Thursday, September 09, 2021

From Ian:

Give Sports Bigotry No Sanction
Hamid Sajjadi, Iran’s recently appointed minister of sports, warned Iranian athletes in August not to compete against counterparts from the “child-killing and occupying regime of Israel.” With the 2022 Winter Olympic games commencing just five months from now, sporting authorities must condemn and punish this discrimination.

At this year’s Olympic games, the world watched Fethi Nourine from Algeria and Mohamed Abdalrasool from Sudan forfeit their judo matches rather than risk sharing the Olympic stage with an Israeli opponent. Supported by the Palestinian Olympic Committee, Nourine and Abdalrasool demonstrated that old hatreds die hard. Meanwhile, Olympians from presumably hostile countries welcomed their Israeli peers, embodying the Olympic values of sportsmanship and mutual understanding.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) promptly suspended Nourine and his coach, and launched an investigation into the incident. In a press release, the IJF said, “Judo sport is based on a strong moral code, including respect and friendship, to foster solidarity and we will not tolerate any discrimination, as it goes against the core values and principles of our sport.” Defiant, Nourine told the Algerian press, “My position is consistent on the Palestinian issue, and I reject normalisation, and if it cost me that absence from the Olympic Games, God will compensate.”

For years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has called upon athletes in the Arab world to boycott Israeli sports. Jibril Rajoub, the chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and the Palestinian Football Association, has weaponized these sporting events to condemn what he calls the “crime of normalization.” In 2014, Rajoub declared, “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity.” Following Nourine’s withdrawal, Rajoub posted a photo on Facebook of the two together, and commended Nourine’s “courageous stance refusing normalization.”

Rajoub is effectively encouraging athletes to break Olympic rules, and destroy their careers in a campaign to exclude and alienate Israeli athletes. “The practice of sport is a human right,” states the Olympic Charter. “Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind.”

Rajoub even has a personal history of promoting violence against Israel.
Media Double Standard: Only Israel Is an ‘Occupier’
In other words, the BBC fully understands that Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the northern part of the island is not accepted by any other state or by the UN.

A European Parliament briefing describes the situation as follows:
…the Turkish army occupied 37% of the island’s territory. A cease-fire was declared on 18 August 1974, confirming the partition of the island. The period that followed was characterised by territorial occupation, loss of life, flight by sections of the population and destruction of the cultural heritage. In November 1983, the illegally occupied zone proclaimed itself the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC), illegally in the eyes of the United Nations Security Council.

Moreover, since Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004, the EU regards the whole of the island as “EU territory.”

Nevertheless, as is uniformly the case in BBC reporting on the topic of Cyprus, the corporation avoids the use of terms such as “occupation” and “international law” — which are equally inevitably seen in BBC coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In articles about Cyprus, readers do not find any pronouncements pre-emptively allocating disputed territory to one side or the other — in the style of the frequently employed phrases “occupied Palestinian land” and “Palestinian territory.”

As we have noted in the past, the BBC is able to report on the long-running conflict in Cyprus in a manner which refrains from promoting a particular political narrative. That editorial policy continues to stand in sharp contrast to the corporation’s chosen framing of territorial disputes involving Israel.
Jewish UK comedian’s message that ‘Jews Don’t Count’ rings true across the pond
When David Baddiel’s latest book, “Jews Don’t Count,” was published in the UK earlier this year, he was somewhat surprised to hear some Americans buzzing with interest about it.

After all, the book, which rails against the relegation of antisemitism to a bigotry of lesser importance among many progressive activists, arose in the aftermath of the Jeremy Corbyn era of British politics, where issues of antisemitism dominated public discourse.

Now, more than six months later, Baddiel — a comedian, author, and popular British TV personality — has adapted the book for American audiences, with a new version out in the United States this week.

“Before I rewrote the book, a number of Jewish Americans had read it anyway because it was available on Kindle,” Baddiel told The Times of Israel, in a recent phone interview while vacationing in Cornwall along the British coast.

“There was interest… without me even rewriting a word of it,” he said, adding that, like their coreligionists in the UK, left-leaning Jews in the US feel “alienated.”

“Left-wing Jews tend to be allies to other minorities, [but] where are our allies?” he said.

Hold up: 'Money Heist' actors in hot water for supporting Israel?
Money Heist is one of the most popular television series in Israel in years and two of its stars have even visited the Jewish state, but it seems their affinity for the country is now costing them in terms of popularity in the world, or at least online.

