Monday, March 27, 2023

From Ian:

Bassam Tawil: The Real Meaning Of 'Pro-Palestinian'
Inviting Hamas and PIJ officials to participate in such events shows that the real aim of the so-called pro-Palestinian groups is not to help the Palestinians, but to incite and spread hate and libels against the only democracy in the Middle East: Israel.

[I]t sends a message to the Palestinians that the students and professors at the universities around the world support terrorism as a means to kill Jews and destroy Israel.

The participation of the terror leaders in the "Israel Apartheid Week" shows that the real intention of the anti-Israel groups on campus is not to criticize Israel, but to eliminate it.

If the "pro-Palestinian" groups really cared about the Palestinians, they would be speaking out against the repressive measures and human rights violations perpetrated by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It is hard to see how support for a mass murderer such as Soleimani and Iran's proxy terror groups – Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah – does anything good for the Palestinians. On the contrary, those who are empowering these terrorists are doing a massive disservice to the Palestinians, especially those who continue to suffer under the rule of Hamas and PIJ in the Gaza Strip.

Instead of building schools and hospitals for their people, Hamas and PIJ are investing millions of dollars in smuggling and manufacturing weapons and digging tunnels that would be used to infiltrate Israel and kill Jews. Instead of improving the living conditions of their people, Hamas and PIJ leaders are imposing new taxes and leading comfortable lives in Qatar, Lebanon and other countries. Instead of bringing democracy and freedom of speech to their people, the terror groups are arresting and intimidating journalists, human rights activists and political opponents.

All these violations are, needless to say, of no concern to the so-called "pro-Palestinian" students on the campuses. Have these students ever denounced Hamas for suppressing public freedoms and depriving its people of a good life? No. Will these students ever call out the Palestinian leadership for the financial corruption and persecution of political opponents and critics? No.

The "pro-Palestinian" individuals and groups might also understand that by siding with Hamas and PIJ, they are harming, not helping, the same people -- the Palestinians -- they claim to support.

The silence of the "pro-Palestinian" students towards these arrests actually causes harm to Palestinians: it allows Hamas to continue its brutality without having to worry about negative reactions from the international community.

The real "pro-Palestinian" advocates are those who want to see a good life for the Palestinians, not those who encourage them to embrace terror groups.
Guardian blames Amercian Jews for...fill in the blank
First, regarding McGreal’s claims that the Tikvah Fund is influencing efforts at overhauling the judiciary, we were unable to find any evidence of their involvement in judicial reform, so we reached out to Amiad Cohen, CEO of the Israeli-based Tikvah Fund, who flatly denied the claim. He told CAMERA UK in a phone call earlier that the Israeli and US wings of the organisation “are not involved in any way, politically or financially, with the legislation to reform Israel’s judiciary”. (We’ve complained to Guardian editors asking for a correction.)

However, in addition to getting his facts about the Tikvah Fund and judcial reform wrong, McGreal’s characterisation of Elliott Abrams as “one of the intellectual architects of the invasion of Iraq” is inaccurate.

It also evokes antisemitic tropes poular at the time of the US-led 2003 invasion which blamed the Israel lobby and/or Jews within the US government for the war, despite the fact that all the major players in the administration of George W. Bush were non-Jews. This includes Bush himself, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Abrams, who is Jewish, was not – unlike Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld and Rice – one of the principle decision makers in the White House in 2003, working as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council for Near East and North African affairs at the time. Though Abrams strongly supported the war, McGreal’s characterisation of him as the war’s “intellectual architect” erroneously suggests a level of influence similar, for instance, to George F. Kennan’s role in formulating the Cold War policy known as “containment” which was adopted by President Harry Truman.

Abrams’ influence, by contrast, within Bush’s administration in the decision to launch the Iraq war was, by nearly all accounts, close to non-existent.

