Saturday, December 25, 2021

From Ian:

Non-jewish allies can be key to combatting antisemitism
Comprehending this age-old hatred and the implication for modern Jewish life is what gave me the tools and knowledge to be able to lead the online activism content for a Jewish organization in Israel, called Act-IL.

It is crucial that more non-Jews actively seek to end Jew-hatred the same way that White people want to play a part in dismantling systemic racism and the same way that men want to fight against sexism and sexual assault against women. It’s not only that there are simply not enough Jews in the world to combat the amount of conspiracy theories, false information and hatred directed towards the Jewish people, it’s also the decent thing to do.

During the last escalation in May 2021 between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas, the necessity for non-Jewish allyship became alarmingly clear. Antisemitism worldwide (online and physical) rose to levels not seen for decades, in part because of non-factual and non-nuanced posts made by famous anti-Israel activists and “progressive” celebrities during the escalation.

Though anti-Israel activists know exactly what they are doing when they share lies and information without context, progressive celebrities most likely think that what they are sharing is important and truthful, that they take the moral high ground, when in reality they are doing the exact opposite. However, the lack of empathy and research behind their sharing of biased and non-nuanced posts shows just how little they understand about the connection between antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel.

If this kind of activity continues and influencers, who have five times more followers than there are Jews in the entire world, do not involve themselves in actively learning about and combatting antisemitism, this current wave of left- and right-wing antisemitism will only become more concerning.

Non-Jewish allies can be a key factor to combatting this wave of antisemitism and more should be done to reach out and include them in the fight against hate.
Ireland: Still No Room at the Inn
Ostensibly, the BDS movement's goal is to shift world opinion to declare that Jewish settlements in the historically-named areas of Judea and Samaria are supposedly illegal seizures of Palestinian Arab land. In truth, the principal and outspoken objective of Palestinian organizers of the BDS movement is the destruction of Israel.

In Ireland, Jew-hatred does not well up from the general public but seems clearly driven from the top down. These Goebbels-like attacks on Israel include salvos from several Sinn Fein members of parliament. One of them, Martin Browne, represents Tipperary and claims, falsely, that Israel created ISIS. Another, Matt Carthy representing Cavan-Monahan, has stated that Israel is the worst human rights offender on earth -- presumably dwarfing China, North Korea, Venezuela and Iran.

There is understandably some sympathetic sentiment among the Irish people for the plight of Palestinians, as there is also among Israelis, saddened to see people suffer unnecessarily under a brutal and corrupt Palestinian leadership, which has full autonomy over much the territory under dispute. The Palestinians long ago agreed, in the Oslo Accords of 1993, to settle those disputes by direct negotiation, not by external fiat.

All Israelis -- about 20% of whom are Muslims, along with Christians and Druze -- have identical rights under the law. Israeli Arabs can vote, have political parties and prominent job opportunities, and are members of Israel's parliament. The one exception is that Arabs are not required to serve in the Israeli military; in the event of possible conflicts with Arab states, Israelis did not want brother fighting brother.

Even more shocking was that fully a third of Irish members of parliament of voted to expel Israeli diplomats from Ireland.

Morocco, Israel, US Mark One-Year Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations Between Jerusalem and Rabat
Morocco, Israel and the United States marked a year since the founding of diplomatic relations between Rabat and Jerusalem.

During a video conference, the foreign ministers of the three countries — Nasser Bourita, Yair Lapid and Antony Blinken — welcomed a partnership that Blinken described as “an achievement that has deepened ties, partnerships, and avenues to pursue shared goals,” AFP reported on Wednesday.

Morocco’s foreign minister stated that his country is interested in helping secure lasting peace in the region, the report stated.

The North African state reestablished official diplomatic ties with Israel in December 2020, 20 years after cutting ties at the outset of the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.

“The rapprochement came amid a string of normalization deals between Israel and several Arab countries, brokered by the administration of then-US President Donald Trump,” AFP noted.

Bourita also accepted an invitation from Lapid to visit Israel.

In November, Moroccan national airline Royal Air Maroc announced that it is launching regular flights to Israel.
NGO Defense For Children distorts reports of Palestinian youth attacks on Israelis - opinion
IN ANOTHER episode, a 17-year-old member of Hamas, Zuhdi al-Tawil, was killed after stabbing and wounding an IDF soldier and an Israeli civilian. Ignoring his Hamas affiliation, DCI-P claimed that al-Tawil “allegedly committed a stabbing attack” and that he was “unlawfully killed.” This, despite security camera footage clearly showing al-Tawil’s attack. In this manner, DCI-P seeks to delegitimize Israeli self-defense, condemning what they call a policy of “routinely unlawfully kill[ing] Palestinian children with impunity, using excessive force and unjustified intentional lethal force.” These allegations regarding responses to homicidal stabbing attacks are clearly a form of propaganda.

