November 30, 2021

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01/24 Links Pt2: How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine; Saving the Syrian Jewish Brides; Why Do Western Gays Abandon Their Islamic Brothers?

From Ian:

NYTs: How Arafat Eluded Israel’s Assassination Machine
The choice facing Ivry on that day in October 1982 was only one example of a dilemma that has confronted many Israeli authorities over the course of the nation’s brief history — the violent and sometimes irreconcilable clash between the fundamental principles of democracy and a nation’s instinct to defend itself.

As a reporter in Israel, I have interviewed hundreds of people in its intelligence and defense establishments and studied thousands of classified documents that revealed a hidden history, surprising even in the context of Israel’s already fierce reputation. Many of the people I spoke to, in explaining why they did what they did, would simply cite the Babylonian Talmud: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians. But I also discovered a long history of profound — and often rancorous — internal debates over how the state should be preserved. Can a nation use the methods of terrorism? Can it harm innocent civilians in the process? What are the costs? Where is the line?

Increasingly, people want to talk. It was during a conversation in 2011 with a senior officer in a North Tel Aviv cafe that I heard for the first time about how Sharon had ordered that transport plane carrying Arafat to be shot down in 1982. He described everything in detail but set a stiff condition for publication of the story — another person had to describe the event on the record as well. Only by doing that could I publish the story. I went to see that person, knowing how difficult it would be to get him to speak about the episode. I approached in a roundabout manner before I touched on the relevant point. The man looked at me with his steely gaze, but then a softer and slightly sad expression came over his face. “For more than 30 years,” he said, “I have been waiting for someone to come and ask me about this story.”

No target thwarted, vexed and bedeviled the Israeli assassination apparatus more than Yasir Arafat, the charismatic P.L.O. leader who died in 2004. Sometimes he would simply escape, and sometimes the officials overseeing an effort would call it off because the target could not be confirmed or because the price in civilian lives was deemed too high. Time and again, the desire to kill Arafat placed Israel at the center of the ongoing debate about what a nation can and cannot do to survive. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

David Collier: Uni of Warwick – false accusations of aggressive & misogynistic behaviour

And it is important to remember that the issues mentioned are serious, but localised. After I released the last report, some press articles lost both perspective and context, painting Jewish existence at Warwick as an image of constant peril. Little could be further from the truth. As someone who constantly seeks context rather than headlines, and in support of Jewish students at Warwick, I need to address some of this here.

As a result of the exaggerated threat, Jewish students on Warwick released a statement that is worth reading. These students firmly believe that Warwick is one of the ‘greatest campuses’ in the UK for Jewish students. They remain proud of the growth and activity of the Warwick Jewish Israeli Society.

The facts speak in their favour. They firmly defeated the BDS motion, and passed a ‘Warwick Against Antisemitism’ motion in the students union, organising a ‘whole week celebrating the diversity in Israel and hosting holocaust survivors’. It was the BDS defeat that led to the small group of Faculty founding ‘Warwick for Justice in Palestine’ in the first place.

They accept they have issues with university support and individuals within the Student Union, but are insistent this does not reflect on their experience of Warwick as a whole. For them, most of the Faculty, and most of the student body are on-side and supportive. Anti-Israel activism is in general seen for what it is. Remember, only 10-15 students turned up for the event last Wednesday. On a campus that holds thousands.

This small group of activists are an issue, and whilst holding the greater picture in focus we must be allowed to deal with it. In context, and bearing in mind the real-life issues of the students. I am absolutely certain many of the Faculty on Warwick are appalled by the actions of the few. I am also certain over-exaggeration, confuses the issue, complicates life for all students on Warwick, and in many cases can be self -defeating.

What everyone deserves, is for the university to recognise the problem that does exist, and deal with it. The only question is – do they have the guts?

Abbas, May, Trump

Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Video Network the implications of Mahmoud Abbas ripping off his mask, as well as the pressure building for Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May to go and the May/Trump fiasco.

Winston Spencer Maccabee

The answer possibly lies in the fact that the Chanukah story is one of the few instances of a biblical battle waged against overwhelming odds. It is a tale, as the Jewish liturgy puts it, of rabbim be-yad me’atim, of the many falling into the hands of the few. As the film depicts, Churchill’s own cabinet contained those who, like Lord Halifax, were so frightened by the British plight that they urged negotiation and capitulation. Churchill’s choice of quotation from Maccabees is thus understood in the context of the verses earlier in the same chapter, where Judah’s own compatriots confess themselves daunted by their situation.

