Saturday, September 11, 2021

From Ian:

Mossad spy chief on 9/11: We realized rules for fighting terror had to change
When American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center’s North Tower on September 11, 2001, then-Mossad chief Efraim Halevy was in the middle of a meeting with then-prime minister Ariel Sharon.

“Suddenly someone came in the room, passed him a piece of paper. And he said to me, ‘Something has happened. I think you shouldn’t be here, you should be in your office.’ I said, ‘What happened?’ He told me briefly, and I was off on my way,” Halevy recalled, speaking to The Times of Israel ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

“The 9/11 events caught everyone by surprise,” he said.

Halevy, 86, had been the head of the Mossad spy agency for three and a half years when two planes hit the World Trade Center, a third hit the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, after the passengers regained control of the aircraft from the hijackers and prevented it from hitting its target, which investigators believe was either the White House or the United States Capitol.

The British-born spymaster was wary of revisiting many of the technical questions of the Mossad’s activities following the attacks — what they knew and when and what was shared with the US — but he said there was a general effort to bring whatever relevant information it collected with the Americans.

“I’m now well past 80 and to start going into my memory, which has all kinds of ‘boxes,’ some which are very full and some of which are emptying up — I would rather not go into that minefield,” he said.

“We had an understanding that on this issue we had to cooperate in bringing information [to the US] if it came our way and to initiate activities to gather information subsequent to the attack.”

Halevy recalled a grim mood in the Mossad following the attack and not only out of an understanding that a major event had taken place with the potential to significantly reshape the world.
'If we cannot name our enemy, how can we ever expect to defeat it?'
Steven Emerson is considered one of the most esteemed experts on Islamic Jihad. As early as 1992, he sounded the alarm that a major attack on US soil was just a matter of time, but no one seemed to care. Speaking with Israel Hayom, he has vivid memories of 9/11, as if it happened yesterday.

Unlike most Americans who were shocked by the horrific events, he was not surprised. In fact, about a month before the attack he predicted that something big was imminent, but again, to no avail.

Q: What lit up your interest in going after the subject of the jihad in America and how it happened, a decade or so before 9/11.

"In December 1992, I had been working as an investigative correspondent for CNN (my second year for CNN; my 12th year as a journalist). In late December I got a tip that in Oklahoma City, the Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor was going to unveil his final report on the Iran-Contra affair but I didn't know what day. So I flew to Oklahoma City on December 24, the day before Christmas and checked into a downtown hotel, waiting any day for the report to be released. Well on December 25, Christmas Day, everything was closed, even the restaurant in the hotel. So I took my rented car and drove around downtown looking for a fast-food restaurant and I suddenly passed a most unusual sight as I drove near the Oklahoma City Convention Center: Streaming in and out of the Center were thousands of men and women dressed in traditional Middle East clothing – women wearing hijabs and men wearing the galabias (long robes). My first instinctive reaction was that there must have been a film being made and that these folks were extras. So I parked my car nearby and went inside the convention center. I immediately realized that this was actually a convention of some kind – I really didn't know what kind until I went down to the convention floor where there were scores of tables, each one cluttered with books, audio and video cassettes, and pamphlets or Middle East clothing for sale. I felt a bit conspicuous but I was warmly welcomed from the table as I began collecting the books, cassettes, and pamphlets. Some were in Arabic, but many were in English. And the ones that were in English had very radical anti-American, anti-Israeli, and antisemitic rhetoric with names of organizations based in Tampa, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; Bridgeview, Illinois; Brooklyn, NY; Tucson, Arizona – from all over the country.

"I soon discovered that the organization hosting this conference was called the Muslim Arab Youth Convention or MAYA for short. (Only later would I found out that it was founded and headed by Abdullah bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's half brother). In fact, I was warmly welcomed by one of the attendees – Abdullah, who identified himself as a 'revert' to Islam (since everyone in the world is born a Muslim including Jews and Christians, one doesn't convert to Islam; rather one reverts to Islam). Abdullah told me he had been born a Jew but had reverted to Islam. He took me under his wing and actually allowed me to accompany him as his guest to 'Palestine Night' that very evening where we sat in the section of converts or reverts. The speakers including Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal, Muslim Brotherhood leader Kamal Helbawi and leaders of other radical Islamist groups including Al Gama al Islamiya. Although the fiery speeches were in Arabic with thunderous applause from the audience of about 3000, there was a simultaneous translation for all 25 of us in the revert section. At one point, everyone got up and starting chanting something about 'Yahudi.' So naturally, we all tried to join in as well. I asked Abdullah what were we chanting? He blithely responded, ' Oh, just 'Kill the Jews.'


