Saturday, September 24, 2022

From Ian:

Iran on the Brink
The cries of Iranian youth for personal freedom have no doubt worsened the disarray. There are 88 million Iranians. Half of the population is under 32 years old. They are ruled by a grizzled and sclerotic clerisy that funnels resources to its private army, the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Mahsa Amini represented a generation of Iranians who want more than the limited options, cruelty, and state-imposed religion that have been on offer for 43 years. That is why she has become a symbol for all those who disapprove of, and dissent from, the mullahs' hard line.

A push from the United States would make all the difference. There is no better time for a change in U.S. strategy. The nuclear deal is going nowhere. Accepting Iran's most radical demands at the negotiating table would make America look weak, foolish, and callous. Give in to Khamenei as he murders his citizenry and supplies Russia with weapons to use against Ukrainians? The stomach churns at the idea.

If the current disorder were a test, Biden answered the first question correctly. He has yet to complete the exam.

America's two previous chief executives did not pass it. In 2009 President Obama stood mute as students took to the streets in the so-called Green Revolution. In 2019 President Trump delivered mixed messages while Iranians rebelled against government corruption and economic mismanagement. Obama did not want to jeopardize his plans for détente with the mullahs. As a rule, Trump's personal foreign policy deemphasized human rights and democracy. Crippling sanctions were his weapon of choice.

The motivations of the two presidents differed. The results did not. In both cases, the regime used brutal means to survive the upheaval. And the Ayatollah Khamenei continued to build his nuclear infrastructure and spread havoc throughout the region and the world.

Draw the line here. U.S. officials say they have made their final offer to Iran. Fine. The ayatollah rejected it. Now America must reject him as well. Isolating and punishing the Iranian regime for its malign behavior abroad and oppression at home would further American interests in the Greater Middle East. It would undermine one of Russia's few allies. And it would help the Iranian people in their struggle to put their government where it belongs: on the ash heap of history.
Understanding the depth of Israel-Bashing one night in Basel
Europe is the occupier of Palestinians, having created Palestinian dependencies on both Europe and on conflict-permutation. Europe successfully reduced Palestinianism to a single issue – the occupation – and turned the Palestine Authority’s budget to be dependent on conflict-related grants. Hence, the end of the conflict could mean the end of Palestinianism.

This is on top of European abuse of Palestinians, such as sabotaging Palestinian employment and mentorship in Jewish-owned companies such as SodaStream, and even residence in joint Jewish-Palestinian neighborhoods such as Givat Hamatos.

Europe denies the Palestinian the right to self-determination as an individual. So if Parmelin were truly concerned, he should have given this part of the polite speech in Brussels rather than be the party pooper of the 125th anniversary of Zionism.

Perhaps he should also learn a lesson in etiquette and chivalry from the president of the Jewish state. President Herzog did not speak about Jura, nor did he address Swiss alleged human rights violations.

Switzerland’s astonishing decision to reverse granting citizenship to a qualified Muslim woman, solely due to her refusal to have physical contact with a male Swiss official, is horrifying. Instead, President Herzog spoke about positive things, such as our mission to reclaim Zionism, which he called “the mission of our generation.”

PARMELIN IS certainly a friend, but his actions as a friend demonstrate how core Israel-bashing is to today’s European psyche, just as antisemitism was core to the European psyche then.

Herzl understood that dogmatic minds cannot be changed in such circumstances through public diplomacy (hasbara). “Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of efforts to ‘combat antisemitism,’” he wrote. Therefore, a radical out-of-the-box solution was needed, and that was Zionism and the establishment of the Jewish state.

Applying Herzl’s thinking today, combating dogmatic Israel-bashing through conventional means is not likely to be effective. Yet, a global recognition that Judaism has transformed, and Zionism is now its organizing principle, would turn Israel-bashing to Jew-bashing, and that would dramatically alter the nature of the threat.

The Israel-basher must stay in Judaism 2.0 so he can mask his opposition to Judaism as merely opposition to Zionism. Until there is a broad global consciousness that we are in Judaism 3.0, a European political leader can claim to have zero tolerance for old-style antisemitism (the existential threat to Judaism in the early 20th century) while actively engaging in Israel-bashing – the existential threat to Judaism today in the 21st century.

