Tuesday, January 17, 2023

From Ian:

A New Study Shows That the U.S. Has More Anti-Semites Than Jews
According to a recent survey conducted by the Antidefamation League (ADL), disturbingly large numbers of Americans answered “yes” when asked if they believe Jews “go out of their way to hire other Jews” or “are more loyal to Israel than to America,” and to other similar questions. Kevin Williamson reflects on these results, and what they say about the persistence of this “strange prejudice.”
About 3 percent of Americans agreed that all of the anti-Semitic tropes in the ADL survey are “mostly or somewhat true,” suggesting that there are millions more anti-Semites in the United States than there are Jews. This is not entirely surprising, given the small size of the Jewish population.

Anti-black racism has of course been the most consequential prejudice in American history, but anti-Semitism remains strangely vital. Like its cousin, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism is more than a prejudice and more than a visceral hatred—it is, in its most extreme form, a kind of “theory of everything” in politics. Anti-black racism may exist with or without an attendant conspiracy theory, but anti-Semitism is almost without exception rooted in a conspiratorial view of the world. The fact that anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise on college campuses is entirely predictable in that campus culture is as much conspiracy-driven as talk-radio culture or Fox News culture, with different villains and a slightly more refined rhetoric: not “Jews” pulling the strings from the shadows, but “Zionists.”


Williamson also notes the confusion, and the bad faith arguments, that have emerged from the term “anti-Semitism.”
The Semitic languages famously include both Hebrew and Arabic, but also Amharic, Tigrinya, Tigre, Aramaic, and Maltese. But when T. S. Eliot wrote, “But this or such was Bleistein’s way:/ A saggy bending of the knees/ And elbows, with the palms turned out,/ Chicago Semite Viennese,” he wasn’t talking about the Catholics down in sunny Malta.
The real reasons Ken Roth was bounced by Harvard’s Kennedy School
The claim that Jewish influence and money can force non-Jews to serve the selfish interests of the Jews is, of course, a classic antisemitic trope. In the modern context, this trope usually claims that these Jewish conspirators are doing their dirty work to benefit Israel.

Roth also claimed that Elmendorf’s decision was “a shocking violation of academic freedom.” Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), agreed, saying, “If Harvard’s decision was based on HRW’s advocacy under Ken’s leadership, this is profoundly troubling from both a human rights and an academic freedom standpoint.”

It appears that Roth and Romero do not understand the nature of academic freedom. An applicant for a fellowship or faculty position does not enjoy academic freedom at the institution—in this case, Harvard—where they wish to work. They have freedom of speech to express their ideology and beliefs like all other citizens, but Roth would not have enjoyed the protection of academic freedom, which would allow him to express his views, no matter how corrosive or biased, until he became part of the Harvard community. Obviously, this never took place.

Moreover, hiring committees normally vet applicants during the application process. It appears that in the initial stages of Roth’s application, the committee inadvertently, or perhaps purposely, ignored Roth’s hostility to Israel. So, it is very likely that when the choice of Roth was made public, Harvard stakeholders had the opportunity to inform the dean about the darker aspects of Roth’s career. Dean Elmendorf then did what the hiring committee at the Carr Center should have done in the first place: Examine HRW’s and Roth’s defective scholarship and singular focus on Israel, objectively.

One particularly grotesque example of Roth’s shoddy scholarship and tendency toward outright falsehoods was a 2021 HRW report titled, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” the title of which makes its content clear.

No apartheid exists in Israel, but that did not prevent HRW from presenting the 217-page report as fact, effectively redefining apartheid to make their case. The Israel-based watchdog organization NGO Monitor, however, produced a report of its own that eviscerated HRW’s libels. NGO Monitor concluded that “the HRW publication is fundamentally flawed, using lies, distortions, omissions and blatant double standards to construct a fraudulent and libelous narrative demonizing Israel.”

“A careful examination of the text shows that HRW conducted almost no primary research,” NGO Monitor noted. “Rather, the text is bloated with cut-and-paste phrases, and quotes and conclusions taken from third-party sources—notably, other political NGOs participating in the same ‘apartheid’ campaign against Israel.”