The Guardian, as our readers of course know, has a history of depicting Jews has having ‘too much’ power, including the power to control, or apply outsized influence on, non-Jewish political leaders – getting them to make putatively destructive decisisons they wouldn’t normally have made. McGreal’s farcical depiction of Abrams as the brains behind the most contentious US military adventure since Vietnam is another example of the outlet’s embrace of this toxic narrative.
BBC Two’s ‘The Holy Land and Us’ chooses narrative over history
While Agha tells viewers that part of her family moved to a place called Dalhamiya in the mid to late nineteenth century, no mention is made of the history of that village of tenant farmers in the Jordan Valley. Following the First Egyptian-Ottoman War (1831 – 1833), the conquering Egyptians established four villages in the Jordan Valley with the aim of settling their own countrymen there, one of which was Dalhamiya. After the Ottomans retook power in 1840, those villages were abandoned by their Egyptian settler inhabitants. At least part of Dalahamiya’s lands were sold to the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association (PICA) and Kibbutz Ashdot Ya’akov was established there in the 1930s.

When Sarah Agha visits the site of Dalhamiya in episode two of the series she speculates that her ancestors may have left their homes due to the evacuation of the Arab population of Tiberias in April 1948 by British forces after the Haganah “seized control” of the town. Agha’s account of course does not include any mention of the Arab attacks which preceded the evacuation that was requested by the Arab forces themselves.

Although Agha’s local guide tells her that “the Jordanian army asked the people of Dalhamiya to move” ahead of the invasions in that area by Iraqi and Syrian forces, Agha declares herself “sceptical” and goes on to object to the fact that people who evacuated themselves to an enemy country were “not allowed to come back”.

That motif of passive Palestinians ‘forced out’ – with remarkably very little explanation of the invasions by Arab forces before and after May 1948 or the part played by Palestinian fighters – is repeated in the two additional stories from the Palestinian side.

The BBC’s original press release promoting this series stated:
“Rather than presenting a comprehensive history, the series lets the human stories of the time speak for themselves, enabling viewers to reach a richer understanding of the divisions that have lasted to this day.”

Indeed, no effort was made to present the comprehensive history which includes the fact that during Ottoman and British rule over the region, people such as Sarah Agha’s ancestors moved from other countries and regions to settle in the area. Barely any mention is made of the ancient Jewish communities in places such as Jerusalem, Tsfat, Tiberias and Hebron which predated Jewish immigration from elsewhere.

Hence, the overall result of the framing presented in this series portrays Palestinians as wronged and passive victims who lost land, homes, money and status (while ignoring the topic of the Arabs who did not leave), whereas Jews are presented as immigrants (rather than refugees), however unfortunate, who came from elsewhere to seek “sanctuary” and “build something new”.

By employing that selective framing, the BBC taps into the narrative of “competing stories” which in fact actively hinders audience understanding of the history and “the divisions that have lasted to this day”.

FIFA U-20 World Cup Draw in Indonesia Postponed Amid Issues Over Israel’s Participation
FIFA has postponed the 2023 Under-20 World Cup finals draw in Indonesia amid protests in the country over Israel’s participation in the competition, the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) announced on Sunday, four days before the drawing was set to take place.

FIFA was expected to reveal on March 31 on the island of Bali the 24 nations that would take part in the competition being held from May 20-June 11 across six cities in Indonesia. This would have been Israel’s first time competing in FIFA’s Under-20 World Cup after qualifying for the tournament in June when it reached the semifinals of the Under-19 European Championship.

PSSI said in a released statement that while it did not receive an “official reason” from FIFA as to why the drawing event has been cancelled eight weeks before the World Cup was set to start, it believes the decision was made because Bali Governor Wayan Koster refused to allow the Israeli national soccer team on his island, citing the Indonesian government’s support for the Palestinian cause.

