August 15, 2022

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01/03 Links Pt2: Palestine Action: How and why they have crossed the line into antisemitism; UN envoy goes after Harry Potter star Emma Watson for Palestinian solidarity post

From Ian:

Palestine Action: How and why they have crossed the line into antisemitism.

Finally — the blood libel, “Israel’s love for blood”
This is the clincher, which makes it pretty clear that this is no normal “activism”. Which other countries, during protests, have been accused of having a “love for blood”? I challenge you to Google it, the answer is: none (except for Israel of course)

This is vehemence on a scale that goes far beyond normal hatred. It is the kind of hatred whipped up against the Jews by Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s.

The last video I discuss is the one featuring Sarah Wilkinson, talking about why she is an activist against Elbit. In her words, Israel doesn’t mearly cause deaths during a war with a determined enemy, it “slaughters Palstinian civillians”

Behind the doors of an innocuous looking office door in Shenstone, the evil Zionists design “some of the most hidious weapons in the world”, which are “responsible for the death of hundreds of thoudanss of men women and children”

The number of Palestinian “people” Israel has “slaughtered” seems astronomical — even by the standards of its neighbours, who do far worse. Then comes the accusation that Palestinians are used as “Guinea pigs”, conjuring up images of animals in cages, having goodness knowns what awful experiments performed on them .

As a person, whose identity as a Jew is determined by his long Jewish ancestry (many of whom were murdered in Nazi death camps), and who grew up in Northern Israel, where Jewsish nuses regularly work alongside doctors, videos such as these don’t make me angry – they make me frightened, very frightened, because if these people believe that we are as evil as the worst Nazis (or possibly even more so), then what is to stop them trying to harm or even kill us in order to support a “just cause”?

I my opinion, had Labour got into power, with much of the party membership (and many officials too) apparently believing these sorts of things about Israel, it is not inconceivable that they would have moved to outlaw anyone with any connection to Israel or anyone perceived as a “Zionist” (most British Jews would fall under this category)

I hope to have show n that the direct-action group Palestine Action are motivated by the oldest hatred in the world. Their statements are replete with echoes of the blood libel, which originated here in England in 1144 (in Norwich), where 18 Jewish leaders where executed as a consequence. The total expulsion of English Jews followed shortly after.

Palestine Action should not be regarded as a normal activist group, but rather they should be regarded as were Combat 18 — a British neo Nazi group from the 1990’s. And their antisemitism should be made clear to the public.

Jonathan S. Tobin: What is the greatest threat to Jews?

These groups are prepared to mobilize their supporters to march on behalf of an issue that is, for all of the hyperbolic and largely dishonest rhetoric expended on its behalf, tangential to Jewish issues. Yet there is little sign that they will be heading to the streets to protest another bout of Iran appeasement from the Democrats.

In analyzing this issue, we need to discount President Joe Biden’s transparently false attempts to compare voter ID laws to “Jim Crow” or his claim that this presents the “greatest threat to our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War.” It’s a statement that makes one wonder whether even a president as prone to hyperbole as Biden actually knows what the word means.

Instead, this points us toward something that ought to be at the top of any theoretical end-of-year list of top 10 mistakes that Jewish organizations make.

I don’t doubt that many of the constituents and donors of the JCPA, the ADL and the host of other liberal Jewish groups enlisted to fight for the president’s priorities will applaud the willingness of these organizations to do so. In a time when politics now fills the role religion used to play in most people’s lives, partisanship is second nature, and most Jews are Democrats.

Many if not most American Jews consider issues which are not particular to Jewish interests to be the most important priorities. That notwithstanding, those organizations that exist to defend specifically Jewish interests, whether it is to combat antisemitism or to speak up on behalf of Jewish security, should nonetheless prioritize those topics. If they don’t, then they’ve essentially discarded their main responsibilities and have become merely Jewish auxiliaries for non-Jewish interests.

So, if Jewish groups are going to treat the Democrats’ partisan claims about voting to be (as Harris would have it) the top issue, while either running interference for Biden’s Iran appeasement plans or treating it as an issue of lesser importance, then that matters a great deal. If that’s the direction they are headed in, and there’s little reason to doubt it, then they might as well drop the pretense that they are defending Jewish interests.