Al-Qaida was smashed, but not crushed
In 2001, the organization al-Qaida struck a blow that shocked the world. In a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, unprecedented in nearly every aspect, the group managed to hit the US, the strongest superpower in the world, in its most vulnerable spot.

Residents of the world were amazed to see how a small organization numbering only a few hundred or thousand members, located in far-off Afghanistan without any particularly impressive infrastructure, managed to organize such a destructive attack. In the years that have passed, al-Qaida has carried out other terrorist attacks in Madrid (2004) and London (2005).

But the American invasion of Afghanistan dealt the organization a harsh blow. Many of its people were killed or captured by the Americans. Cooperation between intelligence agencies worldwide made it difficult for terrorists from the group to operate freely, as they had done previously, and the scope of the attacks it perpetrated against the west gradually decreased.

But the most serious blow to al-Qaida came in 2011, when a team of US special forces killed its leader and founder Osama Bin Laden. His successor Ayman al-Zawahiri, served as a kind of spiritual authority, almost disconnected from what was happening in the field.
Al-Qaeda leader, rumored dead, appears in video for 9/11 anniversary
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was seen in a new video on Saturday, following rumors that he had died. The footage wsas released on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by al-Qaeda, al-Zawahiri spoke on a number of subjects including the “Judaization of Jerusalem.”

Although the video was released on Saturday, al-Zawahri made no mention of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Rita Katz, SITE’s director noted.

Al-Zawahiri made references to a raid on a Russian military base by the al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Deen group in Syria, which it claimed on January 1, 2021, Katz added.

Al-Zawahiri also talked about the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, but Katz pointed out that it could have been said long ago following the signing of the Doha Agreement, in which the US pledged to remove its troops from the country.

“Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021,” Katz tweeted.


NY Jewish community recalls 9/11 with service projects, prayer
Allan Englander usually commemorates Sept. 11 at the Tribeca Synagogue where he was having breakfast after morning prayers that Tuesday in 2001 when he learned a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

"We didn't believe it at first – somebody called in, and we all rushed out and ran to the corner, where we had a view of the World Trade Center," he recalls. "I got there just in time to see the second plane crash into the tower."

On the anniversary of the attacks, they pray, have breakfast, and think back at what they were doing and how they felt, he says. "I try to make an effort to go there on 9/11 simply because it's reminiscent, it's remembering," he says.

This year's commemoration will be different, though. With the 20th anniversary of the tragedy falling on Saturday, instead of being minutes from the World Trade Center site, where he prays on weekdays, Englander will mark the day closer to home at a synagogue on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Jewish groups across New York City will be marking America's worst international terrorist attack against the backdrop of Shabbat this year. For some, that means moving programming to adjcaent days; for others, it means having a group of community members gathered to remember together.
The Real Lesson of the Afghanistan Debacle for Israel
The lesson for Israel is clear and ominous. For almost two decades, Iran has been conducting a two-front proxy war against Israel. Hezbollah is a total proxy of Iran and Hamas a partial one, as it also has to take into account the interests of the Turkish-Qatari-Muslim Brotherhood axis which do not always align with those of Iran.

Despite ongoing Israeli efforts, including significant attacks against Iranian forces in Syria, the threat posed by Iran’s proxies continues to evolve into an ever more menacing one. Though clearly incapable of defeating Israel, their ability to exact an increasingly dear price from Israel continues to grow, with Iranian assistance. This will not change as long as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei knows he can fight Israel to the last drop of Lebanese blood and be confident of his and his regime’s safety in Tehran. Indeed, despite enjoying a significant conventional weapons qualitative edge over an Iranian military that has been hobbled by decades of tight international sanctions, Israel has so far refrained from actions aimed at decisively defeating either of the proxies or exacting a high enough price from Iran to force it to reconsider its proxy war against Israel.

Militarily, the main reason has been the Iranian missile program, which, though still equipped entirely with conventional warheads, has seemingly succeeded in sufficiently deterring Israel. This is despite the fact that Israel possesses the world’s only fully operational multi-layer missile defense system (Arrow, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome).

