea and Samaria.

AQP, the Israeli company that has the franchise to distribute Ben & Jerry’s products in Israel, has, through Adv. Dr. Dori Klagsbald approached Acting Antitrust Commissioner Michal Cohen with a formal complaint alleging a blatant violation of the Competition Authority’s 2000 guidelines for a merger between Unilever, the controlling owner of Strauss Ice Cream, and Ben & Jerry’s Global.

Under the terms of the merger, it was determined that no action would be taken to reduce the scope of the sale of Ben & Jerry’s products in Israel, out of fear that the food giant might act to reduce competition in the market in favor of Strauss Ice Cream.

It was further stipulated in the terms of the merger that Unilever will have no right to determine for the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s franchisee the terms of marketing of its products in Israel.
BDS Looms as Students Return to Campus
BDS activities in August were initially shaped by the fallout over the Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott decision. Several US governors, state attorney generals, and comptrollers began investigations into whether the company’s demand to boycott Israel put its corporate owner, Unilever, in violation of local anti-BDS laws. There are now 33 anti-BDS laws, resolutions, and executive orders at the state level. Cognizant that these laws have been effective, North Carolina Democrats passed a resolution calling for that state’s anti-BDS law to be repealed.

As the situation unfolded, it was revealed that the Ben & Jerry’s board had brought in BDS activist Peter Beinart to defend the move in a conference call with franchise owners. One report indicated that Beinart “argued that Israel is illegally occupying territory that it seized from Jordan in an offensive war in 1967 and claimed that the Jewish state sends soldiers into Palestinian villages to abduct minors.” Another BDS activist revealed that the movement had been pressuring the company for nearly a decade. These reports came as several dozen franchise owners complained to the company about the boycott decision.

Ben & Jerry’s chair and avowed BDS supporter Anuradha Mittal further stated that critics were “spreading lies and myths.” Reports also indicate that the company’s foundation gave $170,000 to the pro-Hamas and Hezbollah Oakland Institute, which is headed by Mittal.

With universities and K-12 schools poised to reopen, BDS remains a key issue. Indications are strong that the fall semester will see high levels of anti-Israel activism and harassment. The University of North Carolina dismissed concerns regarding a BDS supporting graduate student who is teaching a course on the Arab-Israeli conflict. In a similar case, a BDS supporter is scheduled to teach a course on antisemitism at the University of Victoria.

At the University of Houston, the student government passed a BDS resolution supported by the local Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. At the University of Toronto, the student government re-signed a letter by the Muslim Student Association demanding the school condemn the “Palestinian genocide.” The student government had previously signed and then unsigned the letter after complaints. The student who proposed the move stated it was important because, “Our student union has constantly undermined the suffering of Palestinian Muslim students.”

UNC Sticks With Anti-Israel Course Amidst Allegations It Violated Education Dept. Agreement
University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill is sticking with an anti-Israel class despite Jewish and pro-Israel groups alleging that doing so would violate their agreement with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

On August 20, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton Klein and Center for Law and Justice Director Susan Tuchman sent a letter to UNC arguing that according to the agreement the university had signed in 2019, UNC is required to “take all steps reasonably designed to ensure that students enrolled in the University are not subjected to a hostile environment and to respond to allegations of anti-Semitic harassment.” But holding the class “The Conflict over ‘Israel/Palestine’” would violate this, as the instructor, Kylie Broderick, “has openly promoted false and antisemitic lies about Israel,” Klein and Tuchman alleged. As evidence, Klein and Tuchman pointed to Broderick’s tweets calling for the university to boycott Israel and viewing all of Israel as “occupied Palestinian territory.” Additionally, Broderick has tweeted that “there is only 1 legitimate side – the oppressed – versus imperialist propaganda. I don’t want to ever encourage [students] that there is reason to take on good faith the oppressive ideologies of American and Western Imperialism, Zionists & autocrats.”

“Jewish, pro-Israel and other students are at risk if the course on ‘Israel/Palestine’ continues to be taught by an instructor who openly declares that she has zero tolerance for views that do not demonize Israel or deny Israel’s very right to exist,” Klein and Tuchman wrote.