“The omissions are even more egregious than the errors and misrepresentations, rendering HRW’s report as nothing more than propaganda,” the watchdog group asserted.
Even the PLO knows the Jews are indigenous to Israel - opinion
To deal with the inconvenient historical fact that Jews are the indigenous population of Israel, the drafters of the PLO charter created an arbitrary dividing line to determine who would be considered a Palestinian. First, the PLO charter deems any Arab who had lived in the entirety of what is now modern Israel prior to the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland to automatically be Palestinian, without regard to whether they were residents in the land. Further, the PLO charter deemed any Arab (but not Jews) born after 1947 to a Palestinian father to be a Palestinian.

Jews, on the other hand, were excised from their own national identity under the PLO charter. Only Jews who had resided in what is now modern Israel prior to “the Zionist invasion” would be considered Palestinian. And what did the PLO even mean when they called it “the Zionist invasion,” 1948 or the 1800s? The latter, of course.

Jews were forcibly removed from Israel after the destruction of the Second Temple and dispersed across the globe, making Palestine, as conceived by the PLO charter, a nearly Jew-free land before the Zionist movement was ever founded.

Imagine if, at the time of the founding of modern Israel, Jews had made a similar declaration with regard to Arabs. To wit, Israel would only recognize those “Arab Palestinians” who resided in the land and identified as “Palestinian” prior to the time of Abraham. This would obviously be an impossibility since the term “Palestinian” was created by the Romans after the Bar Kokhba revolt in around 130 C.E., while Abraham arrived in the Land of Israel approximately 2,000 years before the first use of the term Palestine.

Recently, antisemitic activists have escalated their attacks on Jews, claiming we are “settler-colonists” of a land they call Palestine. In my latest new law review article, I examine the question of colonialism and Israel. Part of my research involved tracing the history of the Jewish presence in Israel and comparing it to the waves of actual settler-colonists, ending with Palestinian Arabs, who displaced the indigenous Jewish population.

The only way that anti-Israel activists can strip Jews of our status as the indigenous people of the land and eliminate Jewish self-determination is to do as the PLO charter did: ignore history and designate a time when Jews had been ethnically cleansed from our own homeland as the point in time when Jewish history in Israel starts.

There are settler-colonists in Israel, and they are Palestinian Arabs. Nonetheless, Israel welcomes these settler-colonists and provides them with rights that no other country would provide to invaders and occupiers. It’s time for Palestinian Arab activists and their supporters to accept history and thank Israel for the gracious hospitality extended to newcomers.




The New York Times and the PLO are made for each other
If it didn’t have such a damaging impact on Israel’s image and give comfort to antisemites, it would be comical how far The New York Times has strayed from journalism into propaganda. Story after story and op-ed after op-ed, the “newspaper of record” vilifies Israel. When you might think (though why would you?) the editors can’t stoop any lower, they find another Israel-hater (antisemite?) to bloviate on the publication’s pages.

The latest example of bottom-feeding is the publication of an op-ed by Rashid Khalidi, who is identified as a professor of modern Middle Eastern history at Columbia University, omitting his earlier role as spokesperson for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Khalidi is an example of the decline of academic standards, which allows someone who traffics in falsehoods and rewriting history to indoctrinate students with the Middle East studies equivalent of the flat Earth theory.

Khalidi repeats myths he and others have propagated for decades. Proving that he believes the Palestinian issue has nothing to do with the West Bank or “occupation,” he invokes the “nakba.” Palestinians consider the creation of Israel the original sin, and their focus on that event is indicative of a refusal to reconcile with the existence of a Jewish state.

He claims Israel took over “more than three-quarters of Palestine.” If Khalidi was a serious historian and not a transmitter of disinformation, he would acknowledge that it is Israel, including the disputed territories, that is only 22% of “Palestine.” As he knows, historic Palestine included not only Israel and the West Bank but all of Jordan.

Continuing with his version of the big lie, Khalidi repeats the evergreen myth that “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians were forced to flee. The record is clear that thousands of wealthy Palestinians left before the war began. A small number of Palestinians who endangered Israeli forces were expelled. Most fled to avoid being caught in the crossfire after five Arab armies invaded to drive the Jews into the sea. Many left at the behest of their leaders, who promised they could return to their homes and those that used to belong to Jews.

Had the Arabs won the war, there would have been few Jewish refugees because most Jews would have been slaughtered as they were by the Arab Legion in Kfar Etzion.

No Palestinian state would have existed either. The Arab leaders planned to divide Palestine among themselves. Even after losing, Egypt occupied Gaza, and Jordan the West Bank and east Jerusalem (when no one cared about freedom of religion for Jews or Christians). Neither offered the Palestinians a state, and the Palestinians never demanded one during the 19-year occupation. The international community didn’t pass any U.N. resolutions or seek to end the Arab occupation. No one in the U.S. or elsewhere proposed a two-state solution. A right of self-determination was only discovered in 1967.

