Tuesday, November 23, 2021

From Ian:

Alan Johnson: ‘Can’t You See He’s Fooled You All?’: An Open Letter to Peter Gabriel et al explaining why Israel is not a ‘Settler Colonial’ society
So the ‘settler colonialism’ paradigm is not just analytically useless. It is also politically reactionary.

Activists in thrall to the paradigm are not constructive. They are destructive. They think it is their role to rewind the film of history, ‘smash the settler colonial Jewish state!’, and put in its place a new ‘de-Zionised’ ‘one state’. The Jews – who would soon be a minority in that state – and the Arabs, they tell us, will then live together in peace and harmony. (In today’s Middle East, no less.)

The ‘settler colonialism’ paradigm treats a tragic, and as yet unresolved, national question as if it is a Hollywood movie, with much cheering and booing, sanctifying and anathematising. That’s why, despite your intentions, the ‘settler colonialism’ paradigm is an obstacle to the Palestinian National Movement. As President Biden recently pointed out, the Palestinians must say unequivocally that they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state. The ‘settler colonialism’ paradigm pushes the Palestinians and their allies in the opposite direction, egging them on to take maximalist positions that make a final status agreement impossible.

There are two highly developed and distinct societies, Israeli and Palestinian. Each is based on a powerful sense of national identity and neither is going away, so they must divide the land. (When there are strong desires for national self-determination the one-state idea collapses, the world over, living on only among western intellectuals and activists.) However, to negotiate a division of the land each people needs to feel confident and secure, otherwise it will not make the necessary (and excruciating) compromises needed to make a deal. Each people must feel itself to be understood as a permanent feature of the Middle East. The ‘settler colonialism’ paradigm, and its linked revanchist programme, takes everybody in absolutely the opposite direction. (Yes, there are many in Israel too, of course, who do what they can to make the Palestinians feel they are not a permanent feature of the Middle East, and they too are part of the problem not the solution.)

To end, a word about the alternative. The alternative is to recognise the right to self-determination of both national groups and to pursue the realisation of that right in the form of ‘two states for two peoples’, to be reached in the only way it could ever be reached: peacebuilding, deep mutual recognition, negotiations, compromise, security guarantees and a sharing of the land.

Often the subject of premature obituaries, in truth this ‘two state solution’ is the only solution that has come near to ending the conflict; that has the majority support, even now, of the two peoples; and that has the good will, diplomatic heft – and financing – of the international community. Nothing else has that combination of democratic legitimacy, popular support and international approval. Yes, it is difficult to achieve, the spoilers are determined, and the last inch is, as they say, a mile deep. But no other proposed solution is real-world politics.

Peter, I believe that once decent people stop being fooled by the likes of Ilan Pappe and Ken Loach, stop viewing the conflict through the distorting prism of ‘settler colonialism’, and stop being in thrall to its crude analytical reductions and its reactionary, if beguiling, political simplicities, then they will hope for, encourage, and even be active in promoting peace through an accommodation between the two peoples.
Emily Schrader: Not everything is about Palestine
Several weeks ago at the climate change conference, protesters in Glasgow raised Palestinian flags. Protesters held signs claiming that Palestine is a climate change issue.

Last month, anti-Israel activists supposedly concerned with LGBTQ rights, harassed filmmakers over participating in the Tel Aviv LGBTQ film festival, which featured both Israeli and Palestinian films, without a care in the world for the fact that Palestinians cannot even hold an LGBTQ film festival in the Palestinian territories.

Graffiti was spotted following protests for Britney Spears over her controversial conservatorship stating “Free Britney + Palestine.” In the Scotland-Israel football game, protesters held signs calling to cancel the match because of “Israeli Apartheid” – never mind the fact nearly half the team is Arab. Fans at the match were even fined by FIFA for booing the Israeli national anthem.

Throughout the last month, anti-Israel activists have turned the Miss Universe pageant into an Israel-Palestine debate by harassing and bullying Miss South Africa and calling on her to not take part because the pageant is being held in Israel.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with the Women’s March, nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, nothing to do with climate change, with police brutality, with hate crimes against Asians, with Miss Universe, with Britney Spears, or with the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. The cynical attempts to hijack causes and make them about Palestinians is simply tragedy tourism on the part of anti-Israel activists, not to mention it is disrespectful to the causes they are hijacking. There’s a difference between showing solidarity and using the publicity of another cause to promote your own propaganda.

