Thursday, August 18, 2022

From Ian:

Meir Soloveichik: Two Providential Nations
Let us ponder the Blackstone Memorial, one of the most fascinating occasions in the history of the American relationship with Zionism and one almost entirely forgotten today. It was drawn up in 1891 by William Blackstone, a prominent evangelical minister, and personally presented in the White House to President Benjamin Harrison. The petition proclaimed, several years before the epiphany of Theodor Herzl, that the world powers should seek to alleviate the suffering of Jews by restoring them to the Holy Land: “Why shall not the powers which under the treaty of Berlin, in 1878, gave Bulgaria to the Bulgarians and Servia to the Servians now give Palestine back to the Jews? These provinces, as well as Roumania, Montenegro and Greece, were wrested from the Turks and given to their natural owners. Does not Palestine as rightly belong to the Jews?”

The memorial’s signatories were not merely men of the cloth; among the 400 who appended their appellations to the document were the speaker of the House of the Representatives and the Supreme Court of the United States. And yet, while prominent Gentile politicians, jurists, and businessman readily signed, Blackstone attempted in vain to convince one of America’s most prominent Reform rabbis to join him. Emil G. Hirsch summarily informed Blackstone that he no longer embraced the biblical promise of Israel’s return to the Holy Land: “We, the modern Jews, say that we do not wish to be restored to Palestine.”

The tale of the Blackstone Memorial is one of many fascinating stories in Walter Russell Mead’s sweeping new work, The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People.1 For Mead, it highlights how, long before modern Israel came into existence, the fate of the Holy Land and the Jewish people was a subject of enormous interest, fascination, and speculation for Americans, and how this is still reflected in the American-Israel relationship today:

Israel occupies a unique place in American foreign policy because it occupies a unique, and uniquely charged, place in the American mind.… America’s long immersion in biblical Christianity and in a theory of progress that both secular and religious Americans have built on those foundations has given the Jewish people and the Jewish state a distinctive place in American historical consciousness and political thought. The state of Israel is a speck on the map of the world; it occupies a continent in the American mind.

As Mead explains in his introduction, his motivation in writing this volume was to offer a response to critics of Israel and American foreign policy who wrongly attribute the special U.S.-Israel relationship throughout the years to American-Jewish political and financial power. These critics fail to understand, Mead argues, that it is America’s Gentiles, with their unique history, who have been central to America’s focus on the Middle East in general and on the Holy Land in particular. Mead compares these critics to French astronomers who once posited the existence of a nonexistent planet and interpreted all other cosmic phenomena as being founded on this faulty premise. He seeks to show these critics what they have been missing, because “the mistaken impression that Zionism is an agenda that powerful Jews imposed either on the United states or on the gentile world at large remains a major reason why so much of our national conversation about Middle East policy consumes so much energy but produces so little good policy.”
Arnold Roth: A Terrorist Lingers in Plain Sight. Why Is She Still Free?
Tamimi lives free in Jordan today, as she has since 2011. That TV show ran for five years and was widely viewed wherever in the world there are Arabic-speaking audiences. It made her a star.

Until the DOJ charges were announced, she traveled to wherever in the Arab world there were audiences wanting to embrace her message and attend her rallies. In Arab-world terms, she has extraordinary prominence for a woman who is neither an entertainer nor some potentate's wife.

Tamimi has not been in hiding for a day in all that time. Her home address is no secret. This is noteworthy because the Rewards for Justice office at the State Department put a $5 million prize of on her head in 2018. No one has collected it.

Jordan, a tightly run monarchy, is a notably unfree society. Freedom House calls its media laws "restrictive, vague, and arbitrarily enforced". If your message to the world finds disfavor in the eyes of the Hashemite palace, you will likely be shut down. But Tamimi's TV show went on for years. There are no signs it ran into Jordanian government interference.

Jordan faces a range of enormous challenges with which, to a remarkably generous extent, the U.S. helps it cope. Jordan is the world's second-largest recipient of U.S. taxpayer-funds received as aid. King Abdullah II, who has ruled since 1999 is a frequent welcome visitor to the Congress and the White House. U.S. leaders including President Biden, praise him lavishly.

My perspective on these aspects is narrow. The person who took my Malki's life and brags about it is kept safe from U.S. justice by someone Biden calls "a stalwart ally in a tough neighborhood... You have always been there, and we will always be there for Jordan".

The multiple efforts my wife and I have made to engage with the White House, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and with the State Department have not gone well. In July, when the president was about to arrive in Jerusalem, we sent him a letter asking to be heard as the parents of an American child blown to pieces by America's most wanted female fugitive. The White House didn't answer us then or since. But it did tell Associated Press that there would be no response to the Roths.