Khalidi cites non-existent international law and U.N. resolutions as requiring Israel to allow the refugees’ return. He doesn’t mention that the Arab states voted against the U.N. resolution on refugees in 1948 because they still expected to win the war. They only changed their tune after they lost.


R’ CHASKEL BENNETT: ‘NY Times on a Crusade against the Orthodox Community’
In this exclusive interview, Reb Chaskel Bennett, writer, political activist, and Board of Trustee member of Agudas Yisrael, discusses the NY Times’ targeting of the frum community, as well as the Agudah’s new awareness campaign, KNOWUS.ORG.

Mr. Bennett describes the newspaper’s disgraceful and relentless demonization of Jews. He explains why the Agudah decided that it’s time to go public with an awareness campaign, as opposed to remaining silent and keeping a low profile.

He also discusses the content of the new campaign, and why it’s so important to spread positive messaging, and call out the vicious, disingenuous, and inaccurate reporting by so-called journalists who want to harm our community.
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN >>
New culture minister: Films ‘offensive’ to Israel will not receive funds
Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar has said Israeli filmmakers who seek state funding for their work will need to sign a pledge that their productions are not “offensive” to the country or its armed forces.

Speaking to Ynet radio Monday, Zohar said that organizations that want to boycott Israel often point to locally produced works critical of the government and its policies toward Palestinians as proof that their claims of Israeli abuse are justified.

Therefore, he said, the Israel Film Council will require filmmakers seeking government grants to sign a clause that they won’t produce anti-Israeli content, though he did not give specifics on what exactly the criteria for this would be.

Zohar said all film funding bodies that work with the council will require their leadership to “sign a document that they undertake not to produce content that harms the State of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF. This is the condition for funding.

“In the end, the public will decide whether they come to see a film or not, but we will not compromise on the financing issue. We will not fund offensive content against IDF soldiers and the State of Israel.”

Zohar added that he was not suggesting censorship. But, he said, the state is not required to fund works he deemed hostile.

“In the end, you have to remember, you are allowed to make any movie you want within the law, of course,” he said. “We are in a democracy. But the state does not have to finance such controversial content because it violates very fundamental things.”
Report: Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen boycotting senior Israeli lawmakers
A Democratic lawmaker leading a bipartisan delegation of senators on a trip to the Jewish state is boycotting two Israeli ministers, Axios reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) told Israeli officials that she and members of the delegation would not meet with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism Party) or National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit).

Rosen and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) are leading a tour to Abraham Accords signatory countries that also includes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.).

The Abraham Accords Caucus delegation already visited Morocco, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and was slated to touch down in Israel on Tuesday.

The Trump administration-brokered agreements normalized relations between the Jewish state and those three Arab countries, in addition to Sudan.

The Axios report cited two Israeli officials and a source close to Rosen.

Foreign Ministry officials cited in the report said that the American delegation was not slated to meet any lawmakers from the Religious Zionism or Otzma Yehudit parties.

The senators are seeing firsthand how the Abraham Accords have led to unprecedented regional integration and cooperation, and are discussing ways in which the agreements can be strengthened and expanded to bring in other countries, according to a statement released ahead of the trip.


UC Berkeley Law earns a failing grade in protecting Jewish students - opinion
THE DEAN suggests that this discrimination is an unintended consequence of the bylaw. But make no mistake, discrimination is its very purpose. The bylaw has Jew-hatred at its core and was designed to exclude, isolate, and ostracize Jewish students. It unmistakably communicates that Zionists and Israelis must conceal their ethnic identities and national origins – or risk being canceled.

Imagine if the bylaw targeted gay people. What if instead of excluding speakers with “views in support of Zionism” the bylaw excluded speakers with “views in support of homosexuality?” The effect would be to exclude speakers who are gay, and the school would undoubtedly move swiftly to defund such groups – as it should. Why does the exclusion of Jews not elicit the same response? Have Jews not been harassed, ostracized, marginalized, beaten, and killed enough to earn the same protection?

The dean points out that, under the First Amendment, the law school cannot compel student groups to permit the expression of views they don’t support. I agree. The university cannot compel an anti-gun group to host speeches in support of gun ownership. Nor can it require a pro-life group to host a speech in support of abortion. But when the law school uses government money to fund groups that exclude a protected class of speakers – regardless of the topic, it enters the realm of Title VI discrimination.

