Saturday, December 18, 2021

From Ian:

Rabbis: College Diversity Officers Promoting ‘Irrational Hatred of Jews’
A group of more than 2,000 rabbis is calling on all American universities to suspend their "diversity, equity, and inclusion" (DEI) programs due to their overwhelming anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias.

The Coalition for Jewish Values, an umbrella organization representing Orthodox rabbis, wants all DEI programs put on ice in light of a recent study that exposed how university staffers in these positions use their social media accounts to bash Israel and incite hatred of Jews. That study, conducted by the Heritage Foundation think tank, concluded that "rather than promoting diversity and inclusion, universities may be contributing to an increase in anti-Jewish hatred by expanding DEI staff and power," the Washington Free Beacon reported last week.

"Repeatedly accusing the Jewish state of Israel of ‘genocide,' ‘apartheid,' and other fictitious crimes while praising China, a country that is putting Muslims in internment camps, indicates an irrational hatred of Jews and not a concern for human rights," Coalition for Jewish Values managing director Rabbi Yaakov Menken said in a statement provided to the Free Beacon.

The Heritage Foundation researchers reviewed the Twitter feeds of 741 DEI officials at 65 different U.S. universities to determine their attitudes on Israel and China. They found that DEI staff "tweeted, retweeted, or liked almost three times as many tweets about Israel as tweets about China." Of the tweets in question, 96 percent were critical of Israel, and 62 percent of the China-centered tweets were favorable. In many cases, Jews were criticized for their support of Israel and referred to as "Nazis" and "colonizers."

While DEI staff are primarily tasked with creating a welcoming space on campus and protecting the student population, their obsession with Israel and Jews indicates they put liberal politics first. The study was released amid a soaring number of anti-Semitic attacks on college campuses that have put the Jewish community on high alert.

"So-called diversity leads have responded to a dramatic spike in anti-Semitism by engaging in openly hateful rhetoric against Jews themselves, often using Israel as a convenient foil." said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Coalition for Jewish Value's Israel regional vice president.

Israeli injured in terror stabbing attack near Cave of Patriarchs
A 38-year-old Israeli was lightly injured in a stabbing attack in the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday morning. The terrorist, a 65-year-old Palestinian woman, was neutralized by Border Police officers at the scene of the attack at Ruth checkpoint, near the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics treated the injured Israeli, who is fully conscious.

The Hebron attack is the latest in a recent wave of terrorist attacks across the West Bank and Jerusalem.

On Thursday, Palestinian gunmen killed 25-year-old Yehuda Dimentman and wounded two others in a West Bank shooting attack. A week prior, a Jewish woman was stabbed while walking with her children in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem.
IDF carries out intensive West Bank searches for attackers in deadly terror shooting
Israeli troops carried out intensive searches overnight in the area surrounding the West Bank city of Jenin as the manhunt continued to find the gunmen behind a deadly terror shooting, Palestinian media reports said Saturday.

The reports said the searches were concentrated on Kafr Ra’i, southwest of Jenin and a few kilometers from the scene of Thursday’s attack. Other villages in the area were also searched, including Sanur and Jaba.

Yehuda Dimentman was killed and two others were lightly hurt after they were fired on while driving a car as they left Homesh on Thursday night. A military official said the car was ambushed from the side of the road.

The searches came hours after IDF chief Aviv Kohavi on Friday toured the site of the attack and vowed to expand the manhunt until the Palestinian gunmen are found.

“Along with using intelligence capabilities, we will also increase combat forces and will continue to act and expand operational activities as needed,” Kohavi said while visiting the scene.

According to television reports on Friday evening, security officials are concerned the cell could attempt to carry out another attack before it is captured.
Police arrest 13 at Jerusalem protest calling for government action against attacks
Dozens of right-wing protesters gathered at the entrance to Jerusalem on Saturday evening calling on the Israeli government to take action following a series of Palestinian terror attacks in recent weeks, including a deadly shooting in the West Bank Thursday that claimed the life of a 25-year-old yeshiva student.

Police said they arrested 13 people for disorderly conduct, including one person who was carrying “weapons.” According to Ynet, these included a knife and brass knuckles.

In footage from the demonstration Saturday, police can be seen using a water cannon to disperse some protesters, whom they said were trying to block a highway. One person was lightly hurt, medics said.

In one video from the scene, some of the protesters — mainly Jewish youths — can be heard chanting “death to Arabs,” while waving Israeli flags.

