Sunday, October 17, 2021

From Ian:

Anti-Zionism is inherently antisemitism - opinion
Ultimately, that is what “anti-Zionism” is. Instead of visiting or residing in Israel, one is welcome to prefer a vacation in Saudi Arabia – and please don’t forget to bring home some sand for the kids. No one has to like people who write from right to left, who have emergency medical vehicles with red Stars of David instead of red crescents or red crosses painted on the ambulances.

But to be “anti-Zionist?” That’s like being anti-kosher. Anti-matzo. Because, when it comes down to it, Zionism actually is a core part of the very definition of a Jew.

That is why “anti-Zionism” always is pure antisemitism. No one reasonable denies the Italian love for Venice, the French love for Paris, the British love for London, or the Spanish love for Barcelona. Even amid the COVID pandemic, expatriates’ hearts and minds remain fixed on lands of heritage.

To deny only Jews that simple human yearning shared by all others is to manifest something much deeper than a mere disagreement over where ice cream should be sold or fictional works should be translated. It is to be an antisemite.
On The Theatrics Of Inversion: How Indigenous People Became ‘Settlers’
Two days ago, activist JB Brager of the deceptively-named ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ published an illustrated analysis of Zionism as an indigenous rights cause in Jewish Currents.

Their picture book (a fitting medium, I suppose) is not so much an analysis as it is a puerile, recalcitrant temper tantrum. If nothing else, it is as stark an example of Jewish self-hatred as anything I could imagine from a purported Jewish outlet.

For the sake of digestibility, I’ll address everything in a piecemeal fashion.

On the meaning of indigenous – From the very first panel, we see the authors attempting to spin Jewish discourse on indigeneity into a blood and soil argument — a calculated bid at misrepresenting Zionism as the Jewish version of German Volkisch nationalism. Attempting to place us on par with our worst abusers, the Nazis, appears to be a common theme for antisemites.

To wit, the authors deliberately pervert the meaning of indigeneity, arguing that (at least in our case) it is about nothing more than blood.

While common ancestry with the land’s original inhabitants is certainly part of the criteria, it is only one part. Indigeneity is first and foremost about ethnogenesis, or ‘where a people became a people’.

Jews do not, and never have, claimed indigeneity to Israel solely on the basis of blood. We claim it because we originated as an ethnic group on that land. Virtually everything about us, from our language and alphabet to our holidays and laws and core culture, is specific to the land of Israel/Palestine.

It is true that ethnic Jews — who comprise roughly 99% of global Jewry — trace the bulk of their genetic ancestry to the Levant (specifically to Bronze Age Canaanites, from whom the Jews and Samaritans emerged as subsets), but this alone does not qualify a population for indigenous status. Ethnogenesis, core culture, national language, collective spiritual ties, etc are equally important, if not more so. Indigenous status is a package deal.
Sally Rooney’s nonsensical anti-Israel statement
That Rooney sides with Israel boycotters isn’t surprising. Her first two books included characters attending an anti-Israel protest during Israel’s war with Gaza in 2014 and expressing displeasure that “We end up asking like, is Israel ‘nicer’ than Palestine.”

In May, while Israeli civilians were racing to bomb shelters to avoid Hamas’ rockets, Rooney signed “A Letter Against Apartheid,” which called for “an immediate and unconditional cessation of Israeli violence against Palestinians.” Rooney has also called the BDS movement an “anti-racist and nonviolent grassroots campaign.” That is, as opposed to, say, an antisemitic campaign that opposes the very existence of Israel (and vilifies Zionist Jews on American college campuses).

Rooney’s statement suggests that we imagine someone who might translate this novel into Hebrew while also being BDS compliant. A Hebrew-speaking Jew from Gaza? That wouldn’t work, because Jews haven’t lived in Gaza since Israel left in 2005. Perhaps a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian? No, such a person would incur the wrath of the BDS movement. So who does that leave?

Further, “there’s no such thing as a ‘BDS-compliant’ Hebrew publisher,” tweeted Anshel Pfeffer of the left-leaning Haaretz. “To be that, a publisher would have to agree to not selling its books in Israel and to Israelis who are ... the overwhelming majority of the Hebrew-reading market.”

