Wednesday, October 20, 2021

From Ian:

Meir Y. Soloveichik: Hamilton, Barnard, and the Ominous Decree of 2021
In September, a bureaucrat at Barnard College, the sister institution of Columbia University, declared the millennia-old religious requirements of Judaism null and void. To understand the exquisite irony of her announcement, we must first review the origins of this academic institution.

After the American Revolution, a New Yorker by the name of Alexander Hamilton returned to the city. As an alumnus of the formerly royalist institution called Kings College, Hamilton oversaw its transformation into Columbia. As a sign of its embrace of equality, Hamilton installed on Columbia’s Board of Regents the spiritual leader of New York’s Jewish community, Gershom Mendes Seixas. The historian Andrew Porwancher describes in his fascinating new book about Hamilton how the Founding Father built his legal career in New York representing the members of Seixas’s congregation at a time when others might have been reluctant to do so. Considering the quotas that were yet to come at America’s elite schools, Hamilton’s embrace of Jews at Columbia was remarkable: “In a young country caught between egalitarian promises and enduring prejudices, Hamilton’s reforms at his alma mater demonstrate his commitment to the revolutionary ideal of equality,” Porwancher writes in The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton.

The installation of Seixas at Columbia went hand in hand with a flourishing of fascination in the Hebrew Bible at the school and in America. The Columbia University seal featured the Tetragrammaton, the sacred biblical name of God, written in Hebrew letters, emitting rays of light, expressing that it was from Scripture that true enlightenment could be found. The creation of the Hebraic seal set the stage for a Hebrew address at commencement, delivered by a Jewish student and composed by Seixas.

Columbia’s beginnings reflected the bond between America and the Hebrew Bible and part of why the nascent nation was so welcoming to Jews. Thus, George Washington wrote to America’s Jews: “May the same wonder-working Deity, who long since delivering the Hebrews from their Egyptian Oppressors planted them in the promised land—whose providential agency has lately been conspicuous in establishing these United States as an independent nation—still continue to water them with the dews of Heaven and to make the inhabitants of every denomination participate in the temporal and spiritual blessings of that people whose God is Jehovah.”
David Collier: The Guardian is actively trying to undermine Israel – the Nimbus story
Nimbus is a $1.2 billion dollar project recently awarded to Google and Amazon. The Nimbus contract is about supplying cloud services to the Israeli government. The anti-Israel boycott movement, BDS, is fully aware that the entire tech industry is well outside of its reach. Israel is a world titan of tech and innovation and every single tech monster on the planet wants a piece of the pie. More than 250 non-Israeli companies have even set up R&D centres inside Israel. BDS may be able to persuade Ben and Jerries to do something stupid – mainly because an anti-Zionist extremist is currently its CEO. It can even dupe Sally Rooney into making a similar move – mainly because Ireland is neck deep in antisemitism anyway – but BDS knows – it knows – that Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Intel, IBM and co – are all firmly in Israel’s camp.

Which is why what happened with Project Nimbus and the Guardian cannot be put down to an editorial mistake.

The Guardian’s Nimbus propaganda gambit.
Following the announcement of the Nimbus contract in May, the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Nimbus’ do not appear together anywhere of note on social media until 12th October 2021. What eventually brought this contract back to everyone’s attention was an op-ed letter printed in the Guardian newspaper – claiming to be from ‘hundreds’ of Amazon and Google workers, calling on their employer to break their strong ties with Israel:

The story was bogus
As we now know, there is nothing ‘grassroots’ about the letter that the Guardian published – nor any newsworthy substance to it. Instead it was an astroturf propaganda stunt by the anti-Zionist extremists of ‘JVP’ and the just-as-toxic ‘MPower Change’ – Linda Sarsour’s group. Here is the timeline of the set-up:
The website was created in August. Yet the campaign and hashtag only appeared in mid-October. Only three workers, all known activists put their names to the campaign. One was a known Jewish anti-Zionist extremist who has previously called on the international community to ‘intervene’ – even in places such as Ramla, Lod and Haifa! Another known activst, Ariel Koren – is linked to JVP, one of the groups behind the stunt. The third seems to be a raging antisemite:
That’s it – three workers – out of over a million. Hardly newsworthy. And as the Israel Advocacy Movement’s video correctly points out – how is it possible that so many toxic BDS organisations such as the PSC in the UK – were ready to sign a letter – that had only just been formulated? The entire episode was clearly a coordinated propaganda stunt. I am sure they will now get a few antisemites to sign the well-publicised letter – and then pretend they had the names all along.
WaPo: The BDS movement shows its hypocrisy by boycotting Israel but not China
There is a telling disconnect in the way that Israel is perceived by Arab countries and by Western leftists. The Arab states have increasingly accepted Israel’s legitimacy and are doing business with it. The leftists increasingly deny Israel’s legitimacy and refuse to do business with it.