This is not, however, the only reason, as militarily, Israel has the capacity to defeat both Iranian proxies. In order to destroy Hamas, Israel would have to resume the status of Gaza’s occupying power, or ensure in advance that a multinational force of some kind would be available and capable of assuming responsibility for Gaza. No such force is likely to come into existence any time soon. A unilateral Israeli occupation of Gaza is possible, but would exact a prohibitive price economically, diplomatically, and in terms of public opinion.

Destroying Hezbollah would require Israel to destroy half of Lebanon, since Hezbollah is a state within a state that is more powerful than the legitimate state itself. Militarily it can be done, but would create a humanitarian and public relations disaster. Israel has therefore based its policy on containment and management, having concluded that the economic, diplomatic, and military sacrifices and ramifications the alternative would entail are too expensive.

Afghanistan provides a compelling reminder of the futility of fighting a proxy war while refraining from confronting the power supporting the proxy, even if you are the preeminent global power, which the US still is.

Israel’s priority must be to ensure it does not reach a situation where it ends up facing a proxy backed by a nuclear-armed power. In order to achieve that, it must, without delay, reassess its current containment policy. It must formulate a new policy based not on threat containment but threat neutralization. That means confronting Iran.

As heavy as the costs of such a policy might be, it is clear that the costs of not adopting such a policy will, very possibly and unfortunately in the not too distant future, be much higher. The question Israel’s strategic policymakers should be asking themselves is not whether it can afford to bear the costs of threat elimination, but whether it can afford not to.


Yom Kippur in British Mandate Palestine and the Irgun
WITH PRAYERS over at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in other cities and towns, several dozen Irgunists, fighters, medical staff, those responsible for weapons’ storage and drivers began to assemble. Shortly before midnight, four police stations were attacked throughout the country. Housed in what were referred to as Taggart fortresses, they had been built in the late 1930s to counter the Arab terror then. Many still serve the Israel Police.

The Irgun’s warnings about the Western Wall, an early form of psychological warfare, being perceived as forcing a concession from the British, had served its purpose in Jerusalem. No clashes occurred that day at the Western Wall or en route to it. All the attention of the British had been concentrated at the Western Wall. Before the night was over, in Haifa, Qalqiliya, Qatra near Gedera and Beit Dagan, perimeter defenses were overcome, suppression fire allowed the explosives experts to approach the walls and the resulting blasts and exchanges of shots caused significant damage and loss of life on the British side.

As it happened, on that Yom Kippur, Stern Group member Mattityahu (Todi) Pil’i, an observant Jew, for the first time in his life traveled on the most holy day from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. He had participated in the attempted assassination of British High Commissioner Harold McMichael on August 8. Having located the quarters of Thomas J. Wilkin, assistant superintendent of police, and the CID detective who had found Yair in 1942 and handed him over to Geoffrey Morton to be killed, he reported the news to Yitzhak Shamir. Shamir authorized Yehoshua Cohen and David Shomron to assassinate him immediately.

Two days later, on Friday, September 29, walking along St. Paul’s Way, as he approached Queen Helena Street where he would turn right and ascend to the Russian Compound, he was fired upon and killed. The curfew declared was ineffective as the two assassins were already on the loose, going to Tel Aviv, having jumped into a waiting taxi in an alley across the street that ran behind the Evelina de Rothschild school. The High Holy Day season was over.
2 more escaped prisoners captured, including notorious terrorist Zubeidi
Two more Palestinian security prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison were recaptured in the early hours of Saturday morning, including notorious terror commander Zakaria Zubeidi.

The second recaptured prisoner was named by police as Mohammed al-Arida, the younger brother of the reported mastermind of the jailbreak.

Four of the six escapees are now back in Israeli custody, as searches continued for the remaining two fugitives. Police believe one of them may now be in the northern West Bank, according to Hebrew media reports.

Zubeidi, a notorious commander in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terror group, was in prison while on trial for two dozen crimes, including attempted murder.

Al-Arida and the other four prisoners who escaped are all members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization. He was arrested in 2002 on terror offenses and sentenced to life in prison.

Zubeidi and Al-Arida were recaptured by Israeli counter-terror police officers near the northern town of Shibli–Umm al-Ghanam. The two were captured at around 5 a.m. at a parking lot used by truck drivers. Zakaria Zubeidi seen after being recaptured in northern Israel on September 11, 2021 (Courtesy)

An unnamed security official told Hebrew media that Zubeidi briefly tried to escape during the arrest operation, but was quickly overpowered.

