Wednesday, May 17, 2023

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: At 75, Israel Has Plenty to Celebrate
It helps to remember the circumstances in which the country was born. Israel is a post-colonial state. It started its national life dirt-poor. Its peer group of countries includes Syria, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and North and South Korea. These states came into being with many of the same core problems: hostile neighbors, unsettled borders, deep poverty, restive ethnic and religious minorities and other unresolved dilemmas from their independence struggles.

As with Israel, many of those problems still dog most of those states. The Koreas don’t have a settled border. India and Pakistan have painful memories of forced population transfers. Those who think the Palestinian issue is unique should consider the situation of Kashmiris in India, Tamils in Sri Lanka, or Kurds in Syria.

But if Israelis haven’t settled the conflict with the Palestinians and other neighbors, neither have they allowed themselves to be consumed by it. Israel is not a country that defines itself in terms of what it’s against, what it’s not, or who has done what to it. There is also an affirmative vision of Israeli identity, centered on the ideal of a renovated and renewed Jewish civilization within which its citizens can find prosperity, a sense of purpose and relative security.

It’s easy to take for granted how fully that vision has been realized. “We will know we have become a normal country when Jewish thieves and Jewish prostitutes conduct their business in Hebrew,” was how David Ben-Gurion famously defined normality. Israel got there long ago. On a visit to Israel last week, I casually checked an iPhone app to see where the rockets were falling — not too worried, since the Iron Dome and David’s Sling missile systems provide effective defense.

If the success of a society can be measured by the speed at which the miraculous becomes the mundane, Israel is doing fine.
Meir Y. Soloveichik: Why Jews Speak of Memory, Not History
On a recent visit to Israel, I toured the Museum of the Underground Prisoners, in Acre. It is housed in the Ottoman fortress that the British utilized as their most important prison during their colonial administration of Palestine between 1920 and 1948. It was the most emotional museum visit I have ever experienced. It was at this site that the pioneering revisionist Zionist leader and thinker Vladimir Jabotinsky had been held in 1920 by the British for the “crime” of organizing a Jewish defensive response to Arab riots in Jerusalem. And it was there that Menachem Begin’s Irgun staged the prisoner breakout later immortalized in Leon Uris’s novel Exodus and Otto Preminger’s eponymous 1960 film. But we had not come to Acre to remember Jabotinsky, or Begin, but a young soldier who had been imprisoned there, a young soldier who had died there, a young soldier by the name of Dov Gruner.

Gruner was a Jew who fled Hungary ahead of the Holocaust, illegally made his way to the Holy Land, and served with distinction in the British Army. He had grown convinced that the government that had betrayed the promise of the Balfour Declaration by closing the gates of Palestine to the Jews of Europe and thereby condemning them to death had lost the right to rule. Upon his discharge, he joined the Irgun, the militia that grew out of Jabotinsky’s visionary belief in Jewish self-determination and self-defense, to fight under and alongside Menachem Begin.

Captured during an Irgun raid on a Ramat Gan police station, Gruner was sentenced to death. Given his wartime service, an international campaign sought the commutation of Gruner’s sentence. But the British, in an act that horrified even Menachem Begin’s opponents in the Zionist movement, hanged Dov Gruner in the middle of the night in the Acre prison, denying him the right to see a rabbi before his execution. His sister, who had come from America to see him before she lost him forever, learned about her brother’s death from the radio.

Prior to his hanging, Dov Gruner wrote a letter to Begin, which was somehow smuggled out of prison on several scraps of paper. He thanked his commander “from the bottom of my heart for the great encouragement you have given me in these fateful days.” He added:
Of course I want to live. Who does not? But if I am sorry that I am about to “finish,” it is mainly because I did not manage to do enough. I too could have “let the future fend for itself,” taken the job I was promised, or left the country altogether and lived securely in America. But that would not have given me satisfaction as a Jew and certainly not as a Zionist.

White House faces pressure from the left to buck mainstream antisemitism definition
As the White House prepares to release a national antisemitism strategy in the coming weeks, the matter of how the document defines antisemitism has become a key point of contention, Jewish Insider has learned.

The strategy will include more than 200 policy plans and recommendations to counter antisemitism, President Joe Biden said Tuesday in remarks delivered at a Jewish American Heritage Month reception. But while the strategy is set to be released soon, the White House task force working on the project has not yet decided how to define antisemitism, three sources with knowledge of the White House process said.

