Thursday, June 16, 2022

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: Condemning the 'mapping project' isn't enough
It may be more open in its willingness to label anyone remotely connected to Israel – as is the case with the entire Jewish community other than anti-Zionists – as criminally complicit with the effort to defend the Jewish state and to an America that they see as a bastion of racism. But there is no real difference between this map, and the labeling of Jews and Israel as examples of "white privilege" that is the engine of oppression that is part of CRT indoctrination and intersectional propaganda heard elsewhere.

It is those ideas that helped motivate 83 House Democrats to sign a joint letter last month demanding that the United States oppose the demolition of an illegal encampment in the West Bank that has been upheld by the Israeli Supreme Court. Weeks before, 57 members of the Democrats' Progressive Caucus signed a similar letter demanding an "independent" investigation into the death of a Palestinian journalist who was killed in the crossfire during an Israeli counter-terrorism operation in Jenin.

Both efforts illustrate the way increasingly large numbers of Democrats are taking up Palestinian propaganda attacks against Israel. These letters, promoted by anti-Israel groups, show how the same ideological arguments that back up CRT and intersectionality have resonance on the political left when applied to Israel.

If pro-Israel Democrats want to go on the offensive against anti-Semitic BDS groups, they shouldn't be satisfied with a few statements condemning one map. Instead, they should be joining with centrists and conservatives in attacking the ideas that make such efforts possible. But so long as that means confronting both the BLM movement and the way CRT and intersectionality grant a permission slip for anti-Semitism, then most liberals and left-wingers want nothing to do with it. And as long as that is true, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism will continue to make inroads on the political left and the Democratic Party.
Jonathan Greenblatt: You don’t need a map to find antisemitism
To be fair, these are very different threats. As I said in the speech and as ADL has documented for decades, far-right extremism is a singularly lethal and dangerous threat to the Jewish community and to our country. For years, individuals have been driven by white supremacist conspiracy theories to murder Jews along with other minorities. From Pittsburgh to Poway to Buffalo, it is a violent danger that should not be underestimated.

At the same time, we also must recognize the growing threat posed by the organized anti-Zionist movement, which – despite its effort to wrap itself in the progressive cloak of solidarity with oppressed minorities – is no less conspiratorial and antisemitic. Left unchecked, the demonization, vilification, and conspiracy theories from anti-Zionists will lead to more – and even deadly – violence.

This is not a paranoid abstraction. Rather, it is what Jewish communities in Europe have experienced over the past several years, and it is what we see happen to other minority groups such as Asian-Americans in the US in the wake of COVID, to name just one example.

Let’s be clear: this does not mean that Israel should be exempt from critique.

There are a host of Jewish groups in and out of Israel that criticize the actions of the Jewish state, such as, Ameinu, J Street, and T’ruah. Unlike the anti-Zionist groups who think pro-Palestinian solidarity compels an anti-Jewish racism, these groups believe that Zionism does not compel being anti-Palestinian. In fact, they – along with ADL — often condemn those politicians, groups, and commentators who incite violence against Israeli Arabs or Palestinians and advocate for a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state of Israel.

Equally importantly, these critics inside and outside the Jewish community – many who are proud progressives – level their critiques without demonizing Jews, calling for violence against Jewish organizations, or calling for the eradication of the Jewish state.

These organizations know that words have consequences. Words lead to actions, so they choose them carefully. The leaders of SJP, JVP, and CAIR know this too. And so we have no choice but to take what they say seriously. And by judging those words, it is clear that these anti-Zionist groups represent a growing antisemitic threat in the United States, a threat that ADL will redouble its efforts to counter.
WaPo Editorial: BDS detours into old-school antisemitism
There is no place in civilized society for such acts — nor for rhetoric that motivates the unstable to do the terrible. Nor is there a place for a BDS movement if it is going to use (justified) anger with Israel’s policies to foment antisemitic conspiracy theories and to implicitly call for violence against “agents of oppression,” including Jewish entities.

The Mapping Project is ludicrous in its attempt to implicate Jews. It includes JewishBoston, a publication of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, because it “pushes propaganda which glories Israel.” Such as? “JewishBoston helped promote ‘Taste of Israel 2022’ … which featured Boston area restaurants serving and promoting ‘Israel’s diverse culinary landscape.’ ”

The long list of groups “systemically connected” with supposed Zionist oppressors includes: the AFL-CIO, Apple, Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, the Boston Globe, the City of Boston, Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, the FBI, the Harpoon Brewery, the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Pfizer and Moderna, an interminable collection of businesses, universities and police departments, and seemingly every Jewish group under the sun.

If the broader movement isn’t willing to step in and condemn those among them fanning antisemitic conspiracy theories and violence against Jews, then BDS will become nothing more than BS.

NGO Monitor: The Conviction of World Vision Employee Mohammad al-Halabi
The Be’ersheva District Court’s conviction of Mohammad El-Halabi for diverting aid money and resources from the international humanitarian organization World Vision to Hamas, highlights fundamental vulnerabilities of a multi-billion dollar NGO aid industry that remains largely unregulated and unexamined, according to Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.