Who, when they saw the host coming to meet them, said unto Judas, How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong, seeing we are ready to faint with fasting all this day? Unto whom Judas answered, It is no hard matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few; and with the God of heaven it is all one, to deliver with a great multitude, or a small company: For the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from heaven. They come against us in much pride and iniquity to destroy us, and our wives and children, and to spoil us. But we fight for our lives and our laws. Wherefore the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: and as for you, be ye not afraid of them.

In 1960, a retired Churchill met with David Ben-Gurion, another leader who had overseen a war in which the many fell into the hands of the few. Churchill gave Ben-Gurion an essay that he had composed in 1931 titled “Moses: The Leader of a People.” In it Churchill appears to describe his own journey during the decade to follow.

“Every prophet,” he wrote, “has to come from civilization, but every prophet has to go into the wilderness. He must have a strong impression of a complex society and all that it has to give, and then he must serve periods of isolation and meditation. This is the process by which psychic dynamite is made.”

It was in the wilderness, Churchill wrote, that Moses encountered a vision of a burning bush, through which God, from the midst of an ethereal fire, informed him that “there is nothing that man cannot do, if he will it with enough resolution.” Churchill composed these words in 1932; eight years later, he returned from the political wilderness, with “psychic dynamite” that helped save civilization. Churchill, seeking a source of inspiration in England’s darkest hour, turned to the story behind the Jewish Festival of Lights. It is a fascinating footnote in the life of a man who wrote these words in 1920: “Some people like Jews and some do not, but no thoughtful man can doubt the fact that they are beyond all question the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world.”

Saving the Syrian Jewish Brides

After Syrian independence from France in 1946, the 1947 partition plan, and the 1948 founding of Israel, Jews in Syria faced terrible discrimination, including several deadly pogroms and riots. By the time of the Six-Day War in 1967, there were an estimated 5,000 Jews in Syria, down from 40,000-45,000 in 1948. Jews could not work for the government or banks, or own telephones or driver’s licenses. Jewish property and passports were seized; bank accounts were frozen; Jewish schools were closed; the Jewish cemetery in Damascus was paved over. A 1964 law restricted Jews from traveling more than five kilometers from their hometowns. Jews who were allowed to leave for medical or business reasons had to leave behind money and family members as collateral.

The three largest Jewish communities, in Damascus, Aleppo, and Kamishli, were placed under house arrest for eight months following the Six-Day War. Jews began escaping in secret, sometimes with help from abroad, even though the penalty for attempting to escape or helping someone to escape was either imprisonment with hard labor or death, and any family members left behind could be imprisoned. Most of those who escaped were young single men. . . . As a result, by 1977, there were 500 unmarried Jewish women in their late teens and early twenties who had no marriage prospects within the Jewish community and who were not allowed to marry non-Jews.

Representative Solarz traveled to Damascus in December 1976, where he spoke with Jewish leaders as well as Syrian government officials. . . . [After Solarz lobbied the Carter administration], Secretary of State Cyrus Vance spoke with President Hafez al-Assad about the young women in February and May 1977; [then] National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski put Congressman Solarz in touch with President Carter, who made a personal plea to the Syrian president in May. Assad eventually agreed to let twelve women leave through proxy marriages.

Knesset speaker: Europe leaders embrace Jews, but accuse Israel of ‘war crimes’

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday accused European leaders of duplicity for embracing their local Jewish communities in the aftermath of anti-Semitic attacks and hate crimes, even as they accuse Israel of “fabricated war crimes.”

“The efforts to combat anti-Semitism and protect the Jews of Europe are sincerely appreciated,” said Edelstein at an International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Brussels.

“But what is the message when elected officials march with the Jewish community one day, and against Israel the next? When leaders embrace the local rabbi in solidarity after a hate crime and then treat Hamas as a legitimate voice? When an attack is anti-Semitic, and then Israel is denounced for fabricated war crimes?” he told the European Parliament.

“These contradictory messages do not build trust. Instead they prevent us from meeting our joint obligations,” he added.

Edelstein further charged that Europe’s “post-war sense of mission has faded,” and drew attention to anti-Israeli incidents across the continent over the past year that spiraled into anti-Semitism, including the firebombing of a Swedish synagogue and rallies in Vienna, London and Berlin where protesters shouted “Death to the Jews.”