Last week in Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted the foreign ministers of Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build on the foundations of the Abraham Accords concluded under the Trump administration. Last year the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco joined Jordan and Egypt in establishing diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. Israelis and Emiratis can now travel to each other’s countries without a visa, and more than 250,000 Israelis have visited UAE in the past year. Bilateral trade between the two countries has already hit $675 million and is projected to rapidly grow.

Yet while the Arab world is increasingly welcoming Israel, more Western progressives shun it. Last week the Irish novelist Sally Rooney, who has endorsed the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, announced that she would not allow an Israeli publishing house to release her latest novel. This comes after nine House members — eight far-left Democrats and a far-right Republican — voted against funding Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. (Two other progressives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), voted “present.”) During the debate Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) described Israel as an “apartheid regime.” And that, in turn, comes after Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling its ice cream in the West Bank, because to do so is “inconsistent with our values.”

The case against Israel was buttressed by an April report from Human Rights Watch accusing it of committing “crimes against humanity,” including “apartheid and persecution.” Palestinian Israelis do face discrimination (as do Muslims in Europe), but nothing like the formal system of oppression in apartheid South Africa, whose “pass laws” dictated where Black people could live and work. Indeed, 1.9 million Arabs living in Israel are able to exercise political rights denied to the citizens of almost all Arab states. Arabs sit in the Knesset and on the Israeli Supreme Court, and they are part of the governing coalition. Overall, Israel is the freest state in the entire region — the only place in the Middle East where tens of thousands of people can march for LGBTQ pride.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali: The myth of lone-wolf terrorism
The only way to prevent Islamist terrorist attacks is to understand the lexicon of the Islamists. It is vital to understand the historic heroes that inspire them, the hadiths that speak to them, the myths and legends that motivate them, and the materials that are put into their hands. It is important to know not just the history of Islam, but also the history of the nation that is connected to the radicalised individual.

This kind of specialisation is not possible when so many in the UK cry Islamophobia at every turn. The only way to ask family and community members to come forward and report potentially radicalised individuals is to win their confidence. Individuals have to feel that they can safely approach the authorities without repercussion. They also deserve to know that the situation will be handled by someone who deeply understands the issues at hand. As Nik Adams, a counter-terrorism police officer, explained brilliantly, we need people who can recognise “how significant the seemingly insignificant might be”.

Given the ineffectiveness of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy, and the blinkered approach to reporting since Sir David’s murder, that will be an uphill struggle. But it is not impossible: Prevent is undergoing an independent review, led by the capable William Shawcross, that will report in December and produce suggestions on how it can be improved.

More importantly, I believe that, by and large, the Islamic terrorist narrative is waning. al-Qaeda is a skeleton of what it was two decades ago, while the spectre of ISIS continues to serve as a real-life deterrent to what living under a caliphate requires. Even the Muslim Brotherhood narrative is stale and petering out. Yes, the Taliban may have taken control of Afghanistan, and the threat of Islamism in Africa remains deeply concerning and often ignored. But taken in its entirety, radical Islam does not have the same potency it once did.

So even with the tragic death of Sir David, the defeat of radical Islam in Britain is still attainable. But achieving that requires us to bin the fallacies regurgitated after every attack. If we don’t, the pattern of seemingly random terrorist violence will persist.
‘Mental Illness,’ ‘Lone Wolf,’ Unclear Motive: New York Times in Denial Over Islamist Terrorist Trend
The Times article says, “The sudden and very public nature of the attack evoked memories of previous lone-wolf assaults that rattled Britain. Last year, an extremist stabbed pedestrians on a busy London street; and in 2019, a man went on a stabbing spree on London Bridge before being shot and killed by the police.” The Times describes these as lone wolves but that’s not really accurate. The “extremist” was Sudesh Mamoor Faraz Amman, who, an earlier Times article had acknowledged had posted online, “a photo that showed two guns and a knife on top of an Islamic flag, with the caption “Armed and ready April 3’ overlaid in Arabic.” And the 2019 London Bridge attack was perpetratd by Usman Khan, earlier described by the Times as “a 28-year-old Muslim man who had served eight years in prison for his involvement in a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange.” The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly 2017 London Bridge attack.

In the Amess case, the Times reports, “The motive for targeting Mr. Amess, who was 69, was not clear. A soft-spoken, well-liked backbencher in the House of Commons, he was known for his staunch support of Brexit and his advocacy for animal rights. A Catholic and social conservative, Mr. Amess was also a strong supporter of Israel and of an Iranian opposition group, Mujahedeen Khalq, or M.E.K., which campaigns for the overthrow of Iran’s government.”