Hundreds also protested in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta last week against Israel’s participation in the Under-20 World Cup while chanting “Allahu Akbar” and “Get out Israel from U-20 World Cup.” Protesters waved white flags that featured the Islamic declaration of faith along with Indonesian and Palestinian flags. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and the country has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

PSSI explained that Koster previously signed an agreement to have Bali become one of the venues for the U-20 World Cup, including its drawing, but his decision to ban Israeli athletes from the island goes against that agreement.
McGill Tribune Rejects Pro-Israel Column Submitted By Jewish Student Saying Zionism Doesn’t “Align With Our Values”
Campus Media Fellow, submitted a column (click here to read it in full) for publication to The McGill Tribune entitled: “Queer McGill is not a safe space for Jews,” but the campus newspaper rejected it, stating on March 26 (over two weeks after the column was originally submitted) that her article “doesn’t align with our values as a paper” as “Zionism is a settler-colonial ideology that has perpetuated the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”

In so doing, the McGill Tribune has adopted a policy of censoring pro-Zionist commentaries, which HonestReporting Canada considers hateful, antisemitic and antithetical to free speech and the basic principles of fair, accurate, and objective journalism.

On March 26, McGill Tribune Opinion Editors Chloé Kichenane & Kareem Abuali (who we previously condemned for writing an op-ed in the Tribune calling for a boycott of Sabra foods due to its support for Israel), sent Claire Frankel the following email:

“Your article doesn’t align with our values as a paper. We’re not going to be able to publish it.

Zionism is a settler-colonial ideology that has perpetuated the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

There are almost six million Palestinians that are either living in exile without the right to return or are internally displaced, disenfranchised and oppressed.

It would be at the expense of our journalistic integrity and credibility to ignore these truths.”

HonestReporting Canada (HRC) condemns the Tribune’s policy as being discriminatory in nature and hostile to the concept of free expression. Importantly, the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism considers an action antisemitic by “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination…”
‘Why Is Hillel Here?’: San Francisco University Denounces Antisemitism After Criticism of Jewish Organization
San Francisco State University (SFSU) issued a statement denouncing antisemitism earlier this month after a student criticized the participation of a Jewish nonprofit member in a virtual campus meeting.

“Why is Hillel here?,” the student, whose identity remains unknown, said on March 9, The Jewish News of Northern California reported on Thursday. “They’re an extremist organization.”

The outburst prompted the Hillel staff member to whom the remark was directed to leave the meeting immediately, Jewish News continued. Later, Roger Feigelson, the group’s executive director, received “within an hour” a communication from the university’s vice president, Jamillah Moore, who assured him that the university would denounce the student’s actions.

“It was reported that during the meeting, a member of a student organization articulated they did not want SF Hillel members collaborating on the event and made anti-Zionist statements,” Moore later wrote in a letter to the campus community. “We want to make clear that San Francisco State University, Associate Students, and the campus community denounce antisemitism in any form. The words go against our values and our mission of creating a safe and inclusive campus community in which we all feel safe and welcomed.”

In response to the incident, on March 30, the university will hold an event titled “Responding to Antisemitism,” which will feature the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) assistant regional director Alystar Sacks. Feigelson told Jewish News that he is “super impressed” with the steps the university has taken to heal any lingering wounds.

“The partnership between SF Hillel and SF State is so strong now,” he continued. “We’re on top of this and addressing it together.”

BBC account of ‘a fire in Aleppo’ erases Jewish history
On the evening of March 22nd the BBC News website published a report by David Gritten titled ‘Oldest most complete Hebrew Bible goes on display in Israel before sale’ on its ‘Middle East’ page.

The majority of that report about an ancient manuscript headed for auction is unremarkable but in one paragraph there is an omission of a kind all too frequently found in BBC content.

Referring to a different manuscript, the report tells readers:
“The Aleppo Codex, which was assembled around 930, is considered the most authoritative Masoretic text. However, damage from a fire in the Syrian city of Aleppo in 1947 means that only 295 of the original 487 pages survive today.”

Gritten’s reference to a fire in Aleppo in 1947 is not inaccurate but it comes nowhere near to telling the whole story.