These anti-Israel activists should not be welcomed in spaces where they cannot show genuine solidarity; these cynical hijackings show their true colors.
UN Watch: LIVE: Monitoring the United Nations
On Monday, November 22, at 12 pm EST, UN Watch’s Fundraising Campaign continues. Hillel Neuer will speak about how we monitor the United Nations, expose the hypocrisy, and answer your questions.

Mark your calendars and send your questions in advance to: campaign@unwatch.org

About the Campaign:
UN Watch needs to raise $500,000 by the end of November to ensure the continuation of its vital work. We are turning to our social media community to help us reach our goal.

To take part in the campaign, all you have to do is make a $5 donation and inspire 5 friends to do the same so that we can reach our $500,000 target by the end of November. It might not sound like much, but if every one of our social media followers gives $5 and asks 5 friends to do the same, we will surely hit our goal.

Donate now, visit: www.unwatch.org/2021-donate

Israeli squash team goes to court to fight ban from world championship
The Israel Squash Association (ISA) plans to take the World Squash Federation (WSF) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if it does not ensure Israeli players can participate in the world championship in Malaysia next month.

The Men’s World Team Squash Championship, set for December 7, was moved from New Zealand to Malaysia in May, due to COVID-19 restrictions in the original location.

However, Israelis are not able to visit Malaysia, and the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) ignored the ISA when it inquired about the possibility of receiving special visas so its players could attend.

When WSF president Zena Wooldridge followed up on the matter, the Malaysian association responded on September 27 that the Israelis would not be allowed to participate.

“As you may be aware, there are, sadly, long-standing sensitivities surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict,” SRAM president Gerard Monteiro wrote, adding that Malaysia “would not be able to guarantee [Israeli players’] safety and well-being.

“As is encountered across the world, there are sympathizers of the conflict who will not hesitate to take extreme measures to display their displeasure toward the nation of Israel and her people.”

Wooldridge told the Israelis that she had not yet found a way to enable them to attend the championship in Kuala Lumpur.
Israel's squash team to fight champioship ban in court

Iran appeals ban from world judo events for avoiding Israeli opponents
The Iran judo federation’s appeal against a four-year ban from international events for refusing to let its athletes face opponents from Israel was heard on Tuesday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said the Iranian appeal against an International Judo Federation ruling was held by video link. A verdict is expected to take at least several weeks.

The judo federation acted against Iran after former world champion Saeid Mollaei left the team and fled the country, saying he was ordered to lose matches at the 2019 world championships to avoid facing Israelis.

Mollaei fled to Germany citing fears for his safety in Iran and later got International Olympic Committee approval to compete for Mongolia. He won a silver medal in the 81-kilogram class at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

He dedicated the medal, his first in an Olympics, to Israel after the win. Mollaei told the Israeli Sports Channel that he was thankful for the support he’s received from Israel over the years.

In February, Mollaei competed at the Grand Slam international judo competition held in Tel Aviv, also taking home the silver, and told CNN that Israel had been “very good to me since I arrived,” adding that the Israeli judo team members “have been very kind. That is something I will never forget.”
Scorned Algerian Judoka: Sports Federations Cooperate With ‘Zionist Terrorism’
Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine, who received a 10-year ban from competitions for withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid potentially facing an Israeli opponent, announced on Monday that he was retiring.

Nourine, 30, had unsuccessfully appealed the ban, which went into effect on July 23. He and his coach had 21 days to appeal the ban, imposed by the International Judo Federation.

“I decided to retire after my appeal was rejected, and the 10-year ban remained unchanged,” Nourine said. “I know that international federations have always cooperated with Zionist terrorism, especially the International Judo Federation, and perhaps the best evidence is that the ban remains the same even after my appeal.”

“I have no regrets. On the contrary, I am proud of this ban and will take every opportunity that comes my way in order to reveal facts about the Zionist entity and to defend the Palestinian struggle in every way,” the judoka added.

Nourine withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics on opening day after learning he could face Israeli judoka and Olympic bronze medalist Tohar Butbul. His coach, Amar Benikhlef, also received a 10-year ban.
Antisemitism Is Rampant and Rising at Duke University
In November, the Duke University Student Government voted to recognize the campus group Duke Students Supporting Israel (SSI). Several days later, student president Christina Wang vetoed recognition of SSI, followed by the Duke Senate voting to uphold Wang’s veto.