The assailant is identified as “Ali Harbi Ali,” and the Times notes the “BBC reported that several years ago, Mr. Ali had been referred to a government program known as Prevent, which aims to keep people from being drawn to extremist ideas on social media.” The Telegraph has reported that police and security services believe the motivation behind the attack may have been to “further the Islamist cause espoused by groups such as al-Qaeda, Islamic State and al-Shabab, which is active in Somalia.” A Wall Street Journal editorial described it as “the first assassination of a British political figure by an apparent Islamist that we can recall.” (The 1872 slaying of the Viceroy and Governor General of India, Lord Mayo; the 1937 assassination of the British District Commissioner for the Galilee, Lewis Andrews; the 1984 assassination of a British diplomat in Greece, Kenneth Whitty; and the 1984 assassination of the deputy high commissioner in Mumbai, Percy Norris, may qualify as precedents, depending on how one defines terms.)

Caution is certainly warranted and is good journalistic practice when it comes to ascribing motive in a developing news story. It can sometimes be difficult to judge whether the reluctance to use plain language about this pattern or to describe a particular case is the fault of the New York Times or of the local legal authorities. In these cases, though, other news outlets don’t share the Times’ reticence. Let me just say, too, that if the victim of this crime had been, heaven forbid, an American lawmaker from the Democratic party with strong Palestinian sympathies and the assailant had been, heaven forbid, a kippa-wearing Likud Party member, a recent convert to Lubavitcher hasidism, or even a conservative Christian white Trump supporter, the Times wouldn’t be chin-stroking about “underlying mental health issues,” “lone wolf,” and motive unclear.
Tweets by Father of Amess Suspect Show Online Anonymity is Irrelevant
As MPs inexplicably focus on the right to online anonymity, rather than countering extremist terror in the wake of Sir David Amess’s killing, Policy Exchange has uncovered publicly available tweets from the father of the only suspect arrested, Ali Harbi Ali, proving anonymity is not the determinant of extremist social media content. Harbi Ali Kullane’s views, available on the public Twitter account @Xarbi, has him defending Palestinian attacks on Israel, criticising British colonialism in Somalia, and in 2015 he compared the IS Paris bombing to raids carried out by Western powers on military targets in Syria. Policy Exchange ask whether it’s absurd to suggest these views could have influenced his son…
It’s also noted that while it’s been reported that Kullane has himself received threats from Al-Shabaab jihadists, we don’t know the context and nature of these disputes, nor Kullane’s wider world view.

Policy Exchange asks 13 more questions arising from the Southend terrorist attack; including being bold enough to explicitly question the role of Islamist ideology in the attack, the sociological accuracy of the term ‘lone wolf’ with these attacks. are we getting value for money from MI5’s services? Is there the balance of focus required in tackling far-right versus Islamist extremism? Has Prevent been over-vilified by its opponents? All excellent questions the authorities need to answer in the coming weeks…


Jonathan S. Tobin: Is Mayim Bialik too Jewish for 'Jeopardy!'?
Yet as the Times article – and the many comments appended to it from readers who highlight their anger about someone who is not supportive of "Palestine" – makes clear, her connection with Judaism seems to stick in a lot of people's throats.

Her past views on vaccines are certainly controversial, but since she's not a COVID holdout that would not seem to be much of an obstacle. As for the brain supplement, she asserts that she just said it was beneficial rather than making claims that it cures anyone of anything. And considering that Trebek made a fortune shilling for an insurance company, a motel chain and a brand of crackers, the notion that the host of "Jeopardy!" should not be tainted by commercialism is a bit rich.

So other than those who object to her looks or her gender – or who are just fans of one of the other candidates – the only really substantive objection to Bialik is her public embrace of both Judaism and Israel. Indeed, the fact that she raised funds to buy bullet-proof vests for Israel Defense Forces soldiers during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 as terrorist rockets rained down on Israeli villages, towns and cities is considered a problem for Times readers.

It's not clear in what context being a "staunch Zionist" and a Jew who takes her faith seriously (though raised in the Reform movement, she now identifies as Modern Orthodox) would disqualify someone for any job. That the Times highlights this as a reasonable objection to being a game-show host would be puzzling if not for the newspaper's long history of biased coverage of Israel and Jewish issues.

The security of the Jewish community won't rest on Bialik's prospects for becoming the permanent host of "Jeopardy!" But the mere fact that her open Jewish identity is considered problematic speaks volumes about what passes for reasonable reporting and discourse at the newspaper that still poses as America's paper of record should trouble everyone.
Groups Urge GOP to Reject School-Board Candidate in Idaho for ‘Anti-Jewish Bigotry’
Pro-Israel Jewish and Christian organizations are drawing national attention to a school-board candidate in Idaho engaging in “blatant anti-Jewish bigotry” and encouraging violence; and as a result, have been urging the local and state Republican Party to repudiate him.