“They found them hiding under a semi-trailer,” Yusuf Kahili, a resident of the town, said to reporters. “I saw them. They looked scared, hungry and humiliated.”
Security forces search for last 2 fugitives, warn they are desperate, dangerous
Security forces continued to search on Saturday for the last two escaped Palestinian prisoners who remained on the run, after the capture of four inmates who broke out of prison earlier this week.

Authorities believed that at least one of the remaining fugitives fled to the northern West Bank, where all six of the prisoners hail from.

“The estimation is that one has succeeded to get to the West Bank. The other one could be on either side of the Green Line,” Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said in an interview on Channel 12.

“We will catch them,” he added.

The two escapees still on the run are Iham Kamamji and Munadil Nafiyat, both of whom are members of the Islamic Jihad terror group.

Kamamji was serving a life sentence at the time of Monday’s escape, for killing an 18-year-old Israeli in 2006, a murder he reportedly expressed pride in.

Nafayat has not been charged with a crime other than being a member of the Islamic Jihad, and was being held under Israel’s practice of administrative detention, which allows it to imprison suspects without filing charges.

Security officials were increasingly concerned that Kamamji or Nafiyat could try to carry out an attack following the arrests of the other fugitives over the weekend.

“They have nothing to lose,” an unnamed senior official was quoted saying by the Walla news site.
Death threats made against family who reported fugitives to police
The family of the person who reportedly told police about the fugitives has received death threats and subsequently denied involvement in the capture, according to Ynet. "It is a lie - we didn't report anything, we were at a wedding," the family told Ynet. "We want to help the state but we were not involved in this incident," they said.

Despite the death threats received by the family, no police officers were seen near their home to secure their safety, Ynet reported.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev publicly thanked the Arab-Israeli Nazareth residents for "aiding in the capture" of the escaped terrorists.

"Although the mission has not yet been completed, I would like to thank Arab-Israeli citizens for their help in the captures," said Bar Lev.

"For four days, the escapees believed they could seek shelter and assistance from Arab-Israeli citizens - they were mistaken," said Bar Lev. "Wherever [the fugitives] went and were identified, Arab-Israeli citizens dialed 100," the Public Security Minister added.
All smiles: Fugitives' faces photoshopped by Palestinian media
Manipulated photos of the captured Gilboa Prison fugitives were shared on the social media platforms of Palestinian news outlets on Saturday.

Yakoub Mohammed Qadri and Mohammed Ardah’s faces were “photoshopped” to appear as if they had a broad smile on their faces as they were captured by police officers in Nazareth late on Friday night.

Social media quickly caught on to the photos, which have been doctored for reasons that are unclear.


UPDATED “Jewish Voice for Peace” (JVP) What the Media is Concealing
Lest there be any remaining doubt about the extremist, anti-Jewish bigotry of the inaptly named “Jewish Voice for Peace” group, their recent Instagram messages should put that to rest. Beyond messages celebrating the escape of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails as “self-liberation,” a recent message equates terrorists who escaped from prison while serving life sentences for the murders of Jews, with those who managed to escape the Nazi genocide of Jews during the Holocaust. Click on image above to enlarge.

It comes as no surprise to those acquainted with the group’s increasingly radical anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic activities. Read on for a fuller exposition of the group’s anti-Jewish hate rhetoric and actions.


IDF strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket fired at Israel
The IDF carried out an airstrike in Gaza on Friday night after Hamas shot a rocket towards the Eshkol Regional Council in the south of Israel. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome.

The IDF made a statement that they struck a Hamas position used for shooting, a storage facility next to a school and mosques, and a military facility that creates cement for tunnels.

"Once again, Hamas proved that they purposely place their assets at the heart of the civilian population in Gaza," they wrote in a tweet. "The IDF will continue to strike against terror attempts and sees Hamas as responsible for all that is done in the Gaza Strip."

Meanwhile, attacks and riots broke out all across the West Bank on Friday afternoon and into the night. An attempted stabbing attack took place at Lion's Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday afternoon.

The suspect, a 50-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, came to the gate where he attempted to stab Israel Police officers in the area. He was immediately stopped and arrested, a police spokesperson stated.
PA withdraws from deal to transfer Qatari funds to Gaza employees
The Palestinian Authority has walked away from an agreement to transfer Qatari aid money to public servants in the Gaza Strip, Mohammad al-Emadi, chairman of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, announced on Friday.