At issue is whether the strategy will adopt the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which is already in use elsewhere in the federal government. Secretary of State Tony Blinken wrote in a 2021 letter to the American Zionist Movement that the Biden administration “enthusiastically embraces” the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, including its full list of examples.

But the Biden administration is now facing pressure to buck the IHRA definition from some on the left who argue that the IHRA definition, which identifies some forms of anti-Zionism as antisemitism, does not leave sufficient space for critiques of Israel.

An individual with knowledge of the process said that major mainstream Jewish groups have been advocating for the IHRA definition’s inclusion in the White House strategy. Progressive groups have been urging that it be left out of the strategy — but said they would accept its inclusion if other alternative definitions of antisemitism that have been proposed by academics and activists on the left were mentioned. The source said it remains unclear what the final draft might entail, but that the White House has considered excluding IHRA entirely.

After US request, Jerusalem may change name of Negev Forum to make it less Israeli
Israel is inclined to go along with a recent US request to change the name of the Negev Forum for regional cooperation to a title that is less specifically identified with the Jewish state, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

A diplomat from an Arab country confirmed that the request was made, calling it a positive development that could open the way for more countries to join.

On Monday, Channel 13 reported that the US had passed on a request from the Arab members of the group — Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates — for a more generic name.

Last March’s inaugural Negev Summit — initiated by then-foreign minister Yair Lapid — brought to the Israeli desert the foreign ministers of Egypt, the first Arab state to make peace with Israel; the US; and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, which normalized relations in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords.

The Negev Forum grew out of that initial meeting, and includes six working groups that were agreed upon there.

Jordan was invited, but chose to stay away, and has not joined the subsequent working groups.

Israel’s willingness to change the name could be an attempt to get Jordan to join and to get the countries to commit to a summit this year.
i24NEWS speaks in an exclusive interview with U.S Ambassador Tom Nides
In an exclusive interview with i24NEWS, U.S Ambassador Tom Nides discusses Iran, judicial reform, Abraham Accords, and more

Astoria Assembly Member Pushing Bill to Boycott Israeli Settlements
Zohran Mamdani who represents Astoria, Ditmars, and Astoria Heights in the NY State Assembly is pushing a bill he dubbed the “Not on our dime! Ending New York funding of Israeli settler violence act” to “prohibit not-for-profit corporations from engaging in unauthorized support of Israeli settlement activity; allows for recovery of a civil penalty by the state attorney general; creates a private right of action for violations.”

A Muslim who was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, Mamdani moved to New York City when he was seven. He began his political career in 2017 when he volunteered for Khader El-Yateem, a PA Arab Lutheran minister who ran for the New York City Council in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. El-Yateem did not get elected, but Mamdani continued to volunteer for left-wing campaigns until in 2019 he announced he was running for the New York State Assembly in the 36th district, and ended up narrowly defeating the four-term incumbent Aravella Simotas. The race was so tight, it took a month before the results were called.

Mamdani is affiliated with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America.

His bill calls for NY State to punish not-for-profit groups that support Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, citing a long list of reasons, most notably:
Unlawful transfer of Israeli civilians into occupied territory
Acts of violence committed by Israeli citizens against protected persons living in occupied territory
Forced transfer or eviction of protected persons within the occupied territory, or eviction from occupied territory
Appropriation, expropriation, seizure, destruction, demolition, dismantlement, or confiscation, in whole or in part, of private Palestinian land or residential, business, social, or public structures or infrastructure, inhabited or uninhabited

In other words, the standard anti-Israel BDS drivel.

But Queens Democrat assembly members Daniel Rosenthal and Nily Rozic who are part of a group of 25 pro-Israel assembly members, including Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, chairwoman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, and Helene Weinstein and Jeffrey Dinowitz, chairpersons of the Ways and Means and Codes committees (respectively), believe the bill is “dead on arrival.”

Florida Bill Would Crack Down on 'Woke' Finance Company Morningstar for Actions That Harm Israel
Florida could soon prohibit state funds from investing in companies that work in any way to undermine Israel, a move that would simultaneously hurt "woke" investment strategies and anti-Semitic boycotts.

The legislature this month approved a bipartisan bill that would bar the state from doing business with companies "taking adverse action, including changes to published commercial financial ratings … to inflict economic harm on Israel." The bill, which hit Florida governor Ron DeSantis's (R.) desk on Tuesday, aims to crack down on companies that work to hurt Israeli businesses under the guise of progressive Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) guidelines.