Lapid: 2022 will see intense effort to paint Israel as apartheid state

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned on Monday that Israel will face intense campaigns to label it an apartheid state in 2022.

“We think that in the coming year, there will be debate that is unprecedented in its venom and in its radioactivity around the words ‘Israel as an apartheid state,’” Lapid said during a Zoom briefing with Israeli journalists.

“In 2022, it will be a tangible threat,” he predicted.

Lapid pointed at Palestinian campaigns against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the UN Human Rights Council’s establishment of a permanent “Commission of Inquiry” — the most potent tool at the council’s disposal — into Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, including Operation Guardian of the Walls in May 2021.

“The commission of inquiry into Guardian of the Walls is unprecedented because it doesn’t have a time limit, it doesn’t have a limit of scope, and it is well-funded with many people working on it.,” Israel’s top diplomat emphasized.

Lapid pointed out that the COI has a budget of $5.5 million with 18 staffers. By contrast, the COI looking into the Syrian Civil War has an annual budget of about $2.5 million and 12 staffers.

“It shows where it is heading,” he said, stressing that the campaign by the Palestinian Authority and anti-Israel organizations could affect Israel’s ability to participate in international cultural and sporting events, among other challenges.

Lapid called the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state “a despicable lie.”

UN envoy goes after Harry Potter star Emma Watson for Palestinian solidarity post

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan goes after Harry Potter star Emma Watson who uploaded a post in solidarity with the Palestinians on Instagram.

Late last night, Watson reposted a picture from a rally of pro-Palestinian activists with the phrase “solidarity is a verb” plastered in the middle of them. In the caption, Watson included a quote from British activist Sara Ahmed who said, “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.”

In response, Erdan tweets, “Fiction may work in Harry Potter but it does not work in reality. If it did, the magic used in the wizarding world could eliminate the evils of Hamas (which oppresses women & seeks the annihilation of Israel) and the PA (which supports terror). I would be in favor of that!”

The post came less than a week after Defense Minister Benny Gantz hosted PA President Mahmoud Abbas in his home.

Meta Story AFP’s Silence, Lack of Transparency on Palestinian Praise for Murderers

AFP failed to clarify that the attacks includes those that specifically target civilians. Moreover, the news agency neglected to point out that censored posts, such as those about Maydan cited above, frequently glorify the “martyrs” as heroes and role models to be emulated.

While carefully avoiding substantive examples, AFP sought to bolster the credibility of Sada Social and its allies by citing Human Rights Watch. AFP reports:
Allegations of pro-Israeli bias at Facebook have simmered for years and were renewed in October when Human Rights Watch, a vocal Israel critic, said the platform had “suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine“.

But as previously reported at CAMERA UK, HRW’s findings on the supposed suppression of Palestinian political content relies heavily on allegations from the very same two organizations seeking to whitewash and safeguard the dissemination of murderous incitement via Facebook: 7amleh and Sada Social.

On the other side, AFP reported that Meta
denied accusations of bias, saying its community standards prohibit violence, terrorism, hate and large-scale criminal activity, as well as posts supporting those subjects.

Israeli officials have also accused various social media platforms, including Facebook, of failing to curb anti-Semitism.

But by failing to provide examples similar to any of the actual content detailed above, AFP diminished the issue into an unresolved he said/she said argument, even as it more heavily favored the “Palestinian content is being suppressed” side.

“Silencing the voice” is a heading within AFP’s article, echoing advocates’ efforts to spin Meta’s crackdown on antisemitic incitement glorifying the killing of civilians into a free speech issue.

Silencing the voice of Palestinian social media posts promoting murder, AFP’s article suffers from an extreme lack of transparency, giving new meaning to meta reporting.

BBC’s Bateman revisits May 2021 war in one-sided account

The January 1st 2022 edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ was described as bringing listeners “stories of loss, recovery and of attempts to rebuild from the US, Gaza, India, and Fiji”.

“There was plenty of destruction in 2021 that did not come from nature, war continuing to take its toll in many parts of the world. Ethiopia and Yemen were perhaps the worst examples, but there were also small-scale conflicts, like the insurgency in Myanmar. Then there were the conflicts which never really went away, like that between Israel and the Palestinians. An exchange of rocket fire with Gaza back in May, along with Israeli airstrikes, left more than two hundred dead, the overwhelming majority on the Palestinian side. When Tom Bateman went to Gaza, he met a woman trying to restart her life as a sculptor.”