Jewish on Campus made similar allegations; StandWithUs did not allege that the agreement was broken but did urge the university to monitor and record Broderick’s classes and make them available to the public.

HonestReporting: Why Did Vice News Block Israelis...From Watching A Video About Israel?
On August 21, Vice News released a video titled, "Palestinian Homes Are Being Demolished in Jerusalem." The 10-minute "documentary," produced by reporter Hind Hassan, included several false claims and was devoid of crucial context about possible evictions in eastern Jerusalem.

HonestReporting uncovered that Vice opted to make the content inaccessible to viewers in Israel, as well as a handful of other countries. Those attempting to watch were notified that the outlet had "not made this video available in your country."

After HonestReporting posted a tweet drawing attention to the matter, Vice reversed course and the video became watchable in the Jewish state. At the same time, we reached out to Vice's editor-in-chief, as wel as two senior editors, but have not received a response regarding the occurrence.

Guardian strangely claims Israel 'barely noticed' Nizar Banat's murder
A Guardian article by Middle East correspondent Bethan McKernan does a good job of reporting on the Palestinian Authority security personnel’s extra-judicial killing of Palestinian dissident Nizar Banat, and its aftermath. The piece (“Nizar Banat’s death highlights brutality of the Palestinian Authority”, Aug. 31) focuses on the PA’s culpability in his death and their consistent and often brutal crackdown on dissent – which is notable given how infrequently the Guardian covers human rights abuses by Palestinian leaders.

However, the article also includes this curious observation:
Distracted by the latest war in Gaza and a new government, Banat’s killing was barely noticed by Israel or the rest of the world.

First, Israel’s war against Hamas ended on May 21st and the new government was sworn in on June 13th. Banat was killed on June 24th. So, it’s unclear in what way either event is relevant. Moreover, McKernan’s claim that the killing was “barely noticed by Israel or the rest of the world” is simply not true.

It was widely covered in the English-language Israeli media, and, as CAMERA’s Hebrew department confirmed to us, in Israel’s far more numerous Hebrew-language outlets.

But, did “the rest of the world” notice it?

Yes, they did.

In the UK, the story was widely reported by the BBC, the Independent, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

Wire services, such as Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Press published multiple articles on the killing and the subsequent Palestinian protests. Major US news outlets, such as the NY Times, the Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News and CNN covered it as well.

Bana’s killing also elicited official condemnations by the EU and U.S. State Department.

VOA Corrects Misleading Figures on Israeli Arab Vaccination Rate
CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted a Voice of America correction of misleading statistics concerning the covid-19 vaccination rate among Israel’s Arab citizens. A blurb accompanying the Aug. 28 video entitled “Israeli vaccine disparity” confounded, falsely suggesting the population is far less vaccinated than it is:
As Israel expands its third COVID booster shot campaign, analysts are pointing to wide disparities between Jews and Arabs when it comes to getting vaccinations. While 80 percent of eligible Jewish Israelis have been vaccinated, about one-third of Arab citizens of Israel have yet to get their shots. As Linda Gradstein reports from Jerusalem, some root causes are poverty and distrust.

Note the comparison of eligible Jewish Israelis who have been vaccinated (citing 80 percent) versus the number of eligible Arab Israelis who have not been vaccinated (citing one-third). Casual readers are liable to easily take away the mistaken understanding that only one-third of eligible Israeli Arabs are vaccinated.

Clear, straight-forward reporting compares equivalent figures; that is, the number of eligible Jewish Israelis who have been vaccinated and the number of eligible Arab Israelis who have been vaccinated (71 percent as of Aug. 10, and presumably higher than that by Aug. 28). While a figure for vaccination rates for eligible Jewish Israelis was not readily available, the rate for Israel’s eligible general population is reportedly 78 percent (as of Aug. 16).