David Reilly, who is seeking a seat on the school board in Post Falls School District and has the support of the Kootenai County Republican Party, has claimed that “the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by homosexuals, Jews and bad leadership … ” and has, according to a report in The Daily Beast, tweeted that “all Jews are dangerous” and that “Judaism is the religion of anti-Christ.”

“This candidate has an undeniable record of promoting hate. Defending him sends the message that his bigotry is acceptable,” said Randy Kessler, executive director of StandWithUs Northwest. “We urge the KCRCC and Idaho Republican Party to condemn his comments and educate their members about why his bigotry against Jews is wrong.”

According to StandWithUs, Reilly’s past statements “typify the dangerous, age-old approach of scapegoating the Jews and blatantly encouraging others to adopt anti-Jewish bigotry and even engage in outright violence. It is unthinkable that someone harboring these hateful views would hold any position of government authority, as he would hardly be expected to treat Jewish constituents as equal members of the district community.”
TARGET Promoting Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial
The Nazi-planned and perpetrated genocide of Jews – its so-called “Final Solution” – began 80 years ago: Most of the survivors and witnesses have since passed away. A recent (Sept. 2021) report/alert by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) focuses on the increasing distortion and disregard of the Holocaust’s historical record in Europe, after decades of progress in meticulously documenting the Holocaust and memorializing its victims.

In fact, the repugnant assaults on Holocaust memory and the concomitant rise in anti-Semitism is not limited to Europe, but is being mainstreamed in the U.S., as well, including by one of America’s largest retail corporations that is part of the S&P 500 index — Target.

Target, more than any other online vendor, is – whether through choice, negligence or ignorance – facilitating the dissemination of Holocaust denial material and thus mainstreaming its industry of lies by offering books – in a variety of languages –on its website with such titles as “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century”; “Auschwitz Lies”; “Dissecting the Holocaust”; “Curated Lies”, and other, less conspicuous titles by a fringe band of international Holocaust deniers. No label or description is appended to warn readers of what these books represent: The marketing material includes only the deniers’ own self-promoting blurbs and reviews.

Holocaust denial, in and of itself, is a manifestation of anti-Semitism, according to the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, which has been adopted by the U.S. State Department and Commission on Civil Rights, by the EU Parliament, the Global Imams Council, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, Cyprus, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, and almost two dozen other European countries.
Jewish Students Under Attack
More than one report has revealed that the presence of active anti-Israel activism—particularly as part of the ongoing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campus campaign against the Jewish state—is likely to result in an increase in anti-Jewish incidents or rhetoric. A 2018 report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), “Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked,” for example, noted with dismay “the rise of online harassment of Jewish students, anti-Semitic vandalism, and even physical attacks against Jewish students on campuses with a strong BDS movement.” [Emphasis added.] Just as an AMCHA report had similarly discovered, the JCPA study noted a clear “correlation between an anti-Israel campus presence and anti-Semitism . . . .”

As an example of this, the study described the University of Oregon’s student senate’s passage of “a resolution endorsing the BDS movement as an ‘anti-racist human rights movement.’” “Two months later,” the study noted, “a sign on campus belonging to the University of Oregon Hillel welcoming students in Hebrew and English was vandalized with profane statements including ‘Free Palestine you f*cks.’ The study also pointed to another instance at Stanford University where that school’s “Students for Justice in Palestine leader and university residence advisor Hamzeh Daoud posted to Facebook, ‘I’m gonna physically fight Zionists on campus next year if someone comes at me with their “Israel is a democracy” bullsh*t. And after I abolish your ass I’ll go ahead and work every day for the rest of my life to abolish your petty ass ethno-supremacist, settler-colonial state.’”

Any evaluation of both the tenor and meaning of this rhetoric that attempts to justify it or explain it away as merely criticism of Israel is clearly dishonest, just as it is disingenuous to claim that virulent social justice activism has nothing to do with Jew-hatred. Yet SJP and other Israel-haters use these tactics and this radical, hateful activism to deflect their inherent bigotry, purporting to be acting on behalf of the oppressed.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Jewish students on these campuses, whether or not they actively support Israel or are animated by Zionism could be, and are, maligned by this aggressive activism against the Jewish state, and are made to pay the price for the alleged predations of Israel simply by virtue of being Jewish. That anti-Israel radicals have hijacked the narrative about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and have cast Israel—and its supporters—as malignant and irredeemable racists and the Palestinian Arabs as innocent victims is a continuing tragedy in which Jewish students continue to be targets of the world’s oldest hatred.

Anti-Semitism, disguised as anti-Zionism, is still Jew-hatred.