Chief among those companies is the financial ratings giant Morningstar, which has been plagued by accusations that it systematically downgrades companies that work with Israel—a move that generally discourages investors from funding companies. Morningstar subsidiary Sustainalytics, for instance, blacklists several companies that work with Israel to stop terrorism. Critics say this activity feeds the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as it seeks to economically isolate Israel.

The bill comes as DeSantis clashes with various corporate titans over "woke" business practices. Earlier this month, DeSantis signed legislation that bans state officials from investing public money in ESG funds and bans the sale of ESG bonds in the state. The governor last year pulled $2 billion of state assets from the financial firm BlackRock in protest over the firm's ESG policies

The legislation could provide a roadmap for other states that want to cut ties with Morningstar over its alleged anti-Israel bias, analysts told the Washington Free Beacon.
The book Adrian Mole would have written (if he hated Israel)
Asa Winstanley blogs at the Electronic Intifada, a website dedicated to attacking Israel. On Twitter he writes the Board of Deputies is “actively involved in promoting Israeli genocide”. He reads like a man who dedicates his conscious hours to thinking about Jews. I think he dreams about us. He has written a book called Weaponising Antisemitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn. It is styled like a murder mystery except we know whodunnit.

Like any conspiracist, he writes like the only wise man on a ship of fools, and this is his story: when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, the forces of Capital and anti-Palestinianism came together to destroy him. There are — pardon me — plot holes you could drive a bus through, and he does. If the cabal against Corbyn is so monomaniacal, I wondered, how come then-JC editor Stephen Pollard exposed Jeremy Newmark — then leading the Jewish Labour Movement — for alleged accounting irregularities? Was it a (rare) mistake? If Jews represent the malevolent forces of Capital, why did we never try to destroy Gordon Brown, who is also a leftist? But few people are leftist enough for Winstanley. He says “gaffe-prone” Neil Kinnock instituted a “witch-hunt” against the left, thus dismissing the very real struggles of witches, as fellow leftists might say in different circumstances. Many witches were murdered in the 17th century, and none of them was Derek Hatton.

Every drama of 2015-19 is replayed with his peculiar emphasis, which appears to be that “Zionists” always act in bad faith. Jews favour the Tories by a vast margin, he notes, ignoring the fact that until 2010, we were neatly divided between Labour and the Conservatives. There was a rehearsal for the plot against Corbyn under Ed Miliband, he says, offering Maureen Lipman and Pollard as evidence. Anything else? Not much.

Israel has Nazi-like policies because they practise collective punishment. Anything else? Not really. When left-wing activists — Momentum, for instance? — organise, it is righteous, but when "Zionists" organise, it is sinister. (The tiny group of anti-Zionist Jews meet his approval. He spends many pages on their self-inflicted woes). For Winstanley, the Union of Jewish Students is “a pro-Israel lobby group”, not a group of Jewish students that likes Israel. The conflict — what he calls the genocide, despite the Palestinian population quadrupling since 1948, which makes it a peculiar genocide — is our only obsession. He is writing about himself.
Debunking the ‘apartheid wall’ at UCLA
From April 3-7, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) hosted their annual “Palestine Liberation Week,” also known as “Israeli Apartheid Week.”

SJP is a campus group supported by the radical American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), an anti-Israel organization many of whose members support Hamas. Each spring, SJP leads a propaganda campaign on UCLA’s Bruin Walk, spreading misinformation about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This year, this campaign was held during the Jewish holiday of Passover. Many practicing Jews went home for the holidays and could not attend events that use electricity, this includes microphones, lights, and screens.

SJP’s decision to host “Palestine Liberation Week” at the beginning of Passover meant that Jewish students did not have an opportunity to counter their propaganda. It is difficult to believe that this was not a deliberate move.

This year, SJP set up a mock “apartheid wall” on Bruin Walk with attention-grabbing statistics and buzzwords. While SJP claims to advocate for Palestinian human rights, a closer examination of the claims on the “apartheid wall” reveals the group is more concerned with vilifying Israel.
Iranian NGO to Ohio: Stop Funding Oberlin Over Prof's Massacre Cover-Up
A broad-based coalition of Iranian-Americans and human rights activists met with Ohio state lawmakers in Columbus in late April, requesting they take punitive action against Oberlin College for employing a pro-Iranian regime religious studies professor accused of covering up the mass murder of 5,000 political prisoners in his home country.