“We are coming home,” Herzl proclaimed in Basel 125 years ago. That journey home began in that hall in 1897 with the Sheheheyanu blessing, thanking God for bringing the Jewish people to that moment. The 125th-year celebrations in that same hall concluded with a prayer for God to preserve and protect the State of Israel. The next day, I was home in Jerusalem.


Abbas's speech to the UN did not bring any new notions
On the eve of each United Nations General Assembly session in the past few years, Palestinian officials used to tell their people to expect a “historic” and “pivotal” speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This is precisely what the officials did in the past few weeks ahead of Friday’s session in New York.

Abbas’s latest address, however, did not include anything new.

In fact, there’s a striking resemblance between Friday’s speech and previous addresses before the General Assembly. As such, Abbas’s speech was anything but “historic” and “pivotal.”

Abbas repeated most of the threats he has made in the past, including walking away from all signed agreements with Israel. He has made the threats not only in his appearances before the GA, but also in speeches and statements during meetings of PLO and Fatah institutions in Ramallah.

Abbas loyalists praised his latest speech, while his critics insisted it was simply a repetition of previous statements and threats.

“President Abbas’s speech was historic and detailed and establishes a decisive stage in our struggle with the Israeli occupation,” said Eyad Jarad, a senior representative of the ruling Fatah faction.

Hamas and other Palestinians, on the other hand, retorted by arguing that the speech did not rise to the level of the Palestinians’ expectations. They especially expressed disappointment with Abbas for failing to carry out his previous threat to sever all ties with Israel.

In last year’s address to the General Assembly, Abbas issued an ultimatum to Israel, saying it “has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem,” adding that “we are ready to work throughout this year on the delineation of borders and solving all final status issues under the auspices of the international Quartet and in accordance with the United Nations resolutions. If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders?”

On Friday, Abbas chose to ignore his own ultimatum.
Israeli envoy to UN blasts Abbas’s ‘bizarre, lie-laden speech’
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan pilloried Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Friday for his “bizarre, lie-laden speech” to the UN General Assembly, which he called “disconnected from reality.”

Erdan said Abbas had “once again showed that his time has passed” through his address. “Time after time he uses the stage of the UN to incite against Israel and back the terrorists whom he funds.”

Erdan said the Palestinian effort to gain full membership in the UN “will fail.”

“The US opposes it, as do members of the Security Council who well know that [Abbas] has in the past rejected every peace plan, and that terror organizations rule PA territory.”

Abbas said in his speech that Israel was “through its premeditated and deliberate policies, destroying the two-state solution,” that Jerusalem was proving that it does not “believe in peace” and that “we no longer have an Israeli partner to whom we can talk.”

He also called the Jewish state “an apartheid regime.”

Abbas did acknowledge Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s speech to the Assembly the previous day, in which he voiced support for a two-state solution.

This, Abbas said, was “a positive development,” but “the real test to the seriousness and credibility to this stance… is for the Israeli government to go back to the negotiation table immediately.”


The Abraham Accords Two Years On: Building Peace, Looming Threats
Two years have passed since the historic signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords at the White House. During that time, the signatories have broadened and deepened their relationships as they seek new partners for peace across the Middle East and North Africa. Meanwhile, an increasingly aggressive Iran has cast its shadow over the region, menacing its neighbors with missile fire and terrorist attacks and taking increasingly flagrant steps toward nuclear weapons. So far, the United States has sent mixed messages, expressing its support for peace and shared defense while pursuing a return to the nuclear deal that would enrich and embolden Iran.

Please join Hudson Institute for a discussion where panelists will review some of the achievements of the last two years, share their thoughts on what opportunities and dangers the next two might hold, and offer policy recommendations.


Will Iran Soon Control the West Bank?
The decline of the PA’s influence, and the commensurate rise of Iranian-sponsored rivals, is newsworthy.

The PA was created because of the U.S.-backed Oslo peace process nearly three decades ago. In return for promising to renounce terrorism and to cooperate with Israeli officials, the PA has received considerable international aid. Despite the PA’s rejection of several U.S. and Israeli offers for peace in exchange for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, support for the PA has, for better or worse, remained a linchpin of U.S. Middle East strategy ever since.

The PA used to control the Gaza Strip—only to lose elections, and a subsequent brief war, to Hamas in 2006 and 2007, respectively. These events shocked many Western observers, many of whom had believed that the more overtly Islamist Hamas represented the past, not the future.