El-Halabi, the former manager of operations for World Vision in Gaza, was arrested by Israeli authorities in June 2016 and charged with diverting $50 million to terrorist organizations for construction of tunnels and other terrorist activity. According to the indictment, El-Halabi used humanitarian projects and agricultural associations to act as a cover for the hijacking of monies and materials to Hamas. Claims by officials of World Vision Australia, which received funds from the Australian government, were inconsistent with records published by different branches of World Vision, as demonstrated by NGO Monitor. Specifically, World Vision documents reported an income of $133 million for Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, but only $84 million in expenses.

President of NGO Monitor Professor Gerald Steinberg noted: ” The verdict is a reminder of the centrality of due diligence and credible oversight in the future to prevent the abuse of aid for terror in the region. To avoid enabling murderous Hamas attacks, which also compounds the suffering of Gaza residents, aid groups must implement rigorous vetting procedures, particularly regarding employees and their activities. If they cannot or will not do so, they should not be funneling more money into territory controlled by a terrorist entity.”

From the outset, NGO Monitor researchers identified inconsistencies and complications in World Vision’s public statements about the case and its operations in the region. World Vision has multiple entities with unclear responsibilities that are active in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, adding to the complexity inherent in assuring independent oversight and verification.

One of these World Vision entities, an Israeli-registered non-profit, is facing dissolution for financial mismanagement and noncompliance with local regulations. Following a multi-year investigation and an independent audit, on November 3, 2021, the Israeli Registrar of Nonprofits petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to dissolve this non-profit.

In justifying this petition, the Registrar alleged that the local non-profit did not implement humanitarian projects as claimed, and conducted financial transactions for purposes other than its stated goals – including providing funds to Hamas members.
Verdict in case of Mohammad El-Halabi/World Vision Diversion of Funds to Hamas
Judges’ analysis of testimony from World Vision employees
- “They are apparently trapped in a preconceived notion that does not accord with the circumstances in the region, that their professionalism will absolutely and always prevent any fraud or abuse of faith…The Court does not give practical or operational advice in this field. However, given the circumstances, it appears that effective oversight should be based on the opposite assumption, that fraud and abuse can occur, particularly in a region controlled by a cruel regime, in the form of a terrorist organization that nearly has a state, whose resources – including economic resources – are inter alia, taken advantage of through trickery, threats, and force, for terrorist activity, including from organizations like World Vision.”
- “The insistence on the notion that the organization could not be deceived is liable to create a lack of vigilance to prevent deceit.”
- “The witnesses worked to deny any possibility of cracks in the organization’s oversight mechanisms that would allow money to pass to Hamas…The witnesses tried to downplay the description of the defendant’s authority, in order to deny the possibility that he carried out the actions ascribed to him. One should be cautious with such unequivocal statements. Life has proven time and time again that even in organizations with strong oversight measures, it is possible to commit fraud and deception.”
- “We cannot accept the defense’s central argument that due to the allegedly tight oversight at World Vision, there could not be fraud, deception, and transfer of funds to Hamas, as is ascribed to the defendant.”
- “No organization is immune from the possibility of fraud, even when the [realization of this] possibility requires exceptional efforts from the criminal. On top of that, we add the particular circumstances in Gaza, where a terrorist organization rules [the territory] and the ability to closely monitor developments is limited.”
- “All the more so when a significant portion of the organization’s oversight mechanisms rely on internal oversight of local Gaza committees, and on employees who are residents of Gaza and, one way or another, are under Hamas’ authority. From the testimony of the defense witnesses, it emerges that the main oversight mechanism is located outside of Gaza, and largely operates by ‘remote control,’ by reviewing documents received from elements in Gaza. In practice, all of the defendant’s activities were based on, inter alia, taking advantage of the distance [from oversight bodies] and the remote control oversight and the possibility to manipulate figures with the assistance of internal elements in Gaza, and presenting a false narrative to the organization’s oversight mechanisms that trust him and his judgment, and greatly respect him.”
- “With respect to the claims of defense witnesses, according to which it would have been impossible for the defendant to circumvent the organization’s monitoring and oversight mechanisms, the organization has significant interest not to recognize and to deny this possibility. While we certainly believe that the organization is staunchly opposed to the possibility that its funds will be transferred to terrorist organizations, as its mission is humanitarian aid – recognition of the potential for diversion of funds to terrorist organization would place a heavy cloud over the organization’s activities, and would pose a risk to its operations. There is substantial interest [to reject this possibility] that, naturally, appears to be part of the rationale behind the testimony of defense witnesses…Review of the evidence paints a different picture than that presented by the defense witnesses. The defendant ran the organization in Gaza and it appears he had broad and substantial authority in the organization and was involved in all matters.”
Gaza aid worker guilty of funneling millions to Hamas
Interview and analysis with Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amir Avivi, director of Israel's Defense & Security Forum.

Why citizen diplomacy matters in the modern world
What set the Abraham Accords apart was that they focused on people-to-people peace or what is called “warm peace,” unlike previous peace agreements, and for this reason several organisations and networks have since been established.

One such organisation, “Sharaka”, supports this approach to peace only being attainable where people know each other and are able to cooperate in all fields, which serves everyone’s interests.

Although “Sharaka” is a non-governmental organisation whose main goal is to further the idea of citizen diplomacy among the citizens of the Abraham Accords countries, it simultaneously coordinates with government agencies such as embassies and consulates so that its members are incorporated into the peace process at a more formal level.