Lawdan Bazargan, the director of the Alliance Against Islamic Regime of Iran Apologists (AAIRA), told The Jerusalem Post that her organization wants the state of Ohio "to withhold state and federal funding from Oberlin College" until Prof. Mohammad Jafar Mahallati is dismissed from his position.

London-based human rights NGO Amnesty International has alleged in two separate reports (2018 and 2023) that the scandal-plagued professor of religion Mahallati played a key role in crimes against humanity that unfolded in Iran's vast penal colony system in 1988. Crimes against Humanity

Hamid Charkhkar, a professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a member of AAIRA, told the Post that "in our recent visit to the Ohio State House and talking with Ohio's political leadership, I underscored the critical role of high-quality education in shaping our state's future. The presence of individuals like Mahallati, who carry a dark and troubling past, in our academic institutions, could seriously compromise the integrity and caliber of education in Ohio's colleges. There's a substantial body of evidence highlighting his involvement in grave human rights violations, which raises serious questions about his continued employment as an educator. It's a situation that could potentially expose our students to harmful influences."

He added that, "together with a dedicated group of activists, we have raised our voices, not just in the political arena, but also through peaceful protests on the college campus. We are resolutely asking the college leadership to heed our calls for accountability. My goal as a professor in an Ohio university is to ensure that our educational institutions remain spaces of safety, trust, and high ethical standards."

Benjamin Baird, a Columbus native and project director at the Middle East Forum, told the Post that "the victims' families have held protests around the world, sparked a congressional inquiry, and mobilized students, academics, and media to pressure Oberlin College to properly investigate Mahallati. Despite these activities, Oberlin administrators refuse to even open a dialogue with these grieving families."

What’s a Mitzvah? The New York Times Gets It Wrong
A New York Times article reports about a French book, newly translated into English, called “The Postcard,” by Anne Berest.

The Times reports: “Berest calls ‘The Postcard” her ‘mitzvah.’ ‘In Hebrew, it means something you do for your community. I didn’t care whether it would be a hit. I had done what I had to do.’”

A mitzvah means a commandment. Sure, some people might be motivated to fulfill commandments out of a sense of communal obligation or from a desire to be of service to their fellow community members. And among the 613 commandments are some that command people to do things for their community. But other mitzvot seem to be primarily about serving God, not the community. And some mitzvot are about doing things for the rest of the world, beyond “your community.” Berest’s translation is imprecise to the point of inaccuracy, and the Times does readers a disservice by passing it along unchecked.

Berest and the Times certainly aren’t alone in using the word mitzvah or the plural mitzvot in this broader, more general sense of a good deed. The March-April issue of Harvard Magazine carries a column by the university’s president, Lawrence Bacow, headlined “Mitzvot,” which reports that during a visit to Londorf, Germany, Bacow challenged his audience “to do good deeds, or mitzvot in Hebrew.” Hebrew actually has different words for good deeds—ma’asim tovim.

The Times treatment matches a larger pattern at the paper of clumsiness when it comes to matters of Jewish literacy. The article about the Berest book suffers from it elsewhere when it mentions that Berest “had never attended service at a synagogue when she started the investigation that led to ‘The Postcard.’” The idiomatic way to say that would be to say that someone had never attended services or to say that someone had never attended a service. “Never attended service,” sounds like someone trying to figure out a Jewish way to say “never attended Mass.”
BBC’s Bateman promotes Abu Akleh anniversary publicity
Bateman does not clarify to readers that the US had already conducted an investigation or that, as noted in a BBC report at the time, Israel would be likely to refuse any request to interrogate soldiers or allow access to classified information by a foreign country. Instead he uncritically promotes more of his interviewee’s talking points, including unevidenced claims of “impunity” and “double standards”:
“The family has welcomed the US investigation but says the government has not done enough given Ms Abu Aqla was an American citizen.

“We didn’t receive the support we were expecting and anticipated to receive from them,” said Mr Abu Aqla.

“It’s not easy trying to get justice when it’s Israel. Unfortunately, they enjoy this impunity and maybe this is the time to end this impunity and the double standards exercised on Israel,” he said.

“Every time we see an Israeli soldier, we believe this is the one who killed Shireen,” he added.”