“The Palestinian Authority has withdrawn from the agreement recently concluded between it and the Qatari Committee regarding the disbursement of the grant for employees,” al-Emadi said in a statement.

The PA decision is related only to salaries of public servants, and not to needy families in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources clarified. The PA decision is seen as a blow to Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations efforts to reach a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas.

Al-Emadi said the PA informed him of its decision not to transfer the funds through banks belonging to the Palestinian Monetary Authority, despite recent understandings.

According to al-Emadi, the decision came in spite of the fact that Qatar had already transferred the funds to the PA.

The PA’s justification for the retraction was fear that the banks would be exposed to lawsuits and accusations of supporting terrorism, he revealed.

“The Qatari committee is currently working to solve the problem and find an alternative way to disburse the grant,” he added.
JPost Editorial: We must do what it takes to stop Iran - editorial
“We have intensified our preparations for operations in Iran,” he said. “A large portion of the increase in the defense budget is for this purpose. This is complicated work that requires a lot of intelligence, operational capabilities and munitions. We are working on it all.”

Israel’s rhetoric is not empty. The possibility that Iran will one day obtain a nuclear weapon or be on the threshold of doing so with very little breakout time is a threat under which Israel cannot live. It will impair Israel’s operational freedom, set off a nuclear arms race throughout the already volatile Middle East, and give Tehran’s proxies – primarily Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip – a feeling that they can get away with attacking Israel without paying a price.

Israel’s hope is that the world will understand that the Jewish state is not bluffing, and will take seriously its threat to use military force to stop Iran. The world would do well to keep in mind that Israel is the only country on the globe to twice – Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 – launch airstrikes that successfully eliminated an enemy’s nuclear program.

What the world should also keep in mind is that this is an issue that crosses partisan lines. It is true that the current government is split between right-wing parties and left-wing parties, but Iran transcends those divisions. Stopping its nuclear arms race is a consensus issue that receives wide parliamentary support.

Will that be enough for the West to take the necessary economic and diplomatic steps to rein in Iran? That remains to be seen. The clock is ticking.
Bennett: IAEA Report Shows ‘Time Has Come to Act’ on Iran Nuclear Program
“Israel takes very seriously the situation reflected in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) report released this week on the Iranian nuclear issue,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Friday.

“This report proves that Iran continues to lie to the whole world and to promote a nuclear weapons development program, while denying its international commitments. We must ensure that Iran will never have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons,” he said.

The prime minister called “for an appropriate and swift international response to Iran’s grave acts.”

“The IAEA report warns that the time has come to act, we must no longer continue with a naive expectation that Iran will be ready to change its habits through negotiations which have proved to be unnecessary,” he added.

According to Bennett, “only a firm position of the international community, supported by decisions and actions, can lead to a change of course of the regime in Tehran, which has lost all restraint.”

“Israel will do everything to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he concluded.

The IAEA denounced on Tuesday the lack of cooperation from Iran, which according to the organization seriously undermines its mission of monitoring Tehran’s nuclear program, against a backdrop of a deadlock in negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear accord.
Controversial Bill to Mandate High School Ethnic Studies Passes in California Legislature
A bill that would make California the first state in the nation to require that high school students take an ethnic studies course for graduation passed the state’s legislature on Wednesday, the latest turn in a contentious, years-long process over the proposal.

Assembly Bill 101 (AB 101), now awaiting the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom before becoming state law, was opposed by some Jewish groups, who argued that it would allow schools to adopt previously proposed curricula that included antisemitic and anti-Israel material.

In 2020, Newsom criticized the first draft of an Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (EMSC) as “offensive in so many ways,” and later vetoed an earlier measure to require its adoption in California schools.

The version of the mandate passed on Wednesday was praised by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus for including “important clarifying amendments” they said addressed concerns raised by the Jewish community.

“These amendments — which expressly prohibit the use of curriculum that was rejected because of concerns about anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias — strengthen the firm guardrails included in AB 101 and leave no doubt that hate and bigotry against Jews, Israelis, or any other community is prohibited by law and cannot be taught in our classrooms,” the caucus said.

“In the coming months, the Jewish Caucus will continue to remain actively engaged to ensure that the teaching of ethnic studies is free from any anti-Jewish bias or discrimination and adheres to the highest educational standards.”