Thus, the acceptance by diplomats and officials of the idea of citizen diplomacy is crucial, and we have already seen this work in practise during the visit of a "Sharaka" delegation to the United States. The Consulate of Israel to the Southeastern United States under the leadership of Consul General, Anat Sultan, exemplified the successful integration of traditional and citizen diplomacy.

I witnessed for myself the dedicated work of the Consulate in merging traditional and citizen diplomacy, where the skills of “Sharaka” members were utilised by diplomats in the Consulate, led by the Consul General, during the visit to North Carolina and Atlanta this spring, making the visit as successful as possible.

What made the delegation successful is that the Consulate, with the support of the Consul General, realised the importance of citizen diplomacy in achieving its mission of promoting peace and demonstrating the positive impact of the Abraham Accords.

The delegation’s schedule included meetings with governors, members of Congress, the City Council of Raleigh, the Durham Mayor Pro Tempore, officials at the International Civil Rights Museum, and faculty members and students from different universities.

During these meetings, the delegation realised that there are a large number of people, especially in universities, who are opposed to or skeptical of the Abraham Accords. This can be explained by high levels of antisemitism and general ill feeling towards some members of Arab Gulf countries as well as a refusal to accept the Abraham Accords because they were brokered under the Trump administration.

Others cannot accept the Accords as 'peace’ treaties because Arab Gulf countries and Israel have never actually been at war with one another and some argue that peace should first be established between the Israelis and the Palestinians. (h/t Zvi)
Ireland Lags the Rest of Europe in Fighting Anti-Semitism
Social media commentary originating from Ireland is replete with anti-Semitic rhetoric. Anti-Semitic tropes are commonplace in anti-Israeli protests of Irish NGOs and university student groups. Unbalanced Opposition Dail speeches and questions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict act as an incitement to hatred.

Our Government and the Dail should adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism in the action plan on anti-Semitism the state is obliged to publish this year. This is not an issue on which our parties in government should remain EU outliers.

Are organizers of a major German art festival gaslighting critics about BDS support?
There should be no complacency just because no such attack has yet been perpetrated in Ireland. Social media commentary originating from Ireland is replete with anti-Semitic rhetoric. Anti-Semitic tropes are commonplace in anti-Israeli protests of Irish NGOs and university student groups. Unbalanced Opposition Dáil speeches and questions on the tragically long-enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict act as an incitement to hatred.

The IHRA examples of anti-Semitism include “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour”. Essentially that is the Sinn Féin narrative.

Sinn Féin appears intent on undermining the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in the land to which they are indigenous. The objective of the depiction of Israel as “an apartheid state” is to undermine its international legitimacy and the standing of the 1947 UN General Assembly resolution prescribing Israel’s re-emergence as an independent modern state.

A party that is truly “firm” around issues of self-determination with some knowledge of a peace process would, as I do, recognise the right of both the Jewish people and of Palestinians to self-determination, advocate for an end to conflict, terrorism and human rights violations, encourage constructive dialogue, positive engagement and advocate for two independent states — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security. Instead Sinn Féin’s priority is to demonise and delegitimise the world’s only Jewish state.

Our Government and the Dáil should adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism in the action plan on anti-Semitism the State is obliged to publish this year. Doing so would result in an inclusive all-Ireland approach — the Northern Ireland Assembly having adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in May 2021, despite opposition from Sinn Féin. This is not an issue on which our parties in government should remain EU outliers aligned with Sinn Féin.
Jewish community alarmed after Vancouver activist defends Palestinian armed struggle
A Canadian resident with ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took to the stage in Ottawa recently, where expressed his support for arming Palestinians and took aim at the Canadian government for designating groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as "terrorists."

Speaking on June 3 at the "International League of People's Struggles in Canada" conference, Khaled Barakat sought to blame Israel for Palestinian violence.

"Palestinian resistance are manufacturing missiles today because that's the only way they left us is to have a strong resistance, and those who don't want us to have armed struggle can please tell us how we can achieve our right when we couldn't achieve it by any other means possible," he said. "So really armed struggle is an option Israel chose for us, we didn't choose it."

Barakat lives in Vancouver with his wife Charlotte Kates, who runs Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, which the Israeli Defense Ministry considers a terrorist organization.

During the event, which was held at a city-owned community center, Kates claimed that Jewish groups – calling out B'nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs by name – tried to shut down the event because they were hoping to silence the voices of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

She praised a group of six Palestinians who escaped from Israel's Gilboa Prison last September, claiming it showed the "regime of Zionism is not impenetrable … Palestine from the river to the sea is a right we stand with."
Unilever shareholder sues over Ben & Jerry's Israel boycott
Unilever was sued on Wednesday by a US shareholder who said the company mishandled the decision by its Ben & Jerry's unit to stop selling ice cream in the West Bank.

According to the proposed class action in Manhattan federal court, Unilever improperly concealed the decision before it was announced, recognizing that many US states might divest from companies that support anti-Israel boycotts, yet stood behind it once the news became public.

Ben & Jerry's announced last July it would stop selling its products in the West Bank and parts of east Jerusalem, and sever its three-decade relationship with an Israeli ice cream maker that rejected the ban.