The Guardian, Dheisheh and the eternal 'refugee'
An article in the Guardian by Oliver Wainwright, the outlet’s architecture critic, reports on a new exhibition at the Mosaic Rooms in London asserting that Dheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank should be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The exhibit is produced by an outfit called the Decolonising Architecture Art Research collective (DAAR), which argues, the article notes, for the location’s “outstanding universal value” as “the site of the longest and largest living displacement in the world”.

What the Guardian doesn’t say in the article (“As important as the Taj Mahal? The Palestinian refugee camp seeking Unesco world heritage status”, Oct. 14) is that DAAR supports the unlimited ‘right of return’ for millions of the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees.

After providing more information on the exhibit, Wainwright attempts to provide background on the ‘refugee camp’:
Established in 1949 to house more than 3,000 Palestinians expelled from their villages by Jewish militias in the Arab-Israeli war, Dheisheh has since swelled to accommodate 15,000 people. It began as a tent encampment, laid out on a military grid across an undulating stretch of land leased to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) by the Jordanian government (which still technically owns the land).

First, as even Palestinian officials have acknowledged, Jews still “technically own the land”, as Dheisheh was built on JNF land lost during the 1948 War. Further, it’s not accurate that the 3,000 original inhabitants of the camp had all been “expelled”, as the Guardian claims. For instance, many of the original inhabitants came from the village of Beit Jibrin, 20 km northwest of Hebron. As even anti-Israel sources acknowledge, they fled (but weren’t expelled) during fighting between the Haganah and Egyptian forces.


Jerusalem bureau’s Bateman compromises BBC impartiality
On the evening of October 18th the BBC Jerusalem bureau correspondent Tom Bateman retweeted a Tweet posted earlier by Ha’aretz journalist Nir Hasson, adding the hashtag ‘Damascus Gate’.

The Hebrew wording to Hasson’s Tweet reads: “Damascus Gate again. Hard to describe, look at this” and the video shows some sort of altercation between security forces and a female civilian.

Roughly an hour later Hasson posted another Tweet which reads: “I got to the computer and checked the full video, what preceded this is her argument with the police officer and then it looks like she spat at him and tried to get away and still we’re talking about an arrest that is too brutal. Here is the full video.”

Bateman retweeted that Tweet too but failed to translate or explain its content for his followers.

Hasson posted a third Tweet some four and a half hours after his first one: “The police’s response: ‘As can be seen in the documentation, the suspect was arrested after she spit at the policemen. During her arrest she tried to get away and thwart the carrying out of the arrest under the cover of the crowd at the location, hence force was used with the aim of completing the arrest.’”

Bateman did not bother to retweet that response from the police.
More uncritical BBC amplification for Israel delegitimisation campaigns
Previously we looked at a BBC Radio 4 news bulletin’s problematic presentation of a story concerning an Irish novelist who refuses to have a book translated into Hebrew by an Israeli publishing house.

An additional report appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Entertainment & Arts’, ‘Europe’ and ‘Middle East’ pages on October 12th under the headline “Irish author Sally Rooney in Israel boycott row”.

Readers of that report (which, in contrast to the Radio 4 news bulletin, will remain available as ‘permanent public record’) are told that Rooney said her decision was “in support of calls to boycott Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians” but are not informed what those “policies” entail.

The report also tells readers that “[a] senior Israeli minister said such boycotts were a form of anti-Semitism” and that “Nachman Shai said: “The cultural boycott of Israel, anti-Semitism in a new guise”…” but nowhere do readers find a factual explanation of the aims of the BDS campaign which would help them understand the minister’s statement.

Instead, the BBC provides a tepid and inadequate description of the aim of the BDS campaign and, as usual, uses the ‘Israel says’ formula to tick the box on that issue:
Reuters Corrects Interim Accords Don’t Compel Israel To Grant Residency to 4,000 Palestinian Spouses
The accord’s clauses addressing family reunification do not refer to Israel committing to the approval of 4,000 for residency per year. Nor does the agreement specify any figure.

In a July 2006 report (“Perpetual Limbo“), B’Tselem wrote:
In October 1998, in the framework of the Wye Agreement, between Israel and the PA, Israel raised the quota to 3,000 a year, not counting the requests submitted by members the first High Court population. [sic?] In early 2000, in the framework of peace negotiations between the parties, Israel again raised the quota, to 4,000 a year. This policy remained in effect until the outbreak of the second intifada, in September of that year.

B’Tselem’s footnote for the 4,000 figure states: “M’aruf Zahran, director general, and Ayman Qandil, head of the statistics department, of the Palestinian Authority’s Civil Affairs Ministry, provided this information to B’Tselem on 14 August 2005.” In other words, even B’Tselem, which is highly critical of Israel’s implementation of family reunification, does not assert that Israel committed in the Interim Accords to grant residency to 4,000 spouses per year. If that were the case, B’Tselem would have cited the Article in question, and not an unverifiable private communication from a Palestinian official which vaguely asserts that the commitment was made “in the framework of peace negotiations.”