Half of European Jews hide their religion, survey shows

Much of world Jewry is afraid of being the target of anti-Semitism, a new survey conducted by the World Zionist Organization ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day reveals.

According to the survey, whose findings were presented to the Knesset Aliyah and Absorption Committee on Tuesday, 27% of European Jews said they felt unsafe as Jews where they lived, compared to 11% of Jews in North America.

When asked how safe they felt wearing clothing or symbols that identified them as Jewish, such as a kippah or a Star of David, or using their Jewish names, 51% of Jews living in Europe said they felt unsafe doing so, twice the number of North American respondents who said they felt unsafe wearing items that identified them as Jews.

Nearly three-quarters (70%) of all respondents said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitic insults or remarks, and 29% of Jews from Europe said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitic vandalism.

Most of the respondents who said they had experienced or witnessed verbal anti-Semitic attacks said they had not reported the incident. When asked, 6% said they did not file a report because they feared for their personal safety; 30% opted “not to make a big deal out of it,” and 42% said they had no faith in local law enforcement to handle the problem. Other explanations for not reporting the incidents included a sense that “anti-Semitism is too common to report. It’s best to deal with it yourself,” “They won’t do anything anyway,” and “The people who hurt me will say it was a joke.”

EU Parliament Holocaust event remembers Roma victims for 1st time

For the first time ever, the European Parliament’s annual event to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day marked both the Holocaust of six million Jews and the Genocide of Roma and Sinti populations at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.

The main ceremony, held on Wednesday afternoon, was preceded by the launch of an exhibition about the Roma and Sinti victims of the Nazis.

“The meaning of this exhibition is to give visibility to the Roma Holocaust, and that’s what we want to achieve – more knowledge about the Roma Holocaust,” Soraya Post, MEP, rapporteur on Roma fundamental rights, told The Jerusalem Post.

She said the joint commemoration gives an important message to mainstream society: “that all victims suffered the same thing by the same perpetrators during the same era.”

“We should be concerned by what we see in Europe today,” Post told the audience. “We cannot accept neo-Nazis marching in the streets. Please join us in this fight,” said Post, whose father was Jewish and mother Roma.

Amnesty’s double standards

The involvement of UN Watch also apparently troubles Amnesty. Hillel Neuer of UN Watch has rightly drawn attention to the double standards at play here. By contrast with their new found fastidiousness, back in 2015 Amnesty co-sponsored an anti-Islamophobia event in Belgium where one of the four speakers held unambiguously extreme views:

Dyab Abou Jahjah is one of four individuals scheduled to speak at the rally. He has called the 9/11 attacks “sweet revenge,” said Europe made “the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion,” and labeled gays “AIDS-spreading faggots.” He has also questioned the existence of the Nazi gas chambers, and is a former fighter for the anti-Semitic group Hezbollah, an officially designated terrorist group by the U.S. and European Union. For his hateful activism, Abou Jahjah has been banned in the United Kingdom since 2009.

Amnesty has pushed back in the face of criticism.

Kerry Moscogiuri, Amnesty International UK’s director of supporter campaigning and communications, said a wide range of organisations held events at its offices “but we reserve the right to withhold permission for our building to be used by organisations whose work runs directly counter to our own.

Things were quite different back in 2011 when the MEMO event ‘Complicity in oppression: Do the media aid Israel?’ was booked to take place in the same venue as the cancelled JLC debate – and went ahead on schedule.

Here’s a reminder of some of the people whose work does not apparently ‘run directly counter’ to Amnesty’s own.

Journalist Abdel Bari Atwan – investigated by police following a university lecture at which he referred to a “Jewish lobby” controlling America – is among those due to speak at the Complicity in oppression: Do the media aid Israel? event, in Amnesty’s central London headquarters on May 23.

LFI said it was “deeply worried” by Amnesty’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Given Hamas’ appalling human rights record, and the PSC and MEMO’s apologism for this, it is entirely inappropriate for Amnesty to support their work, especially since it has itself documented Hamas’ human rights abuses on a number of occasions.”

The event is jointly organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the pro-Hamas Middle East Monitor Online (MEMO) media and lobby group.

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, a regular contributor to MEMO, was this week forced to apologise after calling a Jewish pro-Israel blogger a “kike” in comments posted online.

It is now being suggested that Amnesty may have acted illegally in cancelling the event.

Why Do Western Gays Abandon Their Islamic Brothers?