That clumsily worded and of course inaccurate suggestion that rocket fire was ‘exchanged’ between Israel and the Gaza Strip also appeared in the introduction from presenter Kate Adie (from 06:26 here). [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]

Adie: “And then there are conflicts which never really went away, like that between Israel and the Palestinians. An exchange of rocket fire with Gaza back in May, along with Israeli airstrikes, left more than 200 people dead, the overwhelming majority on the Palestinian side. That said, this didn’t lead to the full-blown return to war which some predicted. A ceasefire was reached and, as always, ordinary civilians were left trying to rebuild their lives from the ruins left behind. When Tom Bateman went to Gaza he met a woman who has managed to pick up and continue her work as a sculptor.”

Bateman’s item showcases a young woman whose political sand sculptures have also been promoted by outlets such as the Hamas linked MEMO and Electronic Intifada.

Bateman: “When Rana al-Ramlawi was born, so was a era of hope. She was a baby in Gaza in the years after the Oslo Accords were signed in the 90s. In spite of surging violence, international hopes were pinned on a future two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. As Rana’s mother held her newborn daughter, the family saw the first glimmers of self-governance for Palestinians. Israel withdrew troops from some parts of the occupied territories in exchange for promises of security. As Rana grew, so did some optimism for the years ahead. But in Gaza, the future hasn’t happened yet.”

As has been noted here in the past, the Oslo Accords in fact made no mention of the two-state solution and did not specify a Palestinian state. Tom Bateman made no effort to remind listeners of the Palestinian terrorism that put an end to the Oslo Accords initiated “era of hope”.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Sanitizes Semen-smuggling Operation By Jailed Palestinian Terrorists

A January 1 article by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News), published under the headline “The Parents Smuggling Semen Out of Prisons and Across Borders to Bring Precious Babies Into the World,” reads like a romantic thriller. The 1,200-word piece by correspondents Tom Joyner and Fouad AbuGhosh depicts “a growing number of Palestinian families” that are purportedly “putting their lives on the line to bring new life into the world.”

Case in point:
Farhana and Hossam were married in late 2008, young and in love. Only three months later, Hossam was arrested by Israeli forces during the Israel-Gaza war, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. With the prospect of a long separation, they hatched a plan to secretly transport Hossam’s sperm to a clinic in Gaza…. From there, a doctor could fertili[z]e one of Farhana’s eggs and implant the embryo to grow their dream baby.”

Except that readers are not told why Farhana Al Attar’s “beloved husband” Hossam is serving jail time in Israel, which, in turn, prompted the sperm-smuggling operation. Indeed, the article omits that Hossam is a member of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, designated as a terror group by numerous Western countries, including Australia.

That Hamas actively encourages and even subsidizes the smuggling scheme is likewise not made clear. In fact, the terror group is only described once in the entire piece — as “the militant group that controls Gaza.”

According to Arab sources, the first Palestinian to conjure up a plan to smuggle sperm out of an Israeli jail was Abbas al-Sayed, the Hamas member behind the 2002 suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in the Israeli city of Netanya and the 2001 Sharon Mall terror attack, which together killed 35 Israelis and injured hundreds more. After Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and former PLO leader Yasser Arafat reportedly endorsed the plot, Hamas’ Ammar al-Zein in 2012 apparently became the first Palestinian to father a child from behind bars.

“The issue has been discussed for many years by the top leaders of the prisoners, as well as by Islamic scholars, and there was correspondence with sheikhs and doctors,” a so-called expert this month recounted to the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV channel.

Although data is scant, Palestinians say that over 100 children have been born to terrorists incarcerated in Israel over the past decade.

Hamas, which recently described these offspring as “freedom ambassadors,” sponsors IVF treatments for Gazans at locations like the Al-Basma clinic that is cited in the ABC News piece.

Saint and Sinner Guardian erases Desmond Tutu’s dark side

In the influential 2018 book ‘The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure’, co-authors Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that our era’s increased polarisation stems in large measure from three great untruths. One of these is “The Untruth of Us Versus Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people”.

The more we’re trained, they argue, to view all political problems through such a moral binary, the less likely we are to try to find common political ground with, and common humanity in, our adversaries – a habit of mind valuing rhetorical restraint over hyperbole, solutions over self-righteousness.