With universities today purportedly being uber-sensitive to discrimination, it is indefensible that the law school administration refuses to enforce anti-discrimination laws on behalf of Jewish students.

The academic community must come together to demand that the law school change course and fulfill its obligation to create a learning environment free from discrimination and provide all students with equal access to school resources and programming.

As of now, when it comes to fighting Jew-hatred on campus, Berkeley Law earns a failing grade.
Oxford SU to vote on disaffiliating from NUS in wake of antisemitism report
The Oxford Student Union is set to vote this week on whether the body should hold a vote on disaffiliating from the National Union of Students (NUS) in the wake of Rebecca Tuck's shocking report into antisemitism.

The resolution proposed to the union's Student Council would, if passed, mandate that a referendum for all students be held on whether the union should remain affiliated to the NUS and continue its annual contribution of nearly £25k.

The resolution has been put forward by Ciaron Tobin and Mundher Ba-Shammakh; two students who have both been delegates to NUS for the past year. Mr Tobin is currently President of the Magdalen College JCR (student representation body), and Mr Ba-Shammakh studies Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Pembroke College.

In the resolution, they write that "saw first hand the value of the NUS" as part of their work as delegates, but they have also seen "the horrendous issues the NUS has continually been associated with, not least the long-term antisemitism of the body."

The resolution calls for Oxford Student Union's affiliation to the NUS to not be renewed for one year, "until the NUS is a body that truly represents all."
For the first time in my life, I felt unwelcome at a North London derby
I then heard the ever-familiar ‘what do we think of Tottenham...’ chant. To which I happily obliged, the memories of May 2022 flashing before me.

What I did not expect was the conclusion of the chant with ‘Yiddo, Yiddo, Yiddo’. I decided, to my shame, to ignore it and hope they wouldn’t say it again. Within 30 seconds, around 10 men were chanting ‘yiddo’ repeatedly, with more folk from the pub joining in.

At that point, I had to say something. I walked over and said ‘look, don’t use that last bit’ and walked away. Not asking, telling. He then came back with another mate who, within seconds of finding out I am Jewish shouted the ever familiar ‘You dirty fucking yid’.

A fight then broke out, with them all repeatedly threatening to beat my friends and I up. Chants of ‘Yid’ erupted and ‘she’s a yid in an Arsenal shirt’ before the ever pleasant ‘I’ll fucking come for you, dirty yid’. After stepping aside to calm down, we were told to leave the pub. Shocked, I told the manager, who almost certainly had bigger fish to fry what had happened.

‘No, get out.’ we were told, with the manager no doubt thinking it'd be easier to tell us to get out than a large group of drunk men. We left the Cally with chants of ‘Off you go, Yiddo’, from most of the pub's drinkers. We walked past the window, and I burst into tears, my adrenaline levels reaching new heights.

In my 26 years, I’ve genuinely never felt like that before. It was anarchic, a state of utter mob rule overtook and the antisemitism that we know has been festering erupted. The vision of a whole pub full of, largely, men in their 40s attacking a 26-year-old Jewish woman and winning, is a stain on the city I’ve called home my whole life.

They obviously won’t win. This incident has, of course, been reported to all the proper channels, The Met, The CST, and Kickitout. But, I implore you, JC reader, to call out this behaviour wherever it is safe to do so. It’s never worth your life but, where you feel it’s safe to do so, you’ll never regret standing up to hate and bigotry.


The BBC and the Temple Mount status quo
On the afternoon of January 12th a report by the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page with the following less than accurate presentation:

That report relates to a visit to Temple Mount by the British minister Lord Ahmad earlier in the day which was held up for half an hour – rather than “blocked” – due to an apparent lack of communication.

Readers of Bateman’s report – headlined “UK minister’s visit to Jerusalem holy site hampered by Israeli police” – have to get down to its thirteenth paragraph before they discover that the delay resulted from a deliberate absence of communication with the Israeli authorities responsible for security at the site, prompted by political posturing:
“The UK government, like the rest of the international community, does not recognise Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, so official visits are not co-ordinated through the Israeli authorities.”

Bateman provides amplification for the political talking points of the Waqf:
“The Islamic authority administering the site called it “unacceptable”, saying: “Whether he came as a minister or as a Muslim he shouldn’t have been blocked.””