That fire – at the city’s Central Synagogue, where the Aleppo Codex was kept – was one of many organised attacks on Aleppo’s two-thousand-year-old Jewish community of around 10,000 people that took place immediately after the UN vote in favour of partition of Palestine. Some 75 members of the community were murdered during around three weeks of rioting, hundreds were injured and around half of the community then fled. As Matti Freidman wrote in 2012:
“On November 30, 1947, a day after the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two states, one for Arabs and one for Jews, Aleppo erupted. Mobs stalked Jewish neighborhoods, looting houses and burning synagogues; one man I interviewed remembered fleeing his home, a barefoot nine-year-old, moments before it was set on fire. Abetted by the government, the rioters burned 50 Jewish shops, five schools, 18 synagogues and an unknown number of homes. The next day the Jewish community’s wealthiest families fled, and in the following months the rest began sneaking out in small groups, most of them headed to the new state of Israel. They forfeited their property, and faced imprisonment or torture if they were caught. Some disappeared en route. But the risk seemed worthwhile: in Damascus, the capital, rioters killed 13 Jews, including eight children, in August 1948, and there were similar events in other Arab cities.

At the time of the UN vote, there were about 10,000 Jews in Aleppo. By the mid-1950s there were 2,000, living in fear of the security forces and the mob. By the early 1990s no more than a handful remained, and today there are none. Similar scripts played out across the Islamic world. Some 850,000 Jews were forced from their homes.”

New York Had 72 Antisemitic Assaults, Florida Had 1
New York does have a much higher Jewish population (although Florida is quickly gaining). But the antisemitic incidents in New York are also much more likely to be violent while in Florida they’re just hateful writings.

And Florida’s increase isn’t even that much of an outlier as the story tries to imply.

The number of antisemitic incidents increased 41.5% in Florida to 269 last year compared to the year before. Florida’s total was more than triple the 76 recorded in 2018.

Nationally, the report showed a 36.1% increase in antisemitic incidents to a total of 3,697 — an average of 10 a day. The U.S. total was almost double the 1,879 recorded four years earlier.

36% vs. 41% outpaces the national average but not by that much.

Using the ADL’s numbers (I haven’t checked them, but just for the sake of argument) New York had 72 assaults, California had 13, Massachusets had 4, and Florida had 1.

I suspect these numbers are incomplete because antisemitic incident databases tend to draw heavily on minor incidents that will be reported (a swastika leaflet) involving more secular and wealthier areas while ignoring more violent incidents involving poorer and more religious areas. But they still do paint a picture.

During the pandemic, New York’s governor, the media and its elites spent much of it harassing and blaming Orthodox Jews for the outbreak. Florida went a very different way. The ADL doesn’t want to talk about that.
NYPD probing swastika at Columbia Law school as hate crime
A swastika found in a restroom at Columbia Law School is being investigated by the NYPD as a probable hate crime.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force has opened an investigation into the antisemitic graffiti, the Columbia Spectator reported. The graffiti appeared on Thursday inside the restroom at Jerome L. Greene Hall. It was later removed. There have been no arrests so far, the NYPD said.

“This racist and antisemitic symbol has no place on our campus nor within our community,” Law School Dean Gillian Lester wrote in a Friday email to staff and students. “Such despicable indicia of hatred, and the bigotry they invoke, are starkly antithetical to our core values as an institution whose very essence is rooted in a commitment to inclusion and respect.”

A vote was also passed unanimously by the school’s student senate to issue a statement condemning the incident and campus antisemitism.

“We are deeply disturbed by this hateful incident on the premises of the Law School, and strongly echo Dean Lester’s statement addressing it,” the Senate said in the statement.

Hebrew University researchers discover how pancreatic cancer spreads through body
Researchers have known for some time about the DNA mutations that lead healthy pancreatic cells to turn cancerous. What was not understood is how pancreatic cancer cells metastasize and invade other organs.

On March 22, the peer-reviewed journal Nature published a new study led by Israeli researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem that explains the mechanism for metastasis. The research concluded that the spread of pancreatic cancer throughout the body is due to changes to the composition of the initial tumors’ RNA molecules, which translate instructions from DNA for protein synthesis in cells.