It is important to understand the death trap of the classic liberal position of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who, at Toronto’s Pride Parade wore rainbow-colored socks printed with the Arabic words “Eid Mubarak” (a traditional Muslim holiday greeting). Trudeau just wished “happy pride to Allah”, while many Muslim countries today condemn, if not murder, homosexuals.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali explained:
“no fewer than 40 out of 57 Muslim-majority countries or territories have laws that criminalize homosexuality, prescribing punishments ranging from fines and short jail sentences to whippings and more than 10 years in prison or death”.

We need to understand that, as Milo Yiannopulous said, “as a gay person, the scariest words you will ever hear are “Allahu Akbar”.

Gay fashion legends Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana faced a boycott and a backlash of controversy when they said they opposed gay “marriage” and adoption, find in vitro fertilization unnatural, and believe procreation “must be an act of love”. The Italian pasta-maker Barilla caused outrage when its chairman Guido Barilla said he would only portray the “classic family” in his advertisements. But LGBT activists and celebrities have never once promoted a boycott of the Islamic regimes which stone, execute and jail their homosexual citizens. Why do they not orchestrate a campaign to boycott Iranian, Indonesian, Palestinian and Turkish goods?

The “LGBT resistance” need get out from under its “safe space” of Western “rights”, complacency, moral relativism and security. They need to fight for their fellow persecuted “immorals” languishing in the Islamic world, beyond the borders of Western freedom. Their silence only encourages the intolerance aimed against them and others. It is not liberalism, permissiveness or tolerance. It is merely blindness, relativism and cowardice.

Amid Ongoing Parliamentary Campus Free Speech Probe, UK Jewish Community Highlights Challenges Faced by University Students

Leading communal representatives and advocates in the United Kingdom are drawing attention to difficulties faced by Jewish students on campus — particularly surrounding the subject of Israel — amid an ongoing parliamentary probe into free speech regulations at universities.

Baroness Ruth Deech, formerly a principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford, and the UK’s first independent adjudicator for higher education, told the Joint Committee on Human Rights last week that she encountered “many instances where unlawful speech” — including “antisemitism, often served up in the guise of criticism of Israel” — “goes on and is not stopped.”

“Hundreds of extremist speakers [are] arriving on campuses all over the country and not being stopped,” Deech said, echoing a report published by the Henry Jackson Society think tank in September, which found that several major British universities hosted Islamist speakers with a history of endorsing terrorist groups and making hostile remarks about Jews and Israel during the 2016-17 academic year.

“Universities are simply overwhelmed,” she explained. “There are hundreds of speeches going on every week, and it is very hard for them.”

IsraellyCool: WATCH: Hideously Antisemitic BDS-Holes Forget They Are Supposed to Hide their Jew Hatred

A group of BDS-holes have staged a bizarre protest at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Someone impersonating a caricature Jew, with Kippa, Jewish accent, large prosthetic nose and ears? Check

Impersonator ranting about killing “any children who stand in our way”? Check

Impersonator with girl (‘Ahed Tamimi’) imprisoned in a bubble? Check

Rolling the bubble over the Israeli Jewish Steven Spielberg’s star? Check

It is like they are not even trying to hide their disdain for Jews anymore.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Models Adding ‘Jew-Hate’ To CVs In Hopes Of Landing Cosmetics Gigs (satire)

Women aspiring to land prominent roles in representing manufacturers of beauty products rushed to update their resumés this week after reports that two influential firms in the industry had hired antisemitic models as their public faces.

A flurry of activity occurred in the French capital, in Milan, and in New York, where fashion and cosmetics design and marketing personnel seek out fresh young talent, following exposure of social media activity by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh of Revlon and Amena Khan of L’Oreal that revealed antisemitic bias. In the sensitive realm of public relations, reason aspiring models, these major players in the industry could not have failed to check the backgrounds and reputations of candidates, and therefore could only have hired them or named them as awardees having already ascertained that the two harbor hatred for Jews and Jewish sovereignty.

“Clearly it’s an asset to express dislike for Jews in this industry, so I’d better start showcasing it,” resolved Amy Thorpe, 20, of Lansing, Michigan. “The difference in beauty and talent between the women who get selected and the ones who didn’t quite make it is so narrow, so subtle, that every little advantage has to be brought to bear. I can only hope that my antisemitism puts me over the top the way Ms. Khan’s and Ms. Al-Khatahtbeh’s did for them.”