The price of Unilever American depositary receipts ("ADRs") fell nearly 8% over six days as Florida and Texas reviewed their relationships with the British consumer goods company, and some Jewish groups accused Ben & Jerry's of antisemitism.

Seven states including Florida, Texas and New York later divested their pension fund investments in Unilever, the complaint said.

"As a result of defendants' wrongful acts and omissions, and the declines in the market value of Unilever ADRs, plaintiff and other class members have suffered significant losses and damages," the complaint said.

The lawsuit was filed by a Michigan pension fund, the City of St. Clair Shores Police and Fire Retirement System.
Google Stockholders Vote Against BDS Proposal on Israeli Nimbus Project
Alphabet stockholders voted not to approve a stockholder proposal against Google's work on Israel's Nimbus Project, after Alphabet's annual meeting of stockholders on June 1.

Vote against BDS proposal
There were 544,653,039 votes against and 55,301,799 for the proposal for Alphabet's board to issue a report reassessing its role in the $1.2 billion project to transfer Israeli government IT infastructure to cloud-based data centers. There were 3,825,111 abstentions. Each Class A common stock was worth one vote, and Class B common stock 10 votes.

The vote rejecting the proposal fell in line with the Alphabet board of directors' recommendation to vote against it.

"Given our processes and principles governing our work with our customers and partners, including the government, and our transparency around these matters, our board does not believe that implementing this proposal would provide additional benefit to our stockholders, and, as such, recommends a vote against this proposal," said Kathryn Hall, Google's vice president, legal and head of corporate at the meeting. Proposal against Nimbus

The proposal "regarding a report on policies regarding military and militarized policing agencies" challenged Alphabet's collaboration with military and police, but focused on Israel and the Nimbus Project as animating the endeavor.

Gabriel Schubiner, a Google employee and a lead activist in the "No Tech for Apartheid" BDS campaign to quash Amazon and Google's joint involvement in the Nimbus project, presented the proposal at the stockholder's meeting in a prerecorded message.
Blinded by BDS? Media Goes Dark During Israel's Most Innovative Week
Shareholders of Alphabet, Google's parent company, recently rejected a proposal by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to stop a $1.22 billion deal with the Jewish state.

In 2021, Jerusalem awarded a joint contract to Google and Amazon to develop Project Nimbus, which will see all of Israel's government and public organizations transfer their data and services to the cloud. But while the "No Tech For Apartheid" campaign that ensued made headlines in leading publications, BDS' failure to convince Alphabet shareholders was off the media's radar.

By fixating on Israel's supposed isolation from the family of nations, news publications completely ignored inspirational stories that could benefit people everywhere.

Exeter College Student Union Condemns Israel as Oxford Union Prepares to Host Israeli Ambassador
Exeter College’s Junior Common Room (JCR), a representative study body within the University of Oxford, has passed a motion accusing Israel of apartheid and murdering Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, The Oxford Student reported on Thursday. The student group also resolved to mount a Palestinian flag in the JCR’s common room and donate £100 to Medical Aid for Palestinians, a charity organization.

The measure was “unprecedented,” Oxford Student said.

The Oxford Union, a university debating society, also announced that it will host Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, on Thursday evening.

Hotovely’s last trip to an English university in November resulted in her swift evacuation from the steps of the London School of Economics (LSE) as protestors tried to reach her car. After the incident, Hotovely tweeted, “I will not be intimidated. I will continue to share the Israeli story and hold open dialogue with all parts of British society.

The Oxford Students’ Palestine Society (OSPS) has vowed to protest the event.

“We are calling on everyone to join us outside the Union at 5pm to show Hotovely that she and the Apartheid regime she represents are not welcome in our city,” the group said in a statement

On Thursday, Oxford’s Jewish Students Against Antisemitism (JSAA) pledged on Twitter to join OSPS’s demonstration, and claimed that those who don’t are “complicit” in war crimes. After being called out by Board of Deputies of British Jews Director of Public Affairs Daniel Sugarman, who said the tweet “is in fact extremely antisemitic,” JSAA deleted its original post and replaced it with another issuing a general invitation to the protest against Ambassador Hotovely.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Activists: Yad Vashem Holocaust Database Actually Judaized Nakba Victims (satire)
A new front emerged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this week when already-rampant Holocaust denial among Palestinians fused with the decades-old libel of Jewish genocide of Palestinians to produce the charge that the world’s oldest and premier Holocaust research institution maintains records not of Jews murdered at the hand of Nazis and their local collaborators, but of Palestinians that Zionists have slaughtered since 1948 and whose deaths Israel has spent years coopting to generate sympathy and justify further oppression.

A group of Palestinian researchers and public figures issued a statement yesterday that Yad Vashem does not, as it claims, document and perform education about the Holocaust, which they assert never happened, and if it did it wasn’t as bad as the Jews claim it was, and the Nakba was worse, and the Jews probably deserved it, because look what they do to the Palestinians, but in fact pursues a nefarious mission to erase evidence of the millions of Palestinian victims of Zionist genocide and portray them as Jewish victims of antisemitic violence.