Like Ben and Jerry’s announcing it will continue selling ice cream in Israel — just not beyond the Green Line — Rooney’s supposedly ideal translator and publishing house are absurd. Ben and Jerry’s has operated in Israel since 1987, and Rooney’s last two books were translated into Hebrew. However, neither Ben and Jerry’s nor Sally Rooney seem interested in continuing to do business in Israel.

When ice cream makers and novelists apply a double standard to the world’s only Jewish state, there’s a term for that — and it’s not “human rights defender.”
David Collier: Attack my site all you want – you won’t stop the truth being told
For those that don’t know, my website has been under attack again. For much of the last week, I suffered sporadic down-time – until by Thursday the site was taken off-line for almost two days straight.

Two years ago, I faced persistent, brute-force, distributed denial of service attacks, and I had to reinforce my website to resist them. This time around, it appears the attack was somewhat more sophisticated.

The motive behind the attack is a simple one. I produced an in-depth report exposing horrific levels of antisemitism in Ireland. The report captured politicians, academics and activists engaged in either spreading blatant antisemitism or helping it to spread through the Irish mainstream. Obviously some people simply wanted to stop the truth being told. As an additional handicap I had my gallbladder removed on Thursday, and rather than have an opportunity to rest – I needed to spend the first two days following the operation putting the pieces of my website together again – so as to get the crucial evidence back online. As you can see from reading this – the site is now operational once more.

So for those who may have missed some of what has been taking place, this post is here as both a reminder and a reference.

Last week I produced a blog to introduce the report. There is also the report itself – an in-depth 202 page study on antisemitism in Ireland. The report was uploaded to another location during the attack on the website so people could still access it (Open cloud link) – see also an upload on the website of the Israeli Embassy in Dublin. The Jewish Representative Council of Ireland published a statement on the back of the report calling for Ireland to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

The report laid bare the scale of anti-Jewish hatred in Ireland – running freely as it does wrapped up in the mask of a social justice argument. From politicians and academics – to the activists on the street, the word being spread through Irish towns is that Zionists are a demon race who must be eradicated from the earth. The evidence is all there – and the unbelievable story of the hounding of the Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter highlights the real world cost that Jewish people in Ireland pay for the Irish anti-Jewish obsession.


Democrats Can No Longer Tolerate the Squad’s Anti-Israel Hatred
The Iron Dome Supplemental Appropriations Act passed 420-9, showing remarkable bipartisan support for Israel’s defense. Ocasio-Cortez voted “present,” but then in a great act of showmanship, proceeded to cry for the cameras. She wrote to supporters, apologizing for not voting “no” on the measure and explicitly stating that she opposed “the substance of the Iron Dome supplemental bill.”

Thankfully, the leadership of the Democratic Party condemned the Squad and their antics. In the debate surrounding the bill, there was a heated exchange on the House floor as moderate Democrat Ted Deutch of Florida slammed Tlaib, who labelled Israel an apartheid state.

“I cannot, cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish, democratic State of Israel an apartheid state,” said Deutch. “I reject it. When there is no place on the map for one Jewish state — that’s antisemitism, and I reject that.”

We can learn much from this debacle. First, that Israel’s right to defense has extremely strong bipartisan support. Overwhelming majorities from both parties rallied to vote in favor of ensuring that Iron Dome interceptor stockpiles do not dwindle in the wake of the latest series of rocket attacks by Hamas.

We who feel discouraged at times by Democrats’ policies toward Israel should take notice. We should always give credit for support of the Jewish state, regardless of party sympathies.

Second, the Squad and their fellow travelers do not care about human rights, at least not the human rights of Israel’s seven million Jewish and two million Arab citizens. These legislators are literally trying to ensure the Jewish state is left undefended, so that Hamas rockets will meet their marks on Israeli cities and towns. No other conclusion is possible.

If the Squad’s goal is met, it could lead to hundreds of Israeli civilian casualties in the next conflict. Moreover, because the Iron Dome is so effective in deflecting terrorist rockets, it gives Israeli decision-makers more leeway to not respond with overwhelming force — particularly with a ground invasion.

More deaths on the Israeli side would also increase pressure and justification for the Israeli Air Force to target Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad positions, risking greater Palestinian civilian casualties. Thus, the Squad are also placing more Palestinian lives in peril.
Free Speech for Me, Not for Thee: Ilhan Omar Calls For Newspaper Censorship Over Critical Op-Ed
Ilhan Omar has been an outspoken proponent of the constitutionally protected right of free speech when it comes to criticizing Israel.