“Oh, no, I haven’t made a single anti-Israel or anti-Jew Instagram post,” fretted McKayla Murphy, 21, of Coral Gables, Florida. “I made sure to put ‘anti-Israel protesting’ in the ‘interests’ section of my CV, but I’m sure everyone’s going to do that now. I need to find a way to make my existing portfolio reflect the antisemitism the executives are clearly looking for. I’m so stressed right now, I can’t even tell you.”

Iraqi Jews, Al Jazeera and Theft

After taking control of Baghdad from Saddam Hussein, US troops discovered what came to be called the Iraqi-Jewish archive in the waterlogged basement of the Iraqi secret police headquarters. This priceless collection of Jewish books and documents was shipped to the US for restoration at a cost of $3 million.

And now: it’s heading back to Iraq.

In spite of fierce protests by Iraqi Jews and even members of Congress, the US government, which is committed to an agreement signed in 2003, has announced that it will return the archive next September.

Why is this a problem?

Not only were its contents originally stolen from the rightful owners (the Jews of Iraq), but upon the archive’s return, it will almost certainly become inaccessible to scholars as well as to any Jews who may be interested in their own history.

Enter Al Jazeera and its article by Dalia Hakuta entitled, “Iraqi-Jewish archive triggers traumatic memories.”

Robert Fisk peddles the ‘dual loyalty’ card at the Indy

In the first paragraph, Fisk expresses concern that “the four principle US peacemakers” under Bill Clinton “were all Jewish Americans” and derides as fanciful “the myth that American peacemaking in the Middle East was even-handed, neutral, uninfluenced by the religion or political background or business activities of the peacemakers”.

There was a time when we all went along with the myth that American peacemaking in the Middle East was even-handed, neutral, uninfluenced by the religion or political background or business activities of the peacemakers. Even when, during the Clinton administration, the four principle US “peacemakers” were all Jewish Americans – their lead negotiator, Dennis Ross, a former prominent staff member of the most powerful Israeli lobby group, Aipac (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) – the Western press scarcely mentioned this.

(Fisk actually gets a detail wrong. Whilst most of Clinton’s Mid-East peace advisers – Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, Robert Malley and Daniel Kurtzer – were indeed Jewish, one, Gamal Helal, was Arab.)

In further support of his argument, Fisk then quotes Israeli Meron Benvenisti writing, in Haaretz in July 1993, that “it is hard to ignore the fact that manipulation of the peace process was entrusted by the US in the first place to American Jews…” and warning of “the tremendous influence of the Jewish establishment on the Clinton administration”.

Jerusalem Post Corrects: Ali Abunimah Is An Activist, Not Journalist

CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted corrections of a Jerusalem Post headline and article which inaccurately referred to radical anti-Israel activist Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, as a journalist.

The headline had originally stated: “Zioness Movement hits back at journalist who called them ‘fake’ organization.”

In addition, the article’s second paragraph initially referred to Abunimah as a “pro-Palestinian journalist.” Yet, Electronic Intifiada does not practice journalism, and Ali Abunimah is not a journalist.

As previously noted by CAMERA’s Gilead Ini, the radical activist has termed Israel the “Zionist butcher regime” and its army “the cowardly, murderous rabbleof a psychotic apartheid settler-colony.” Ali Abunimah, opposes the existence of the Jewish state in any borders and has tweeted that supporting Zionism is “continuation in spirit” of the Holocaust. He has called for violent attacks against Israelis and has suggested that Israel targets the organs of Palestinian children. Electronic Intifada’s Rana Baker literally cheered when three Israeli teens were abducted in June 2014. “Wonderful wonderful news that three settlers have been kidnapped,” she said on Twitter. “Celebrations celebrations. Cheers everybody (Zionists excluded!)” Abunimah came to her defense. Another EI contributor, Joe Catron, has said: “Zionists are racist scum. Never let them forget it. In their homes, in their workplaces, in the streets, remind them. Rania Khalek published a piece at EI criticizing the far-left The Nation for running two many pieces written by Jews (never mind that the Jews were critical of Israel.)

CNN Errs in Relying On Anti-Israel Collaborator For Commentary About Israel

Vice President Mike Pence’s recent visit to Jerusalem provided an opportunity for the anti-Israel Christians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to run for the cameras and tell everyone how bad Israel is.

In a now all-too-predictable turn of events, a Christian “leader” who has little, if any influence on life in Palestinian society, was recently portrayed as a credible source of information about the Arab-Israeli conflict by journalists in the United States.