Iran hopes to have its proxies control the West Bank, as well. As FDD’s Mark Dubowitz and David Maxwell have argued, Iran seeks to engulf Israel in a “ring of fire.” With Hezbollah ensconced in Lebanon and Syria, Hamas controlling Gaza and a weak Hashemite monarchy in Jordan, the West Bank is the final remaining outpost. Should Iranian proxies take it, Tehran would be better positioned to accomplish its stated ambition: Israel’s destruction.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has been warning of growing Iranian influence in Fatah-ruled territories for years. And while Abbas has been steadfastly anti-Iran, this should not be taken for granted.

Arafat played a key role in supporting Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and maintained ties to the regime for decades. Indeed, the 2002 Karine A affair, in which the IDF intercepted 50 tons of Iranian weapons bound for Arafat, played a key role in the George W. Bush administration’s decision to forswear support for the PLO chieftain. And as CAMERA has documented, in recent years, several top Fatah officials, such as Abbas Zaki, have called for renewing ties to Tehran.

For now, more violence and instability seem likely, with some analysts warning that the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, in late September and early October, will bring more terrorist attacks.

In Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, a character is asked how he went bankrupt. “Gradually, then suddenly,” he replies. In the West Bank, the United States might soon find itself in a similar predicament.
Blinken: US will not be able to stop Israel if Hezbollah attacks over gas
The United States will not be able to stop Israel from retaliating against Lebanon if Hezbollah decides to attack it over the Karish gas field, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly told the Lebanese prime minister in a recent meeting.

According to Saudi media reports, Blinken told Prime Minister Najib Mikati that even if Hezbollah only demonstrates a small show of force, Washington will not be able to stop Israel.

Earlier this month, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper claimed that Washington had increased its pressure on Israel to finalize a maritime deal following intelligence according to which Hezbollah has changed the deployment of forces and is preparing for military action.

President Joe Biden spoke recently with Prime Minister Yair Lapid and urged Israel to speed up negotiations to reach a deal that would demarcate economic waters and solve the standoff over the Karish gas field which Israel plans to begin drawing gas from in the coming weeks.

According to an official readout of the meeting by the State Department, Blinken told Mikati that it is time to hold a timely presidential election in Lebanon and to implement key reforms needed to effect meaningful change, promote good governance, and revive Lebanon’s economy while restoring the trust of its people.

"The Secretary stressed the urgent need and continued support to conclude a maritime agreement to ensure stability and Lebanon’s economy. The Secretary reiterated that the United States would continue to work with Lebanon for peace and prosperity in the region," the statement said.
Israel on high alert as Palestinian violence escalates ahead of Rosh Hashanah
Data released by the Shin Bet showed there were at least 23 shooting attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem in August, up from 15 in July.

At least 15 Israeli civilians and security personnel were wounded during the August attacks, prompting deployment of an extra battalion of Golani forces to the area.

Additional battalions will be sent to other parts of the West Bank during the holidays to prevent attacks.

Security forces have increased their level of alertness due to the increased violence. There have been close to 10 attacks this past week, with at least two shooting attacks in the northern West Bank early Thursday morning near the settlement of Har Bracha. Another shooting attack against the settlement took place early Friday morning, damaging a home.

As security forces increase their alert level, an extra battalion of Golani forces will be immediately deployed to the northern West Bank in the face of a rise in shooting attacks in the area by Palestinian gunmen.

Additional battalions will be sent to other parts of the West Bank during the holidays to prevent attacks.
Palestinian in West Bank rams into cop car in alleged attack, is shot dead
Israeli security forces shot a Palestinian driver dead on Saturday after his car rammed into a police vehicle in the northern West Bank, the military said.

IDF troops and police officers were conducting joint “routine activity” in the area, according to the military.

The army said the driver, later identified as Mohammad Ali Abu Kafia, had tried to run over the soldiers, and characterized the incident as an attack. Meanwhile, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, citing the man’s cousin, asserted that he had lost control of his vehicle and was not trying to ram the soldiers. It said he was a teacher and a father of three.

“Instead of trying to help the man, [the soldiers] opened gunfire at him killing him right away,” Wafa said.

Images from the scene near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad showed a damaged police vehicle next to the Palestinian car that crashed into it, after crossing from the opposite lane into the road’s shoulder.