DCI-P also demonstrates an apparent lack of interest in the recruitment and exploitation of children by terrorist organizations. In fact, in several instances in which Palestinian youths injured or killed Israelis and were not gravely injured themselves, DCI-P remained silent and failed to even report on the incidents. Its silence in the face of these grave human rights violations highlights the organization’s true political agenda.

Were they genuinely motivated by a concern for Palestinian children, DCI-P would advocate and campaign against the endemic incitement against Jews and Israelis to which these children are exposed.

Instead, DCI-P has used the funding it receives primarily from European governments to cynically lobby for Israel’s inclusion on the UN’s “Children and Armed Conflict” (CAAC) annex of parties engaging in “grave violations” of children’s rights. To date, the annex almost entirely consists of failed states, state-sponsored militias, and terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. Inclusion on the list paves the way for sanctions and other measures. DCI-P has also lobbied the US Congress to cut support for Israel, based on this agenda.

UN and government officials, diplomats, and journalists – who regularly uncritically repeat DCI-P’s claims and narrative – have a moral responsibility to acknowledge the evidence showing the true face of this NGO: a PFLP-linked propaganda group, whitewashing and ignoring Palestinian terror. DCI-P’s “reports” should be understood accordingly, as cynical attempts to distract from the grave violation of children’s rights as posed by incitement and recruitment. International donors should act accordingly by freezing grants and contracts with DCI-P, and ceasing to bankroll this manipulative NGO.
Palestinians clash with troops near West Bank outpost, a week after terror shooting
Dozens of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops on Saturday night, near an illegal settlement outpost in the northern West Bank, amid rising violence in the area following a deadly terror shooting.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least seven Palestinian demonstrators were hurt by Israel Defense Force soldiers’ live fire in the village of Burqa, adjacent to the illegal Homesh outpost.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said one of them — a 17-year-old boy — was seriously hurt and taken to the an-Najah hospital in Nablus.

Another 35 were hurt from rubber bullets, and 95 more were treated for suffocation from tear gas and other minor injuries, the medical service said.

Palestinian media reports also claimed gunmen opened fire toward IDF troops during the demonstration. There was no immediate comment from the military on the matter.

One soldier was lightly hurt from a stone hurled toward him by the protestors, Army Radio reported.

Lapid: ‘Bad deal’ With Iran Worse Than None at All
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was quoted as saying that the Jewish state would rather the United States and other powers walk away from nuclear talks with Iran than reach a “bad deal.”

Published Thursday by The New York Times, Lapid said that the best-case outcome of the Vienna talks was what he referred to as a “good deal” with Iran.

It appeared that the foreign minister gave rare backing to negotiations on reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) pact that Jerusalem usually dismisses as an Iranian delaying tactic, The Times of Israel reported.

“We have no problem with a deal. A good deal is a good thing,” Lapid said, adding that the best alternative outcome would be “no deal but tightening the sanctions and making sure Iran cannot go forward” with their nuclear activity.

“And the third and worst is a bad deal.”

Lapid did not elaborate on what a good or bad deal would constitute.

Talks to revive the JCPOA deal are set to resume Monday, the European Union diplomat chairing the negotiations announced Thursday, urging importance to “pick up the pace.”
Former Mossad Official: ‘The Closer Iran Gets to a Nuclear Weapon, the More Temptation There is to Get There’
As US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan arrived in Israel on Tuesday to discuss Iran and other strategic issues, and as nuclear talks continue in Vienna, the Israeli leadership increasingly believes that applying heavy pressure on Tehran is the only way to stop the Iranian advance toward nuclear weapons.

But where exactly do the US and Israel go from here on the Iranian threat?

Sima Shine — head of the Iran program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) think tank as well as former head of the research and evaluation division at the Mossad — explained during a virtual event last week that Israel is faced with three main issues today with regard to Iran. The first and most prominent is the nuclear program. The second is the fact that Iran is close to Israel’s borders in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. The third, involves cyberattacks carried out by Iran against Israeli infrastructure and civilian entities.

“The nuclear threat is the only strategic – some would say existential – threat that Israel faces,” Shine said. “Bottom line, Iran is closer to the decision if they decide to enrich to military grade.”

“The closer Iran gets to a nuclear weapon, the more temptation there is to get there,” she added.