Something is seriously dysfunctional if American justice can get this badly derailed. Tamimi is one of only two females on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list—a fugitive whose whereabouts everyone knows. Her prosecution under US law isn't about things she says or believes. It has to do with dead children.

We aren't in this for the politics because it's abundantly clear our cause has been demeaned by Republicans and Democrats to the same appalling extent.

If thwarted pursuits of justice can be more clear-cut than this one, it's hard to imagine how. As Malki's parents, we don't ask for favors, understanding or pity. We simply want justice, years too late, to finally be done.
Yisrael Medad: NYT continues to minimize Jews' claim to Temple Mount
COULD IT be that, as Ricky Hollander of CAMERA claims, we are witnesses to “a political advocacy campaign of journalists that diminish Judaism’s claim to its holiest site, while elevating the Muslim one?”

For example, the site was known for centuries as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Now, though, it is almost exclusively referred to, aligned with Arab political propaganda, as “al-Aqsa Mosque.” And that name usually precedes the Jewish terminology, as in “al-Aqsa compound, which is known to Jews as Temple Mount” even though “the Temple Mount” can be found in the Bible and Talmud, predating Islam for a very long time.

The site is regularly observed on social media platforms as a gymnastics work-out area or where soccer is practiced, many times on the open-air prayer platforms with the mihrab structure indicating south, the direction of Mecca, as the goal. All that is ignored.

Even a factual report such as “Jews now pray openly there, guarded by police – leading to fears of more confrontation,” fails to question whether that “confrontation” is justified. After all, Muslims demand equal prayer rights at the Cordoba cathedral in Spain (last a Muslim-occupied country in the 15th century) just as Jews do in Jerusalem (their historical and spiritual capital). In Istanbul, the Sofia Hagia has lost its status quo but that mostly passed under the radar. Even less will a reader find an explanation as to why a country created in the 20th century should possess custodianship over a seventh-century holy site.

And there was this eyebrow-raiser in The New York Times on August 24, 2021: “The Western Wall, which is now used mostly by Jewish worshipers despite its also being important to Muslims.” Up until the 20th century, the location of where al-Buraq, Muhammad’s mythical winged horse that transported him on his night journey, was tethered was acknowledged to be inside the Temple Mount. But as the Jewish presence at the Western Wall alleyway increased by the end of the 19th century, the location was moved to the Western Wall itself.

On April 23, 2022, Kingsley published “the al-Aqsa compound, which is known to Jews as Temple Mount.” Why did he ignore that many millions of Christians, as well as members of other religions and atheists, know that site as the Temple Mount? In fact, he “liked” a May 7, 2021 KAN News tweet that noted that “[Muslim] worshipers wave Hamas flags on the Temple Mount.” Who is the guilty party?

PERHAPS THE guilty parties at The New York Times are the editors? The proofreaders? Fact-checkers? Is there, then, perhaps a more invidious systemic bias at work here? After all, this is how Isabel Kershner, who really does know better, awkwardly wrote on May 12 this year, in her “Coalition gets lift in Israel with return of Arab party”: “…the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, a site sacred in both Islam and Judaism, and known to Jews as the Temple Mount.”

Whoever is the guilty party, we need be aware that there appears to be a determined textual manipulation to raise up and bring to prominence a Muslim claim that supersedes a Jewish one.

There is an effort to frame the Temple Mount as foremost and very legitimately a Muslim site. For Jews it is passé. It is an area to which Jews have no contemporary history or connection. In doing so, they go along with the propaganda messaging emanating from the Palestinian Authority and Islamist inciters around the world. For sure, the New York Times is not alone in this go-along-with-Palestine effort. Reuters, CNN, NPR and others have been found to follow suit.

I would hope that if the Gray Lady alters its stylebook on the Temple Mount, we may yet merit seeing the change in other outlets.

The New York Times saw to it that Gladstone’s 2015 article was corrected. They clarified that the “article misstated the question concerning the two ancient Jewish Temples. The question is where precisely on the 37-acre Temple Mount site the Temples had once stood, not whether the Temples had ever existed there.” On May 12, Gladstone displayed improvement, writing “For Jews, the Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as Har Habayit, is the holiest place”.

We await how Kingsley will describe the Temple Mount in a future article of his.

Mahmoud Abbas and the Munich massacre: Time to face the truth
The truth about Black September and Fatah was exactly the opposite of what Arafat claimed, according to the U.S. State Department telegram: “USG [United States Government [has information that Fatah is in fact parent body of BSO. … The Black September Organization is a cover term for Fatah’s terrorist operations executed by Fatah’s intelligence organization. … For all intents and purposes no significant distinction now can be made between the BSO and Fatah.”