The Israel Defense Forces said troops and police officers “identified a suspicious vehicle that accelerated toward them and tried to run them over.”
Joe Truzman: Hamas Operatives in Gaza Continue to Direct Attacks in the West Bank
The Israeli Security Agency (ISA) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated on Friday that they arrested a terrorist cell in the West Bank operating under the guidance of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The cell was responsible for an attack on Israeli vehicles near the village of Einabus on September 9.

The joint statement added weapons and ammunition that were used in the assault were recovered. Furthermore, the cell admitted to being linked to the shootings.

Friday’s announcement follows an ISA statement made on Monday when it revealed a member of Hamas in Gaza tasked with recruiting militants abroad had directed seven Hamas operatives in the West Bank to carry out strikes. During the ISA’s investigation, it was discovered that the suspects were recruited by Hamas to launch shooting and bomb assaults. They were also supported financially to plan, train and carry out attacks, though the ISA did not reveal how the funds were transferred to the operatives. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Arrest of Militants Signals Hamas’ Involvement in Uptick of West Bank Violence]

Adding to Hamas’ attempts to foment unrest, Hezbollah has provided the means for militant organizations to launch assaults against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops and Israeli civilians by smuggling arms into the West Bank. Initially, it wasn’t apparent if militant organizations were being supported from organizations abroad. Though, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Chief Hossein Salami recently stated the West Bank “could be armed” in the same manner as Gaza and the “process” was already underway. [See FDD’s Long War Journal: Hezbollah smuggling weapons to the West Bank amid surge in militant activity]

Much of the unrest in the West Bank can be blamed on the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) inability to effectively control the growing threat of militant organizations. In the West Bank, President Mahmoud Abbas’ approval rating is hovering around 30 percent, while about 70 percent wish to see him step down, according to a poll conducted by The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.


Saudi Arabia and Turkey help mediate Ukraine-Russia prisoner release
In an extraordinary turn of events, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was able to help mediate the release of 10 detainees captured by Russian forces in the Ukraine war.

At the same time, Kyiv and Moscow exchanged more than 200 prisoners of war after Turkey helped mediate the trade. Turkey and Saudi Arabia have only recently patched up ties. They apparently have good relations with Ukraine and Russia, enabling this turn of events.

Turkey’s state media TRT said the Turkish meditation helped get some 200 Ukrainians released “as a result of mediation and diplomatic traffic conducted with Russia’s and Ukraine’s presidents, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced.”

The fighters released to Turkey appear to be mostly from among those who fought for months resisting in the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol. These famed fighters are heroes in Ukraine.

According to reports, those released “include Lt.-Col. Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov Battalion that did much of the fighting, and his deputy, Svyatoslav Palamar. Also freed was Serhiy Volynsky, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade.”

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has helped with the release and transfer of foreign volunteer fighters who served in the same area and were captured by Russians and Russian-backed separatists.
The importance of Ukraine crack down on Iran over drone sales
Ukraine is outraged that Iran has been supplying weapons to Russia. Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesman for Ukraine’s foreign ministry wrote that “in response to Iran supplying weapons to Russia to use in its war against Ukraine, today we announced the revocation of accreditation of the Iranian Ambassador in Kyiv, and a significant drawdown of diplomatic personnel at the Iranian embassy.”

The Ministry of Defense also slammed Iran on Friday, noting that in 1943, “Tehran became a place of hope for a new life without Nazism. In 2022, fundamentalist Tehran became a place that supports Russian Nazism and the murder of peaceful citizens."

“Today, UAarmy destroyed 6 Russian kamikaze drones provided by Iran.” This refers to Russia’s use of Iranian drones against Ukraine and recent reports that it has downed some of them. The drones have Cyrillic markings on them and they appear to be copies of Iran’s Shahed-136.

This is a kamikaze drone that can be fired from a truck or other platform and stacked inside boxes for easy deployment. Russia has allegedly acquired this drone and others from Iran after sending a delegation to Iran earlier this year.

Russia’s decision to rely on Iran’s drones was revealed by the US earlier this year; eventually, evidence mounted that Russia was indeed using them.

Washington has sanctioned companies that manufacture and transfer drones to Russia. The Russia drone war on Ukraine, using the Iranian-style drones, has increased in the last several days. Drones have reportedly targeted an area near Odessa, and Ukraine may have even downed a Mohajer-6 style drone.