“One of the recurring tropes of Zionist hasbara,” stated Hanan Ashrawi, employing a derogatory usage of the Hebrew term for public diplomacy and explication, “involves the supposed absence of evidence for the genocide of Palestinians beginning in 1948. As if our strident accusations are insufficient, which is a racist idea. Well, it turns out we can explain that alleged absence – the Jews have appropriated those victims and now pass them off as Holocaust dead! They don’t only steal land, they steal history. They pretend their ancestors lived here when in fact they’re European colonialists – yes, even the ones who came from Arab countries. Converts only count in Islam. Jews are Khazars. But not Arab Jews, who are Arabs and not really Jews except when we want a pretext to treat them as an underclass, which is, let’s face it, all the time. They deserve it. Just look at what we accuse them of, and if you doubt our accusations you’re racist.”

Palestinian Journalists Syndicate expels member for normalizing ties with Israel
Palestinian journalist and peace activist Rafa Mismar has been expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) on charges of promoting normalization with Israel.

PJS, which is dominated by members of the ruling Fatah faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement that the decision to expel Mismar was because of her participation in last month’s joint Memorial Day Ceremony. Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day

The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day takes place every year on the eve of Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Victims of Terrorism.

The ceremony was initiated by Buma Inbar, whose son was killed in Lebanon in 1995, and other peace activists, together with the Combatants for Peace movement. The first ceremony took place in 2006.

This year’s ceremony was broadcast from two sites: Bet Jala (near Bethlehem), hosted by Mismar, and Smolarz Auditorium in Tel Aviv University, hosted by Yossi Zabari, a spoken-word artist.

Mismar’s participation in the event drew criticism from several Palestinians, including journalists who called on the syndicate to take punitive measures against her for allegedly promoting normalization with Israel.
BBC News again skirts the issue of PA payments to terrorists
As is usually the case in BBC reporting, readers of this report are told nothing about the Palestinian Authority’s financial priorities and the fact that while “teachers, firefighters and doctors” may not have received their full salaries, convicted terrorists did.

In 2020 the Palestinian Authority spent around $181 million (3.75% of its annual budget) on salaries for convicted terrorists. In 2021, the amount of money spent on rewarding terrorism was over $270 million – higher than the EU’s withheld donations.

In other words, the Palestinian Authority could have paid those doctors, teachers and firefighters and could have facilitated “essential medical care” for Palestinians if it had chosen to do so. Instead, the PA spends 33.34 times more per capita paying terror rewards than it spends on health services for the Palestinian population and 10.86 times more per capita than it spends on education of children under 18.

The BBC has shown time and time again that when reporting on the Palestinian Authority’s perennial financial crises, it almost inevitably erases the very relevant issue of payments to terrorists and their families from the picture. As we see, this latest report is no exception.
Guardian omits terror affiliation of Palestinian killed in Jenin
McKernan – whose reporting on the Samoudi’s death is cited in the context of the killing of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh – fails to provide readers with information contradicting the desired narrative. For instance, as Reuters, and even the fringe anti-Zionist site Mondoweiss, reported, the IDF insisted they didn’t use live fire during the incident in question – an arrest raid. “Palestinians fired live fire, hurled rocks and explosive devices towards the troops. The troops responded with riot dispersal means,” Reuters quoted an army spokesman as saying.

Additionally, and representing a far more egregious omission, McKernan failed to disclose that Hamas issued a mourning notice for Samoudi, claiming she was a Hamas operative.

Islamic resistance movement Hamas mourns its ‘martyr daughter’ Dalia Ahmad Suleiman Samoudi, who ascended [to heaven] by the occupation’s bullets in the city of Jenin, at the northern West Bank (Translation via CAMERA Arabic)

Once again, Bethan McKernan has demonsrated that she has little if any interest in providing readers with anything resembling fair, impartial and balanced reporting on the region. We’ve complained to the Guardian Readers’ Editor asking that the article be amended to include the army statement as well as Samoudi’s terror affiliation.
‘Intolerable’: Poland Rejects Israeli Demand for Armed Guards to Accompany School Trips to Holocaust Sites
Israel’s education ministry on Wednesday announced that it was canceling visits to Poland for thousands of Israeli school students over a dispute concerning security arrangements, although Israel’s foreign minister stated that the row also related to Polish policies on Holocaust commemoration.

A statement from the ministry said the heritage tours involving about 7,000 young Israelis had been frozen because of a Polish refusal to allow armed agents of Shin Bet, Israel’s security service, to accompany the students. The statement added that negotiations with the government in Warsaw to resume the trips were ongoing.

A spokesperson for the Polish foreign ministry confirmed that the Israeli government had been told that a “return to the current rules, including the participation of armed Israeli servicemen, is not possible.”

Speaking while on a visit to the Albanian capital, Tirana, the spokesperson, Łukasz Jasina, said that the decision had been taken to preserve Poland’s image as a law-abiding and safe country.

“We cannot afford to have a situation in which Poland may appear as a dangerous country, with citizens whom Israeli youth need to be protected from,” Jasina said. “Also, a situation in which servicemen from another country are carrying weapons on the territory of our country is intolerable.”
Antisemitic Brochures Found in Westwood
Several antisemitic brochures were found littered throughout the Westwood neighborhood on the morning of June 15.