If Israel did make this commitment, B’Tselem can’t say where.

In response to communication from CAMERA, Reuters promptly and commendably corrected the article. It now accurately reports:
Under interim peace deals in the 1990s that established the PA, the Palestinian side was given the right, with prior approval by Israel, to grant permanent residency in the West Bank and Gaza to spouses and children of Palestinian residents. The accords did not specify any family reunification figures.

Rights groups that examine Israeli activities in the occupied territories said a quota system was put into effect, with the number of reunification requests to be considered annually by Israel rising to 4,000 in the year 2000.
Social Media Platforms Struggle to Control Spread of COVID-Related Antisemitic, Islamophobic Conspiracy Theories, Report Says
The report said that social media companies appeared overwhelmed by the “new wave of online racism,” and that despite some efforts to act, they have demonstrated insufficient “will or efficacy.”

“While few explicitly violent or terrorist actions have been linked to the COVID conspiracy movement, violence has played a role in the language used on social media. This is a far-reaching problem that rightly is receiving significant attention at the moment. Evidence has been clearly presented, now social media companies must act,” urged Hannah Rose, author of the report.

A number of key policy recommendations for social media companies, governments and civil society were offered, including the need to flag antisemitic and Islamophobic content in same way as COVID-related misinformation.

“We know the technology is available and that platforms recognize the potentiality for offline harms of COVID misinformation, this must now be applied to online racism,” Rose demanded.

Furthermore, governments should introduce further legislation to regulate social media platforms and include sufficient funding to encourage its success, as well as create punishments for noncompliance, it was urged.

“Muslim and Jewish communities should engage in meaningful and productive interfaith work on the joint threats faced by both communities,” the report suggested.


Unpacked: How The Protestant Reformation Affected Jews | The Jewish Story
In the early 16th century, life for the Jews remained unstable as they faced violence perpetrated by the Catholic church. After years of devotion, Martin Luther sparked one of the largest revolutions in the history of Christianity, when he criticized the Catholic church by publishing "The 95 Theses.” His proposed new movement, Protestantism, was aimed at returning Christians to their biblical roots.

Martin Luther felt that this all-encompassing brand of Christianity would unite everyone, including Jews. However when Jewish people wouldn’t convert to Protestantism, Luther’s response set off a chain reaction of antisemitic rhetoric. His writings have been used for centuries as a justification for antisemitism, permanently altering the course of history for European Jews.


Children’s Story Teaches Conditional Acceptance of American Jews
Conditional Acceptance of American Jews
There is another anti-Jewish lesson in Barakat’s story, arguably worse than its Judaism denial, that is embedded in the protagonist’s comments about coexistence.

Uncle Meena’s account of his friendships abroad singles out American Jews as clearly as Sesame Street singled out a blue balloon among red ones.

As Noora seeks her uncle’s wisdom about conflicts between peoples, Meena shares with her his experience living in the United States. “I have friends from many faiths: Muslims, Christians, Hindus, pagans, and also some Jews who care about Palestinians and want the occupation to end”.

As another pedagogical program would put it, one of these things is not like the others.

The comment Barakat puts into the mouth of her protagonist is particularly chilling in that it targets young Jews as individuals. Meena’s words don’t just leave readers with the impression that Jews stand out as a people who, with “some” exceptions, don’t tend to care about the heroes of the story. (Meena is hardly the first to “admit the existence of ‘good Jews’” while communicating an anti-Jewish message.)

It also teaches students to treat their Jewish friends and neighbors — the subject of the passage is American Jews — differently than they would treat others. It tells non-Jewish students that acceptance of their Jewish classmates, and only the Jewish ones, should be conditional on them being subject to a foreign policy litmus test. And it instructs Jewish students to likewise question their own integration among their peers.

In short, what looks like feel-good lesson on coexistence seems designed, rather, to manipulate young Jewish boys and girls by threatening what many adolescents care about most: their social value and self-worth.
18-year-old UK neo-Nazi jailed 11 years on terror charges
An 18-year-old British neo-Nazi has been sentenced to 11 years and four months in jail for preparing acts of terrorism for wanting to execute his Asian friend from school, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Matthew Cronjager, from Ingatestone, Essex, told the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales in London, known as the Old Bailey, that he wanted to execute his friend after being told he had slept with white girls.

Cronjager had also pleaded guilty to disseminating terrorist publications on Telegram.

The British teenager, who is on the autistic spectrum, joined a fascist Telegram group called The British Hand, where he and like-minded people shared extremist views.