1,000 reasons why not to fight antisemitism
Dear friends and colleagues, members of the Jewish-American community:
Good News! Antisemitism is no longer a problem worth combatting. This is the assessment of a large number of fellow Jews I've reached out to over the past few years. The outreach was part of my effort to recruit others to partner with me in my fight against the world's oldest hatred, which is now, once again, inciting violence against Jews. Although I decided to continue fighting instead of shifting to a laidback lifestyle, I owe it to you to provide some of the reasonable as well as absurd excuses I’ve heard over the years. So here it is, as expressed by some of my Jewish peers who tried to convince me that my activism is a bad idea.

We cannot afford to fight antisemitism
The number one reason many Jews avoid fighting or helping in the fight against antisemitism is because they are afraid.

The more affluent and successful my Jewish friends are the less risk they are willing to take. Standing up and fighting against our enemies expose and place us in the public domain and we become the targeted enemies of our adversaries, and that can be costly. I often hear or I am led to understand that they would like to help but they cannot afford any risk and have too much to lose. It’s much safer for their reputation, their businesses, and their wellbeing if they stay underneath the radar and hope someone else will do the job. There are many ways to stay underneath the radar and support anonymously, but any type of involvement scares them because it might leak out and be used against them. Because they don’t want to admit that they are fearful, most use reasonable and/or absurd excuses including the following:
Outrageous website that compares Israeli policies to the Holocaust attacks CAA
An outrageous website that compares Israeli policies to the Holocaust has now chosen to attack Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Shoah.org.uk, a website that launched in 2011 and joined Twitter earlier this year, says that its “aim is to give a voice to the millions of ordinary people around the word who want to end to the ‘Zio-Nazi’ oppression, environmental destruction of Palestine.”

The Shoah is the Hebrew name of the Holocaust, the genocide of six million Jewish men, women and children at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is an example of antisemitism.

It is believed that the website is managed by Sammi Ibrahem, a former council candidate for the Birmingham Workers Party and may now be a member of the Communist Party. He has also reportedly been praised by the antisemite Gilad Atzmon, who has previously been forced to make a humiliating apology to Campaign Against Antisemitism following defamation proceedings.

According to the JC, a Twitter profile with a picture matching the logo of the website tweeted last year: “inshalla [G-d-willing] we see another Holocaust so will be no Zionist at all [sic].”

The website reportedly responded to the JC’s request for comment saying: “The views in our articles are those of the authors and not necessarily reflect those of shoah.org.uk.”

This week, the website republished an article recycling criticisms of Campaign Against Antisemitism common on the far-left. The article was originally published in 2018 on a different website.
Top Executives at Fashion Brand Brandy Melville Exposed for Sharing Hitler Memes, Promoting Antisemitism and Racism
Top executives at the Italian fashion and accessories brand Brandy Melville have come under fire for engaging in antisemitic, racist, sexist and other discriminatory behavior, Business Insider has reported.

The outlet obtained screenshots from a text message group chat from 2017 to 2020 called “Brandy Melville gags” that included owner and CEO Stephen Marsan and other top company executives. In the group chat, members shared racist, sexist, and antisemitic jokes, including one photo in which, a former business partner said, Marsan superimposed his face onto the body of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. The group members additionally exchanged images mocking Black people and employing pornography, other photos of Hitler, and memes featuring the n-word.

One image Marsan posted in the group featured a woman holding a T-shirt at an angle so that it would spell “Hitler.” Other Holocaust and Nazi references appeared, with Hitler mentioned 24 times in the more than 150 screenshots viewed by Business Insider.

Another image of Hitler featured the text “Premio Nobel per la brace,” which translates to “Nobel Prize for barbecue;” another showed Hitler with the text “Happy New Year My [n-word]; and a separate edited image depicted an emaciated woman in a sash that said “Miss Auschwitz 1943.” A selfie shared by Adriano de Petris, Brandy Melville’s chief technology officer, showed Roberto Tatti — Marsan’s brother-in-law and a Brandy Melville supplier — performing a Nazi salute.

Marsan — who in 1970 founded the brand with his father in Italy — opened the brand’s first North American location in Westwood, California, in 2009. There are now 94 locations worldwide, including 34 in the US, while annual global revenue has surpassed $250 million, according to former executives.


In Sign of ‘Growing Friendship,’ Israel Shares Medical Supplies With Vietnam to Aid COVID-19 Fight
With Vietnam in the midst of its deadliest outbreak of COVID-19 so far, Israel has transferred medical equipment to aid the country’s pandemic efforts, the latest of several signs of warming ties between the two nations.