In a recent interview with Channel 12 News to mark the premiere of the series' fifth season, the show's actors praised Israel and complimented the country and its security forces.

When asked about his trip to Israel, actor Darko Peric, who plays the character "Helsinki" in the show, answered: "It was a wonderful experience, and I hope to come back. I know there are a lot of fans here, and the people here are great. When people travel to Israel they always talk about the strict security arrangements and meticulous police activity. But when I got here, even the policemen wanted to take pictures with me. It was great."

Spanish-Armenian actor Hovik Keuchkerian (who plays the character "Bogotá"), also complimented the Jewish state, saying he had "heard wonderful things about Israel." Keuchkerian also praised the original Israeli Netflix action-drama series Fauda.

As expected, the comments sparked the consternation of online activists, anti-Zionists and keyboard warriors, who are now calling for Money Heist to be boycotted.
Jewish teens are already targets, ethnic studies offers better aim
California Jewish institutions are being tested. And I’m sorry to report that many are failing to protect the Jewish community in their support for state-mandated ethnic studies, which, unfortunately, as it is expressed today, contributes to Jew-hatred in the form of anti-Zionism—today’s most virulent and misunderstood form of Jew-hatred.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with being opposed to teaching ethnic studies, which is noble in construct. The problem is that the first draft of the state-mandated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC) set up a terrible precedent, as the curriculum was so saturated in Jew-hatred that it was unanimously rejected by the Jewish Caucus of California, as well as the California State Board of Education in 2019.

While many celebrated the decision to reject teaching hate in the classroom, AB 101—a California bill mandating that ethnic-studies classes be a requirement for graduation from high school—is likely to be approved by the state legislature in the coming days.

Proponents of AB101 do not understand why the Jewish community is alarmed. As one representative of a California assemblyperson said, “What’s the problem? Are you against teaching ethnic studies? We rejected the first draft of the model curriculum!”

The problem is that the two are interlinked.

AB 101 leaves it up to individual schools and teachers to decide which ethnic-studies curriculum they want to use. As such, if they want to use the final State Board of Education-approved ESMC, the rejected first draft of the ESMC or the newest ethnic studies curriculum—the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, which has been called “the first draft on steroids”—there are no legal safeguards capable of stopping the school from doing so, with educator activists determined to ensure that their anti-Zionist versions are taught. Teachers who are already overworked and stretched thin will gladly take what is being pushed on them by anti-Zionist educators rather than develop their own units.

Alarmingly, even without this bill’s passage and subsequent boost, Jewish students are already experiencing virulent classroom anti-Zionism that directly harms them.

Google Is Teaching Employees That Listening To Ben Shapiro Leads To ‘Genocide’
The tech giant Google is holding “antiracist” training for its employees that claims a direct link exists between listening to Ben Shapiro, editor emeritus of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and committing “mass murder.”

The training also places former President Donald Trump on a list of ideas and people that lead to “genocide,” along with “apolitical beliefs” and phrases such as “All Lives Matter.” Shapiro, Trump, and the rest all contribute to the “normalization” of racism that eventually inspires mass shooters and leads to the genocide of entire people groups, according to a slide of the training curriculum obtained by the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo.

“Another graphic, titled ‘The White Supremacy Pyramid,’ advances the idea that conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is a foundation of ‘white supremacy’ and that Donald Trump is moving society on a path toward ‘mass murder’ and ‘genocide,’” Rufo tweeted along with an image of the pyramid.

Shapiro, who was the top target of antisemitism on Twitter among journalists in 2016, slammed the Google training.

“All it would take is one Google search to learn just how much white supremacists hate my work, or how often I’ve spoken out against their benighted philosophy,” Shapiro told Rufo in City Journal. “The attempt to link everyone to the right of Hillary Clinton to white supremacism is disgusting, untrue, and malicious.”

Israel's Envoy Shocked over Racist Abuse on Britain's Streets
Israel's Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely recalled in an interview her horror at the anti-Semitic protests that erupted as Israel defended its civilians from Hamas missiles in May. "Some of the attacks happened in my neighborhood, some of the cars were driving next to my house," she said, referring to the "hate convoy" that snaked through north London during the Gaza war, with cars draped with Palestinian flags driving through Jewish neighborhoods. "My children had to hear people shouting and screaming horrible things."

"The issue is that this jihadi ideology has got to the capital of freedom and liberalism that London symbolizes. I'm not just speaking about my own experience, I'm speaking about the Jewish community's experience."