In 2019, for example, the “progressive” Democrat politician representing Minnesota, who prides herself on being the first black, Muslim congresswoman, introduced a resolution that stated economic boycotts are an expression of speech in a bill that was co-sponsored by fellow “Squad” member Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

While the legislation did not specifically mention Israel or Palestinians, when asked about it, Omar referenced the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to delegitimize and eventually dismantle the Jewish state:
We are introducing a resolution… to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our first amendment rights in regard to boycotting. And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”

However, it seems Omar is less of a free speech advocate when it comes to the press criticizing her.

This weekened, she shared an open letter that attacked the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s editorial board for republishing an op-ed by New York Times writer Bret Stephens in which he condemned Omar for voting against United States funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defensive system in September.

The Star Tribune reproduced the column and added a picture of Hamas rockets being fired at Israel, in addition to changing the headline from the NYT’s original, ‘A Foul Play by Progressives Over Israel’s Iron Dome,’ to, ‘Omar, ‘Squad,’ Launch Another Anti-Israel Strike.’

However, according to the open letter’s authors, this was not simply a bit of wordplay that highlighted Omar and some of her Democratic colleague’s incessant attacks on Israel (see here and here).

Instead, they viewed the revised headline and included image as evidence the Star Tribune was promoting a “textbook example of Islamophobia” and accused the outlet of “equating Muslims with terrorism.”
US rejoining UN Human Rights Council; what it should do first
The United States on Thursday won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) beginning in January 2022, with the Biden administration vowing to prove it can reform the council from within. Biden’s first test: dissolving the council’s one-sided commission of inquiry on Israel.

In a statement issued moments after the UNHRC election results were announced, Secretary of State Antony Blinken put anti-Israel bias at the top of the Biden administration’s reform agenda. The council, he said, “suffers from serious flaws, including disproportionate attention on Israel and the membership of several states with egregious human rights records.”

Indeed, the council’s obsession with castigating Israel has long been atop the list of criticisms leveled against it. Since the council’s creation, it has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than every other country in the world combined. In contrast, the council has adopted zero resolutions on the gross human rights abuses in China, Cuba, and Russia.

In addition, Israel is the only country to which the council dedicates a standing agenda item. As if Israel — a democracy rated by the respected Freedom House as a free country, which boasts Arabs on its Supreme Court, in its parliament and in its coalition government — were the world’s leading abuser of human rights.

The council currently is preparing its most insidious assault on Israel to date.

In May, the Hamas terrorist organization rained thousands of rockets down on Israeli civilians while using Palestinians as human shields — both clear violations of the law of armed conflict. Rather than condemning Hamas, the UNHRC voted to establish a new commission of inquiry designed to produce a report falsely accusing Israel of committing apartheid.

The mandate for this new commission includes not only investigating Israel for violations of the law of armed conflict but also investigating “systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity” and establishing facts of “crimes perpetrated.” This phrasing mirrors the language of a report issued in April by Human Rights Watch, which invented a new, broader definition of the decades-old crime of apartheid and falsely accused Israel of violating it.


Report: Lapid Misled Bennett and Blinken on US ‘Palestinian Consulate’
The tension between Israel and the United States over the Jerusalem consulate that would cater to the needs of Palestinian Authority residents stems from a lack of coordination between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, according to a Sunday report in Israel Hayom citing a political source involved in the relationship between the government and the administration in Washington.

According to the source, Foreign Minister Lapid gave his American counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, an early commitment that it would be possible to carry out the move.

In a phone conversation with Blinken several months ago, Lapid noted that due to the sensitive political structure of the government, it would be better to open the controversial consulate only after the state budget is passed in the Knesset, at which point the stability of the government would be proven. Blinken accepted Lapid’s position and agreed to wait until the Knesset approved the budget.

However, about a month after the formation of the government, contacts began between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s advisers and the administration on the same issue, the PM’s envoys to Washington made it clear that Bennett opposes the opening of the consulate even after the budget is approved. The American administration was taken aback, and according to IH’s political source, the reason Antony Blinken announced last week, with Lapid standing at his side, that he does intend to open the consulate—knowing Israel is opposed to the move—was the Secretary’s way of getting back at Lapid for misleading him.