As more and more drones were shot down by Ukraine, Kyiv became increasingly angry at Tehran. With the UN General Assembly taking place and Russia appearing isolated, Ukraine has made this decision, which also comes amid massive protests in Iran.

Ukraine is therefore able to confront Iran more because Tehran and Moscow appear to be isolated.
Biden Administration Standing Idly By While Iran's Mullahs Advance to Nuclear Bomb
[M]ore than a year and half of negotiations seems to have benefited no one except the ruling and Islamist mullahs of Iran. The endless negotiations seem simply to have bought time for the mullahs, so that they could comfortably advance their nuclear program to their highest level ever. Not only has the Biden administration seen no urgency to change its disastrous path, it is actually redoubling efforts to for Iran talks, presumably after America's mid-term election on November 8.

The Biden administration has even been ignoring a joint statement issued by the UK, France and Germany admitting that Tehran "has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon."

The Biden administration needs to make it plain to Iran's ruling mullahs that if Tehran advances its nuclear program further, severe military, political, diplomatic and economic options against Iran are on the table.

Economic sanctions, which will cut the flow of funds to the Iranian regime and the terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, must be imposed as well. The Biden administration also needs to stand firm against countries such as China, which are violating US sanctions by buying oil or trading with the Iranian regime.

It must be made unmistakably clear to the Iranian regime that the United States will not allow Iran's current regime, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, to arm itself with nuclear weapons and emerge as yet another global nuclear threat, in the Middle East, in Europe and throughout South America.
‘Treat Iran like pariah:’ Haley hits Biden team for relentless pursuit of nuclear deal
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley sharply criticized the Biden administration for its failure to confront the Iranian regime during a special press conference held Wednesday in New York City on the sidelines of the 77th U.N. General Assembly.

Speaking to media at the sixth annual conference of United Against Iran (UANI), an organization dedicated to educating the public and policymakers about the dangers posed by the Islamic Republic, Haley lamented the Biden administration’s continued efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or 2015 Iran deal.

Haley was one of the key officials in the Trump administration who urged then-President Donald Trump to exit the JCPOA. She traveled to Vienna to visit the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2017, which was monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

“Let me ask them the questions about the deal. And let me come back and make the case for why you should get out of the deal,” she told Trump.

When she visited the IAEA, she asked if they inspected universities, where nuclear research took place, or military installations. The IAEA said it inspected neither. “So I said, ‘OK, what is it exactly that you inspect?’” They told her that they inspect a site if there’s suspicious activity after giving the Iranians 90 days’ warning.

“You can clear out a warehouse in 90 days, no problem. That’s when I came back, and I told President Trump, ‘We have to get out of the Iran deal,’” Haley said.


US Issues License to Help Iranian Protesters Beat Regime Blackout, Elon Musk Says Starlink Activating
The US Treasury Department on Friday issued a revised license to expand web services available in Iran as part of an effort to help protesters circumvent censorship, as anti-regime demonstrations intensify.

As part of its efforts to crack down on protests in the wake of the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini — a 22-year old woman arrested by the regime’s “Morality Police” for allegedly wearing her hijab, or headscarf, improperly — the Iranian government on Wednesday cut off internet access for most citizens and restricted access to social media platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.

“Today we are issuing a General License to advance our efforts and commitments to ensure that the Iranian people can freely access information online,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “This update modernizes the Treasury Department license to expand the free flow of information and access to fact-based information to people in Iran consistent with the new ways people use the Internet today, especially the common communication activities of Iranians and use of the digital services. These steps will help counter the Iranian government’s efforts to surveil and censor its citizens.”

The license authorizes the export of services and software designed to support Iranian protesters including virtual private networks (VPNs), instant messaging, and anti-tracking software. These services might otherwise be subject to US sanctions on Iran.

Among the technology US lawmakers have requested that the administration authorize is Elon Musk’s Starlink, which was notably used by the Ukrainian government in response to Russian efforts to cut Ukraine off from the internet.


Watchdog group gives 7 US colleges and universities a failing grade in new anti-Semitism report
Seven higher education institutions received a failing grade in the watchdog group StopAntisemitism’s inaugural Antisemitism on College & University Campuses 2022 report, which grades 25 schools across the nation based on their past and current efforts to counteract anti-Semitism on campus and protect their Jewish students.