The protest Saturday came hours after a 38-year-old man was lightly hurt when he was stabbed at a checkpoint close to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron by an elderly Palestinian woman.

The victim, a resident of the Kiryat Arba settlement, struggled with the Palestinian attacker before Israeli troops subdued her without opening fire, police said in a statement.

Newly opened archives show Israel’s air force was a weak link during Yom Kippur War
Casting an acerbic look at the web of disasters and resilience that was the Yom Kippur War, a new book by University of Haifa Prof. Uri Bar-Joseph depicts the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in 1973 as a confused giant, a pale descendant of the air force that astonished the world in the Six Day War just six years prior.

The Hebrew-language book, whose title translates to “A War of Its Own: The Air Force in the Yom Kippur War,” hangs its tale on the persona of Gen. Benny Peled, then-commander of the IAF, a figure who has hitherto escaped public blame although he was bitterly criticized within the air force at the time by senior officers.

Bar-Joseph, known for his well-received earlier works about the Yom Kippur War, based his latest book on newly released archives, recordings of combat briefings during the war, and interviews with former senior air force personnel.

Peled’s appointment as IAF commander five months before the war surprised many. His background in the air force was mostly in technology and he had far less operational experience than fellow officers.

Unlike many of them, he had never shot down an enemy plane, while he himself had been downed in the Sinai Campaign by ground fire. Brilliant, self-assured and sharp-tongued, he was dismissive of air force officers who had not studied engineering or aeronautics.

According to Bar-Joseph, Peled would override the opinions of veteran staff officers on issues whose fine points he was not familiar with and insisted on having the last word in debates. He controlled the most powerful weapon in Israel’s arsenal — close to 400 top-line warplanes — but his decisions would sometimes prove costly misjudgments.
Revealed: What Netanyahu really thought of UAE envoy’s peace for no-annexation offer
In June 2020, the United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba penned an op-ed in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth daily that laid the groundwork for his country’s normalization agreement with Israel a mere two months later.

But according to two officials familiar with the matter, official Israel’s first response to that piece was, in fact, anger.

The officials told The Times of Israel that al-Otaiba received an irate phone call from then-Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer who was incensed over the Emirati envoy’s conditioning of an improved relationship with Abu Dhabi on the shelving of the West Bank annexation plans being led by then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The op-ed by Otaiba was published in Hebrew on the front page of Yedioth — a direct appeal to the Israeli public, the likes of which had never been seen before. It was written weeks before the July 1 “deadline” when Netanyahu had pledged to begin applying Israeli sovereignty to large chunks of the West Bank.

Otaiba used the opportunity to warn Israelis of what they had to lose if the controversial move was seen through. “Recently, Israeli leaders have promoted excited talk about normalization of relations with the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states. But Israeli plans for annexation and talk of normalization are a contradiction,” the UAE ambassador wrote.

“These are the carrots – the incentives, the upsides – for Israel. Greater security. Direct links. Expanded markets. Growing acceptance. This is what normal could be,” he continued. “Normal is not annexation. Instead, annexation is a misguided provocation of another order.”
US holding off on reopening Jerusalem consulate amid strong pushback from Israel
It’s been seven months since US Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of the Biden administration’s plan to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem, but Washington has yet to even produce a timeline for when it plans to see the move through.

A US diplomat, a former senior US official and another source familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel this week that the Biden administration has effectively shelved its effort to resurrect the de facto mission to the Palestinians shuttered by former president Donald Trump in 2019.

No final decision has been made, and the official State Department line remains that the Biden administration “will move forward with the process of reopening the consulate in Jerusalem,” but the three sources confirmed that no such process has begun. Moreover, even the administration’s more ardent advocates of reopening the consulate have shifted their focus to policies more likely to impact day-to-day life for Palestinians, the former senior US official said.

The apparent about-face follows significant pushback from Israel, which would have to sign off on the move. And as Israel is already gearing up for a fight with the Biden administration over the latter’s insistence on exhausting the diplomatic route in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the US is not looking to open up a second front by moving forward with the consulate reopening at the moment, the source familiar with the matter said.

Trump’s 2019 decision did not close the Agron Street building in West Jerusalem altogether. Its diplomats have continued working there, albeit under the auspices of a newly coined Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU). However, that department is a subsection of the US embassy in the city, which the Palestinians have deemed a downgrade of their ties with the US.