Photos obtained by the Journal showed brochures with statements including:
- “Every single aspect of the media is Jewish”
- “Every single aspect of the Ukraine-Russia War is Jewish”
- “Every single aspect of Disney child grooming is Jewish”
- “Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish”
- Jews are “the real slave bringers”

Also depicted was a faux New York Times page stating that there were Holocaust stories in “the Jew owned New York Times” before the end of World War II. The flyers were adorned with advertisements for GoyimTV, which is operated by the Goyim Defense League (GDL); the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has described the GDL as “a small network of virulently antisemitic provocateurs.”

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila of the Westwood Village Synagogue told the Journal that the brochures were found “on every front lawn of Ashton Avenue” nearby the Wilshire Corridor. “The brochures were in plastic bags filled with small stones, and were most probably thrown from a car onto each lawn or front door,” he said. “There’s nothing else we know about them, except what they say. When I photographed them, there are those scan codes that lead to websites, which I did not open.”

The Modern Miracle of the State of Israel
The fact is, however, that there has never been a Palestinian state on this land. Preceding Israel’s independence in 1948, the land of Israel was occupied by the British, the Ottomans and many others. And consecutive waves of immigration into Israel of people from various ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds disproves the shameful “apartheid” accusation that’s frequently lobbed against Israel.

While the independence and freedom of other historically repressed and indigenous peoples is supported by international human rights organizations that have gone after Israel, the same sentiment is not shared when it comes to the Jewish state. In fact, even before it was a state, Jewish immigration into Israel was frequently curtailed, particularly by the British, who blocked many Jews attempting to flee Nazi persecution.

Israel is the fulfillment of a 2,000-year-old dream to return home. No other nation on earth has expended so much kindness, acceptance and effort to reunify its lost tribes as has the State of Israel.

Ethiopians started immigrating to Israel in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until Operation Solomon in 1991, when 14,325 Beta Israel were brought to Israel in 36 hours on 35 planes, that the significance of this moment in Jewish history was fully realized. This week’s Ethiopian immigration is part of a long chain of incredible rescue efforts of a people who are fulfilling a dream to come home.

Many Ethiopians, who often had to trek through the dessert to reach the Israeli planes, recount that they were motivated by the idea of seeing the city of Jerusalem with their own eyes. It was the promised land they had been told about for generations. Once they arrived in Israel, integration was not simple. But they were welcomed home.

Those of us who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and Israel’s existential battles for survival celebrate this reunification of the Jewish nation. It’s a triumph against evil. It’s a win against the Hitlers of the world and a fulfillment of our destiny as a people.
JFNA Estimates Aid to Ukraine Projected at $100 Million
Jewish Federations of North America conducted an analysis of the emergency needs of dozens of relief organizations they are supporting in Ukraine and is projecting a total of $99 million for emergency aid funding through the end of 2022.

To date, some $62 million has been raised by JFNA and its partners for this next phase of the campaign, leaving a shortfall of $37 million to provide assistance to those being impacted by the war in Ukraine.

To help bridge the gap, the Wilf Family Foundations has pledged $5 million toward this next stage of funding for Ukraine aid. The donation comes during the last week of Mark Wilf’s tenure as chair of the Board of Trustees of Jewish Federations of North America.

“It has been a true honor to serve in this role and witness the impact of Jewish philanthropy to improve the lives of vulnerable populations from all backgrounds — from people in our own neighborhoods to individuals in need around the world,” he said. “I feel blessed to be able to offer this pledge on behalf of my family during my last days as board chair, understanding the enormity of the needs in Ukraine, along with the tremendous impact of philanthropy to transform lives.”

In addition to JFNA’s core partners — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Jewish Agency for Israel and World ORT — they are also supporting dozens of other organizations providing critical rescue and relief to Ukrainian refugees of all backgrounds.
Arkansas Forges Major Economic Pact With Israel
Israel forged a major economic pact with Arkansas on Tuesday to share research and technology, especially for agriculture, broadening a trade relationship between the two worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Though his state contains one of the smallest Jewish populations in the nation, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson (R.) celebrated the trade agreement for bringing closer ties with Israel, which he called "a critical ally." Trade between the two was valued at more than $100 million last year, and both have enjoyed agricultural and scientific research grants worth more than $400,000 since the start of their partnership. In 2017, Hutchinson passed a law prohibiting Arkansas from working with companies that support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. He told the Washington Free Beacon their new memorandum of understanding reflects Arkansas’s ongoing "friendship" with the Jewish state.

"This is a mutually beneficial partnership between two leaders in innovation," Hutchinson said. "The agreement builds on the momentum we have created for the past eight years to develop a tech-based workforce that can meet the needs of a 21st century economy. In addition, this agreement allows us to strengthen our relationship with a critical ally to the United States."

Israel has become a world leader in agricultural technology, investing heavily over the years in its high-tech sector, which now accounts for 15 percent of its GDP. Though more than half of its land area is desert and it lacks water resources, the Jewish state has learned to produce some of the highest yields of agricultural products, including cow milk and tomatoes, of any nation in the world. The success has made others take note in an effort to boost their own agricultural industries. Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, adding around $16 billion to the state’s economy annually.