“Whether this was an intentional delay or for other reasons, the Israeli authorities only want people to co-ordinate with them, through the Israeli government, only through the Israeli side,” said Wafq [sic] director Sheikh Mohammed Azam al-Khatib.”
Previously Unseen Photos of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Discovered
The photos of the ghetto in flames and of the Jews being led to death, among others, found in Polish home

A negative, the only existing in the world, of the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by the Germans in April 1943 was published on Monday in the Polish edition of the weekly Newsweek in Poland.

The photos of the ghetto in flames and the Jews being led to death among others, known only in part to historians, were discovered among the family memories of Maciej Grzywaczewski in the property of his father, Zbigniew Grzywaczewski, firefighter and amateur photographer, who participated in putting out the fire that the Nazis started in the remnants of the warring ghetto.

The original photographic film, among the dozen images already known from the archives of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, and those unknown, will be exhibited at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, as part of a special exhibition commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Uprising.
Never before seen pictures of Warsaw Ghetto uprising discovered

Jews 500% more likely to suffer hate crimes, new UK billboard campaign says
The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) will launch Britain’s first-ever national billboard campaign seeking the public’s support against antisemitism on Tuesday after the most recent Home Office figures showed that Jews are 500% more likely to suffer hate crime than any other faith group per capita.

Running for two weeks, including over Holocaust Memorial Day next week, the striking digital billboards will be seen right across the country, including in prominent locations in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and other major cities.

The billboards call on people to stand with the Jewish community by using the #StandWithJews hashtag on social media. Members of the Jewish community will highlight their own experiences of antisemitism using the #BecauseImJewish hashtag.

“People are utterly appalled when we tell them quite how much Jews are targeted by hate crime," Gideon Falter, chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism said. "The UK is a fundamentally decent and tolerant place and one of the best countries in the world to live as a Jew, but we still suffer racism and attacks every day simply because we are Jewish." Jews make up barely 0.5% of the national population in the UK "and the solidarity of good people who are willing to stand up to hatred and Stand with Jews means a great deal to our community and shows the racists that they cannot win,” Falter said.

The billboards challenge preconceptions and prejudices about what it means to ‘look Jewish’ with the models reflecting the diverse backgrounds of Britain’s Jewish community.




Holocaust objects to be displayed at German parliament
An exhibition of Holocaust-era items from the collections of Yad Vashem whose stories are intertwined with Jews from Germany will open in the Bundestag next week, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Jerusalem-based Holocaust remembrance center announced Tuesday.

The exhibition, titled “Sixteen Objects,” will be inaugurated on Jan. 24 by the Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan, on his first-ever visit to Germany, and Bundestag President Bärbel Bas.

Initiated by the German Society for Yad Vashem to mark the Jerusalem institution’s 70th anniversary, it will feature unique Holocaust-era objects, one from each of the states of Germany, juxtaposed with contemporary photos of the places they originally came from.

The items to be exhibited include a toy kitchen, a doll, a suitcase, a Torah Ark taken to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in Czechoslovakia, a silver Torah scroll adornment, a piano, a briefcase, a letter from an 11-year-old girl, a matzo cover and a Hanukkah menorah.

“By connecting the personal stories of these objects with the current modern locations in Germany, the exhibition creates a bridge between the memory of the past to present and future societies,” exhibition co-curators Executive Director of the German Society for Yad Vashem Ruth Ur and Director of the Yad Vashem Artifacts Department Michael Tal said.
Christie’s Auction House Honors Nazi-Looted Art Restitution Efforts With Yearlong, Worldwide Series of Events
The world-renowned auction house Christie’s recently announced that its restitution department will host a series of events throughout the year and around the world in recognition of efforts to return Nazi-stolen art to its rightful owners.

“During 2023, scholars, legal experts, researchers and interested parties will meet in Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin, London, New York as well as throughout the United States, and Tel Aviv, to share and discuss important stories, ideas and perspectives” about art restitution, Christie’s said in a press release about their new initiative. “Global audiences will be invited to engage with the program through other in-person opportunities as well as Christie’s dedicated website, featuring recordings of selected events, stories of important restitutions, as well as a virtual walking tour of historic sites throughout Berlin.”

The first event will be an exhibition by French contemporary artist Raphaël Denis opening on Jan. 27 at Christie’s galleries on Avenue Matignon in Paris. The exhibit will feature installations that will form “an extremely precise fragmentary reconstitution” of art that was confiscated, looted or forced to be sold by their French Jewish owners, Christie’s said.