The Christian in question is the former Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, who has made a career of demonizing Israel and downplaying Muslim violence against Israel — and Christians. In a segment that aired on Monday January 22, 2018, he told a reporter, “Our fear is not from our people, from Muslims,” Sabbah said. “Our fear is from America.”

H.B. Sabbah’s message fit in neatly with the thrust of CNN reporter Ian Lee’s report — that “U.S. foreign policy is hurting the local Christian community” in the Holy Land. The problem for that narrative is that Israel’s local Christian population has increased from 34,000 in 1949 to 130,000 today, an increase of 282 percent.

This increase did not stop H.B. Sabbah from chiding the U.S. for its support of Israel, declaring that it is bad for Palestinian Christians. “American policy must change in the Middle East,” he told CNN. “If truly the American administration is Christian, go back to the commandment of love. You love Israel. That’s very good. But you [should also] love the Palestinians if you’re Christian. Jesus said, love everyone.”

It is hard to believe that after recent events, Christians in the Middle East fear American policy more than they do the prospect of jihadist violence, but His Beatitude Sabbah is a former Catholic Patriarch — in Jerusalem no less — so who are outsiders to argue?

Paul Nehlen Is Very Angry About Jews in the Media

Just in case it wasn’t already clear what a total garbage person Paul Nehlen is, today he spent a few hours on Twitter reminding everyone that he is an anti-Semitic nutcase.

Nehlen, who has launched another challenge for Speaker Paul Ryan’s Congressional seat despite losing by a humiliating 68 points in 2016, is annoyed that an article posted at Buzzfeed last week reported how he was coordinating with alt-right Twitter users to attack his critics in the “Jewish media.”

Nehlen attempted to refute the accusations of anti-Semitism by posting a series of tweets complaining about Jews in the media.

Yes, really.

In a string of tweets Monday afternoon, Nehlen claimed that the private message discussions that Buzzfeed reported were merely “a coordination effort by my supporters on my behalf.” He then argued that the references in these messages to the “Jewish media” aren’t anti-Semitic, but are actually a “well-founded observation.”

Top Hungary lawmaker to honor Hitler ally on Holocaust Remembrance Day — report

Churchgoers in Budapest said a senior lawmaker will attend a ceremony honoring the Nazi collaborator Miklos Horthy that they are organizing on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The KESZ group, a Christian organization, said this in an invitation for the January 27 event at Budapest’s Main Parish Church of the Assumption, noting it will be attended by Sandor Lezsak, who is deputy speaker of the National Assembly, which is the Hungarian parliament, and who is also a member of the Fidesz ruling party.

“In the Holy Mass, we remember with affection and respect the late governor Miklos Horthy (1868-1957), who was born 150 years ago,” read the invitation, according to a report Tuesday in Szombat, the Jewish Hungarian weekly. The editorialized article said the event was “provocative” though it is not yet clear whether it was planned to take place on January 27 for the date’s symbolic significance.

Also scheduled to attend is Sandor Szakaly, who in the 2014 government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban was appointed to head the Veritas Historical Research Institute. Szakaly said in an interview that year that the 1941 deportation and subsequent murder of tens of thousands of Jews was an “action of the immigration authorities against illegal aliens.”

Austria far-right under pressure over Nazi songbook

The far-right candidate in an Austrian state election was under pressure Tuesday after a magazine report about song texts celebrating the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities.

According to the Falter weekly, Udo Landbauer of the Freedom Party (FPOe), which is in the national governing coalition, is deputy chair of a student fraternity behind a songbook containing the texts.

According to the weekly, the lyrics of one song reads: “In their midst comes the Jew Ben Gurion: ‘Step on the gas, old Germanics, we can make it to seven million.'”

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust during World War II. David Ben-Gurion was the first prime minister of Israel.

Other songs pay tribute to the Condor Legion, the Nazi unit responsible for the bombing of Guernica in the Spanish Civil War, as well as paratroopers behind atrocities in Crete in World War II, Falter added.

Finland to probe troops’ alleged role in the Holocaust

Finland will investigate evidence suggesting that soldiers of its army were involved in killing Jews during the Holocaust, the office of Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said.

The announcement about the initiation of the probe, the first of its kind in Finland, came Wednesday in a letter to Efraim Zuroff, a hunter of Nazis for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Earlier this month Zuroff urged Niinistö to set up an inquiry following the discovery of a written testimony by a Finnish Waffen-SS officer who said he actively participated in the mass murder of Jews in Ukraine.