Former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who facilitated the consulate’s closing, justified the move, saying the old mission had an anti-Israel bias and that its reporting would sometimes contradict the memos Washington was receiving from the US embassy. By channeling cables through one source, the messaging would be more coherent, Trump’s envoy argued.
De-emphasized under Trump, report shows Biden taking settler violence more seriously
An annual US State Department report on terrorism in different countries released on Thursday dedicated significantly more focus to settler violence than such reports did during the Trump administration.

The emphasis on West Bank settler violence in the Country Reports on Terrorism is consistent with the concern the Biden administration has repeatedly raised in conversations with Israeli government officials amid an ongoing spike in settler attacks on Palestinians and Israeli security officials.

The 2017 report was published several months after Trump took office when many of his appointees had yet to take on their posts in the State Department. Its mention of settler violence was relatively brief but highlighted so-called “price-tag” vandalism attacks that target Palestinians and their property. The attacks are often carried out by young Israelis claiming retaliation for violence against Jews or actions taken against the settler movement.

The 2017 report said: “Israelis, including settlers, committed acts of violence, including ‘price tag’ attacks in the West Bank in 2017.”

The one-paragraph section included figures on settler violence from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Israeli officials have accused of bias against Israel.

It also included an assertion that settler violence, Israeli settlement construction and a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood were among the causes of Palestinian violence. Some right-wing pundits at the time claimed the passage represented a justification for terrorism.

The three reports published during the remainder of the Trump administration placed less emphasis on the issue. Two of the three had only one sentence on settler violence and none included any figures on the phenomenon, from the UN or anywhere else.

Israel Reports Over 800 Virus Cases for Second Straight Day
Israel on Saturday recorded over 800 new virus cases for the second day in a row, according to an update to the Health Ministry’s website.

Out of some 92 thousand Israelis that got tested for the virus on Friday, 873 tests returned positive, a rate of 0.95 percent.

As of Saturday evening, there were 6,680 cases of the virus in Israel including some 120 patients hospitalized with serious symptoms.

Since the start of the pandemic, 5.8 million Israelis received two vaccine doses, and over 4 million got a booster shot.

The death toll since the start of the pandemic was at 8,232.
Algerian Players Boycott Soccer Match with Israeli Coach
Three Algerian players boycotted a friendly match of past soccer stars in Qatar because of the participation of an Israeli, Avraham Grant, who coached the opposing side.

The FIFA Arab Legends kicked off against the FIFA World Legends in front of 3,500 fans at Al Thumama Stadium in the capital Doha on Friday.

“Tonight we unite the Arab world with the entire world,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced to the crowd before the start of the match. “We are all one team!”

However, the Algerian players — Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saïfi and Rafik Halliche — did not share in that spirit of unity as they decided to withdraw from the friendly rather than play against someone with an Israeli nationality.

The match, which was won by the Arab side in penalty kicks after being down to the World athletes, was played a day before Saturday’s FIFA Arab Cup final between Tunisia and Algeria.

The FIFA Arab Cup is taking place in Qatar a year before the Gulf state is set to become the first Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup.

Qatar has not established diplomatic relations with Israel and the country’s foreign minister recently said that they don’t intend to until the Palestinian issue is resolved.

Algeria also doesn’t have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state and is a vocal supporter of the Palestinians.
Saudi soccer player appears to deface Israeli flag on FIFA Legends uniform
A Saudi Arabian soccer player, competing in a “legends” soccer game in Qatar, appeared to scribble out the Israeli flag on his uniform, according to images shared on social media.

Nawaf Al-Temyat, playing for the FIFA Arab Legends in a game on Friday against the FIFA World Legends at an exhibition event ahead of the FIFA Arab Cup final, was seen with a defaced Israeli flag on his uniform.

T-shirts for the friendly match carried the flags of all 211 FIFA member states, including Israel.

There was no immediate comment from FIFA.

The incident comes after three Algerian players withdrew from the match in protest at the opposing team’s Israeli coach, Avram Grant.

Rabah Madjer, Rafik Saïfi and Rafik Halliche all decided they would not play in the game over Grant’s involvement as coach and player for the World Legends team.

Biden Administration Silent Against Iran's Mullahs' Terror Threat
The conflict in Yemen means more to the Iranian regime than merely taunting its Gulf rivals. Rather, it seems to be an ideological crusade to unite the Muslim world under its own Islamist rule, one that will always see any attempts at peace as merely a delay in the process.

One of the Iranian leaders' main objectives in empowering their militias and terror groups in other countries is to export the Islamic Republic Revolution to other nations. This mission is, in fact, part of Iran's Constitution.