The medical supplies were handed over on Friday by Israel’s ambassador to Vietnam, Nadav Eshcar, to Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Hieu at a ceremony also attended by representatives of the country’s Ministry of Health. The equipment is destined for a new field hospital that has opened in Hanoi to treat coronavirus patients. Eshcar and Hieu also discussed steps to promote relations between the two countries.

“The assistance reflects the growing friendship between Israel and Vietnam,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Friday.

The equipment includes 10 oxygen ventilators provided by the Israeli firm Inovytec Medical Solutions. In the coming days, about 10,000 medical masks will also be delivered, as well as 20 oxygen generators and antiviral plastic sheets to cover surfaces, donated by the Israeli company Poli Film. Some of the protective equipment will be transferred for use at a major hospital in Ho Chi Minh City and to cover ATMs throughout major cities. Ambassador Eshcar added that additional medical equipment was on the way.

Cumulative cases of COVID-19 in Vietnam surged from just a few thousand before the summer to over 480,000 today, with over 12,000 new cases reported on Thursday.

The effort comes after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh spoke on the phone in July, during which they discussed the aid transfer.
Award-winning game has 165,888 ways to shape Star of David
The Genius Star is an award-winning puzzle game where each player gets a six-pointed star-shaped board made up of 48 numbered triangles.

Players roll seven dice and place triangular pieces on the seven spaces determined by the dice. Then they race to use 11 colorful triangle combos to tessellate — or cover the game board – without gaps or overlaps.

Sometimes the task of finishing the star will seem easy and sometimes virtually impossible, but for each of the 165,888 possible dice combinations there is always at least one way to accomplish it.

“That’s the ‘genius’ element that people love about the game,” says its inventor, Aron Lazarus, 42, who immigrated to Israel from London in 2006.

“People can’t get their head around the fact that there is always a solution. Well, it took me three months to devise the correct dice configuration that made that possible and we even had a computer program written to test every single one of the 165,888 puzzles, to be absolutely certain that there are no mistakes.”

The Genius Star, named “Best Puzzle/ Brainteaser Game” by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association in 2020, is available in 30 countries on five continents and became an Amazon Best Seller in the UK.
Project Underway to Digitize 35,000 Volumes of Hebrew Books From Italian Jewish History
A project to digitize thousands of historical Hebrew texts in Italy is now in full swing, according to the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI), with an eye to make hundreds of years of the country’s rich Jewish history available to scholars around the world.

The I-TAL-YA Books initiative aims to create an Italian-Hebrew database of nearly 40,000 volumes, and is moving at a “rapid pace” after a testing phase, according to Pagine Ebraiche, a publication run by UCEI.

“You can thus immerse yourself in pages dating from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, leaf through the comments of the rabbis on the texts of the tradition, but also discover where and who had the opportunity to print these volumes,” the outlet said.

2,000 volumes have already been uploaded on the “Teca” web portal, with another thousand about to be added and further updates planned every two months.

On September 26, a Jewish book festival event — organized by the Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah in the town of Ferrara — will update the public on the project’s revelations so far and its future plans.

Texts already available in the database include a 1906 prayer book for the Shavuot holiday, an 1886 book of Exodus published in Livorno, and a Passover haggadah dating to 1758, from the prominent Bragadina printing house.
Tel Aviv ranked 8th best city in the world by Time Out
Tel Aviv placed eighth in the 2021 edition of Time Out’s Best Cities in the World, based on a poll of 27,000 city-dwellers across the globe. San Francisco topped the list.

“We wanted to find out which cities really stepped up and pulled together this year,” write the editors of the London-based guide to art and entertainment, food and drink, attractions, hotels and things to do in the world’s greatest cities.

“So we asked you not just about food and culture, as we always do, but also community projects, green space and sustainability. We were after the cities that were not only thinking about the now, but also the future. The ones making life better both for us and for our grandkids.”

Tel Aviv was cited for its resilience during the pandemic.

“When Covid hit tourism, this high-tech hub hit the Reset button. The pandemic caused the ‘city that never stops’ to take a well-needed pause. Spaces like Dizengoff Square and Park HaMesila played host to picnics, gigs, screenings and talks. After the lockdowns, Israel led the vaccination race and before long locals were back sipping cappuccinos in cafes and doing yoga on the beach.”

Eighty-one percent of the Tel Aviv residents responding to Time Out’s poll said their city was fun and 84% said they can express themselves there.











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