“The Finnish government will, in response to the recent concerns, fund a further independent survey of the operations of the Finnish Volunteers Battalion of the Waffen-SS and particularly examine its operations in Ukraine,” Hiski Haukkala, the secretary general chief of the cabinet of the president of the Republic of Finland, wrote to Zuroff. “Should any criminal activities be uncovered they will be followed by due process,” he added.

Zuroff told JTA the probe will be “an important development” that is part of a broader process in Scandinavia, where Denmark and Norway acknowledged their troops’ roles in actively killing Jews only in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

Man arrested after courageous Shomrim volunteers detain him for allegedly shouting “Heil Hitler” at Jews and shoplifting from a kosher bakery

A man has been arrested in Stamford Hill after allegedly shouting “Heil Hitler” and shoplifting from a kosher bakery.

The incident occurred on Monday evening at 22:30 when a man allegedly shouted “Heil Hitler” at a group of Jewish women, who called Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol. The man then allegedly shouted “Heil Hitler” at them too, before shoplifting from a kosher bakery.

Stamford Hill Shomrim volunteers then stepped in to detain him until the Metropolitan Police Service arrived to arrest him.

Once again, we applaud our brave colleagues at Stamford Hill Shomrim for stepping in to ensure that this man could be arrested.

Shaw Trust opens investigation after worker allegedly tells Jewish man at party “The 1940s called…your shower’s ready”

A leading learning disability and mental health charity has opened an investigation after one of its employees reportedly posted on Facebook an account of how she told a Jewish man: “The 40s called…your shower’s ready”, according to controversial anti-racism group Hope Not Hate.

Julie Brownlee, from Lowestoft, allegedly made the comment, an apparent reference to Nazi gas chambers which were sometimes disguised as showers, to the man, whom she also referred to as a “Jwish [sic] prick” on social media, at a Christmas party in response to him criticising her shirt.

In reply to Ms Brownlee’s Facebook post, former National Front activist, Paul Warburton, replied: “Fire up the ovens”.

Ms Brownlee’s role involves helping people with disabilities and learning difficulties to find employment and independent living. Those she helps would have been murdered under Nazi Germany’s programme to kill those with certain disabilities.

As well as posting her outrageous, antisemitic comments, Ms Brownlee also posted asking for party game ideas for the adults with learning disabilities whom she was assisting. The post attracted some appalling replies which Ms Brownlee commented would not “go down well with the powers that be”.

Rare 1546 book looted by Nazis returned to family in Israel

A book printed in 1546 that was looted in Poland by the Nazis during World War II was recently found in the University of Potsdam Library and returned to its rightful owners in Israel.

The book, Sefer Mitzvot Gadol, written by Rabbi Moses of Coucy and printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberri, explains the fundamentals of the 613 commandments of the Torah.

The book was returned to the family as part of a German initiative to return Nazi looted heirlooms to their rightful owners.
Berl Schor and his son David, an attorney, flew to Berlin to accept the book from the University of Potsdam on Monday and reunite it with the family’s extensive collection in Israel.

David Schor, a keen family historian, told The Jerusalem Post that he had identified the book online by coincidence.

“I often search online because many new documents and information are becoming more readily available,” he said. “I typed in the name of my father’s maternal great, great, great grandparents just for the sheer fun and all of a sudden the photograph of the book appeared on my screen.”

Israeli-Made Space Drones Could Extend Life of Orbiting Satellites

What happens when a communications satellite runs out of juice? That’s a problem Effective Space hopes to address with its life-extending Space Drone.

Effective Space, which has its R&D center in Tel Aviv and headquarters in London, last week signed a $100 million multi-year contract with a major regional satellite operator and hopes to launch two Space Drones by 2020.

The 400-kilogram Space Drone is designed to work with satellites that are running low on fuel but are otherwise operational. A Space Drone will dock with an existing satellite and provide station-keeping and altitude-control capabilities.

Space Drone will use its own electric propulsion to maneuver into position with the target satellite, then take over maneuvering the satellite itself – either for the long-term or for shorter activities (such as moving an aging satellite into a “graveyard orbit”).

Effective Space’s managing director is Daniel Campbell, previously head of the connected car group at Israeli electric car startup Better Place. Effective Space was started in 2013 by Arie Halsband, former general manager of the space division at Israel Aerospace Industries.