In the group, Cronjager allegedly discussed whether to manufacture a 3D printed gun or buy a conventional shotgun. According to the BBC, The neo-Nazi offered to set up a collective PayPal account in November to buy weapons for the Telegram group members.

He also claimed to have set himself up as the "boss" of a terrorist cell and had made a virtual library of propaganda and explosives-making manuals, the BBC reported.
Jewish group in Italy denounces fascist salutes at Lazio soccer stadium
An Italian Jewish group called on Rome’s Lazio soccer team Wednesday to denounce fascist salutes appearing in a video taken at the team’s stadium.

A video circulating on social networks shows a man holding a live eagle — Lazio’s mascot — and wearing the blue and white colors of Lazio as he stands in front of the team’s supporters at the stadium, raising his arm in the fascist salute.

The video shows supporters returning the salute and shouting “Duce, Duce,” as Italy’s former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was called.

The Union of Jewish Communities in Italy (UCEI) said that Lazio and the Italian Football Federation should “intervene with the utmost urgency and effectiveness.”

“Faced with the ostentation of gestures and symbols that evoke fascist ideals, there can be no ambiguity and hesitation,” wrote Noemi Di Segni, the UCEI’s president, in a statement sent to AFP.

“The world of soccer must free itself from fascists and carriers of hatred, a hatred that from the soccer fields spreads to the squares,” she wrote.
Vaccine Refusal Activist Who Brandished Antisemitic Sign That Went Viral Is Sentenced by French Court
A vaccine refusal activist has been convicted by a court in France of incitement to racial hatred for displaying an antisemitic sign at a demonstration last August against the French government’s COVID-19 “vaccine pass” scheme.

Cassandre Fristot was handed a six month suspended prison sentence on Wednesday by a court in the north-eastern city of Metz.

Images of Fristot holding the home-made sign at an Aug. 12 demonstration in Metz went viral in France, with the country’s interior minister and other leading politicians condemning its antisemitic message. The sign identified a group of overwhelmingly Jewish personalities as “traitors” — among them billionaire financier George Soros, prominent philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, current French national health director Jérôme Salomon, and former Health Minister Agnès Buzyn, who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

The words “Mais Qui?” — “But Who?” — were scrawled in large red letters on the sign, with devil’s horns marking the letter “Q.” That in turn was a reference to a now infamous June 22 television interview with a retired French army general who embarked on an antisemitic rant in which he deliberately avoided mention of the word “Jew” while pushing anti-Jewish tropes.

Fristot, a former parliamentary candidate for the neo-fascist National Front (FN), did not appear at the court on Wednesday. Her lawyer blamed her absence on “harassment by journalists” along with unspecified threats. The president of the tribunal, Marie-José Miceli, responded by saying, “That’s a pity, I would have liked to ask her a few questions myself.”
Attacker on Trial for Brutal 2018 Assault on Brooklyn Jewish Man
A man charged with brutally assaulting an Orthodox Jewish 52-year-old on the street appeared in Brooklyn Supreme Court Tuesday, on trial for 17 counts.

James Vincent was indicted in 2018 for an unprovoked attack on Menachem Moskowitz in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, while the victim was walking home from Shabbat services.

As he passed Vincent on the street, the assailant was said to have yelled, “you Jews took my house and mortgage,” before doubling back and viciously punching and choking Moskowitz, who was hospitalized with a broken rib and bruises.

Moskowitz later described the incident, recalling, “I started to feel dizzy, I felt my air going out, I started saying shema, I thought I was going to die.”

The 40-year-old Vincent is facing charges of strangulation and assault as hate crimes for the April 2018 attack.
Israel, UAE to launch joint space projects, including Beresheet 2 Moon mission
Israel and the United Arab Emirates finalized an agreement on Wednesday to collaborate on a number of space projects, including a joint launch of the “Beresheet 2” space mission to the moon, Israel’s second upcoming attempt to land an unmanned spacecraft on the lunar surface by 2024 when the countries expect to plant their flags alongside each other.

The United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) also signed a deal with the Israel Space Agency to enhance cooperation in scientific research, space exploration, and knowledge transfer.

The deal was signed on Wednesday in Dubai by Emirati Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairwoman of UAESA Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, and Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Orit Farkash-Hacohen.

Israel and the UAE will also conduct joint research based on information from the “VENµS” microsatellite launched in 2017, a collaboration between Israel and France. The satellite, based on a separate Israel Aerospace Industries satellite, is equipped with a twelve-spectral-bands camera that measures environmental preservation parameters such as vegetation, contamination levels in bodies of water, and coastal monitoring. It captures more than 100 sites every two days.