StopAntisemitism divided the 25 schools into five categories: Ivy League, liberal arts, state schools and public and private schools with the highest population of Jewish students. The watchdog organization then analyzed and graded each school based on five components: protection of students regarding anti-Semitic incidents, policy, allyship with Jewish students and how students identify publicly or feel the need to hide their Jewish identity on campus.

Using report card-style grading, StopAntisemitism gave seven schools an F and only three schools an A. Brandeis University, Tulane University and the University of Pennsylvania earned the highest grade. The schools that received a failing grade are Yale University, Columbia University, Swarthmore College, City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, New York University, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley.

“We are seeing pervasive anti-Semitism infecting higher education in America at an alarming rate,” said StopAntisemitism executive director Liora Rez. “Colleges should be a place where students come to grow, learn, and push forward in life, instead campuses are becoming breeding grounds for Jew-hatred.”
Twitter takes down accounts of anti-Israel CMAC project leader
The Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen sent an update to Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel about the steps that the federal government has taken in response to inappropriate funding that has been received by Laith Marouf and the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC). "This is a great example of how - when government and stakeholders work together - real progress can be made," Fogel said in a statement.
BBC’s Bateman in the NGO echo chamber
As we see, Bateman obviously did not consider the uncritical promotion of this latest collaboration between the PFLP terror group-linked NGO ‘Al Haq’ and the politically motivated ‘research’ organisation ‘Forensic Architecture’ (with help from the Qatari outlet which employed Abu Akleh) by a supposedly impartial BBC journalist to be at all problematic.

The video promoted by Bateman to over five thousand followers of course arrives at precisely the conclusions that those politically motivated organisations could be expected to reach concerning the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. Even the use of the terms “Israeli occupying forces” and “IOF” in its commentary (instead of Israel Defence Forces or IDF) does not appear to have raised any alarm bells with Bateman.

But of course like his colleagues, from the moment that news of the incident broke Bateman has adopted and promoted the unproven version of events put out by Abu Akleh’s employer, her family, the Palestinian Authority and assorted political NGOs.

It is hence sadly unsurprising to find him yet again unquestioningly promoting narrative-enforcing material produced by the political NGO echo chamber upon which far too much of the BBC’s Middle East reporting relies.


Alberta province adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism
The Alberta province of Canada accepted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Friday, becoming the fifth Canadian province to do so.

“The Alberta government’s adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism is a clear affirmation of our elected officials’ recognition of the upsurge in hate targeting Jews and the need to counter this rise,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. “Identifying antisemitism is the first step in recognizing its manifestations, which is key to standing against it. Today, Alberta joins governments across the country to say that enough is enough."

The announcement comes roughly two months after a report by Canada’s national statistical agency which states that Jewish Canadians were the most targeted religious minority for hate crimes last year, making up nearly half of all reported incidents.

The IHRA working definition assists law enforcement, community leaders and lawmakers to identify and understand modern forms of antisemitism in public life, education, media and the workplace.

Which parts of Canada have already utilized the working definition?
Previous Canadian provinces that have already adopted the IHRA definition include Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick.

The decision made by the Alberta province has been endorsed by the Calgary Jewish Federation, the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs organizations.
White Supremacist Musicians Reaching Audiences on Spotify: New ADL Report
White supremacists are reaching new audiences through music streaming platforms, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reported on Thursday.

According to the civil rights group, forty white supremacist bands are featured on Spotify, an audio media provider with an estimated 182 million subscribers and 433 million monthly users. Some have become “verified artists,” a privilege that is not difficult to obtain and which, one music label owned by Sony Music Entertainment has said, can “help you in growing a sizable following.”

“Music has long been an effective way to radicalize extremists, allowing artists to both entertain and indoctrinate vulnerable listeners,” the ADL said. “At a time of increasing hate-motivated extremist violence, Spotify is not only allowing the racism and incitement of white supremacist music, it is actively promoting that content on its own playlists.”

ADL identified several genres and sub-genre’s of white supremacist hate-pop, including “Fashwave,” a play on the word fascism. It is, the ADL continued, a personal favorite of neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, founder of The Daily Stormer website.