Israel Natural Gas Lines could help build European pipeline

“The possibility of having the Israel Natural Gas Lines Company take part in building a pipeline for exporting gas to Europe is being considered,” Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz told the company’s management and board of directors, headed by chairperson Eitan Padan. “The project of exporting gas from Leviathan to Europe is making progress, and the possibility of including Israel Natural Gas Lines in the work of building the undersea export pipeline is under consideration. The company has a significant role in continuing to promote connection of the economy to natural gas, and it is good that there are efficient, lean, and successful government companies like Israel Natural Gas Lines.” Steinitz was speaking at the presentation of Israel Natural Gas Lines’ multi-year strategic development plan. The involvement of a government project in this giant project increases the chances that it will materialize.

The plan pipeline for transporting gas from Israel to Italy via Cyprus and Greece will be 2,100 kilometers long, making it the world’s longest undersea pipeline. The cost of construction, slated for completion in 2025, is estimated at NIS 25 billion. Six weeks ago, the energy ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Italy signed a memorandum of understanding for construction of a gas pipeline from Israel to Italy.

This ambitious project, however, is far from being realized. The engineering difficulty in this difficult infrastructure project lies in its undersea route, which reaches a depth of 3.3 kilometers, and in volcanic sea bottom between Cyprus and Greece. This feature is liable to cause damage to the pipeline that will be very difficult to repair. Another difficulty of no less importance is the project’s economic viability. The average natural gas price in Europe over the past year was around $5.40 per BTU, while the average price in Israel is not much cheaper — $5.30.

Israel the 25th-strongest economy in the world, new index finds

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon have reason to be proud as they attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week: A new index that rates economies around the world ranks Israel in 25th place, right after the U.S. and Japan.

The new index takes into account a number of variables to rank the overall economic development of various countries: average per capita income; unemployment vs. participation in the workforce; fertility; public debt; poverty rate; equality; air quality; the availability of vital natural resources; foreign investments and more.

Ahead of the Davos conference, World Economic Forum economists applied the new criteria to the nations of the world. Norway topped the list, followed by Iceland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland, Australia and Austria.

Economists are suggesting that the new model replace existing ones that measure per-capita income and growth, which are considered “quick” indices that tend to indicate countries’ strength. According to the researchers, these traditional criteria do not accurately reflect a country’s true economic strength, especially since the global financial crisis of 2008.

In addition to being ranked the 25th-strongest economy in the world, Israel’s ratio of government debt-to-gross domestic product has dropped to 59.4%, the first time it has come in at below 60%.

Two major U.S. surveys rank Israel among most powerful, innovative countries

Two major US publications have listed Israel within their top ten rankings, citing the country’s military prowess and innovation capabilities, respectively.

Web-based publication US News and World Report, best known for its influential ranking lists, named Israel as the 8th most powerful nation in the world. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News listed the Jewish state as the 10th most innovative, hailing its high-tech industry and technological advances.

Partnered with global marketing communications company BAV Group and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, US News surveyed more than 21,000 people from four regions of the world and asked them to associate 80 countries with specific attributes.

The power aspect of the survey measured how “economically” and “politically influential” a country was and took into account both its “strong international alliances and strong military alliances.”

“Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with cut diamonds, high-technology equipment and pharmaceuticals among its major exports,” US News also noted in its report, adding, however, that the county still “has one of the most unequal economies in the Western world, with significant gaps between the rich and poor.”

Rounding out the top 10 after Israel were two Arab rivals: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll deciphered, revealing 2nd Temple power struggles

Written in encrypted ancient Hebrew, one of the last unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls has finally been deciphered by a University of Haifa post-doctoral researcher. According to Dr. Eshbal Ratson, the almost impossible year-long mission was like “putting together a jigsaw puzzle — without knowing what was the picture.”

Using hi-tech images provided by the Israel Antiquity Authority’s Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, Ratson, 38, spent countless hours in front of her computer manipulating, deciphering and joining the 60 minuscule “puzzle pieces” which now form a comprehensive “calendrical scroll,” a document which outlines the intricate mathematical computations used by the Qumran sect to set the rhythm of their year and way of life.

Its discovery is being hailed by scholars this week as “important” and “exciting.”

“It’s always exciting to discover a pile of tiny fragments that were basically considered to be a hopeless conglomerate of fragments and realize that meaningful text can be extracted from that,” said Tel Aviv University Prof. Noam Mizrahi. “It is important on a number of levels.”

The monumental deciphering of this scroll, the second to last of the cache of more than 900 scrolls discovered near Qumran in Israel’s Judaean Desert beginning 70 years ago, could only have been completed with new digital technologies, said Ratson.

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