The good news is that at least one drug already exists that could potentially address the problems with the RNA and eventually help pancreatic cancer patients.

Pancreatic cancer accounts for three percent of all cancer cases and seven percent of all cancer deaths in the United States. The average lifetime risk of getting pancreatic cancer is 1 in 64, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease is seldom detected in its early stages, when it is most curable, due to lack of symptoms until it has spread. As a result, it is the most lethal cancer, with overall five-year survival rates at just 7%, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The study was led by doctoral candidate Amina Jbara of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology and a member of Prof. Rotem Karni‘s lab. Colleagues from Sheba Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University, Cornell University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in the United States, and the University of Toronto in Canada were also involved.

“We analyzed tumor samples from around 400 patients with pancreatic cancer. Half of the tumors were primary tumors, which means they were in the very early stages of the disease and were limited to the pancreas. The other half were from tumors that had already metastasized to other organs,” Karni told The Times of Israel.
Israeli perimeter detection tech spreading around the world
Israeli company GM Afcon’s V-Alert perimeter intrusion detection system employs highly advanced technology to defend a growing number of borders and critical sites, in Israel and internationally.

GM Afcon’s electronic-sensor system is appearing around sensitive borders, airports, ports, database servers, industrial sites, power plants and strategic military bases.

At the heart of the Petach Tikvah-based company’s technology is the V-Alert sensor, an electronic detector that provides an independent, pinpoint alarm when moved by an intruder. When networks of such sensors are installed on barriers, and mixed with advanced algorithms that monitor the sensor data and decide when to issue alerts, human operators receive intrusion warnings that are extremely precise and timely, while false alarms—the bane of the perimeter detection world—are reduced to a minimum.

In 2013, the GM company joined the Israeli Afcon Group, a group of companies that work in fields as diverse as air conditioning, defense and parking systems, with a combined annual turnover of 2 billion shekels ($550 billion).

“We are an independent daughter company of the Afcon Group,” Gil Malec, managing director at GM Afcon Security Technologies, told The Circuit digital publication. GM comes from Malec’s initials and also stands for “Gil and Martin,” with the company’s exports director being Martin Kowen.

Malec spent years supplying agricultural clients with electric fences. In 1998, he switched to the security sector, following a dramatic rise in disturbances and security incidents in the border Gaza area. He began creating security fence solutions; they were quickly adopted by Israeli communities and the IDF Home Front Command.
Israel, UAE pave way for free-trade pact to take effect
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja signed a customs deal on Sunday that paves the way for the countries’ free-trade agreement to enter into force.

“The taking effect of the free-trade agreement is important news for the Israeli economy, for the strengthening of ties with the UAE and is further testament to the importance of the Abraham Accords,” said Cohen in reference to the Trump administration-brokered agreements that normalized Jerusalem’s relations with four Arab nations.

The May 2022 free-trade agreement was the fastest-ever negotiated in Israel’s history, signed in Dubai some 18 months after the countries established diplomatic relations. The agreement removes tariffs on 96% of goods traded, ranging from food to jewelry to medical equipment. Other benefits include protection of intellectual property and, new to free-trade agreements, a promise to find ways for small and medium-sized businesses to profit from “commercial opportunities granted by the agreement.”

Last year, bilateral trade reached more than $2.5 billion (not including software and services), making the UAE Israel’s 16th largest trading partner.

“This historic agreement that has been signed with the UAE continues to bear fruit for the benefit of the people of both countries,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attended Sunday’s signing ceremony.

“I am certain that we will be able to expand the circle of peace between Israel and additional countries in our region,” he added.
The Three Jewish Soldiers Serving the Roman Empire in Ancient Gaul
From at least the 10th century CE until the 15th, the Rhineland city of Mainz was one of the major Jewish centers of northern Europe. Much earlier—in the 1st century BCE—three Roman soldiers from modern-day Syria or the Golan Heights were buried there, and their gravestones remain. Henry Abramson explains why scholars have concluded that these soldiers were Jews, and how they got there.

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