Farkash-Hacohen told the Emirates New Agency that data from VENµS will help with challenges such as precision farming, water monitoring, and desertification, and that the UAE was a welcome third partner. “All these areas are so important for both countries. We are dealing with challenges of agriculture in a desert climate in the midst of a global climate crisis. I hope this will benefit all of us,” she said.
UAE cyber officials to join Israeli counterparts at major NYC conference
Israeli officials and CEOs are slated to appear alongside their Emirati and American counterparts at a major cyber conference on Wednesday, an indication of the role the country’s cyber expertise plays in its expanding ties with other nations.

Cybertech New York, the first time the Israeli-founded international conference will be held in the city, will feature Director-General of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate Yigal Unna, former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel, and Wiz Co-Founder Assaf Rappaport.

UAE cybersecurity head Mohamed al-Kuwaiti and Police Telecommunications head Hamad Khalifa Al Nueimi are also scheduled to speak.

From the American side, former CIA director David Petraeus, past US Cyber Command chief Michael Rogers, and New York’s likely next mayor Eric Adams will be giving addresses at the conference.

Security and communications officials from Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Thailand, Serbia, Spain, and Italy are also set to participate.

Cybertech was founded by Israeli defense correspondent Amir Rapaport in Tel Aviv in 2014. “I think they see it as very related to Israel, but we definitely don’t present it as an Israeli event,” he said.
Israeli doctors use 3D printer to rebuild jaw of soldier shot in face

Swords, gold & shipwrecks: Israeli waters keep on revealing treasures
In December 2010, a once-in-a-century storm swept the eastern Mediterranean. Incredibly strong winds and waves as high as 17 meters hit Israel, causing a considerable amount of damage and important changes to its coastline.

For all the problems that the storm caused above sea level though, it also had a deep impact on the underwater landscape, with huge quantities of sand disappearing or shifting.

This development initiated one of the longest and most prolific periods in Israeli marine archaeology, to the point that new discoveries made possible by that event over a decade ago are still happening today, as noted by Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“For example, many new areas in the waters by Caesarea emerged from the sand and were exposed by the storm, which allowed us to find several shipwrecks around the site and the harbor,” he said.

First established in the fourth century BCE, Herod selected Caesarea as the place he wanted to build a port city in the first century. The city remained an important center throughout Roman and Byzantine times.

Today, Caesarea is one of the richest archaeological sites in Israel, presenting remains including a theater, a hippodrome, an aqueduct and a synagogue, as well as the port itself, whose waters have given back countless treasures, including the largest hoard of gold coins ever uncovered in the region.
Ancient Jewish Prayer Book Sells for Record-Breaking $8.3 Million
A medieval Jewish prayer book sold for $8.3 million at the Sotheby’s auction house on Tuesday, fetching the highest price ever paid for a Hebrew manuscript.

Known as the Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor, the rare book is named after its former owner, a 19th-century scholar, theologian, poet and book collector by the name of Samuel David Luzzatto. It originated in Germany’s Bavaria region in the late 13th or early 14th century. Over the years, the prayer book traveled to Italy and France.

In 1870, it was purchased by the Alliance Israelite Universelle, a Jewish cultural institution in France. Despite concerns that it would go to private hands, the institute said the move was necessary, citing financial debt.

Written by a scribe by the name of Abraham, the book includes several ancient versions of prayers that have since disappeared from Ashkenazi tradition. Its lavish illustrations and embellishments showcase the community’s wealth.

The winning bid reportedly went to an anonymous American buyer.


Microbiologist and Holocaust hero David Sompolinsky dies at 100
David Sompolinsky, a prominent microbiologist who helped rescue hundreds of Jews in Denmark during the Holocaust, died last week at age 100 in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak, where he lived.

Sompolinsky, a native of Copenhagen, died on October 13 and was buried in Rishon Lezion.

When World War II broke out in Denmark, Sompolinsky was a veterinary medicine student in Copenhagen. Together with a local non-Jewish teacher, he helped found the Lyngby Group, which worked to hide Jews in the city from the Nazis and smuggle hundreds of them to safety in Sweden.

In a video interview recorded in 2018 for Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, Sompolinsky spoke of his childhood in Denmark and his wartime experiences.

By his own account, Sompolinsky encountered numerous Danish non-Jews who were active in aiding the Jews of Denmark to hide and escape from Nazi forces. More than 7,000 Jews in Denmark successfully escaped to Sweden, and more than 90 percent of the country’s Jews survived the Holocaust.

In the book “October ‘43” by Aage Bertelsen, the non-Jewish teacher who worked with Sompolinsky to smuggle Jews out of Denmark, he recounted his experiences with the young man.

“I knew that any attempt to persuade him to escape was doomed to fail,” wrote Bertelsen of Sompolinsky, “for he had decided that he would not leave Denmark until all Jews who needed his assistance had been brought to safety.”











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