Bateman’s article also includes an account of Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral which comes nowhere near to telling the whole story:
“The following days saw the biggest crowds in Jerusalem for a Palestinian funeral in decades, and in scenes condemned internationally, Israeli border police beat and kicked coffin-bearers and used stun grenades to push back mourners.”

Bateman’s article does not provide any new information to readers whatsoever. It clearly represents nothing more than BBC collaboration with the family’s use of the anniversary of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death to gain publicity for their version of events and demands for investigations by various parties.
Haaretz’s Blood Libel Israelis Unite Around Killing Children
Thus, Klein’s outrageous charge that Israel targeted children (as opposed to their terrorist father) and rejoiced in their deaths is a completely unfounded lie.

Civilian deaths, including those of children, are an inevitable, tragic and legal outcome of airstrikes against legitimate military targets around the world. According to Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

Acting in accordance with the international law concept of proportionality, or weighing the military benefit against the price in civilian casualties, the Israeli military has repeatedly cancelled attacks targeting terror operatives in order to avoid killing children and other civilians.

In last week’s Operation Shield and Arrow, Israel’s record in minimizing civilian casualties far surpassed those of other countries. Writing about civilian casualties in asymmetric warfare, Col. Richard Kemp reported: “The UN estimate that there has been an average three-to one ratio of civilian to combatant deaths in such conflicts worldwide.” According to Israeli figures, 17* out of the 33 fatalities in the Gaza Strip were combatants, and four of the civilians deaths were caused by misfired Palestinian rockets. Thus, out of 29 total fatalities caused by Israeli fire, 12 were civilians, yielding an impressive combatant to civilian ratio of 1.42 : 1.

By holding Israel to a higher standard than other nations on civilian deaths, Klein takes a second page out of the antisemites’ dog-eared guide book. Or as IHRA puts it: “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

Future of Guardian cartoonist who drew 'antisemitic' cartoon hangs in the balance
The future of the Guardian newspaper cartoonist behind the allegedly “antisemitic” image of outgoing BBC chairman Richard Sharp is in the balance after a crunch meeting with the Board of Deputies.

Board president Marie van der Zyl met the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner to discuss Martin Rowson’s cartoon, which depicted Sharp with “outsized, grotesque” characteristics that echoed traditional Jewish stereotypes.

Viner spent more than an hour with Van der Zyl on Monday to try to allay the Jewish communities’ concerns over the decision to publish the image. They also agreed to a follow-up meeting at a later date.

In a statement, the Board said: “We had a positive and constructive meeting with The Guardian and will be meeting them again in a month for a follow-up discussion.” The Guardian declined to comment.

The cartoon was published after Sharp stood down from the BBC last month after an investigation found he had failed to disclose his involvement in securing an £800,000 loan for the then-prime minister Boris Johnson who appointed him.

After complaints about the contents of the image, which also included a pig’s head, a depiction of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as a puppet and Johnson sitting on a pile of money, the left-wing newspaper removed the drawing from its website and apologised to the Jewish community and Sharp. Rowson, who works for the paper as a freelancer, also apologised for not taking enough care over the cartoon.
Who’s Rewriting History, Ayman?
Another day, another example of Ayman Mohyeldin’s projection.

On May 13, the MSNBC host brought on Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib to talk about her “Nakba” event at the U.S. Capitol, which, after being originally shut down by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was held thanks to an intervention by Senator Bernie Sanders. The “Nakba,” or the “catastrophe,” refers to the day of the State of Israel’s establishment on May 15, 1948, which we are supposed to believe was and remains the cause of the Palestinian refugee situation and the lack of a Palestinian Arab state to this day.

Ayman, referencing Speaker McCarthy’s acts, told his audience: “You see, Republicans are not only on a mission to rewrite and erase our own American history, it seems now they want to do the same with the history of people outside of the United States.”

“The height of irony” would be an understatement, given that the “Nakba” narrative, as presented by Ayman and Tlaib, is one of rewriting a war of aggression launched on the nascent Jewish state into a story in which the aggressors are the victims.