Nowhere has the increasing encroachment of the ‘good vs. evil’ paradigm been more evident than in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some journalists have in fact openly criticized those in the media who insist on balance, objectivity and truth when reporting from the region, arguing instead for outright pro-Palestinian advocacy. The problem with this advocacy journalism is not only that it necessarily skews coverage in favor of the Palestinians, but that, in its Manichean, oppressed-oppressor framing, it denies Palestinians agency whilst robbing Israelis – and Jews qua Jews – of their very humanity.

This can take many otherwise sober, non-racist journalists to dark places. Whilst most of the biased foreign reporters covering the conflict don’t actively peddle antisemitic tropes, many simply turn a blind eye to, or rationalise, even the most hardcore expressions of racist sentiments towards Jews promoted by Palestinians and their supporters.

This brings us to the Guardian’s Chris McGreal, a reporter we’ve covered extensively. Though we can never know what’s inside McGreal’s heart, he certainly has used language evoking antisemitic ideas, and is one of the few Guardian journalists singled out by the CST in one of their annual reports on antisemitic rhetoric in Britain.


Throughout the month of December 2021, twenty-three written or filmed reports relating to Israel and/or the Palestinians appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page, some of which were also published on other pages and four of which were carried over from the previous month.

Two reports concerned terrorism:
Israeli PM vows to catch W Bank ambush killers (17/12/21 to 19/12/21) discussed here

West Bank ambush suspects captured, Israel says (19/12/21 to 21/12/21)

Four items – one of which was carried over from the previous month, related to regional security issues:
Iran nuclear programme: Threat of Israeli strike grows Yolande Knell (23/11/21 to 28/11/21 and 2/12/21 to 13/12/21)

Israel PM: Nuclear talks must end over Iran ‘blackmail’ tactics (2/12/21 to 7/12/21)

Syria blames Israel for rare air strike on main port of Latakia (7/12/21 to 9/12/21)

Israeli Prime Minister Bennett in first trip to UAE as Iran threat looms (13/12/21 to 20/12/21)

The Complicated History of Jews in America

Writer Diane Cole, who reviewed James Traub’s new book about Judah Benjamin for the Wall Street Journal… argues that possessing slaves does not “jibe” with her understanding of Jewish tradition. Cole, however, fails to mention that possessing slaves also does not “jibe” with anyone’s understanding of Christian tradition.

You can certainly condemn someone for owning slaves, but to single out Jews while disregarding the centuries of non-Jews who owned slaves is unfortunately antisemitic.

In the ancient world, virtually everyone owned slaves: Romans, Greeks, Persians, and yes, Jews. Slavery was as common to the ancient world as people waking up and going to work is today. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had slaves; they were nonetheless, in other respects, great men. We may not like it, we may find it morally repugnant, but it is fact, and it was a part of those societies and has continued for thousands of years, into the modern era.

The Torah planted the seeds in Jewish tradition that would ultimately engender the call for all people to be free.

Israel’s Elbit Systems Sells Defense and Airborne Electronic Warfare Systems to UAE

Elbit Systems announced Monday that its subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was awarded $53 million contract to supply Direct Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) and airborne Electronic Warfare (EW) systems for the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft of the UAE Air Force.

The contract will be performed over a five-year period.

Under the contract, Elbit Systems Emirates will deliver a multi-turret configuration of the J-MUSIC Self-Protection System together with Elbit’s Infra-Red-based Passive Airborne Warning System, providing high levels of protection and redundancy.

The company’s DIRCM systems have accumulated more than 350,000 operational flight hours to date, and are installed on board more than 25 types of aircraft. Elbit’s said it is witnessing “a growing demand” for this type of self-protection capabilities in light of the rising threat that aircraft face from shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

“Elbit Systems views the UAE as an important market and believes that this contract award further highlights the technological advantage and maturity of the solutions offered by the Company in this field,” it stated.

New York: Dozens Protest Antisemitism After Jews Attacked

Roughly 100 people gathered in New York City on Sunday to protest against antisemitism after two Jewish men were attacked last week.

Ilan Kaganovich and Blake Zavadsky, who was wearing an Israel Defense Forces sweatshirt, were assaulted in Brooklyn on December 26.

Zavadsky was punched and had coffee thrown on him, while the two 21-year-olds were asked why they were in the neighborhood.