Swedish foreign minister in Israel marking thaw in relations
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde was set to arrive in Israel on Sunday evening, after a seven-year downgrade in relations between the countries.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Linde plan to meet on Monday, and she will meet with President Isaac Herzog, as well. She also plans to visit Yad Vashem and to take part in an event hosted by Sweden’s ambassador to Israel marking 70 years of relations between the countries. She plans to visit Ramallah on the second day of her visit.

Linde will be the first Swedish foreign minister to visit Israel since Sweden recognized a Palestinian state in 2014, sparking a diplomatic row, which continued when Sweden’s foreign minister at the time Margot Wallstrom accused Israel of “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinians. Israel recalled its ambassador from Stockholm for a month, and there was no contact between the countries on the ministerial level until this year. Lapid himself accused Wallstrom of antisemitism, at a pro-Israel rally in Stockholm in 2016.

But Sweden has made overtures to Israel in recent years, including speaking in favor of convening the EU-Israel Association Council and supporting Israeli candidacy to UN bodies.

Lapid and Linde met at the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in July, where she asked to bring relations between Israel and Sweden back on track and he agreed. They spoke on the phone in September – the first official conversation between Israeli and Swedish foreign ministers in seven years – and Sweden announced soon after that it would boycott the anti-Israel Durban IV Conference at the UN.
Muslim cleric sparks outrage for suggesting MP was killed for being 'pro-Israel'
A radical Islamist preacher alleged over the weekend that the assassination of Tory MP David Amess on Friday may have been due to his pro-Israel stance.

"The rumors are that he [Amess] was pro-Israel," Anjem Choudary told the Mail on Sunday from his home in East London. "Many people believe that [Israel] is a terrorist state, and who would possibly be a friend of Israel after you see the carnage that they carried out against Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and continue to do with the appropriation of properties?" he said. Amess was a member of the pro-Israel group "Conservatives Friends of Israel" and expressed strong support of the Jewish state during his long term in Parliament, dating back to 1983.

Choudary further stated that while "no one in their right and rational mind would support such a state," it nevertheless "does not give anyone the justification to kill."

The 54-year-old cleric is the former leader of the proscribed group Islam4UK. He also served two years in prison, between 2016 and 2018, for inviting support for the Islamic State. He was originally given a five-and-a-half-year sentence but was released early. He lived under license restriction until July this year but is free to preach again.

Nevertheless, security forces have said that if Choudary continued to preach extremism in Britain, he could be put under house arrest and tried again on terrorism and hate law charges.

His comments drew criticism from British officials and intellectuals alike.

"Not only is it outrageous and repugnant, but the whole motive of the attack is a matter for the police – not Mr. Choudary," British Professor Anthony Glees, an expert on extremism, said. "'Like all brainwashed radicalizers, Choudary will do everything he can to carry on making his poisonous comments. This is an attempt to radicalize others."

A 25-year-old British man – reportedly called Ali Harbi Ali – has been arrested in connection with the attack on Amess. Police have called his alleged action terrorism and have said that there were indications that his actions drew "potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."
Why did BBC reporter Dominic Casciani 'downplay' Tory MP murder suspect's reported Somali origins?
The BBC's home affairs correspondent was accused yesterday of trying to downplay the suspect's reported Somali origins.

As Dominic Casciani covered the crime, social-media users claimed he was 'desperate to diminish implications of a Muslim Somali immigrant killing an MP'.

Although every national newspaper with the exception of the Financial Times mentioned that the suspect had Somali 'origins', 'heritage' or 'descent' yesterday, Casciani appeared to wrestle with the issue on Radio 4's Today programme.

Presenter Nick Robinson asked him: 'The suspect is a British citizen, but he's also of Somali origin. Is that regarded as significant?'

Casciani replied: 'The Somali element – erm, no. The reason why some reporters have established this fact is that there has been some misreporting.

'Yesterday, during the day, there were some news outlets, and also on social media, some suggestions as to the identity of the individual.

'So I think the police are at pains to clarify in a statement last night that the individual is British.

'They haven't said anything about the heritage. But my understanding is that there was initially, potentially, some confusion over the individual's background and identity.'
Last Jew of Kabul reportedly to reach Israel as soon as this week
The man known as the last Jew of Kabul could soon be heading to Israel, after agreeing to grant his estranged wife a religious divorce in a Zoom call.

Zebulon Simentov, who fled Afghanistan last month after the Taliban takeover, landed Sunday in Turkey on what his rescuers say is a final stop before traveling to Israel, perhaps as soon as this week.