During the May conflict, the ambassador had faced an often hostile British media. On BBC "Newsnight," the opening question was: "How ashamed are you of your government tonight?" "It wasn't an easy moment for me," Hotovely recalled. "My mother, who's over 60, was sitting in a shelter, kids in Israel were sitting in shelters instead of going to nurseries and schools. But my reaction was very clear. We are a democratic country defending its people being attacked by a terror organization. This is the truth."
Interview with Michael Blume
Dr. Michael Blume is the state representative on anti-Semitism in Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Please share a little bit about your mandate as the representative of the state government for antisemitism. What does it encompass? For those who are not familiar with the German institutional approach to this issue, how does it fit in with the federal response to antisemitism? (i.e. what is the “vision” and the “mission”?)

In 2015 and 2016, I led a humanitarian mission in Iraq to evacuate 1.100 Yazidi women and children to our State, who had suffered traumatizing violence by Daesh. But I was shocked about the massive, antisemitic conspiracy myths even among our allies in the region! Many Kurdish and especially Arab, Turkish and Persian people believed ISIS had been established by the Israeli Mossad and ISIS-„Caliph“ Baghdadi being a jewish CIA-agents named Shimon Elliot. Of course, I had read about „Antisemitism without Jews“, but it was shocking to deal with it. And soon after our return from Iraq, a new right-wing party, the AfD, became elected into our State Parliament (the Landtag), with one of its legislators claiming the antisemitic forgery of the „Protocols of the Elders of Zion“ to be accurate!

So, I began to warn, to lecture and to write about the new, digital rise in Antisemitism, for example devoting a chapter to the dangers of Islamic Antisemitism in my book “Islam in der Krise” (Islam in Crisis) in 2017 and publishing a book on the global dangers of Antisemitism in 2019.

As an expert group advised Germany to enlist State Commissioners against Antisemitism, the two big Jewish communities of our State asked Ministerpresident Kretschmann and the Landtag to name me – without having me asked in advance. But of course, having faced Islamist extremists in Iraq, I would not hesitate to face all kinds of Antisemites in our State, too. All factions in our Parliament with the exception of the AfD agreed.

In 2018, I became the first State Commissioner against Antisemitism in Germany, with my colleague Dr. Felix Klein on the federal level and more colleagues to follow. I assembled a council of experts and we worked out 74 recommendations to our Parliament in our first report, ranging from Education and Security, fighting the anti-Semitic BDS-movement, more youth exchange with Israel and program funding to the installment of the first police rabbis in the European Union. There remains so much to be done, but our work is quite often attacked by various extremist groups and trolls.

What are your objectives in assuming this position and how have you pursued them? What do you see as metrics for “success” and how far have they been reached, from your perspective?

Of course, my first goal has been the security of Jewish live. So I warned our Government about digital radicalization and we were able to set up a Security congress with the police forces at the Stuttgart Jewish Centre weeks “before” an anti-Semitic terrorist attack was carried out in Halle. But then, we have to prevent people from believing in conspiracy myths and becoming Anti-Semitic in the first place, so my team & I are putting a lot of effort in informing the public and reforming education. Remember that we are having and needing a lot of immigration from all parts oft he world – and many of them have been raised with Antisemitism! Finally, I want people to understand that we should support Israel as the single liberal democracy in the region against boycott movements and against the threats by Iran. We managed to reach out to thousands and I am getting hundreds of invitations to cities, schools and various associations. I do know that we will never be able to get conspiracy myths and Antisemitism out of every human heart, but I do believe that we should try nevertheless. And I do hope that we will see a day where all Jewish communities and the State of Israel are accepted by all major groups and States. As you can imagine, we are actively supporting every Muslim State and Group that is ready for real peace.
Aristocrat Piers Portman convicted of calling CAA Chief Executive “Jewish scum”
The Hon. Piers Portman, the youngest living son of the 9th Viscount Portman and heir to 110 acres of West End real estate, has been found guilty of calling Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Chief Executive “Jewish scum” in a confrontation at a courthouse in 2018.

Mr Portman, 50, was prosecuted after approaching Gideon Falter, Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Chief Executive, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14th June 2018 following the sentencing of Alison Chabloz, a notorious Holocaust denier and antisemite. Campaign Against Antisemitism had brought a private prosecution against Ms Chabloz which the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) took over, and which ultimately led to a conviction and landmark legal precedent. Mr Falter had testified against Ms Chabloz, who has since been repeatedly sent to prison over her antisemitic statements, including denying the Holocaust and claiming that Holocaust survivors had invented their suffering for financial gain.