Israel and Arkansas have enjoyed an economic partnership for the past 40 years that has added billions to the U.S. economy, according to a 2019 review of one agricultural grant program between the nations.
The American Jew Who Created the Nuclear Submarine
In the midst of the Cold War in 1958, the underwater journey of the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine transfixed America as it achieved the incredible feat of navigating the polar ice cap.

It came at the right time for the United States, which was looking for a technological breakthrough in response to the launch of Sputnik by the USSR. Yet the man who developed the USS Nautilus — Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, an American Jew who was born in a Polish shtetl — was initially left out of the celebration because his abrasive personality had alienated colleagues in the Navy.

Rickover’s complex life is explored in a new book, “Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power,” by Marc Wortman.

“I didn’t know what an extraordinarily complicated, pugnacious and brilliant guy he was, and how much his career was marked by one controversy, one battle, after another,” Wortman told The Times of Israel. “That really was the compelling story to tell.”

Part of the Jewish Lives series from Yale University Press, the book centers on a son of the shtetl who returned to Poland decades later, during a Cold War visit to the Soviet Union with then-vice president Richard Nixon. Later, Rickover became a White House confidant of president Jimmy Carter, who had served in the admiral’s nuclear navy. Carter said that no other man except for his father had such an influence in his life.

Known as the father of the nuclear Navy, Rickover built his influence through groundbreaking achievements related to nuclear power, including the debut of the Nautilus in 1954.

“He had the force of personality to get it done,” Wortman said, calling the Nautilus “an unbelievable achievement, an achievement that president Jimmy Carter said made him the greatest engineer ever to live.”

Rickover’s decorated career began during the administration of Woodrow Wilson and lasted into the Reagan years, from World War I to the Cold War, making him the longest-serving active-duty officer in American military history.
India’s Jewish Cricket Team to Compete in Maccabiah Games in Israel
India’s Jewish cricket team will travel to Israel to compete on behalf of the South Asian country in the 21st Maccabiah Games, the biggest Jewish sporting event in the world.

The Consul General of Israel to Mid-West India in Mumbai Kobbi Shoshani made the announcement in a Twitter post on Thursday. “Yes We Can! The Jewish Cricket Team will fly to Israel to represent India in the the biggest International Jewish Sport event,” he tweeted. “Thank you the heads of the Jewish communities for your contributions. Bring the gold medal to India!”

The Maccabiah Games, often called the “Jewish Olympics,” is the third-largest sporting event in the world and takes place every four years in Israel. It was originally set to take place in July 2021 but because of the COVID-19 pandemic has been rescheduled to this year from July 12-26. It is organized by the Maccabi World Union and is divided into four competitions: open, masters, juniors and paralympics. Eighty countries have participated in the Maccabiah Games.

India, a leading nation in the sport of cricket, has been competing in the Maccabiah Games since 1953. The country’s delegation won its first medals in 1957 — gold in boxing and table tennis — and India’s cricket team won the silver medal in 2009, according to the United News of India.
In historic first, Morocco faces Israel in quiet basketball diplomacy match
The Moroccan women’s basketball team hosted their Israeli counterparts for the first time on Wednesday in a quiet slice of sporting diplomacy played out in front of invited guests only.

The friendly game, a first in the framework of sports cooperation since the normalization of ties between the two countries at the end of 2020, took place in a gymnasium in Sale, near Rabat.

There were no spectators at the invitation-only event, said an AFP journalist.

According to the Israel Basketball Federation (IBBA) website, it was the first time that Arab female players had faced an Israeli national team in their country.

The Moroccans came out on top, 62-58, in a match organized on the sidelines of a framework cooperation agreement signed Tuesday in Rabat between the Royal Moroccan Basketball Federation (FRMBB) and the IBBA in order to develop sports exchanges, according to a press release.

“Through this cooperation, the Moroccan party aims, among other things, to benefit from the experience of the Israeli Federation which was founded in 1934 and which has accumulated a great deal of experience in terms of supervision, training and financial management,” the statement said.
'Israel is a world leader in promoting rights of people with disabilities'
An Israeli delegation to the UN took part in a conference on the rights of people with disabilities at the world body's headquarters in New York on Wednesday. The event was held in cooperation with Germany's mission to the world body. UN missions from around the world and senior world body officials were among those in attendance.

Germany's UN envoy Antje Leendertse, Deputy Justice Minister Director-General Kobi Matza, and World Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, the latter of whom delivered recorded remarks, were in attendance, as were representatives of organizations in Israel and Germany that promote the rights of people with disabilities. The cooperative effort by German and Israeli officials sent a strong message to the international community regarding the ability of sports to connect communities and individuals.

One of the Israeli athletes to attend the event was Doron Shaziri, a sharpshooter who won five silver and three bronze Paralympic medals. Shaziri lost his left leg when he stepped on a mine near the Beaufort Castle in southern Lebanon while serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Shaziri was joined by Verena Bentele, a German Paralympic skier from Germany who suffers from vision impairment and has medaled multiple times at international competitions.

In a statement, Matza said, "Paralympic sports are the eternal proof that the sky is the limit and we are all equal. I am excited and proud to represent the State of Israel at the UN conference on the rights of people with disabilities."