It caps a weekslong odyssey that included an escape from his homeland as well as a videoconference divorce procedure meant to ensure he will not run into trouble with Israeli authorities.

Under Jewish religious law, a husband must agree to grant his wife a divorce, something he had refused to do for many years. Facing the prospect of legal action in Israel, where his ex-wife lives, Simentov, after resisting for years, finally agreed to the divorce last month in a special Zoom call supervised by Australian rabbinical authorities. During the sometimes chaotic discussion, conducted through an interpreter who struggled to explain the procedure, Simentov agreed to sign a divorce document known as a "get" after receiving assurances that he will not face trouble in Israel.

Rabbi Moshe Margaretten, whose nonprofit group Tzedek Association funded the journey, said Simentov had spent the last few weeks living quietly in Pakistan, an Islamic country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Honest Reporting: Survey Results: HonestReporting’s Work On Hamas Conflict Dramatically Increased Favorability Towards Israelis
Executive Summary
HonestReporting recently commissioned a professional study whose findings show that our framing and messaging during last May’s conflict involving the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip was highly effective at improving understanding of, and favorability towards, the State of Israel and its citizens.

Overall favorability towards Israelis rose by a dramatic 33% across respondents aged 18-44. Favorability in the critical 18-24 age group rose by 32%, correlating especially well with our approach of ‘meeting people where they are’ — that is, talking to youth on their own, often liberal progressive terms (sometimes referred to as “woke”) — which significantly increases sympathy towards Israelis and vastly improves understanding of the conflict with the Palestinians.

Given the survey’s parameters, 60% of respondents initially said their sympathies towards Israelis and Palestinians were “about equal” or that they were uncertain, suggesting that most individuals’ opinions about the conflict are not firmly entrenched. In fact, of those who initially said that they sympathized more with the Palestinians, following the video presentation a full quarter of them reported sympathizing with both Israelis and Palestinians about equally and 9% fully shifted to the Israeli side.

Among those who already held a favorable view of Israelis, 85% said that watching the video made them feel more confident to discuss the conflict. This comes on the backdrop of a recent study that found that 50% of “openly Jewish” college students avoid expressing their views on Israel (NB: Only 2% of those surveyed identified as Jewish).
How the IDF's counter-terrorism raids keep the PA afloat
Recent events in the "West Bank" have served as a reminder of the fact that there are certain places where the Palestinian Authority cannot move around freely, and that without IDF counter-terrorist operations, Hamas would soon begin threatening the PA's stability and very ability to rule.

The IDF disrupted a large, heavily-armed Hamas cell in late September, arresting some 20 members in a series of security raids that included shooting attacks.

Five Palestinians – at least four of them Hamas members – were killed in IDF pre-dawn raids in the village of Biddu, outside of Jerusalem, as well as near Jenin, on Sept. 26.

Days later, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) gunman was killed in Burqin, near Jenin, after opening fire on IDF units conducting an anti-Hamas operation in the area. Two IDF soldiers sustained serious injuries in that incident.

Israeli security sources said the Hamas cell was planning a massive terror attack against Israelis in Jerusalem, which was reminiscent of the kinds of attacks common during the Second Intifada between 2000 and 2005.

Jenin's refugee camp is an example of an area that has become off limits to the PA's security forces.

In recent weeks, gunmen in Jenin marched the streets, firing their automatic rifles the air, and pledging to repel IDF attempts to enter the city or its refugee camp.
PLO opposition factions accuse Abbas of cutting funding
The Palestinian leadership, an apparent euphemism for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has suspended monthly payments to three Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) opposition factions in an attempt to force them to change their policies, the groups said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), formerly the Palestinian Communist Party, condemned the decision to halt the funding, saying it aims to “blackmail” them and “undermine their political positions.”

The three groups said in their statement that the funds were halted four months ago. They claimed that the decision was taken on an “individual basis,” an apparent reference to Abbas, who also heads the PLO Executive Committee.

“The decision to suspend the payments constitutes a violation of the statute of the PLO and an infringement on the powers of its leading bodies,” the statement read. “It also seriously damages internal relations between the PLO factions.”

According to the PFLP, DFLP and the PPP, the decision “comes at a time when the responsibilities of the three factions are increasing in advancing the popular resistance and confronting the occupation’s policies of settlement expansion, Judaization, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.”