The year-long series of events will conclude in December with a conference at The Tel Aviv Museum of Art about restitution and provenance research.

Christie’s series of events, called Reflecting on Restitution, will honor the 25th anniversary of the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, an international agreement that helps with locating, identifying and returning art looted by the Nazis during World War II. The agreement was established at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, which was hosted by the US Department of State and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, from Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 1998. Representatives from 44 countries as well as 13 non-governmental organizations attended the conference.
Munch Painting Hid From Nazis in Norwegian Forest to Be Auctioned by Sothebys in Restitution Settlement
A famous painting by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch that was hidden from the Nazis in a barn in a Norwegian forest will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s London later this year as part of a restitution settlement with the Jewish family of its previous owner, who was forced to sell the work in Berlin in 1934 as he fled the Nazis.

Dance on the Beach — which in the foreground shows two of Munch’s lovers, Tulla Larsen and Millie Thaulow — is expected to be sold for $15-25 million at the Sotheby’s auction on March 1, the auction house said on Monday. Before being sold, the painting will be displayed to the public for the first time since 1979 with an exhibition in London, and digital installations in Hong Kong and New York. The artwork hasn’t been on the market for 89 years.

“This exceptional painting is made all the more special due to its extraordinary provenance, a history that has unfolded since it was painted 115 years ago,” said Lucian Simmons, vice chairman and Sotheby’s worldwide head of restitution. “Intertwined in the story of this painting are two families – both leading patrons of Munch … We are proud to play a part in the painting’s next chapter, whilst celebrating the legacy of the patrons who were integral in supporting the vision of such a great artist.”

Dance on the Beach was originally commissioned in 1906 by world-famous film and theater director Max Reinhardt, who asked Munch to create a frieze, a painted decoration placed on a wall, for his theater in Berlin. The painting was placed on the upper level of the theater and was the largest artwork as part of the frieze as well as the only one signed in full, according to Sotheby’s. It is also the only part of the frieze privately owned while nine other pieces are on view at Berlin’s National Gallery, one in the Hamburg Kunsthalle and one in Essen’s Folkwang Museum.
Japanese firm defends ownership of ‘Nazi-tainted’ Van Gogh painting
A Japanese company has defended its ownership of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” obtained at auction in 1987, after the family of its former owner filed a US lawsuit demanding its return.

The artwork — one of five original versions of the famous still life — was purchased by the predecessor of insurance firm Sompo Holdings at Christie’s in London for $40 million, making it briefly the world’s most expensive painting.

It has been on display in Tokyo at Sompo’s art museum for 35 years, but recently became the subject of a legal battle centered on a previous sale in Germany prior to World War II.

The family of the painting’s former owner, Jewish banker Paul von Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, filed a lawsuit in Illinois last month demanding the return of the artwork and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

They say Sompo’s predecessor, Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance, acquired the painting “in reckless disregard of its provenance, including Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s forced sale of the painting in Nazi Germany in 1934.”
Australian Jews urge bidders to donate ‘horrific’ Nazi items from auction to museum
The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies has urged anyone who took part in a purchase of Nazi memorabilia in a local auction to donate the items, which include “horrific” pictures of dead Jews in concentration camps, to a local Jewish museum.

“These disturbing photos and symbols are a chilling reminder of a horrific period in history and belong in museums to remember the horrors of the Holocaust, not flogged off to the highest bidder at auction,” Darren Bark, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive, told the UK’s Guardian newspaper last week.

“We urge those who bought these despicable items to donate them to the Sydney Jewish Museum so it can continue to educate the community and the next generation about the horrors of mankind,” Bark said.

The auction, held in the first week of January by the local Danielle Elizabeth auction house, included 143 items ranging from “Jews not wanted” signs to rings, stamps, books and SS paraphernalia.

The highest-selling item was an album of 500 photos from within the concentration camps labeled “Approx 500 Jewish Atrocity Photos,” which the auction house itself described as largely too graphic to display and “very disturbing.”


Apple to inaugurate new development center in Haifa
While U.S. tech giant Intel is canceling the construction of a new development center in Haifa, another U.S. titan, Apple, plans to open a new facility in the same industrial zone in the near future.

The Matam East #1 development, which will house Apple’s new development center, obtained an occupancy certificate last month, according to Globes.