Israel’s War of Independence began even before the State of Israel was declared in May 1948. Within hours of the United Nations voting to recommend partition in November 1947 – which would have seen the creation of both Jewish and Arab states – Palestinian Arabs began launching attacks on the Jewish community. While the Palestinian Jewish community had supported the partition plan, the Palestinian Arabs rejected it. Jamal Husseini, a relative of the Nazi collaborator Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini and leader in the Arab Higher Committee (which represented Palestinian Arabs in UN meetings), had promised, in reaction to the proposed partition plan, that “the blood will flow like rivers in the Middle East.” As a February 1948 report of the UN Palestine Commission documented, “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the [Partition Plan] resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged there.” Between the adoption of the partition resolution and the declaration of Israel’s independence, Jewish villages remained under constant attack by Arab forces. Jewish convoys and villagers were massacred, like in Kfar Etzion, where Arab forces killed over a hundred.

Some 38% of European Jews consider leaving due to antisemitisim
"The Dutch government is spearheading a crucial investigation into the fate of Jewish property looted during the Holocaust. However, a disheartening reality emerges as a staggering 80 cities, towns and villages in the Netherlands decline to participate in this vital mission," according to Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs.

"Some claim there are no remaining Jewish residents in their communities, while others assert that the property has already been returned, despite conflicting information. This concerning trend reflects a growing wave of antisemitism in the Netherlands, a deeply rooted issue that traces back to the Crusades in the Middle Ages and has persisted through the critical race theory era.

"Today, this pernicious virus continues to thrive under the guise of anti-Zionism, posing a significant threat to societal harmony."

With these words, Jacobs, the chief rabbi of the Netherlands, delivered a poignant address Tuesday during the inaugural session of the two-day annual conference organized by the Association of Jewish Organizations in Europe (EJA).

Held this year in the vibrant city of Porto, Portugal, in collaboration with the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish community of Porto, and the EMIH - Association of United Hungarian Jewish Congregations, the conference has drawn together some 150 influential leaders representing Jewish communities and organizations from across Europe.
Diaspora minister says 48% rise in violent antisemitic incidents since 2022
The Diaspora Affairs Ministry revealed on Monday, that antisemitic incidents worldwide rose by 22% in 2023, compared to the previous year and that there was a 48% increase in those events being violent.

The ministry also said that 68% of the antisemitic discourse on social media is what it classified as "new antisemitism," a demonization and delegitimization of Israel.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli who was asked to appear before the Knesset Committee for Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Affairs to review the ministry's budget spending, said his office responds to every antisemitic incident in the world.

"Only extreme pressure brings results and the new antisemitism is the delegitimizing of Israel," Chikli said. " We work with the Foreign Ministry to bring nations around the world to adopt the wider definition of antisemitism outlined by IHRA and conduct studies, launch campaigns to negate the work of anti-Israel groups," he said.

"During Operation Shield and Arrow, we opened a command and control center to provide the international press with information. We briefed 50 representatives of European media outlets and set up an office to document and produce materials on the events in Sderot and another to provide Arab language information," he said.

Avi Cohen-Scali, the ministry's director general told the committee that his office allots $250,000 to physical protection for Jews in Ukraine and 12 million shekel, to bolstering Jewish communities in that country.
Musk attacks ADL for saying his anti-Soros tweets will embolden antisemites
Hours after tweeting that George Soros “hates humanity,” drawing rebuke from Israel’s Foreign Ministry and many others, US billionaire Elon Musk bashed the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), appearing to draw praise from a series of white supremacist accounts on Twitter, which he owns.

On Tuesday afternoon, Musk tweeted: “ADL should just drop the ‘A,’” meaning that the group, which is the most prominent antisemitism watchdog in the United States, should instead be named the “Defamation League.”

Musk’s tweet came after ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt criticized Musk’s remarks about Soros, marking the latest chapter in the roller-coaster relationship between the ADL and the Twitter CEO. When Musk was poised to buy the social media platform, Greenblatt praised him. But in the months since that acquisition, the ADL has been increasingly critical of Musk, accusing him of taking a lax attitude toward policing hate speech.

When asked for a response, the ADL pointed to Greenblatt’s statement from earlier in the day, in which he took Musk to task for his Soros remarks, including a tweet in which Musk compared the progressive megadonor and Holocaust survivor to a comic book villain.

Greenblatt tweeted that Musk’s comments “will embolden extremists who already contrive anti-Jewish conspiracies and have tried to attack Soros and Jewish communities as a result.”
IBM buys Israeli cybertech startup to automate cloud data protection management
US tech giant IBM has acquired Israeli cyber startup Polar Security, a developer of an automated data security platform to track and protect sensitive data across hybrid cloud-based systems.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Estimates in the Hebrew press put the price tag at $60 million.