Mr Portman followed Mr Falter out of the courtroom and confronted him in the lobby of the court building. He extended his hand to Mr Falter, who refused to shake it because the building was filled with what he told Southwark Crown Court was a “Who’s Who of Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis and far-right extremists”. As Mr Portman extended his hand, Mr Falter replied, concerned that Mr Portman might be part of Ms Chabloz’s entourage: “I’m very sorry but I can’t shake your hand because I don’t know who you are.”

At this point, Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Portman became “very enraged”, coming close to Mr Falter and saying: “I’m Piers Portman. I have written to you before. Come after me, you Jewish scum. Come and persecute me. Come and get me.” Mr Portman was then told to leave by security staff at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. When police arrived, Mr Portman had left the area.
Chemnitz Jewish restaurant attacker given 1-year suspended sentence
A 30-year-old suspect was given a one-year suspended prison sentence for his involvement in an antisemitic attack on a Jewish restaurant owner in the city of Chemnitz, Germany, DW reported.

The defendant, identified only as Kevin A., was charged with breaching the peace, property damage and dangerous bodily harm for being one of at least 10 people who threw stones and objects at Jewish restaurant owner Uwe Dziuballa in August 2018, according to DW.

His sentence was surprising to some in the courtroom, given that he had prior convictions for drug dealing and another stone-throwing incident in Hamburg. But the judge argued this should be mitigated due to the defendant having kept a clean record for two years and because Dziuballa escaped mostly unharmed and property damage was only minor, DW reported.

Reports around the incident back in August 2018 initially labeled it an attack by a gang of violent neo-Nazis.

According to those initial reports, a group of approximately a dozen masked individuals threw bottles and stones and then stormed the Schalom restaurant on August 27, causing damage to the building’s façade and shattering a window.

While vandalizing the kosher eatery, the neo-Nazis allegedly shouted “Get out of Germany you Jewish pig.”

More than 100 headstones smashed at Jewish cemetery in Argentina
More than 100 headstones were smashed at a Jewish cemetery in Argentina that had seen similar damage in 2009.

The vandalism at the Tablada Cemetery in the Buenos Aires area was discovered on Sunday, the Jewish news site Visavis reported.

The headstones were between the cemetery’s older section and the new one, which also contains the remains of dozens of victims from the 1994 terrorist bombing at the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

AMIA, the umbrella of Argentine Jewish communities, condemned the vandalism and lamented the “neglect and lack of control” by law enforcement around the cemetery in La Matanza, an eastern district of the Argentine capital.

Police are investigating, AMIA said in a statement. It did not say whether there are indications of the vandalism being an antisemitic hate crime. There are no suspects.

In 2009, unidentified individuals defaced more than 60 headstones, including victims of the 1994 bombing. That vandalism also happened shortly before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which this year began on Monday evening. AMIA called that vandalism antisemitic.

Purchase of Hungarian Jewish Artifacts Rescues Them From Auction Block
The Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives (HJMA) and the National Library of Israel (NLI) announced the joint purchase of seven documents from the 19th and 20th centuries, related to Jewish life in what is now Hungary.

These documents include thousands of birth, death, marriage and other records from six different Jewish communities, including a number pertaining to prominent Hungarian Jewish figures, and many from the Holocaust period immediately prior to the Nazi occupation and following World War II.

Not yet digitized or available elsewhere, these documents will present valuable contributions to historical and genealogical research.

After appearing in the catalog of a Jerusalem auction house in August, the items were removed from auction at the request of activists and organizations dedicated to the preservation of Jewish heritage.

Following the joint purchase, the NLI and HJMA have committed to digitizing and making high-resolution scans of these documents freely available on the Internet, as well as preserving the originals under the highest standards of archival storage.

The National Library of Israel and the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives share a commitment to public ownership of Jewish and European heritage.
Cybersecurity startup Snyk raises $300m, valued at $8.5b
Boston-Based cyber security software startup Snyk on Wednesday said it raised $300 million in fresh funds and the company was now valued at $8.5 billion.

Synk's technology is used by developers to add security components to their new software products. Cyber security has been one of biggest areas of investment by venture capitalists since the pandemic as companies ramped up their digital footprint, including e-commerce and remote work.

The latest round co-led by Sands Capital Ventures and Tiger Global follows a funding round in March when $175 million of new capital was raised. The company was valued at $4.7 billion only six months ago.

The new funds will be used for product development and to improve its technology, the company said.