So “Black September” was a fiction—so says our own State Department. Fatah, under the leadership of Arafat and Abbas, was the “parent body” of Black September. Meaning that Fatah was responsible for the Munich massacre.

And yet countries around the world, led by the United States, are lining up to give Abbas astronomical sums of money. The Biden administration is currently providing the Palestinian Arabs with more than $500 million annually.

Germany sent the Palestinian Arabs $199 million last year. Norway is giving $95 million, Switzerland $43 million, Great Britain $26 million and Japan $25 million. There are many more millions coming from other countries as well.

The fact that some of the money is provided indirectly, through various U.N. agencies and other third parties, is just a technicality. Such funding is fungible. It frees up the P.A. from having to pay for services and goods that it would otherwise have to pay for.

It is often forgotten that one of the Israeli athletes who was murdered at the Munich Olympics was Cleveland native David Berger, a dual American-Israeli citizen. That makes it even more outrageous that American taxpayers are underwriting a regime headed by one of the terrorists responsible for the murder of an American citizen.

By all means, let’s insist that the German government pay appropriate compensation to the families of the victims. But let’s not lose sight of the incredibly hypocrisy of governments that shed crocodile tears over the Munich massacre, and then send hundreds of millions of dollars to a man who helped perpetrate it.

Dumisani Washington: Why School Choice May Help Save the US-Israel Relationship
In a standard essay format, there is generally one introductory paragraph. However, I will share two separate yet related issues to introduce this discussion; one is the latest Israeli study on global antisemitism, and the other is the personal experience of an Arab Israeli journalist on U.S. College campuses. For the first issue, I will quote the April 21st edition of Africa-Israel Weekly, What the pro-Israel Community Got (and still gets) Very Wrong About Black Lives Matter.

As for the ongoing battle against antisemitism and Israel-hatred, a study from Tel Aviv University reveals that [anti-semitic activity] rose dramatically in 2021, and suggests that the fight against global antisemitism ‘is failing.’ Though some dispute it, others are even reporting a drop in young evangelical support for Israel. Many believe that woke politics and theology could be at the forefront of this shift, and no entity embodies that mindset more than BLM.

In 2009, award-winning journalist Khaled Abu Toameh traveled to the U.S. to deliver a series of lectures on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at various universities across the country. What he witnessed was so shocking that he returned home to Jerusalem and wrote a piece entitled, On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda.

What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the “occupation” as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel.

Many of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials I talk to in the context of my work as a journalist sound much more pragmatic than most of the anti-Israel, “pro-Palestinian” folks on the campuses.

If Khaled had stopped there, it would be sobering enough. It’s what comes next that completes the framing of this article and is an indictment of the American education system.

Over the past [now, 28] years, much has been written and said about the fact that Palestinian school textbooks don’t promote peace and coexistence and that the Palestinian media often publishes anti-Israel material.

While this may be true, there is no ignoring the fact that the anti-Israel campaign on U.S. campuses is not less dangerous. What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.

How did U.S. colleges and universities become such hotbeds of Jew-hatred? Why are American college students being subjected to anti-Israel, antisemitic brainwashing? And most importantly, what can we as parents do about it?
Call Me Back PodCast: Who by Fire – With Matti Friedman
Matti Friedman is one of the most thoughtful writers when it comes to all matters related to Israel, on the broader Middle East, and also on trends in the world of journalism. He is a monthly writer for Tablet Magazine and a regular contributor to The Atlantic.

His newest book is called “Who by Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai.” Before that he published “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel,” and before that “Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War,” which was chosen as a New York Times’ Notable Book and as one of Amazon’s 10 best books of the year, and was selected as one of the year’s best by Foreign Affairs Magazine. Matti’s army service included tours in Lebanon.

His work as a reporter has taken him from Israel to Lebanon, Morocco, Moscow, the Caucasus, and Washington, DC. He is a former Associated Press correspondent and essayist for the New York Times opinion section.

We cover a lot of topics in this podcast, including how to make sense of the recent Israel-Gaza flare-up, how to view it in the frame of the broader Middle East, the state of journalism and how it covers geopolitical events and wars, and we also dive into his newest book, “Who By Fire.”
Reporters in Gaza Have Never Been Free
Since Hamas wrested control of Gaza from rival Fatah in 2007, foreign journalists have been unable to work in the territory without Palestinian sponsors (more commonly known as "minders" or "fixers") answerable to Hamas. They endanger both themselves and these hires if Hamas disapproves of their reporting.

Matti Friedman, a former reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, has exposed Hamas' intimidation and censorship, as well as the limits most journalists covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict impose on themselves. For example, Friedman wrote that during the conflict with Israel in 2014, the AP staff in Gaza City could see Hamas launching missiles from "right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby - and the AP wouldn't report it."