Fashwave has roots in Vaporwave, a style of music that patches together various synthesizer and drum-machine-driven sounds of the 1980s and 90s with images from the era’s most popular symbols of mass culture. Vaporwave’s evocation of nostalgia for an idealized past appealed to white racists, who appropriated its sonic and visual aesthetic to express their frustrations with cultural diversity, gender equality, and social change. It has also splintered to form a Marxist sub-genre.


Google acquires Israeli climatech firm BreezoMeter for estimated $200m
Google has acquired Israeli startup BreezoMeter, the tech giant confirmed to CTech on Tuesday. BreezoMeter aims to monitor air quality and improve people’s health by using atmospheric data that is acquired through multiple sensing stations, AI, and machine-learning algorithms that are trained to recognize and detect several different types of pollutants.

The cost of the acquisition wasn't revealed but Calcalist estimates it to be between $200-250 million.

"Following up on our many years of activity in sectors such as environmental insights, Google Earth Engine, Explorer, and the Air View project, we are excited to continue and provide environmental insights to people, organizations, and policymakers across the world,” Google told CTech. BreezoMeter’s technology aims to monitor and report on air quality and inform people so that they may take precautionary steps ahead of time. The company was co-founded in 2014 by environmental engineer CEO Ran Korber and CTO Emil Fisher.

BreezoMeter raised a $30 million Series C funding round in June of 2021, taking its total funding to $45 million. The round was led by Fortissimo Capital. Entrée Capital, which has backed BreezoMeter since its founding together with existing investors JumpSpeed Ventures, Launchpad Digital Health, AxessVentures, Goldacre Ventures and idinvest Partners, also participated in the round.

Companies, including AstraZeneca, Bosch, Dyson, Verizon Media, L'Oréal and hundreds of others, currently use BreezoMeter’s Air Pollution, Pollen and Fire APIs to deliver air quality recommendations to consumers through their mobile apps, smart home IoT devices, cars and other connected experiences.

“Air quality testing has been available since the early 1900s, and unfortunately the sensors we rely on have limited coverage,” Korber once explained to CTech in an interview.
Which Bond girl is being trained in Israeli counter-terror tactics?
Yair Marton, an Israeli reserve officer in an elite IDF unit, has been hired to advise director Martin Campbell’s new film and provide combat training for stars including Eva Green.

Marton has served as a combat consultant for the series Fauda, ​​Maniac, Jerusalem, The Traitor, and more.

Originally from New Zealand, Campbell is the acclaimed director of, The Mask of Zorro (1998), and the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and Casino Royale (2006). He most recently directed the film Memory starring Liam Neeson as an aging hitman with early dementia.

Green, one of the stars in the upcoming film, played the Bond girls Vesper in Casino Royale for which she received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Rising Star Award.

This is the first Hollywood production for Marton who is used to living and working outside of Israel.

Who is Marton?
Marton writes on his Linkedin page that he has a special license from the Defense Ministry to train people overseas in Israeli counter-terror tactics. He is said to be a senior instructor in every range of combat with experience in Israeli artillery companies to further development research, critique performance and assessment of weaponry production and efficacy.
One-Man Show About Polish Resistance Fighter, World War II Hero Jan Karski Premieres in New York
An off-Broadway solo performance about the World War II Polish resistance fighter and hero Jan Karski premiered this month at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in New York City.

“Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski,” presented by Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA), is a story of “moral courage and individual responsibility” starring Oscar nominee and “Nomadland” actor David Strathairn as Karski, who died in 2000.

Karski was captured by the German invading forces while serving in the Polish army in 1939 but escaped when he was being deported to a POW camp. He went on to serve in the Polish underground resistance.

In 1942, Karski risked his life by transporting a report that provided first-hand eyewitness testimony about the horrors taking place in Nazi-occupied Poland, including in the Warsaw Ghetto and a Nazi-run transit camp. He traveled to London, relayed the report to the Polish government-in-exile, and also met with then-British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other politicians, journalists, and public figures. Karski afterwards went on to the United States, where he met with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski” was created at The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, where Karski earned his doctorate and taught for four decades after World War II. The solo performance is directed by Derek Goldman, who worked with Clark Young on creating a script almost solely based on Karski’s own words with contributions from his former students and colleagues.

“Remember This” premiered in 2019 at Georgetown University and then played in London at the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. It has also been performed in Washington, D.C, and Chicago.






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