The structure has 46,000 square meters (495,000 square feet) of space, with 28,000 square meters (300,000 square feet) above ground. It will be occupied within the next few months.

Matam East #2, with 28,500 square meters (54,000 square feet) above ground, will also be handed over to Apple.

Meanwhile, Intel will build a new parking lot for staff instead of its planned development center.
TAU researchers develop biological sensor that allows robots to ‘smell’
Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a biological sensor that sends electrical signals in response to odors, allowing robots to “smell.”

The researchers first devised the mechanism, and then used a machine learning algorithm to identify odors at a level of sensitivity 10,000 times higher than that of commonly used electronic devices.

“We connected the biological sensor and let it smell different odors while we measured the electrical activity that each odor induced. The system allowed us to detect each odor at the level of an insect’s primary sensory organ. Then, in the second step, we used machine learning to create a ‘library’ of smells. We were able to characterize eight odors, such as geranium, lemon and marzipan, in a way that allowed us to know when the smell of lemon or marzipan was presented,” said professor Yossi Yovel of TAU’s School of Zoology and Sagol School of Neuroscience.

The study was led by doctoral student Neta Shvil of TAU’s Sagol School of Neuroscience, and also included Dr. Ben Maoz of the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Sagol School of Neuroscience and professor Amir Ayali of the School of Zoology and Sagol School of Neuroscience.
Israel’s 2023 Eurovision song entry: ‘Unicorn’
Israel’s entry for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest is called “Unicorn” and will be released in full next month, the Kan public broadcaster announced on Tuesday.

The song will be performed at this year’s contest in Liverpool in May by Noa Kirel.

“With all of Israel behind me, I am embarking on this journey to bring great pride to this country. Thank you for this incredible honor….I am already starting today to work [on my Eurovision performance], and as you know about me, to work hard. Cross your fingers and fasten your seatbelts!” said Kirel in August, when she confirmed she would represent Israel at the event.

In July, she was chosen by a panel, convened by Kan, to represent Israel in the competition. However, she initially expressed hesitation about accepting the offer and said she would need time to consider the opportunity before deciding.

The Eurovision Song Contest is an internationally televised songwriting competition composed of three live shows: the First Semi-Final, the Second Semi-Final, and the Grand Final.
9,000-year-old Jericho skull gets virtual facelift using plastic surgery techniques
Brazilian researchers have rendered a new face for a 9,000-year-old skull unearthed in 1953 near the West Bank city of Jericho.

The man’s skull, partly covered by plaster and with shells for eyes, was one of seven discovered by archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon. All are believed to have served as part of a Neolithic ritual relating to ancestor worship.

In 2016, the British Museum used micro-computed tomography, or micro-CT, to scan the skull and produce a 3D-printed reproduction of the original cranium and a reconstruction of the person’s face for an exhibition. Other skulls are on display in the UK, Canada, and Jordan, and at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in East Jerusalem.

In December, the Brazilian team published a newly detailed 3D face, with artistically rendered head hair and facial hair.

To construct a new face, researchers used anatomical deformation and statistical projections based on the micro-CT scans — techniques used to plan plastic surgeries and build prosthetics.

Brazilian graphics expert Cicero Moraes, who led the project, told the Live Science website that the method provides “greater structural, anatomical, and statistical coherence.”
Israeli FM praises MLK’s vision for Mideast peace
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with a Twitter post highlighting the late civil rights leader’s desire for peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

“Today, we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Cohen posted on Twitter. “As he wrote in a letter to Jewish leaders in 1967, referring to the region: ‘The solution will have to be found in statesmanship by Israel and progressive Arab forces who recognize fair and peaceful solutions are the concern of all humanity and must be found.”

Cohen went on to link MLK’s vision with the Negev Forum, which began in March 2022 as the Negev Summit that took place in Israel and brought together U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt. It has since transformed into a permanent framework for Israel-Arab cooperation in the region.

Several high-level figures at the summit told JNS that if someone had suggested such a gathering only a few years ago, the idea would have been dismissed as “wishful thinking,” a “dream” and a prediction more suited to the realm of “prophecy.”

The Negev Forum held steering committee and working group meetings in Abu Dhabi last week.

“Let us all embrace the words of Rev. King who was taken before he fully fulfilled all that he had hoped to achieve, as we extend our hands to others to join in this noble pursuit. And may his words be a source of strength as we continue on this path,” Cohen said.






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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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