Nor did they inform readers that Hamas fighters had "burst into the AP's Gaza bureau" and threatened the staff. Cameramen "waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying."
Eighteen U.S. states join Missouri probe into Morningstar ESG
Attorneys general in 18 U.S. states have joined Missouri's probe into whether Morningstar Inc (MORN.O) violated consumer-protection law with its evaluations of companies' performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, staff for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on Wednesday.

Schmitt began the probe last month, and spokesman Chris Nuelle said the office invited attorneys general from states including Texas and Virginia "to widen our pool of resources and share information."

A list from Schmitt's office identified Republican attorneys general from 15 states while three more attorneys general were not identified because this was not allowed under their states' rules, Nuelle said.

Schmitt on July 26 sent questions to Morningstar, asking among other questions about which news sources the research firm uses for ESG analysis. The probe is also looking at whether the firm and its Sustainalytics ESG ratings unit violated a Missouri law aimed at protecting Israel from a campaign to isolate the Jewish state over its treatment of Palestinians. read more

A Morningstar spokesperson said by email the firm "does not support the anti-Israel BDS campaign," referring to boycotts, divestment and sanctions, and had not been asked by other states for information.

The development underscores how Republican politicians are pushing back against ESG investing even as shareholders continue putting money into funds that consider factors like climate change or workforce diversity in their investment decisions. read more

Schmitt, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said in a statement, "Missouri has been a leader in pushing back against woke ESG investing and our fight will continue."

Morningstar in June said it would cancel a Sustainalytics human rights product after an independent review sparked by complaints by Jewish groups found the product focused disproportionately on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But the review by a law firm hired by Morningstar said it "found neither pervasive nor systemic bias against Israel" by Sustainalytics.
Anger as activist who tweeted ‘victory to the intifada’ is handed £60k charity grant
A controversial activist who tweeted “victory to the Intifada” has been awarded a £63,450 grant by a charity to create a book about black liberation, the JC can reveal.

Joshua Virasami was given the grant in July by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) as part of its “Rights and Justice” programme, which aims at “promoting rights and justice for minorities who face the most severe forms of racism”.

Mr Virasami describes himself as a second-generation immigrant who grew up in Hounslow, West London. He has been involved in various political movements including Occupy and Black Lives Matter.

His first book, How To Change It: Make a Difference, was published in 2020. The JRCT grant will fund a publication provisionally called Building Black Liberation over a period of 22 months.

He made a slew of extreme comments during and after the May 2021 Gaza clashes between Israel and Hamas.

That month he told a London rally that he backed armed resistance to “colonialism”.

He later tweeted a video of riots, writing: “Beautiful, powerful scenes from occupied Al-Lydd.

Victory to the intifada!” The disturbances he referred to took place in Lod, one of Israel’s most “mixed” cities with an Arab population of 30 per cent. It is well inside the Green Line.

How a dispute over a ‘Zionism Is Racism’ mural derailed an S.F. public library exhibit
Since the 1970s, murals bursting with color — many carrying social and political messages, from supporting Indigenous movements in Central America to opposing gentrification in San Francisco — have defined the visual culture and built landscape in the city’s Mission District.

Clarion Alley, which runs the length of a city block between Mission and Valencia streets, contains scores of such murals. Among them is “Arab Liberation Mural” (also known as “Will to Live”), a work of social and political commentary in bursts of yellow and green, looming a story high.

Designed by local Arab activists and artists, and unveiled in 2017, the mural was at the center of a controversy this spring, when the San Francisco Public Library decided to include it in an exhibition at the main branch that was slated to open in March. But after library officials raised concerns about antisemitic content, the exhibit was put on hold.

At the center of the controversy was a small phrase tucked away in the bottom right-hand side of the mural. It says: “Zionism Is Racism.”

Asked recently about the controversy, Tye Gregory, executive director of the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, explained, “Zionism, the belief in Jewish self-determination, [is] no more or less racist than Japanese self-determination, or Italian self-determination. For some reason, Israel and Zionism are the only entities that are called out in this way. And that points to antisemitism.”

The mixed-media exhibit titled “Wall + Response,” which included the controversial mural, was presented in online events in 2020 and 2021. Exhibit curators asked 16 poets to respond to four murals selected by Clarion Alley Mural Project, the collective that supports the art site. A portfolio of the murals and poems was planned alongside public readings at the Main Library on Larkin Street.

Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against SUNY New Paltz Over Handling of Antisemitic Incident
The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law has filed a federal civil rights complaint with the US Department of Education on behalf of Cassie Blotner and Ofek Preis, two SUNY New Paltz students who were expelled from a sexual assault awareness group allegedly over their support for Israel and Zionism, legal counsel for the organization told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

The complaint marks the latest chapter in a story that began in February, when student journalists at The New Paltz Oracle reported that Blotner was bullied into leaving New Paltz Accountability (NPA) — a group she founded to support sexual assault survivors — for posting social media content aimed at dispelling antisemitic myths about Israel. Ofek Preis later left NPA after its members allegedly subjected her to bullying due to her support for Israel and refused to mediate the dispute in a meeting with the New Paltz Jewish Student Union, according to the complaint.

“As a public institution, we value the First Amendment and uphold the free exchange of ideas,” SUNY New Paltz spokesperson Chrissie Williams told The Algemeiner. “SUNY New Paltz has provided access to resources and support for those impacted by the events of this past year and we continue our active engagement to support our Jewish students and employees around the rise of antisemitism, to address antisemitism and bias concerns when they arise, and to continue dialogue and educational efforts.”

“These incidents have created a hostile environment on campus not only for the complainants, but also for the larger Jewish community of sexual assault survivors at SUNY NP,” the Brandeis Center said. “To this day, the university continues to tacitly accept the exclusion of Jewish students (and especially ‘Zionists’) — Jewish students for whom connection to the State of Israel is inseparable from their Jewish identity — from NPA.”

After their expulsion from NPA became public, the university issued a statement expressing concern about the incident but did not launch any disciplinary investigations, according to the complaint. Neither, the Brandeis Center noted in its complaint, has it taken steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Denise Katz-Prober, Brandeis Center’s director of legal initiatives, told the The Algemeiner on Wednesday that SUNY New Paltz must protect the civil rights of all Jewish survivors of sexual assault.

Will Warm Israel-Turkey Relations Cool Turkish Media’s Antisemitism?
In 2018, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) published a report in which it highlighted the antisemitic cartoons that were being published in Yeni Asya, a newspaper with thousands of subscribers. Some of these grotesque images included a Star of David controlling the United Nations, a hook-nosed Jewish man playing the harp while watching the Muslim world burn, and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drinking the blood of Gazans.

In 2020, Yeni Akit rehashed a Medieval blood libel, claiming that Jews were expelled from their countries due to their use of the blood of young children in religious rituals during the holiday of Passover.

As late as 2022, the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper published a report claiming that Jews were behind the early 20th-century Young Turks movement and that they were involved in the “Armenian deportation” (a euphemism for the Armenian genocide). According to Seth Frantzman of The Jerusalem Post, this article is “classic Elders of Zionism conspiracy and antisemitism, presenting Jews as behind everything secular and revolutionary.”

This latter article was published after Turkish President Erdogan had urged news editors to stop publishing antisemitic material in anticipation of the warming in ties between Jerusalem and Ankara.

Now that Israel and Turkey have revitalized their relations, will Turkish media follow suit by reining in its antisemitism and anti-Zionism? Or will it continue to feed its vast readership a diet of mistruths and antisemitic stereotypes?

The answer to that question will go a long way toward determining how warm the new normalization between Israel and Turkey will be.
BBC News gets out the scare quotes in report on counter-terrorism op
The BBC does not reveal the source of the cited number 129 or exactly who has voiced the “criticism” it chooses to amplify.

The ITIC has reported that between January 1st and July 14th 2022, forty-nine Palestinians were killed during Israeli counter-terrorism operations, 67% of whom belonged to one of the Palestinian terrorist organisations.

“Nineteen were Fatah operatives, although not all belonged to its military-terrorist wing; 11 were Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives, two were Hamas operatives and one was a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) operative.

Sixteen (33%) Palestinians who were killed had no organizational affiliation. However, at least some of them had previously participated in clashes with the Israeli security forces. One was known as a permanent “demonstrator,” two had been imprisoned in Israel and released, and one was a wanted terrorist operative.”

In other words, the BBC’s scare quotes around the term counterterrorism activity are entirely unwarranted and, together with its failure to distinguish between terror operatives and others both in the Gaza Strip and in Judea & Samaria, they indicate that the corporation’s journalists are more committed to promoting a narrative than to providing audiences with accurate and impartial information which would enhance their understanding of this topic.

In the final three paragraphs Foster managed to ignore the social media pictures showing al-Nabulsi’s mother brandishing a firearm during the funeral procession.

“As pictures of al-Nabulsi’s body wrapped in a Palestinian flag circulated on social media, there were clashes in Ramallah and Hebron, fuelled by the latest Israeli raid.

In Bethlehem, a general strike was called.

Frustrated by the Palestinian Authority’s ailing leadership and desperate for change, huge chanting crowds gathered in the streets to protest against yet another death.”