The groups said that the suspension of the funds will not succeed in “blackmailing” them or dissuading them from “continuing their role in defending freedoms and democratic rights of the people in the face of the policies of oppression and authoritarianism.”


JCPA: Iranian and Saudi Talks: No Easing of Tense Relations Expected
Saudi-Iranian relations, in particular, and the Arab world’s relations with Shiite Iran, in general, will continue to be characterized by the religious division between Sunnis and Shiites, which is the dominant theme defining these relations for centuries.

During his meetings in Beirut on October 8, 2021, Iran’s Foreign Minister said that “the talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia are on the right track,” and the cooperation and consultations should be continued to implement the agreements reached so far.

It seems that Saudi Arabia is signaling that it is willing to give international peace efforts a chance given the U.S. political efforts to end the war and the heavy toll and loss of prestige following ongoing Houthi drone and missile attacks. On October 9, Houthi rebels fired an explosive drone that wounded ten people at the King Abdullah Airport in Jezan.

Despite Iran’s open satisfaction with the progress of relations stemming from Tehran’s sense of security after recent developments in its nuclear program and its regional and international status, and Saudi caution, given the uncertainty in its relations with the United States, a genuine Saudi-Iranian reconciliation does not seem to be on the table.
Saudi Foreign Minister Warns of ‘Dangerous’ Iran Nuclear Acceleration
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Friday that Iran’s acceleration of its nuclear activities is putting the world in “a very dangerous place” amid efforts to bring Tehran back into a 2015 nuclear deal.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington a day after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, bin Farhan called for a “quick suspension” of Iranian activities in violation of the agreement under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief.

Bin Farhan also urged a “quick resumption” of indirect talks between the United States and Iran. Regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia are arch rivals.

“I think we are in a very dangerous place. The fact that we continue to see acceleration of those activities … leads to the devaluation of the JCPOA,” he said, using the initials of the agreement formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, has so far refused to resume the indirect talks in Vienna.

US President Joe Biden’s administration wants to negotiate a return to compliance with the deal after his predecessor Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions, after which Iran resumed building its stockpile of enriched uranium.

“We have started a dialogue with Iran,” bin Farhan said, referring to four rounds of talks that the two countries began holding in 2020 that focused primarily on the conflict in Yemen. “These interactions, while cordial, have been exploratory in nature and have not reached a state where we can say that we’ve made substantial progress.”


Netflix’s ‘Palestinian Stories’ includes movies by BDS supporters
Netflix has launched a collection of movies on its global streaming service by and about Palestinians called Palestinian Stories. The collection has drawn criticism from some Israelis, and raises questions on whether releasing movies in Israel by directors who support the BDS movement – which advocates for a cultural boycott of Israel – violates the company’s guidelines.

Netflix said that they are releasing 32 films in the program. On the Israeli version of Netflix, 28 movies came up Sunday in a search for Palestinian Stories. A spokesperson for Netflix confirmed that some of this content, such as the Oscar-nominated short film The Present by Farah Nabulsi, which was already available on Netflix, has been repackaged as Palestinian Stories.

Im Tirtzu, an Israeli Right-wing non-governmental organization, researched the directors of the films and found that of 19 directors who made them, at least 15 have voiced support for BDS. But apparently, these directors do not have a problem with the films being shown on the Israeli Netflix service, or have not yet voiced this concern.

Ameen Nayfeh, director of The Crossing, one of the movies included in Palestinian Stories, told Reuters that he was happy that it was: “This is why we make films, because we want our stories to travel, we want people to know about us. Now when you type Palestine in the search button on Netflix, you will see so many different titles that you can watch. Before, when I would type Palestine, I would get Israeli titles.”

Earlier this year, Nayfeh and a number of these directors signed a statement in response to the Gaza war in May, calling for governments to “cut trade, economic and cultural relations with Israel” and calling Israel “an apartheid regime.”

Representatives of Im Tirtzu oppose showing these films on Netflix.


Katie Couric Wasn’t the First: FDR, Truman and the Jews
Controversy has erupted over the admission by journalist Katie Couric that she doctored her 2016 interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in order to “protect” Ginsburg from criticism of her opposition to athletes kneeling during the national anthem.