The Tel Aviv-based startup has built a so-called data security posture management (DSPM) platform, an emerging cybersecurity technology that tracks where sensitive data is stored, who has access to it, and how it’s used, and detects potential data vulnerabilities and compliance violations. It creates reports with the most pressing security risks and compliance violations and provides an analysis of the underlying causes and practical recommendations to address them.

As part of the deal, IBM plans to integrate Polar Security’s DSPM technology within its Guardium family of data security products developed in Israel. Polar Security’s workforce of about 20 employees will be joining Israel-founded Guardium, which IBM bought in 2009.

Polar Security was founded in 2021 by cybertech veteran Dov Yoran, chairman; Guy Shanny, CEO, who founded, built and sold a web vulnerability research and hosting company at age 14; and Roey Yaacovi, CTO, recipient of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Award for Best Technological Operational Project Achievement. In 2022, the startup raised $8.5 million in a seed financing round led by Glilot Capital Partners with the participation of IBI Tech Fund and angel investors including co-founder & CEO of Cloud Security Alliance Jim Reavis.
Top English Soccer Team Arsenal Celebrates New Jewish Fan Club With Party at Home Stadium
The English Premier League soccer team Arsenal celebrated its new official club for Jewish supporters, called Jewish Gooners, with a party at Emirates Stadium on Sunday ahead of the team’s game against Brighton & Hove Albion.

A banner for Jewish Gooners, which features a Star of David, was also unveiled inside the stadium for the first time, according to Arsenal. The celebration was attended by roughly 70 Arsenal supporters, legendary former Arsenal player Perry Groves and Lord John Mann, the British government’s independent advisor on antisemitism.

Arsenal announced the launch of Jewish Gooners in April as a method to combat antisemitism, and also to provide an outlet for Jewish Arsenal supporters to express and celebrate their cultural identity.

“A group of us have been going to games together for years,” said Jewish Gooners committee member Barry Frankfurt, as cited on the Arsenal website. He added that the soccer team “has always been a community for us and we’ve always felt welcome here. We’ve met people from different backgrounds that we’d never meet otherwise in life thanks to going to Arsenal, home and away.

“We decided it would be fantastic to merge some areas of our Jewish heritage and our love for the club and we’re excited to work together with Arsenal to celebrate our identity. It was brilliant to bring so many of us together to officially launch our group. It was a proud moment when we saw our banner inside the Emirates for the first time.”
Chabad rabbis from 40 countries convene for conference in Morocco
The largest rabbinic gathering in the Middle East, excluding Israel, began in Morocco on May 16, with about 60 Chabad rabbis arriving from some 40 countries across Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the Chassidic movement stated. Many of their families joined them for an expected total of 200 people.

The three-day conference aims to strengthen “Jewish life, awareness and practice in Muslim-majority countries, as well as those with relatively small Jewish populations, and celebrates the renaissance of Jewish life in these regions,” according to a release. It is taking place in Fez, once home to physician and scholar Maimonides.

Per Chabad, Serge Bardugo, president of Morocco’s Jewish communities, is to be present at the event. Rabbi David Banon, of Montreal and previously of Casablanca, recited the traditional blessing upon seeing a king in front of King of Morocco Mohammed VI.

“Rabbis coming together in a Muslim country for the purpose of strengthening Jewish life is an important indication of the future of Jewish life in the region,” said Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, director of Chabad of Turkey in Istanbul and chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson—first sent emissaries, or shluchim, to Morocco in 1950.
Yeshiva students tour Bahrain in interfaith visit
40 Yeshiva students from the U.S in Israel tour Bahrain in interfaith visit

The Spy Who Changed The Face Of The Middle East
Fifty-Eight years have passed since he was executed, but Eli Cohen is still considered by the defense establishment as the greatest spy in Israeli history.

Cohen operated behind enemy lines – establishing close ties with the top Syrian political and military leadership – from 1962 until he was hanged.

Cohen’s transmissions were instrumental in helping the IDF prepare for the 1967 war with Syria. He provided information about the Syrian Air Force and military positions on the Golan. Mossad chief Meir Amit said: “Eli succeeded far beyond the capabilities of most other men.”

According to “A,” Cohen used to send daily messages always at the same time of the day – 8:30 a.m. Cohen, known in MI by the number 566, wrote in encrypted French and sent his messages via a tiny radio transmitter.