Foster did not bother to explain to readers what sort of “change” she believes the Palestinians who organised riots, rallies and strikes to mourn a terrorist actually want.
German President May Visit Israel to Placate Munich Victims’ Families
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is considering visiting Israel to meet families of the Munich massacre victims in an attempt to convince them to attend a commemoration ceremony in Germany, which they previously decided to boycott, media reported on Thursday.

Relatives of 11 Israeli athletes who were taken hostage and then killed by Palestinian terrorists after German authorities failed to conduct a rescue operation, earlier said they will not be present at the events marking the 50th anniversary of the tragedy.

They have previously rejected German compensation, which they consider insufficient and insulting.

The possible visit of the German president, according to Hebrew media reports, will be dedicated to overturning this decision.

The move comes shortly after the backlash over remarks made in Berlin by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Abbas was asked about the Munich terrorists who were affiliated with his Fatah political movement, and accused Israel of committing “50 holocausts” against the Palestinian people.

Scholz, who was criticized for not immediately reacting to Abbas’ remarks called Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid to discuss the incident, which sparked outrage both in Israel and Germany.
Israel cancels student trips to Auschwitz over dispute with Poland

Dutch municipality renames park named after Nazi-collaborating mayor
A municipality in the Netherlands has renamed a park that was originally named after a mayor who helped Nazi forces find all the Jews in his city, according to the Dutch-language news website

The municipality of Hogeveen, northeast of Amsterdam, renamed the former Mayor Tjalma Park as “Raadhuispark” (meaning “Radius Park”) on July 26.

Local historian Albert Metselaar discovered that Jetze Tjalma, who was mayor of Hoogeveen—a municipality and a town in the Dutch province of Drenthe—from 1927 to 1958, was one of the first mayors in Nazi-occupied Holland to voluntarily give the Nazis a list of local Jewish residents. He also had a sidewalk built over part of a local Jewish cemetery, which was returned to the Jewish community in 2019, reported Jonet.

Following World War II, Tjalma was made an honorary citizen of Hoogeveen. The park was named after the former mayor shortly after his death in 1985.

After the Amsterdam-based NOID Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies did its own investigation into Tjalma’s cooperation with the Nazis and came to the same conclusion as Metselaar, the municipality changed the park’s name.
‘Don’t Live in Fear,’ Rabbi Urges Congregants Shocked by ‘Hitler’ Vandalism of Brooklyn Synagogue
The rabbi of a Brooklyn synagogue that was defaced on Wednesday with the word “Hitler” scrawled on its outer wall has urged his congregants to express pride in their Judaism as a response.

“The best response possible — move on, live your life, be a proud Jew, be proud of who you are,” Rabbi Asher Altshul of Congregation Beth Shalom in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn told CBS News.

Altshul discovered the offending graffiti when he arrived at the synagogue at 6.30 am on Wednesday for morning prayers.

The name of the Nazi dictator was sprayed in large white letters on the synagogue’s wall. Some of Beth Shalom’s congregants are survivors of the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union.

“Obviously, I was kind of in shock,” the Rabbi said. “It’s a very safe neighborhood. Nothing like that happened here before. And I spoke to congregants of the center that were here 40 years, 50 years, never such a thing happened before.”
Israel's Economy Grew at 6.8 Percent in 2nd Quarter of 2022
Defying forecasts, Israel's economy grew at 6.8% in Q2

After GDP contracted at 2.9% in the first quarter, the Israeli economy has posted the strongest growth in the OECD.

Israel's GDP grew 6.8% on an annualized basis in the second quarter of 2022, the Central Bureau of Statistics reports. The growth figures are in contradiction to expectations which was forecasting an economic slowdown, after the Israeli economy contracted 2.7% in the first quarter, according to the most recent assessment.

The Central Bureau of Statistics explains the strong growth in the second quarter as a return to post-Covid routine with recoveries in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, restaurant and transport services sectors.

Israel's GDP has grown 7.4%, compared with the second quarter of 2021, which is so far the highest growth recorded of any OECD country, beating Portugal (6.9%), Spain (6.3%), Canada (4.8%), the US (1.6%), and Germany (1.5%).

GDP per capita rose 4.5% on an annualized basis in the second quarter of the year and by 4.8% in the first half of the year. Private consumption per capita rose by 8% in the second quarter, on an annualized basis from the first quarter.
Israeli startup DriveNets secures $262m for cloud networking software
Israeli company DriveNets, a developer of cloud-native networking solutions for telecommunications firms, secured $262 million in Series C funding, according to a company announcement Wednesday.

The round was led by D2 Investments, with the participation of existing investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, Pitango, D1 Capital Partners, Atreides Management and Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services. DriveNets last raised $208 million in January 2021 at a valuation of over $1 billion.