Couric joins a growing list of authors who have altered the unflattering words of individuals whom they admire, in order to shield them from embarrassment. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman have been among the prime beneficiaries of such unilateral revising of history.

One instance involving Roosevelt concerns remarks he made in a private meeting on January 22, 1938, with Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the foremost American Jewish leader of that era. The only source for what they discussed is a memorandum that Wise dictated shortly afterwards, for his private records.

According to historians Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, in their 2013 book, FDR and the Jews, the topic of the conversation was Palestine. Roosevelt believed the country was incapable of absorbing many more Jewish immigrants, so he urged Wise to look for “some large areas [elsewhere in the world] as a second choice for the Jews.” Wise disagreed and “parried” with FDR about Palestine, Breitman and Lichtman wrote, citing Wise’s memorandum.

But Breitman and Lichtman omitted another part of the conversation, in which the president blamed Poland’s Jews for the rising antisemitism in that country.

According to the full text of the Wise memo, FDR claimed that “the Jewish grain dealer and the Jewish shoe dealer and the Jewish shopkeeper” had been undercutting Polish Christian merchants, and it was this alleged Jewish financial subterfuge that was provoking Christian shopkeepers to demand that “the Jew should go.”
Jews built Hollywood. So why is their history erased from the Academy’s new museum?
After over a decade of delay caused by money problems, competing narrative visions and the COVID-19 pandemic, the $484 million Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles has finally opened to the public. The Academy heralds its new museum as the most important institution devoted to filmmaking in the world, and one visit bears this out: it is a must see for any cinema lover.

The capacious edifice is tricked out with meaningful exhibits, the latest digital and sound technology and two well-appointed theaters—the 1,000-seat, spherical David Geffen Theater is a sight to behold.

I hoped the museum would also pay homage to the motion picture pioneers who birthed the industry in the early 1900s and reflect the history of families like mine.

But after touring the museum’s seven stories, I discovered that Hollywood’s pioneers, who busted their tucheses building the industry it celebrates, ended up on the cutting room floor.

“We want to attract many different audiences. We want people to see themselves in our programs and exhibitions featuring highly known objects and films as well as lesser-known filmmakers. We aim to create dialogue,” Doris Berger, the museum’s senior director of curatorial affairs, told the Forward.

So, what does the museum’s inaugural main exhibit “Stories of Cinema,” interspersed throughout the first three floors, include? Museum Director Bill Kramer created an Inclusion Advisory Committee to spotlight the work of diverse filmmakers and explore historical omissions – a worthy goal considering the film industry’s notoriously poor record at elevating women and people of color.
Sakir Khader: Dutch Public Broadcaster’s Antisemitic Martyrs-loving Hamas Cheerleader
On August 6, Dutch filmmaker of Palestinian descent Sakir Khader announced that his second film on the Arab-Israeli conflict is slated to be released by the end of this year. Initial footage shows Khader, who works for the Netherlands’ VPRO public broadcaster, glorifying violent rioters from the Palestinian village of Beita in the Samaria region of the West Bank.

Khader’s anti-Israel track record gives rise to serious concerns that the journalist will utilize public funds to incite more hatred against the Jewish state. On social media, Khader has for months tried to portray the antisemitic radicals from Beita in a positive light. He repeatedly hailed them as “brave people” and described Hamas terrorists as “martyrs,” while calling Beita “the frontline against injustice.”

Even after the Dutch government strongly condemned the genocidal antisemitism espoused by the Palestinian rioters, including the burning of an effigy of an Orthodox Jew, the VPRO filmmaker on Twitter continued to praise what he called “the revolting town” of Beita.
Biketoberfest: Nazi-symbol hats spark outrage at Florida bike festival
A vendor at the Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach, Florida, revved up controversy last week by selling hats featuring Nazi symbols and imagery, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

Identified only as Jenny, the vendor told the local news outlet that the merchandise was not reflective of racism on her part, saying the swastika-logoed hats were a tribute to veterans of World War II and that selling them at other biker rallies never sparked any complaints. Furthermore, not all of her merchandise contains Nazi imagery.

The Biketoberfest is a massive annual biker rally in the city that sees participants numbering in the hundreds of thousands. The items sold caused backlash from local Floridians, including Marvin Miller, president of the Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler counties.

“It’s just a shame in this day and age,” Miller explained to the News-Journal. “It never stops. We just have to deal with it and just remember that we’re still America. Unfortunately, people abuse some of the wonderful rights we have and take it to extremes to spread propaganda.”