Iran's Army and Revolutionary Guards "will be responsible not only for guarding and preserving the frontiers of the country, but also for fulfilling the ideological mission of (Shiite) jihad in God's way; that is, extending the sovereignty of God's (Shiite) law throughout the world ... in the hope that this century will witness the establishment of a universal holy government and the downfall of all others." — Iran's Constitution.

The Biden administration needs, once and for all, to abandon its appeasement policy towards Iran's ruling mullahs. They are in charge of a predatory regime that has understatedly been called the world's top state sponsor of terrorism. Yet the current US administration seems hell-bent on empowering them.
Law Professors Condemn NYU Legal Journal’s Israel Boycott, Warning of ‘Political Censorship’
A growing group of legal scholars from around the country have signed onto a statement expressing “deep concerns” about the recent endorsement by a New York University School of Law journal of the boycott movement against Israel.

In a Nov. 18 statement, the student-run N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change (RLSC) charged NYU of being “complicit” in “Israeli apartheid,” and announced it would make a “firm commitment to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.”

The journal said it would boycott “events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy,” including activities “based on the false premise of symmetry/parity between the oppressors and the oppressed or that claim that both colonizers and colonized are equally responsible for the ‘conflict.’

The statement prompted a response from the university days later, saying it “rejects, as it has for many years, calls for academic boycotts of Israel, and the University likewise rejects calls to close its NYU Tel Aviv Program, to which it remains fully committed.”

A response published this week, now joined by 25 scholars, said the move “presents an unprecedented and dangerous development — a decision by the Board and Staff Directors of an academic law journal to apply political censorship to their activities.”

“As scholars who teach and train students who will enter the legal profession and the professoriate, we are disheartened and dismayed that the student-led RLSC has embraced and adopted policies that are antithetical to the principles of open inquiry, academic freedom, and the free and unfettered intellectual exchange of ideas,” the statement said.
Louis D. Brandeis Center to Duke: Students Supporting Israel must be recognized
Only days after SSI was recognized, Duke University student government president Christina Wang vetoed the recognition, claiming that the pro-Israel organization "singled out an individual student on their organization’s social media account," referring to SSI's response to a tweet by a Duke student that read "My school promotes settler colonialism."

It was later clarified that the student government's decision is independent of that of the university. In response, the Brandeis Center issued a letter stating that the university is "legally obligated to take corrective action in response to the unlawful treatment of Duke SSI by formally recognizing the student organization and ensuring it has equal access to resources."

The Brandeis Center said Title VI was broken when the school applied "special scrutiny" to Jewish SSI members that other minorities are not subjected to.

Duke's Students for Justice in Palestine recently tweeted a photo of students affiliated with pro-Israel groups with the caption "y’all are a bunch of racist clowns, so I’m going to repeat myself again, f**k DIPAC and every Zionist on campus." The Brandeis Center issued this in response:
"The DSG’s actions were discriminatory, and require action by the University. A university violates Title VI when its student government rejects a Jewish student organization’s request for recognition based on standards that are not applied to non-Jewish groups."

BBC 'broke law' in reporting on Oxford Street bus antisemitism, claim victims' lawyers
Lawyers acting for Jewish teenagers targeted with antisemitic abuse on a Channukah bus outing to Oxford Street have accused the BBC of breaching the Equality Act in reporting on the incident.

The letter sent by 3D Solicitors on behalf of the passengers highlights how in a news report the BBC qualified the antisemitic nature of the gestures and verbal abuse directed at the Jewish youths as “apparent” or “alleged”.

However, the use of the phrase “dirty Muslims” by someone on board the bus is presented as “undisputed” fact.

The content of the section of the audio recording containing the alleged slur is disputed.

Others who have listened to it say that the phrase is Hebrew, “Tikra lemishehu, ze dachuf,” meaning: “Call someone, it’s urgent.”

Leading figures including Lord Grade have called on the BBC to apologise. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has written privately to BBC Director-General Tim Davie to express his concern.

Now the lawyers in their letter to Mr Davie are demanding the broadcaster re-examine their coverage of the incident and either substantiate or retract their claims.

They allege the BBC may have breached section 29 of the Equality Act 2010 by discriminating against their clients on the grounds of religion and/or race.
Gaza War and COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Fuel Significant Rise in Antisemitism in Australia During 2021
The war between Israel and Hamas in May and the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic were the two major events contributing to a notable increase in antisemitic outrages in Australia over the past year.