The Ra’anana-based company was founded in late 2015 by Ido Susan, the co-founder of mobile network management firm Intucell, acquired by Cisco in 2013 for $475 million, and Hillel Kobrinsky, founder of Interwise, acquired by AT&T for $121 million in 2007.

DriveNets emerged from stealth mode in 2019 and currently works with Communications Service Providers (CSP) — including AT&T — and cloud infrastructure services worldwide.

The company offers “a radical new way to build networks” to meet customer demand while simplifying operations, performance and costs. Its flagship product, Network Cloud, is a cloud-native software that turns the physical network into a shared infrastructure to support multiple services.
John Deere synching with Israeli farm management system
The John Deere Operations Center recently announced an integration with the digital farm management system from Israeli ag-tech company CropX Technologies.

This enhanced functionality enables users to view data and analytics from the CropX system, including near real-time soil sensor monitoring, from within Operations Center. It also allows users to import field data from the Operations Center to simplify field set-up in the CropX system.

“The integration with the John Deere Operation Center supports our mission to bring powerful, easy-to-use digital solutions to all farms,” said Tomer Tzach, CEO of CropX Technologies.

“It makes it easier for farmers to capture and share data between these two useful technologies and unlock agronomic insights from the CropX farm management system.”

“With integration into the John Deere Operations Center, CropX is easier and more convenient for growers to use,” said Paul Cooper of Greenway Equipment, a John Deere dealer using the CropX system. “They can analyze planting, application, yield data, and also analyze moisture across the farm to be more efficient with irrigation practices.”

The management system, deployed in over 50 countries, already enables users to import data from third-party sources including Reinke Irrigation, WeatherLink and Climate FieldView. CropX Technologies is now launching new tools that optimize fertilization, disease management and effluent management.
An 'EpiPen' bracelet? Assuta Ashdod develops concept to save lives
A pediatric nurse at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital has developed the concept for the first-ever compact epinephrine injection device (often referred to by the proper name "EpiPen") that can be worn on a child’s wrist like a bracelet.

The device, which would be comfortable to carry, water resistant and have a 16-millimeters long needle, could help save the lives of children and adults who have food, drug and other allergies.

“The majority of children who come into the PICU suffering from anaphylactic shock are kids who have allergies and did not bring their epinephrine injection device with them because it didn’t fit comfortably in their pockets or bags,” explained Sarah Sberro-Cohen, who created the bracelet-pen. “It breaks your heart to see the children and their families.

“In 2022,” she continued, “kids do not need to die or have brain damage from something like this.”

In the US alone, there are 32 million people who have such allergies, and 200,000 are rushed to emergency medicine departments for urgent treatment to prevent or treat anaphylactic shock. Often, as Sberro-Cohen noted, the hospitalization is the result of the person forgetting to carry an epinephrine injection device, containing epinephrine, which is essential first treatment for such allergic reactions. Dr. Gil Levy, head of Assuta Ashdod Accelerator (Credit: Assuta Ashdod)Dr. Gil Levy, head of Assuta Ashdod Accelerator (Credit: Assuta Ashdod)

Sberro-Cohen developed the epinephrine injection device bracelet through the Assuta Ashdod accelerator – a 10-week, day-long, weekly course in which interested staff are guided by volunteer mentors to suggest ideas, projects and inventions. ADAMA Ltd, a crop protection company based in the port city, helps underwrite the course.
Israel, PA Partner to Transport Water to Palestinian Farmers in the Jordan Valley
Israel’s Civil Administration has issued a building permit to the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) to build a trunk line, which will be used to transport treated wastewater for agricultural use from the El Bireh Treatment Plant, near Ramallah, to Palestinian farmers in the Jericho Valley.

The 30-kilometer pipeline will carry 2.5 – 3.5 million cubic meters a year of much-needed high-quality agricultural water to farmers in the Jordan Valley – a welcome change, as the El Bireh wastewater treatment plant has poured roughly three million c.m. of high-quality treated water that is often contaminated with raw sewage from a different source.

Due to the gradual deterioration of existing water transfer and treatment infrastructure in the Jordan Valley and the rising impact of climate change, discussions on how to effectively transfer safer water to the Jordan Valley have been ongoing for years.

“The treated wastewater and the un-treated wastewater are affecting the nature reserve, polluting the springs and preventing visitors from enjoying the reserve,” according to Ilan Cohen, Manager of the Nahal Prat (Wadi Qelt) Nature Reserve. “Diverting the water in a pipeline will resolve the problem and save the nature reserve.”

The successful negotiation between the Israeli Civil Administration and the PWA was facilitated by the Arava Institute – a leading academic and research institution in Israel that advances cross-border environmental cooperation amid stark political conflict.