Others also criticized the items sold, such as SS armbands and other Nazi insignia.

“It’s absolutely disgusting to see a vendor selling Nazi and SS gear, but it’s even worse that the only reason they would do so is because people are actually buying it,” said visitor Jonathan Davis, who took photos of the items and shared them over Facebook, sparking the outrage, according to the News-Journal.
Medical Device Giant Medtronic to Acquire Israel’s Triple Jump for $300 Million
Medical device company Medtronic is in advanced negotiations to purchase Israeli startup Triple Jump for $300 million, Calcalist has learned. This acquisition comes on the back of an investment made by Medtronic in the Israeli company in 2020 that also included an option to buy Triple Jump.

According to the Israeli Corporations Authority, the investment was made via Covidien, which Medtronic purchased in 2015. Triple Jump is developing a unique small insulin pump patch that is placed on the patient’s body. The patch has mobile connectivity capabilities and will be included in a future artificial pancreas system.

Triple Jump, which is based in the northern town of Yokneam, was founded in 2015 by CTO Guy Shinar and Ofer Yodfat. Shinar was the CEO of X Technologies that was sold to Guidant for $200 million in 2003. Yodfat was also one of the founders of Medingo, which developed an insulin pump and patch and was sold in 2010 to pharma giant Roche for around $170 million. In 2012, Roche shut down Medingo’s operations in Israel and fired all 150 employees. The CEO of Triple Jump is Assaf Guy, a former executive at Medtronic.

Among Triple Jump’s additional investors are Elixir Medical Corporation, Hong Kong investment fund Wealth Strategy Holding, and veteran entrepreneur Dov Moran.

Medtronic acquired Israeli AI-powered nutrition platform Nutrino for $100 million two years ago. Medtronic’s largest acquisition in Israel to date was the $1.6 billion it paid for Mazor Robotics in 2018.
First archaeological evidence for Crusader camp found in Israel
A team of Israeli researchers was able to identify a Crusader encampment through archaeological evidence in the area of the Tzipori Springs in the Galilee, a new study recently published in the book Settlement and Crusade in the Thirteenth Century by Routledge showed. The research marked the first time ever that a Crusader encampment was found in the field.

Pursuing the idea of liberating the holy sites from Muslim rule and encouraged by the Roman Catholic Church, European powers and sometimes peoples initiated several military campaigns in the Middle East between the 11th and 13th centuries, which led to the establishment of a number of Christian states in the area of modern Israel, Lebanon and Syria, and for a certain period managed to place Jerusalem under Christian rule following massacres against Jews both in Europe and in the Middle East.

The period is documented by a vast corpus of historical sources as well as massive structures such as castles and fortresses left by the Crusaders in the region. However, very little remains to testify moments of transitions, such as battles and encampments.

In recent years, a salvage excavation conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority during the works to expand Route 79 – connecting the coast with the city of Nazareth - offered an unprecedented opportunity.

Israeli law demands that all construction projects are accompanied by a salvage excavation. The one along Route 79 was conducted by IAA archaeologists Nimrod Getzov and Ianir Milevski from the Prehistory Department.
Violins recovered from Holocaust to be played in special show
Violins taken during the Holocaust will be used at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia, in a special show presented by the Roanoke Jewish Federation.

Titled "And Their Music Lives on," the 75-minute show will include works by composers such as Viktor Ullmann, who wrote music while in a concentration camp and who later died in Auschwitz during the Holocaust, The Roanoke Times reported.

The show will be opened with remarks by Virginia Holocaust Museum chief historian Charlie Sydnor and an appearance will be made by Holocaust survivor Arye Ephrath.

But putting everything together is the Violins of Hope project.

The initiative was set up years ago by Israeli master violin maker and player Amnon Weinstein, who worked to meticulously restore violins to memorialize Jews who died in the Holocaust. Working with his son Avshalom, Weinstein has gathered a large collection of restored violins and organized concerts for them to be played by renowned musicians.

One of the most momentous performances was in 2014, on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The German government arranged for Weinstein to fly to Berlin with violins from his collection, which were played by Hitler’s former orchestra, the Berliner Philharmoniker. The audience included German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was then the minister for foreign affairs. It was an act of defiance and restitution, and a powerful way of showing how the spirits of those who were killed still live on.











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