One of the attackers “didn’t like it, told me I had five seconds to take [the sweater] off and then he called us dirty Jews and punched me in the face twice,” Zavadsky said, the Times of Israel (ToI) reported.

Following the incident, the two Jewish men reached out to New York City Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, who organized Sunday’s protest.

“This is what we ran from, this is why our families brought us to America, and this is exactly what we’re seeing happening in this country again,” said Vernikov.

The NYPD deemed the incident a hate crime and are working to identify the perpetrators.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul took to Twitter to condemn the attack, calling it “abhorrent and unacceptable.”

Israeli tech companies raised $25.6 billion in ‘extraordinary’ 2021 — report

Over the course of 2021, Israeli companies raised an “exceptional” $25.6 billion in private investments, shattering 2020’s previous record of $10.3 billion in funding,” according to data released Monday in the IVC-Meitar Israel Tech Review, a report published by the IVC Research Center and the law firm Meitar.

“This exceptional amount was 146% higher than the annual 2020 amount, mostly due to the large number of deals over $100 million that accounted for a 55% share [or $14 billion] of the total sum for 2021,” the report read. This is attributable to the growing number of unicorns.

The IVC-Meitar report said there were 773 recorded investment deals in 2021 including 77 mega-rounds of over $100 million in funding or more. The number of deals was up from 604 in 2020, with 20 mega-rounds.

In 2021, these rounds included investments in cybersecurity firm Claroty, which raised $400 million last month in a round led by Softbank, food tech startup Future Meat, which raised $347 million for cultured chicken, fintech startup Melio, which raised $250 million, global payroll and payment management platform Papaya Global with a round of $250 million, and internet of things (IoT) firm Wiliot, which raised $200 million in July, also with SoftBank.

According to the report, the last quarter of 2021 was the strongest, with investments totaling $8 billion in 206 transactions in the last three months of the year.

The number of deals reached an unprecedented level in 2021. According to IVC’s estimation, the projected deal number by the end of the year will reach 1,840, an over 33% gain over 2020. The research institute estimates the total number of deals after 24 months according to a methodology that takes into account information gaps.

Israel set to reopen Sunday to some vaccinated tourists; US and UK still out

The Health Ministry said Monday that it would allow fully vaccinated tourists from some countries to enter Israel starting Sunday, January 9, ending an almost-blanket ban on noncitizens arriving.

Foreign travelers who have not been vaccinated or recovered will still not be permitted to enter Israel. Visitors from countries on the Health Ministry’s “red” no-fly list are also still barred from coming.

Israel reopened to foreign tourism in early November, for the first time since the start of the pandemic, but at the end of that month once again banned foreign travelers in a bid to slow the entry of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

The Health Ministry on Monday recommended that Canada, France, South Africa, Hungary, Nigeria, Spain and Portugal be removed from its list of “red” countries. Travel to and from the United States and United Kingdom remains forbidden.

The newly shortened list is subject to approval by the Knesset Health Committee. There was no indication when the government was planning to lift the restrictions on the remaining nations.

Previously, Israel accepted vaccination certificates for Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or China’s Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines. Those vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V needed to undergo a serology test, which detects antibodies, to ensure they were protected. It was not immediately clear whether this policy would continue.

Adelson family donates $40 million to Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center

On the one-year anniversary of his death, the family of businessman and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson has announced a $40 million donation to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The donation, for the establishment of a cancer treatment center, was ordered by Adelson prior to his death.

The funds will allow construction to commence while additional sources of funding are obtained totaling approximately 700 million shekels (around $225 million).

At 43,000 square feet and 20 stories high, the Adelson National Center for Advanced Cancer Therapy will be constructed in two stages over a period of five years in the medical center’s southwest wing, situated on the intersection between Tel Aviv’s Weizmann and Dafna Streets. The tower will also be directly connected to a light-rail tunnel currently under construction in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area that will serve the thousands of daily visitors to the medical complex each day.

The tower will include basement parking floors, an underground wing for proton therapy, an oncology institute, as well as floors for inpatient units, clinics and other institutes. It will include full services for oncology patients, an oncology institute specializing in breast, lung and colon diseases, a medical imaging services support center, a molecular oncology institute, as well as a rehabilitation and support services center for oncology patients.

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