Wang claims that SSI “singled out an individual student on their organization’s social media account in a way that was unacceptable for any student group.”

Here is what actually happened.

Following Duke’s recognition of the SSI chapter, a Duke student wrote on social media, “My school promotes settler colonialism.” SSI responded by engaging in constructive dialogue, explaining, “These types of false narratives are what we strive to combat and condemn, which is why Duke’s chapter of Student Supporting Israel has been officially established.” SSI concluded the post by inviting the campus community to an “SSI 101” event.

SSI was true to its mission of being “a clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses” — and the Duke Student Government banned them for it.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) explained, “Duke’s student government is consciously punishing SSI for engaging in debate and responding to its critics — engagement that should be encouraged, not punished, at an institution dedicated to free expression.” FIRE accused Duke of violating “the expressive and associational rights” of its own students.

Ezra Loeb, a Duke senior, told me, “I wonder if [the] Duke Student Government is holding Israel to a different standard. Are they going through the social media accounts of every organization — or only SSI?”

In 2020, I reported on Hadeel Abdelhy, who was at the time, a Duke student and member of the Duke chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
70 writers back Sally Rooney’s ‘exemplary’ boycott of Israel publishers
Seventy notable writers and publishers including Rachel Kushner, Francisco Goldman and Eileen Myles have signed a letter supporting Irish novelist Sally Rooney in her refusal to have her third novel translated into Hebrew by an Israeli publisher.

The letter calls Rooney’s boycott of Israeli publishers “an exemplary response to the mounting injustices inflicted on Palestinians.”

Rooney published her newest novel, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” in September, but wouldn’t accept an offer to sell the Hebrew translation rights to Modan, the Israeli publisher responsible for putting out her first two novels in Israel. She said she was refusing to do further business with Modan out of support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a Palestinian initiative against Israeli rule.

In response, Israel’s largest booksellers decided to remove Rooney’s earlier novels from their shelves. The two books, which were popular in Israel, will no longer be available in the 200 retail locations of bookstores chains Steimatzky and Tzomet Sefarim nor on the chains’ websites.

On November 22, a pro-Palestinian group called Artists for Palestine UK announced it had organized a letter of support for Rooney with a list of signatories from the United States and Great Britain.

“Like her, we will continue to respond to the Palestinian call for effective solidarity, just as millions supported the campaign against apartheid in South Africa,” the letter said. “We will continue to support the nonviolent Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”

In defending Rooney, the letter said that Modan markets texts published by Israel’s Defense Ministry and cited a Human Rights Watch report from April that Israel is guilty of instituting a regime of “apartheid.”

Local UK Labour Party Councilor Suspended Over Antisemitism Allegations
A local UK Labour party councilor has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of antisemitism, including over social media posts that called party leader Keir Starmer an “agent of Israel.”

The group Labour Against Antisemitism compiled a 16-page report documenting the offending social media posts by Jacky Nangreave, a member of the Leicester City Council, the BBC reported Tuesday.

It included screenshots of pseudonymous Facebook comments alleged to have been made by Nangreave that said of Starmer, “He seems to be an agent of Israel, I wonder what they can offer him,” according to the Leicester Mercury. Another post equated Zionism with “terrorism,” and included the hashtag “#HangTheGoddamnBankers.”

The party has launched an investigation into the charges.

Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn sparked a wave of antisemitism scandals in the party, which continued until he resigned as leader after a crushing electoral defeat in 2019.

Corbyn and many of his supporters continue to deny all charges of antisemitism, with some claiming they are the result of a conspiracy against his leadership.
Facebook takes down 2 pro-terror pages
Two Facebook group pages, each of which had over a million followers, have been removed by Meta (formerly known as Facebook) following a report by Israel Hayom some two months ago about the nature of their content.

In the past few months, watchdog groups Im Tirzu and Lach, Yerushalayim ("For You, Jerusalem") led a campaign seeking to shut down the pages, which were titled Kikar Jerusalem (Jerusalem Square) and Al Qastal. Both these pages claimed to "report" from east Jerusalem, but actually became pages that published messages supporting terrorists in prison in Israel and terrorists who were killed while attempting to carry out attacks.

The pages also advocated for the release of terrorist prisoners being held by Israel and for Israel to release the bodies of terrorists it is currently holding.