While the Arab population lags behind the general population and has the lowest rate among all Israeli populations — though the characterization of the discrepancy as a “wide” disparity is debatable — the disparities are between socioeconomic classes, with the relatively less affluent ultra-Orthodox also lagging.
Jewish Institute for Liberal Values Says Critical Race Theory Encourages Anti-Semitism
The Maryland-based Jewish Institute for Liberal Values on Wednesday issued a white paper on the role of Critical Social Justice Ideology in supporting and encouraging anti-Semitism (Critical Social Justice Ideology and Antisemitism), suggesting anti-Semitism is a reliable consequence of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) ideology, which encompasses Critical Race Theory.”

According to the white paper, “CSJ propagates anti-Semitism,” and “even though many of those who advance the ideology do not intend to participate in or advance anti-Semitism, the rapid proliferation of this ideology portends an increase in anti-Semitism.”

“While there are differing perspectives within CSJ, the more radical and anti-Jewish ideas are not being held in check and there is evidence that the more extreme versions are gaining ground and influencing public discourse,” the document concludes. “To be clear, we are not discounting that racism exists and needs to be addressed; rather, we are concerned about how this particular ideology is in practice enabling new forms of anti-Semitism.”

“We believe it is impossible to contain the anti-Semitism emerging from CSJ without rejecting the imposition of CSJ,” the white paper authors say. “As long as CSJ grows, so too will anti-Semitism, and combating anti-Semitism will be like a game of whack-a-mole. While we applaud those who try to address specific acts of anti-Semitism from within the CSJ framework, ultimately we believe such efforts will fail to contain a problem with such deep ideological roots. We, therefore, propose more general strategies.”
Banning swastikas: Victoria leads the way
Victoria will become the first state or territory in Australia to make the public display of Nazi symbols illegal – in a landmark reform to help stamp out hateful behaviour and boost human rights protections.

The Andrews Labor Government will also extend the state’s anti-vilification protections beyond race and religion to cover areas such as sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, and HIV/AIDS status.

To help people subjected to vilification seek justice through the courts, the Government will make civil and criminal vilification easier to prove.

Earlier this year the Victorian Parliament’s Legal and Social Issues Committee delivered its report on the effectiveness of the state’s anti-vilification laws – which had bipartisan support from the committee.

The report found that sadly, vilification is all too common for many Victorians – including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, particular faith groups, those who identify as LGBTIQ+ and people with a disability.

The harm caused by hate conduct and vilification can be profound, affecting the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals and often preventing them from feeling comfortable participating in their community.

The Government’s response to the report vows to better protect the community from vilification and discriminatory practices, and boost human rights and equal opportunity for all.
‘You Have to Stand Up to Hate,’ Says Australian Jewish Man Who Stood Up to Antisemitic Assailant on Walk to Synagogue
An Australian Jewish man who was brutally assaulted by a man yelling “Heil Hitler” as he walked with his 11-year-old son to a Bar Mitzvah at a synagogue in the city of Brisbane last Saturday has spoken out about his experience.

The 48-year-old victim, identified only as “Paul,” was approached by a man who noticed him wearing a kippah and began shouting “Heil Hitler” and making Nazi salutes.

As the man walked away, Paul followed behind him, tracking him with his cell phone video and asking him why he had uttered the Nazi slogan.

The man turned suddenly and began punching Paul, bruising him on his left cheek. As the assailant fled the scene, Paul shouted that he was calling the police.

“At first, I didn’t realize what he was shouting, but when I looked into his eyes they were filled with hate towards me,” Paul told the Australian Jewish news outlet j-wire on Wednesday.

“I could feel his hatred directed at me right down into my bones. He punched me in the face and then just walked away,” he continued.

In a separate interview with Queensland broadcaster 9News, Paul’s 11-year-old son spoke about the assault on his father.

“It’s sad to see how this stuff happens in this modern society,” Paul’s son, who was not identified, said.

Asked by the interviewer why he chased after the offender, Paul responded that it was “important to stand up for what you believe in. The importance of standing up to hate against yourself and at other people.”