Erdan said: "We are presenting the extensive endeavors in Israel that exemplify the victory of the spirit over any difficulty reality poses. I am proud that Israel is a world leader in promoting the rights of people with disabilities, and today's event that presents outstanding athletes who overcame tremendous challenges shows another side of Israel's extensive work in the field."
Israeli musician woos Iranian fans with Persian melodies
Mark Eliyahu sat and tuned his ancient Persian violin-like “kamancheh” in a yurt in northern Israel — but many of his biggest fans are in Iran, a country he cannot visit.

Eliyahu’s ethereal music, partly inspired by his Jewish roots from the Dagestan region of the Caucasus, is gaining recognition in Israel.

Yet despite the bitter hostility between the Israeli government and Tehran, which cut ties in the wake of the 1979 Iranian revolution, he also has a growing following among Iranians.

“Persian, Iranian culture is a huge inspiration for me,” said Eliyahu, who composed the soundtrack for the spy thriller series “Tehran.”

“One of my biggest dreams is to go to Iran, to study there and meet this culture for real, because I feel very connected to it.”

That connection was obvious this week as he performed an open-air show under a full moon in Istanbul.

The Turkish metropolis is a unique meeting place for Israelis and Iranians, despite Israel warning its citizens this week to leave Turkey “as soon as possible” over the threat of Iranian attacks.
Documentary About Holocaust Survivor and Hollywood Filmmaker Premieres at Tribeca Film Festival
A documentary about the life of Jack Garfein — a Holocaust survivor, Broadway and film director, and Actors Studio co-founder — had its world premiere on Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

“The Wild One” is narrated by Willem Dafoe and a teaser trailer for the film was released last week.

The documentary traces Garfein’s life from his upbringing in Czechoslovakia, his family fleeing Nazi persecution, his experience surviving Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and his face-to-face encounter with Nazi SS physician Josef Mengele, who performed medical experiments on Jewish inmates and prisoners. The film also explores his arrival in New York in 1946 at the age of 16, his partnership with Hollywood icon Lee Strasberg, marriage to actress Carroll Baker, and friendship with Marilyn Monroe.

Garfein directed controversial films, particularly “The Strange One” (1957) and “Something Wild” (1961), which addressed themes of violence, power, and racism in post-war America.

Paris-based filmmaker Tessa Louise-Salomé — the documentary’s director, co-producer and co-screenwriter — said in a statement that when watching Garfein’s films, she was “immediately seduced by the darkness and complexity of his characters, by the modernity of his directing style, by his sheer audacity as a filmmaker.”

WhatsApp’s reclusive founder quietly became a megadonor to Jewish causes
The fighting in Ukraine has been called “a WhatsApp war” amid widespread reliance on messaging apps by journalists, soldiers and ordinary civilians, and their central role in spreading propaganda.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s inventor, a Ukrainian-born Jew whose creation made him one of the wealthiest people in the world, has kept conspicuously quiet throughout the conflict. Jan Koum, who controls a multi-billion-dollar charitable foundation, has not uttered a public word even as many other wealthy Ukrainians and Russians announce donations toward humanitarian relief efforts.

But based on an examination of tax returns filed by Koum’s foundation before the war, the publicity-shy WhatsApp founder, who arrived in California as a teenager, is more entwined than meets the eye with the events rocking the country he left behind as a 16-year-old. His donations, only a sliver of which have been previously reported, include tens of millions of dollars to Jewish organizations now involved in relief efforts in Eastern Europe.

For example, from 2019 to 2020, the latest year for which there is a tax return, the Koum Family Foundation donated about $17 million to the European Jewish Association, an organization headquartered in Brussels that launched a campaign in March to provide housing, food and clothing to refugees from the war. Nearly all of the group’s 2019 budget came from Koum.

With $10.6 million in gifts over that same period, Koum’s foundation is also one of the most significant donors to another group involved in relief efforts: the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS. The group, whose name refers to the Commonwealth of Independent States, an association of former Soviet territories, announced the establishment of an ambulance fleet to evacuate patients throughout Ukraine.
Study: World’s first cultivated fruit trees planted 7,000 years ago in Jordan Valley
The first domestication of fruit trees anywhere in the world took place some 7,000 years ago in the Jordan Valley, according to a joint study by Tel Aviv University and Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

The researchers reached their conclusions after analyzing charcoal remains at the Chalcolithic Tel Tsaf site in the Jordan Valley and finding wood from olive and fig trees. Olive trees do not grow naturally in the area.

Dr. Dafna Langgut, head of Tel Aviv’s Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Ancient Environments, which specializes in microscopic identification of plant remains, said it was possible to identify trees by their anatomic structure even if they had been burned down to charcoal.

“Wood was the ‘plastic’ of the ancient world,” she said. “It was used for construction, for making tools and furniture, and as a source of energy. That’s why identifying tree remnants found at archaeological sites, such as charcoal from hearths, is a key to understanding what kinds of trees grew in the natural environment at the time, and when humans began to cultivate fruit trees.”

Langgut’s analysis of the charcoal from Tel Tsaf found locally native trees, but also olive and fig.

“Olive trees grow in the wild in the land of Israel, but they do not grow in the Jordan Valley,” she said. “This means that someone brought them there intentionally — took the knowledge and the plant itself to a place that is outside of its natural habitat.”

“In archaeobotany, this is considered indisputable proof of domestication, which means that we have here the earliest evidence of the olive’s domestication anywhere in the world.”

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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