In addition to the fresh capital raised, investors paid $230 million to buy existing shares of the company. As startups fetch big valuations even before publicly listing, large funds and private equity firms are moving to buy shares of private companies from earlier shareholders or company employees.
Mobileye to launch pilot scheme for autonomous taxis in Tel Aviv, Munich in 2022
Intel Corporation’s Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based maker of self-driving technologies, will roll out a pilot for autonomous taxis and ride-hailing services in Munich and Tel Aviv next year, pending regulatory approval, in collaboration with German-headquartered international car rental and mobility service giant Sixt SE.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger at the annual IAA Mobility 2021 conference (also known as the International Motor Show Germany) taking place in Munich this week. Intel bought Mobileye in 2017 for a whopping $15.3 billion.

Mobileye will own the fleet of vehicles — which it calls “robotaxis” — powered by the company’s fully integrated self-driving system, dubbed Mobileye Drive, and developed specifically for commercial, driverless ride-hailing services. Sixt will maintain and operate the fleet both in Israel and Germany.

Gelsinger and Sixt co-CEO Alexander Sixt demonstrated the new service at the event with a video showing a driverless vehicle maneuvering the streets of Tel Aviv-Jaffa as it pulls up to waiting passengers who had hailed the ride. Mobileye co-founder and CEO Prof. Amnon Shashua, also senior vice president of Intel, then briefly addressed the crowd via video segment to detail the technologies powering the ride-hailing service.

Riders will be able to access the service on the app developed by Moovit, the Israeli smart transit data company Intel bought last year for some $900 million, as well as the Sixt app, which combines ride-hailing, car rental, car-sharing and other offerings.
Israel and U.S. to Develop New Arrow 4 Missile to Defeat Hypersonic Weapons
Countering hypersonic weapons may require greater maneuverability and more extensive sensor coverage to account for their less predictable and visible flight path. Space-based sensors and more frequent mid-course updates may offer solutions to these challenges.

However, another technology the Arrow 4 is reportedly aimed at countering are missiles that release multiple submunitions, known as MRVs, or MIRVs, in their more sophisticated independently-guided form. Various ballistic missiles in service can carry anywhere from three to fifteen such separating warheads.

If regular ballistic missile defense is akin to shooting down a bullet with another bullet, trying to defend against MRVs is like trying to shoot down a spray of shotgun pellets with a bullet. In other words, MRVs not only spread out the damage further and more destructively, but also cheaply multiply the number of targets missile defenses must contend with. For this reason, North Korea appears to be developing an MRV-releasing missile.

There appear to be two counter-MRV methods under consideration. One is to intercept an incoming missile early before it can release its submunitions. Ensuring that may require even greater speed and faster detection and launch times.

The other concept is to have the anti-missile interceptor also release multiple kill vehicles. In fact, proposals for the United States’ next-generation interceptor apparently feature exactly that. Despite the obvious appeal of this counter, the problem remains that interceptor missiles and their sub-munitions will likely be much more expensive than the offensive weapons they are designed to stop.

Nonetheless, in the last decade, Israel has been successful so far in using expensive technologies to render indirect fire attacks from its enemies largely ineffective. That means that even as Iran improves the range and precision of its long-range missiles, it’s unlikely to achieve a reliable capability against Israel unless it manages to deploy them in large volumes or attack from some unexpected vector to overwhelm or bypass Israel’s multi-layered defenses.

"Elvis' Deep Fake Rosh Hashanah Song Stirs Excitement"
A video featuring the King, Elvis Aaron Presley singing Israeli composer Neomi Shemer’s Months Song went viral in Israel ahead of Rosh Hashanah, as thousands of Israelis enjoyed this pretend clip from the Ed Sullivan Show, complete with the grumpy host’s introduction and blessings for the Jewish State—most of them doubting its historic authenticity, but all of them loving the performance.

According to Haaretz, the inspired video was made as a combination of Deep Fake technology and a convincing musical production by Yishai Raziel, a veteran Israeli content creator. Raziel collaborated on the hoax with production company B.Y Group, director Zohar Rabinovich, and designer Roi Kahalani.

According to Raziel, the clip’s production took about six months, and included recruiting an Elvis impersonator (one of the very best) out of tens of thousands of candidates, and creating an English version of the familiar song.

“Once a year I do something for the soul,” Raziel told Haaretz, describing the reactions he received to the latest video as “crazy.” He himself was receiving hundreds of shares on his phone, including some from top Israeli popular stars. A radio host on Army Radio played the clip as a straight historic item, bringing great shame on the house of (Ya’akov) Bardugo.


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