With that message, Israel’s leaders knew what Eli Cohen would face.

Cohen was tortured and convicted by a military tribunal that had denied him a lawyer. Despite many appeals, including from Pope Paul VI and the governments of France, Belgium, and Canada, the Syrian government refused to commute the death sentence. Eli Cohen was executed in Martyrs’ Square, Damascus, in May 1965 before some 10,000 spectators and a TV audience.

Although the Six-Day War wouldn’t happen for another two years, Eli Cohen was one of the keys to Israel’s victory over Syria in 1967. There is no question that the intelligence that he sent was instrumental in allowing Israel to quickly and effectively defeat the Syrians and gain the Golan Heights. All they had to do was target the trees.

His actions were a big part of Israel’s overwhelming victory in the Six-Day War and capturing the Golan Heights. Syria could no longer use the high ground of the Golan as a staging ground to send rockets into northern Israel. He saved a major part of Israel’s already low drinking water, and his transmissions saved many people’s lives. He changed the face of the Middle East. After that war, the Israeli military was feared, possibly preventing other major wars.
Tel Aviv ANU–Museum of the Jewish People buys Codex Sassoon for $33.5 million
First, there was the possibility that Renaissance man par excellence Leonardo da Vinci was Jewish. Now, the oldest near-complete Hebrew Bible, Codex Sassoon, which dates to around the year 900, beat da Vinci’s Codex Leicester as the most expensive book ever sold at auction.

Business magnate Bill Gates bought the latter for $30.8 million in 1994.

On May 17, Tel Aviv’s ANU–Museum of the Jewish People bought Codex Sassoon for $33.5 million at Sotheby’s auction house in New York. (Although the Hebrew volume is a higher price, the da Vinci manuscript is pricier when adjusted for inflation; with the buyer’s premium, a charge in addition to the hammer price, the sale totaled $38.1 million.)

Alfred H. Moses, a former U.S. ambassador to Romania and active member of the Georgetown Jewish community, and his family purchased the Hebrew manuscript on behalf of the American Friends of ANU and gifted it to the museum, according to a press release from the auction house. Moses is chair of the museum’s international board of governors.

“The hammer fell after a four-minute bidding battle between two determined bidders,” Sotheby’s stated.

Michelle Margolis, librarian for Jewish studies at Columbia University and president of the Association of Jewish Libraries, told JNS that when the manuscript first came up for auction, many assumed it would “disappear into private hands, which is what happened to the Luzzatto Mahzor.”

“It was easy for keyboard warriors to say ‘this should go to a museum,’ but for a donor to actually lay out that kind of money to make it happen? That—that is the best possible outcome from the point of view of those of us in the rare book and manuscript world,” she said. “No institution has that kind of flexible funding. I’m so thrilled to see this happen.”
2,000-year-old ledger found in City of David points to widespread 2nd Temple literacy
A broken chalkstone inscribed with seven rows of mundane text sheds new light on who could read and write 2,000 years ago in ancient Jerusalem. Discovered during excavations of the City of David’s Pilgrimage Path, the partial inscription appears to be a merchant’s accounting record that lists names, measures and numbers.

The thought-provoking glimpse at ancient Jerusalem daily life was published in the recent edition of the journal ‘Atiqot by Nahshon Szanton, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s excavation director, with Bar Ilan University epigrapher Prof. Esther Eshel.

“The more we find inscriptions from daily life — versus monumental, state-sponsored texts — the more I think that there were many who knew to read and write during this period, especially simple instructions such as found in this inscription,” Eshel told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

The few words were carved in a simple cursive script using a sharp tool such as a nail into a flat chalkstone slab that was likely taken from an ossuary lid. It is written in a recognized formulaic pattern for similar ledgers. For example, one of the more complete lines includes the final letters of the name “Shimon” — a popular Second Temple name — followed by the Hebrew letter mem, which stands for a measure or economic value.

In other legible lines are letters or symbols representing numbers and measures, including mem, an abbreviation of ma’ot (Hebrew for “money”), and the letter resh, an abbreviation of reva’im (Hebrew for “quarters”).

“It’s an example that doesn’t make you say wow,” archaeologist Szanton told The Times of Israel. “But its worth is precisely in its simplicity. It’s a minute taken from daily life. There’s no monument to what happened on a day-to-day basis.”

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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