In its annual report on antisemitism in Australia published on Friday, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) said that Jewish groups had logged 447 incidents in the year leading up to Sept. 20, 2021. The figure represented a 35 percent increase on the 331 incidents logged in 2020.

There were especially alarming leaps in incidents involving antisemitic vandalism. There were 72 instances of offensive stickers or posters being reported — a 157 percent increase on the previous year — and 106 cases of offensive graffiti, representing a 152 percent increase on the past twelve months. Other forms of vandalism aimed at the Jewish community, meanwhile, increased by 10 percent.

Cases of harassment and abuse targeting Australia’s Jewish community of 91,000 — about 0.4 percent of the population — also increased. During 2021, 147 incidents of this nature were reported.

Julie Nathan, ECAJ Research Director and author of the report, noted in a statement that the war in Gaza earlier this year had “contributed to the increase in antisemitic incidents.” She said that “a total of 88 incidents was logged for the month of May alone, when the hostilities between Israel and Hamas occurred, compared to between 22 and 46 incidents for each of the other 11 months of the year.”

Nathan cited COVID-19 as the other key factor behind the rise in antisemitism. “Another prominent theme of the antisemitic discourse expressed during the year was a focus on blaming ‘the Jews’ for the COVID-19 pandemic, notably by COVID-19 denialists as well as by many of those opposed to government health measures, including vaccination mandates and lockdowns,” she said.
Man who wore Palestine terror group clothing in Golders Green avoids jail
A man who wore T-shirts supporting banned Palestinian groups among Jewish communities in north London has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Feras Al Jayoosi, 34, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to four counts of wearing an article supporting a proscribed organisation and was handed a total sentence of 16 weeks in custody, suspended for two years.

He was told his autism and Asperger’s reduced his culpability, and meant he would not go to prison immediately.

Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said: “The harm you caused is high – you targeted the Jewish community, particularly in Golders Green.

“You had multiple warnings that the path you were taking – the organisations you sought out to align yourself with – would get you into trouble, but you carried on.”

The charges relate to him wearing T-shirts supporting Hamas Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – the military wing of the Palestinian organisation Hamas – and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Both groups are proscribed as terrorist organisations in the UK.

Three of the charges relate to Al Jayoosi wearing the garments in Golders Green – an area of north London with a large Jewish population – on June 8 and 9 this year.

The fourth relates to an incident at Barbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort in Wiltshire, on May 30 this year.
Anastasia Gorbenko wins Israel’s 1st-ever World Swimming Championships gold
Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko on Friday won Israel’s first-ever gold in the World Swimming Championships, in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Gorbenko won first place in the FINA short course contest taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with a result of 29.34 seconds, setting a new Israeli record for women in that category.

Benedetta Pilato of Italy came in second with 29.50, while Sophie Hansson of Sweden was third with 29.55.

It also marked Israel’s third-ever medal in the world championships, after Michael Halika came third in the 400m individual medley in 2000, and Vered Borochovski took bronze in the 50m butterfly in 2002.

Last month Gorbenko came first in the 2021 European Short Course Swimming Championships, in the 200-meter individual medley.

She also made history earlier this year when she became the first female Israeli swimmer to advance to an Olympic final.
Hospital renovation unearths parts of Crimean synagogue long thought destroyed
The renovation of a hospital in an area that Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014 yielded the discovery of parts of a 19th-century synagogue that was thought to have been completely destroyed.

The synagogue in Bilohirsk, a city in central Crimea, was built in the middle of the 19th century by and for Krymchaks, a Jewish minority who related to to Karaites, another dwindling Jewish group, and are believed to be descended from Georgian Jews.

In 2007, the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress estimated there were only 300 Krymchaks in Ukraine, when Crimea was still controlled by that country. Russia invaded and annexed the territory in 2014.

In the early 20th century, Communist officials shut down the synagogue and turned it into a warehouse. Later, a hospital built at the location was heavily bombed during World War II, then rebuilt. All traces of the building’s previous function were thought to have been destroyed.

So construction workers were astonished to discover a circular metal frame with a Star of David locked inside it during renovations at the hospital last month. Boasting a diameter of nine feet, the frame was trapped in a slab of concrete and once was one of the synagogue’s several stained glass windows. An expensive and elaborate feature, it reflected the relative wealth of the Krymchak community during what many historians consider its heyday.

The window’s arch also survived, leading to a reassessment of the construction plan so that engineers can preserve what remains of the former synagogue, the Crimea24 broadcaster reported.

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