Meirav and Herzl Hajaj, members of the Choosing Life forum who lost their daughter Shir Hajaj to a car ramming attack in Jerusalem and who were part of the campaign to have a page that praised the terrorist responsible for the attack taken down, said, "Finally, Facebook understood that a page that praises murderous terrorists causes more Jews to be murdered. Finally they realized that our daughter's blood is not forfeit."
Israeli President Visits UK Exhibit Honoring Jewish Athletes Murdered in Holocaust
Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife kicked off their tour to the United Kingdom on Sunday by visiting an exhibit that pays tribute to Jewish athletes who were murdered in the Holocaust.

The art installation, called “49 Flames: Jewish Athletes and the Holocaust,” is on view at the Stamford Bridge stadium and features portraits of Jewish athletes killed by the Nazis during World War II, painted by British-Israeli street artist Solomon Souza. It is part of the Chelsea Football Club’s “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign, which club owner Roman Abramovich initiated in 2018.

Abramovich joined Herzog and his wife, First Lady Michal Herzog, at the exhibit, along with leaders of the UK’s Jewish community and representatives from Chelsea FC and the English Premier League.

Chelsea FC initially commissioned Souza in January 2020 to paint a mural of three Jewish soccer players who were victims of Nazi persecution. It expanded its Holocaust education efforts by commissioning Solomon again to develop the “49 Flames” exhibit, which was installed at Stamford Bridge earlier this year.

President Herzog applauded the exhibit, saying the Jewish athletes it portrays “represent the strength and beauty of human will, performance, and commitment to excellence, and the combination of pride in the countries they represented, and in their Jewish heritage.”
In a former neo-Nazi hotbed, Jesuit college Gonzaga gets 1st Torah, Jewish space
Eastern Washington is a region that, for the last half a century, was far better known for its hate groups than its Jewish community.

Spokane and the surrounding area was infamously a hotbed of racism from the 1970s through the 1990s, a period that included multiple acts of vandalism and neo-Nazi intimidation at the local Conservative synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom. On the outskirts of the community that encompasses Spokane and resort town Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, sat the 20-acre Aryan Nations compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Until it was shuttered in 2000 following a lawsuit led by legal advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Center, the compound was a hub for hate groups worldwide, including the Ku Klux Klan.

And yet, it’s in this area where Gonzaga University, a private Jesuit school in Spokane, recently celebrated the arrival of its first-ever Torah scroll and the dedication of an area the university has deemed its “Jewish Sacred Space.”

“The attitude toward Jewish people is very open and kind. It’s amazing,” said Carla Peperzak, a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor from Amsterdam and social justice activist who now lives in Spokane.

Rabbi Elizabeth Goldstein, a professor of religious studies at Gonzaga, was instrumental in creating a Jewish presence on campus for its estimated 40 to 60 enrolled students who identify as Jewish.
OurCrowd Becomes First Israeli VC to Receive Official UAE License
OurCrowd, an Israeli online global venture investing platform, announced on Monday that it has received licensing from Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the marquee international financial center in Abu Dhabi, to operate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), making it the first-ever Israeli venture capital firm to obtain licensed status with ADGM.

Dr. Sabah al-Binali, OurCrowd’s UAE-based venture partner, who was appointed Senior Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of OurCrowd Arabia, said: “The welcome recognition by the Abu Dhabi regulatory authorities will enable us to create venture funds based at ADGM to invest in technology startups and projects in the UAE and across the region. Our core focus in the initial stage will be on the agricultural, financial, and medical technology sectors.”

In a recent interview with CTech, al-Binali noted that Israeli fintech companies have an incredible opportunity for investments in Abu Dhabi. “Over 20 different banks operate today in the UAE, but there is no justification for that amount. Eventually, the banking system will have to undergo a process of consolidation in which only five banks will remain and 15 will disappear. So Israeli fintech companies have an incredible opportunity for investments in this field here,” said al-Binali.
Israel punches above its weight at the Dubai Airshow - opinion
For more than 30 years, the prestigious Dubai Airshow has brought together the leading companies in civil and military aviation. Tens of thousands of people would visit the show each year looking for the latest technologies and opportunities for their companies. Noticeably absent was one of the region’s largest players in this field – Israel.

Amid the pavilions of Russia, China, Germany and Italy at the airshow this year, Israel was the belle of the ball. With the latest in drone technology, defense and aircraft conversion, the numbers of government, military, commercial and private aviation leaders touring the spaces of Israeli companies was stunning yet not surprising, as so many have already previously recognized Israel’s prowess in the space.

Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, there has been much buzz about the growing relationships between Israeli companies in a variety of sectors and their Gulf, North African and broader Arab world counterparts. We have seen jumps in travel and tourism, for example, and the signing of many memoranda of understanding between companies. The Dubai Airshow was a more dramatic example of how this region has changed. While there has been ample rumor over the decades of collaboration between Israel’s defense industry and Arab countries, many of whom increasingly understand the common security threats they face, it had been rare to see this interest and partnership above the table before the Abraham Accords.
4 Israeli universities feature among top 50 producers of entrepreneurs
Four Israeli universities were listed in PitchBook’s 2021 ranking of 50 leading undergraduate programs that produce the most VC-backed entrepreneurs, including Tel Aviv University, which ranked in the top 10.

The annual PitchBook study ranks programs across categories such as top 50 undergraduate programs, top 25 MBA programs, top 25 undergrad programs for female founders, and top 25 MBA programs for female founders. The 2021 study was released last week.

PitchBook Data is a company that delivers data and research covering mergers and acquisitions, VC and private equity funds.

In the ranking, Tel Aviv University came in at 8th place, for the fourth consecutive year; Technion-Israel Institute of Technology placed 12th, for the second consecutive year; Hebrew University of Jerusalem moved up one spot from last year to 31st; and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev placed 44th, up two spots from 2020.

Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University nabbed first, second and third place respectively, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Pennsylvania rounded out the top five. Harvard took over the third spot in 2021 from MIT, which moved down to fourth place.
Rare silver ‘rebel coin,’ maybe minted at Temple 2,000 years ago, found in Jerusalem
A rare 2,000-year-old silver shekel coin, thought to have been minted on the Temple Mount plaza from the plentiful silver reserves held there at the time, has been uncovered in Jerusalem.

If it were indeed minted there, it would make the coin one of the very few items uncovered that were manufactured at the holy site.

The coin, found by an 11-year-old girl, Liel Krutokop, during a sifting project for dirt removed from an archaeological dig at the City of David National Park, was engraved with “second year,” i.e., the second year of the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans (67-68 CE).

Dr. Robert Kool, head of the Coin Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority, suggested that the coin may have been minted at the plaza of the holy site by one of the priests who worked in coordination with the rebel leaders, providing them with assistance.

“Where else could you find silver in such quantity and such high quality in those days? Only in the Temple. If so, we can say with caution that this coin is, apparently, one of the only items we hold today that originated on the Temple [Mount] itself,” Kool said.

“This is a rare find, since out of many thousands of coins discovered to date in archeological excavations, only about 30 coins are made of silver, from the period of the Great Revolt,” said Kool.

Israeli thriller ‘Tehran’ wins best drama at International Emmy Awards
“Tehran” won Best Drama Series on Monday at the prestigious 2021 International Emmy Awards.

The Israeli thriller, produced by the Kan public broadcaster and picked up globally by Apple TV+, beat out Indian series “Aarya,” the Chilean show “El Presidente” and the British program “There She Goes” in the best drama category.

“‘Tehran’ is not only an espionage series, it’s also about understanding the human behind your enemy,” said executive producer Dana Eden in her acceptance speech at the awards ceremony in New York.

She noted that the cast and crew of the show includes Israelis and Iranians and “we found out that we have a lot in common. I think it gives a hope for the future, and I hope that we can walk together — the Iranians and the Israelis — in Jerusalem, and in Tehran, as friends and not as enemies.”

The show, which first aired in Israel last June and premiered on Apple TV last September, tells the story of a young Mossad agent deep undercover in Tehran, on a mission to help pave the way for an IDF airstrike on an Iranian nuclear reactor.

The show, which gained critical acclaim both inside and outside Israel, stars Niv Sultan as Tamar, the young Mossad agent, alongside Navid Negahban, Menashe Noy and Shaun Toub. It was written and created by Moshe Zonder, Dana Eden and Maor Kohn.

The second season of the series is currently being filmed in Athens, where the Oscar-nominated actress Glenn Close has joined the show.

Israel had previously only ever won two International Emmy Awards: best comedy in 2018 for the series “Nevsu” and best comedy in 2010 for the show “Ramzor.”
Why Did Louis Armstrong Wear the Star of David? (Told by Greg Thomas)


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