While the authority and the administration previously disagreed about the Israeli military maintaining control over the route of a proposed pipeline through Area C of the West Bank, the Arava Institute and its Palestinian partner Damour for Community Development, included numerous field trips into the West Bank to view possible routes.
Nefesh B’Nefesh welcomes 75,000th ‘oleh’ on summer ‘aliyah’ charter flight
A total of 225 new immigrants from North America landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Wednesday as part of the 63rd Nefesh B’Nefesh chartered aliyah flight through El Al Airlines. The flight was coordinated in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL), Jewish National Fund-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.

Participants come from a variety of backgrounds, culturally and demographically—hailing from 19 U.S. states and one Canadian province.

The flight also carried a diverse group of professionals who are bringing their unique talents to communities throughout Israel: 27 medical professionals arrived and 72 people on the flight are part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh-KKL “Go Beyond” initiative aimed at developing Israel’s peripheral regions and Jerusalem.

In addition, the flight brought 40 future lone soldiers who will join the 3,500 men and women from around the world who are currently serving as part of the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program. Once they become Israeli citizens, these men and women will be required to enlist in the IDF, as are all Israeli citizens at the age of 18.

Some 80% of the future lone soldiers on the flight are part of Tzofim-Garin Tzabar, a Friends of Israel Scouts program, Before and throughout their military service, the soldiers are adopted by Israeli communities that serve as their home away from home. Their absorption period includes Hebrew studies, educational tours in Israel, and an introduction to the military structure and the different positions.
Israel wins its first BAFTA award for a student film
The short narrative/animation film “Girl No. 60427” has become the first Israeli film ever to win a prize in the Yugo BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Student Awards, an annual event celebrating the works of the next generation of talented and innovative storytellers from around the globe.

In a ceremony held in Los Angeles, the “Best Live Action Film” award was presented to “Girl No. 60427” writer/director Shulamit Lifshitz, a graduate of Ma’aleh School of Television, Film & the Arts in Jerusalem, and animator Uriel Berkowitz.

The film, which combines live action cinematography and animation, is based in Tel Aviv in 1998, when a girl finds her grandmother’s secret notebook from the Holocaust.

The story was inspired by the director’s relationship with her real grandmother, a Holocaust survivor who wrote a journal about her experiences during the war years.

Holocaust resistance fighter and writer Zofia Posmysz dies at 98
Holocaust survivor and writer Zofia Posmysz, whose experience reached the opera stage, died at 98 years of age last Monday, August 8, in Oswiecim, Poland. She was imprisoned in concentration camps for associating herself with the Polish resistance to Nazi occupation in WWII.

Posmysz became known for her works on the Holocaust as a journalist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. Her death was announced by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Who was Zofia Posmysz?
Posmysz (pronounced POH-smish) was born on August 23, 1923, to a Roman Catholic family in Krakow, Poland. She was arrested in May 1942 by the Gestapo when she got caught associating with an underground university that was passing out anti-Nazi leaflets.

Are we living longer and healthier, or longer and sicker? Are we living longer and healthier, or longer and sicker?

She survived Auschwitz and was later assigned to work in the camp's kitchen and stockroom. In January 1945, she was transferred to the Ravensbruk concentration camp and its offshoot Neustadt Glewe, where she was finally liberated on May 2.

After liberation, she walked with 20 other women at least 275 kilometers (170 miles) back to Krakow and lived in Warsaw, close to where her older sister was.

What did she do after liberation?
Posmysz was hired as a newspaper reporter and editor, which kick-started her writing career. Instead of using a byline for her first article, an account of the war crimes trial in Nuremberg, Germany, she used her identification number at Auschwitz: 7566.
‘Shtisel’ Co-Creator Helms Biographical Mini-Series About Founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl
A biographical mini-series about Jewish journalist, playwright and founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl is in the early stages of development and is being led by the co-creator and writer of the popular Israeli television series “Shtisel,” Deadline reported on Thursday.

The series will reportedly be based on Herzl’s personal diaries and will follow his journey from becoming a playwright to founding the Zionist movement. “Shtisel” visionary Ori Elon, who also wrote the Israeli television series “Srugim,” has partnered on the project with Inbar Nacht, who is financing the show’s script, according to Deadline.

Born in 1860 in what is now considered Budapest, Hungary — though at the time it was part of the Austrian Empire — Herzl had a critical role in establishing the modern State of Israel.

While working as a journalist in Paris, he attended the trial of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French army who was falsely convicted of spying for Germany. After seeing the antisemitism surrounding the Dreyfus affair, Herzl believed Jews needed their own nation. He founded and was the president of the World Zionist Organization, a political movement to establish an independent Jewish state, but died in 1904, at the age of 44, before Israel’s establishment.

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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 19 years and 40,000 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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