The Vice President of the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) said that the attack was sickening and evidence that laws needed to be strengthened.
Former French National Front Leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in New Trial for Antisemitic Barb
The aging founder of France’s leading postwar far right political party was absent from the central criminal court in Paris on Wednesday as his lawyer responded to charges of instigating racial hatred against a Jewish pop singer.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the 93-year-old former head of the National Front (FN), did not appear in person to answer for a 2014 video posted on the FN’s website, in which he railed against celebrities who had spoken out against his racist and antisemitic positions. When asked about the criticisms voiced by Patrick Bruel, a Jewish singer and actor, Le Pen answered with a joke about the Holocaust.

“I’m not surprised. Listen, next time we’ll do a whole oven batch!” he said at the time.

Le Pen was represented during Wednesday’s four-hour hearing by his lawyer, Frédéric Joachim. “This case is based only on part of a sentence taken out of context,” Joachim told the court as he requested a dismissal.

The judges in the case said that they would issue their verdict on October 29.

Once the talisman of Europe’s far right, Le Pen’s influence has waned dramatically over the last decade. After the furore over the 2014 video, the following year Le Pen’s daughter and fellow FN leader Marine Le Pen expelled him from the party and renamed it the National Rally (RN) in a bid to distance herself from its fascist and antisemitic roots.
One Year After Devastating Arson, Plans for New Jewish Center Unveiled at University of Delaware
A year after an act of arson caused some $200,000 in damage to a beloved University of Delaware Jewish institution, leaders of the campus Chabad center unveiled plans for a new building on Monday.

Joined by Rabbi Avremel Vogel and Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton, President Dennis Assanis revealed plans for the new $3.5 million, two-story building at a press conference, with Avremel’s father, Rabbi Chunl Vogel, blowing the shofar in celebration.

Assanis said the Newark, Delaware community turned last year’s attack on the Chabad Center into an opportunity for unity.

“The fire was not the end of the story, but rather it was the beginning of a great new chapter,” he said, according to the local WDEL broadcaster. “We turn adversity into opportunity. Thousands of Blue Hens and alumni here and around the world, no matter what their religious beliefs are, stood up and reached out to help rebuild.”

Firefighters arrived at the scene of the Chabad Center fire after it was reported shortly after 11 p.m. on August 25, 2020. The Delaware Fire Marshal’s office determined the blaze was set intentionally, but the investigation is still ongoing, with no arrests made.

Rabbi Avremel Vogel said Monday’s event sent a message of support to Jewish community.
Volvo invests in Israeli developer of testing platform for autonomous vehicles
Multinational automaker Volvo was among a group of investors that backed Israeli mobility tech startup Foretellix, a developer of a testing and verification platform for driver assistance and autonomous driving systems, according to an announcement Wednesday.

The $32 million Series B funding for Foretellix was led by Israeli venture capital company MoreTech Ventures, with participation from strategic investors including Volvo’s VC arm, Volvo Group Venture Capital, and Japan-Israel High Tech Ventures, a venture fund operated by Singapore-based asset management firm Chartered Group. Foretellix’s previous investors 83North Ventures, Jump Capital, OurCrowd, and NextGear also participated in the investment round, according to the announcement.

Founded in 2018 with offices in Israel and California, Foretellix created a software platform that taps big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to test the safety of autonomous driving systems deployed in self-driving vehicles. The company said it uses hyper-automation to simulate and test possible scenarios these systems may encounter, and its platform is integrated into the development cycle of such systems, “from the requirements stage through product development, verification and validation.”

Gil Amid, Foretellix co-founder, chief regulatory affairs officer and VP of operations, told The Times of Israel that the company’s platform generates a multitude of different scenarios that driving systems may encounter on the road and tests their performance.

“When driving on the road, you face an infinite set of situations, and as a human, you apply your judgment and experience to avoid things like collisions, accidents, and so on. The question is what do you do when an autonomous driving system is directing the car? You have training systems for this and you need to make sure the systems have been trained correctly and sufficiently,” he said.
Israel Aerospace Wins Contract to Provide UK Army with Robot Vehicles
IAI’s RPVs are robust, versatile multi-purpose/multi-mission platforms that support and complement troops on the ground and enhance their force protection in battlefield conditions.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Marlborough Communications Limited (MCL) have been awarded a tender to provide the UK army with four Remote Platoon Vehicles (RPVs). The RPVs will support and enhance experimentation and capability development for UK land operations, with MCL becoming a major contractor to the UK Ministry of Defense RPV Framework Group.