Addressing the ongoing discussions in Vienna, Shine said that all available scenarios for Israel are unappealing.
Iran will not enrich uranium past 60% even if nuclear talks fail - nuclear chief
Iran will not exceed the 60% limit on uranium enrichment if nuclear talks with world powers fail, Iranian nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami said on Saturday.

In an interview with Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (AEO) added that the Islamic Republic will not enrich uranium past 60% even if US sanctions on the country are not lifted.

Iran's nuclear activities are "carried out according to the agreements, statutes and regulations of IAEA," Eslami stated.

Following a futile round of negotiations between Iran and major world powers in November, the indirect talks are set to resume in Vienna on Monday.

While Iran is inching closer to the production of weapons-grade uranium, the US has warned that if the deal is not revived soon, it will become unviable.

In November, Tehran announced it has produced 25 kg. of uranium enriched up to 60%.

Despite Eslami's commitment to not exceed 60% enrichment, Tehran continues to showcase its arsenal in a hostile manner towards Israel.

Pro-Palestinian Artists Withdraw From Sydney Festival Over Israeli Sponsorship Deal
A coalition of pro-Palestinian artists and others have withdrawn their participation from the 2022 Sydney Festival, and are calling for a boycott of the event over its ties to Israel.

The 2022 Sydney Festival — set to run on Jan. 6-30 — signed a $20,000 “Star Partner” sponsorship agreement with the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, which supports the festival’s scheduled performance by the Sydney Dance Company of a work called “Decadence” by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin.

Naharin said in 2019 that he supports the efforts of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, which aims to isolate Israel internationally. Yet he maintained in 2016 that such boycotts are “essentially useless” and there are better ways to advance the Palestinian cause.

The Palestine Justice Movement Sydney stated on Wednesday that the South Asian dance company Bindi Bosses, the Arab Theatre Studio, the Arabic music ensemble Dandana, and journalist Amy McQuire have pulled out of the festival due to its partnership with the Israeli embassy. Writer Michael Mohammed Ahmad rejected an opportunity to join the festival’s board, the group further claimed, while artist Khaled Sabsabi, rapper Barkaa, and comedian Nazeem Hussain have also withdrawn from the event.

“By partnering with Israel, Sydney Festival will be complicit in Israel’s strategy to art-wash its crimes, and will contribute to the normalization of an apartheid state,” said the Palestine Justice Movement Sydney, which urged other participants and members of the public to boycott the event.
Israeli firm to build country's first green hydrogen project
The Israel-based firm Doral has won a NIS 3.3 million grant from the Energy Ministry for a first-of-its-kind project: using a PV facility with a 400 kilowatt (kw) capacity to generate green electricity and, from that, generate green hydrogen.

The facility, located in Kibbutz Yotvata, would generate the green hydrogen for use in industrial infrastructures like transportation systems and industrial plants.

Doral will do this using the technology of H2Pro, a start-up made by researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology that focuses on essentially splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, the ingredient molecules.

The technology is safe, cheap and has a 95% efficiency rate, and it even won Shell's New Energy Challenge last winter.

By using green hydrogen in this way, clean energy can be made accessible for major energy consumers like aircraft and heavy industry.
Reporter's notebookIn LA, Austria honors Jews who fled WWII darkness to forge Hollywood’s Golden Age
When the Austrian government co-sponsored Vienna in Hollywood, a first-of-its-kind symposium recognizing the large number of Jewish artists and professionals who helped shape Hollywood’s Golden Age, I had good reason to attend: My great-grandfather Sol Wurtzel was a pioneer Hollywood producer and worked with many of these emigres, including actor Peter Lorre and Dr. Paul Koretz, a prominent Viennese entertainment lawyer who fled after the Anschluss.

The symposium, which took place on December 10 and 11, was sponsored together with the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the University of Southern California (USC) and the Max Kade Institute in Los Angeles.

The Academy Museum also launched a similarly named six-week film series in conjunction with the symposium, titled “Vienna in Hollywood: Émigrés and Exiles in the Studio System.” Running through January 31, 2022, the series explores the work of Austrian-born Jewish film artists who fled Nazi persecution in Europe to seek refuge in Hollywood.

Attending the symposium, I found it curious but gratifying that the Austrian government would now want to call attention to its country’s purge of Jewish creatives, a laundry list of household names including directors Billy Wilder, Erich von Stroheim and Otto Preminger, as well as actors Hedy Lamarr, Peter Lorre and Paul Henreid — all of whom migrated to Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s.

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