The RPVs, designed and manufactured by IAI’s ELTA Systems group, are robust, versatile multi-purpose/multi-mission platforms that support and complement troops on the ground and enhance their force protection in battlefield conditions. In addition to their intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities, the RPVs can provide logistic support by carrying platoon equipment, supplying ammunition and extracting casualties. The RPVs can be operated in manual, remote or autonomous modes.
Israeli swimmers Shalabi, Dadaon win gold as streak continues
Paralympic swimmer Iyad Shalabi took home a second gold medal in the Tokyo Games on Thursday, winning the men's 50-meter backstroke event.

The 34-year-old swimmer picked up first place with a time of 1:11.79.

Ukraine's Anton Kol won the silver medal and Italy's Francesco Bettella claimed the bronze.

Shalabi, who was born deaf and mute and was left a paraplegic after an accident he suffered when he was 13, made history last week when he won the 100m backstroke final in the S1 category at the Tokyo Paralympics. Not only did he win Israel's first gold medal in the games, he became the first Arab Israeli to medal for Israel.

Shortly after Shalabi won the top prize, Israeli swimmer Ami Dadaon got the second gold of the day for the national team after winning the freestyle event for 50m. This is his second gold in the Tokyo games.

Thursday's win brings Israel's tally of Paralympic medals to nine.
Last Remaining Footage of Polish Jewish Community Before Holocaust Premieres as Movie at Venice Film Festival
A film set to make its world premiere at the 78th Venice Film Festival this week revolves around three minutes of a home video that is believed to be the only footage left of a predominately Jewish village in Poland before the Holocaust.

The footage, mostly in color and shot by David Kurtz in 1938 in the town in Nasielsk, Poland, was edited to create the film “Three Minutes – A Lengthening,” which is 69 minutes long and narrated by British actress Helena Bonham Carter, whose maternal grandfather was Jewish. The film also includes interviews with Kurtz’s grandson, Glenn Kurtz, and Maurice Chandler, who appears in the film as a boy and shares his memories. It will premiere on Thursday followed by a Q&A on Saturday with the film’s director and screenplay writer Bianca Stigter, according to a Venice Film Festival program.

Stigter was the associate producer on “12 Years a Slave” and “Widows,” both of which were directed by her husband, Steve McQueen. “Three Minutes – A Lengthening” is her feature directorial debut and McQueen serves as the project’s executive producer.

David Kurtz emigrated from Poland to the United States as a child but in 1938 returned to Europe for a trip and stopped in Nasielsk, his birthplace. He took a 16mm camera with him — which at the time was rarely seen in the small town — and documented his visit.

“Eighty years later his ordinary pictures, most of them in color, have become something extraordinary,” Stigter said. “They are the only moving images that remain of Nasielsk prior to the Second World War. Almost all the people we see were murdered in the Holocaust.”

Illustrated Medieval High Holiday Prayer Book Likely to Sell for Over $4 Million at Auction
A centuries-old illuminated Jewish prayer book will likely sell for millions of dollars at an upcoming Sotheby’s auction.

According to the Guardian, the Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor is approximately 700 years old and was originally written and illustrated in southern Germany.

Sotheby’s will auction the book next month, and believes it will be sold for $4-6 million.

The book is of an extremely rare variety — particularly because its illustrations are unusual in Jewish religious manuscripts of the time.

Sharon Liberman Mintz, a senior consultant of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, said of the mahzor, “The fact that it was created by a Jewish scribe-artist at a time when many medieval Hebrew manuscripts were illustrated by Christian artists is especially noteworthy.”

The book “contains the entire cycle of prayers for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,” she said, and has been heavily annotated by the various communities through which it circulated in Germany, Italy, and France over the course of the Middle Ages.

In one case, prayers for those murdered in the pogroms that accompanied the Black Death pandemic were added to the book.


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