October 20, 2021

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01/31 Links Pt2: David Collier: The BBC promote Soviet style antisemitism; Tariq Ramadan detained in Paris on rape accusations


From Ian:

David Collier: The BBC promote Soviet style antisemitism
The new face of Soviet style antisemitism

To legitimise the denial of anti-Jewish racism in Labour, the BBC led with Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi. Naomi is part of the Corbyn cult’s modern day version of the ‘Yevsektsiya‘. A group designed in 1918 to carry the Communist Revolution to the Jewish masses. The Yevsektsiya had the explicit mission of the ‘destruction of traditional Jewish life, the Zionist movement, and Hebrew culture’.

Wimborne-Idrissi is part of a small clan. Their names are all known to us, because they are so few, and because the same faces appear in the media so often. Memory is ‘repetition and reinforcement’. Basic weapons in a propaganda war. Whenever a media outlet produces one of these propaganda weapons, it reinforces the idea that the new antisemitism isn’t really racism. It all becomes a ‘Jew v Jew’ thing that nobody understands. Jew bashing becomes a circus event to public applause.

If antisemitism goes wherever anti-Israel activity does, and activists seek to strengthen anti-Israel activity, then a rising antisemitism is a cost that anti-Zionists believe is worth paying. Which is why these Jewish Marxists are so valuable a tool. When you use them in a discussion like the BBC did, you are not trying to have a debate on antisemitism, you are explicitly helping to avoid it.
Without a constituency

These people, the same people, are behind all the anti-Zionist Jewish movements. With names like ‘Free Speech on Israel’, ‘Jewish Voice for Labour’, ‘Jews for Boycotting Jewish goods’. There are more groups than people, with the same people in one order or another, sitting as Chair and Secretary of these groups. When an email or petition is written up, the same names appear on them time after time.

If their social media output is liked or shared at all, it is liked or shared by non-Jews using their material to attack other Jews. When you read the names underneath, they often appear as a ‘who’s who’ of the hard-core antisemitic activists. All being allowed to hide behind the cover of having this Jew as a friend. All of the groups, have far larger non-Jewish support, and only really exist, because the non-Jewish anti-Zionists need the cover.

Caroline Glick: Trump Derangement Syndrome as Leftists Target Britain’s Former Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks

Trump Derangement Syndrome reached a new low last week, as Jewish leftists in America and Britain waged a brutal assault against Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Britain.

It isn’t only President Donald Trump that the “Resistance” seeks to destroy. And their bloodlust isn’t limited to those who work for him, or even to his voters.

If you so much as help the administration achieve a goal that you believe in, for the “Resistance,” you are a criminal.

Sacks served as Britain’s chief rabbi from 1991 through 2013. He is arguably the most widely respected Jewish religious leader in the English-speaking world.

Sacks stands out for his universal accessibility. His written and oral Torah commentaries appeal to Jewish and non-Jewish religious scholars, and to the Jewish and non-Jewish layman, alike.

During his long tenure as Britain’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Sacks developed close working relationships with Britain’s leaders. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, David Cameron and John Major all sought his guidance during their respective tenures as prime minister. They called on Sacks to help them prepare public comments that touched on themes of his scholarship.

And so, too, did U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Last week, Pence gave an extraordinary address before Israel’s Knesset. It isn’t often that a single speech rises to the level of an historic event. But Pence’s address easily crossed the line that separates a great speech from an epic address.

Oxford Islam scholar Tariq Ramadan detained in Paris on rape accusations

French police on Wednesday detained prominent Swiss Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, a legal source said, months after two women filed rape charges against him.

The Oxford professor was summoned for questioning to a Paris police station and taken into custody “as part of a preliminary inquiry in Paris into rape and assault allegations”, the source said.

Ramadan, the grandson of the founder of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Islamist movement, has furiously denied rape allegations from two women that emerged late last year, as the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfurled in the US.

Henda Ayari, a feminist activist, says Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012, while an unnamed disabled woman also accused the academic of raping her in a hotel room in Lyon in 2009.

In November, Oxford University announced that 55-year-old Ramadan was taking a leave of absence from his post as professor of contemporary Islamic studies, “by mutual agreement”.

Popular among conservative Muslims and a regular panellist on TV debates in France, Ramadan faces regular accusations from secular critics that he promotes a political form of Islam.

Ayari, a self-described “secular Muslim” who used to practise an ultra-conservative strain of Islam that she has since renounced, detailed her rape allegations in a book published last year, without naming Ramadan.

But in October she said she had decided to name him publicly, encouraged by the thousands of women speaking out against sexual assault and harassment under the “Me Too” online campaign and its French equivalent, “Balance Ton Porc” (Squeal on your pig).

Ayari, who lodged a rape complaint against Ramadan on October 20, charged that for him, “either you wear a veil or you get raped”.

“He choked me so hard that I thought I was going to die,” she told Le Parisien newspaper.

The Jews Who Fought Hitler, and the Jewish Army That Wasn’t

In Sons and Soldiers, Bruce Henderson tells the story of young Jewish refugees from the Third Reich who joined the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor, and whose familiarity with Germany and the German language was put to use by military intelligence. In Racing against History, Rick Richman explains the unsuccessful attempts of three Zionist leaders—Chaim Weizmann, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion—in 1940 to raise a Jewish army in America to fight the Nazis. Reviewing the two books, Matti Friedman finds some familiar themes:

Of the three leaders in Racing against History, Weizmann, [then the head of the Zionist Organization and later the first president of Israel], was the most careful in his public utterances. He grasped the danger of the perception that world war was being waged for Jewish interests and preferred the quiet maneuver. . . . In America, he wrote, even mentioning what was happening to Jews in Europe might be “associated with warmongering.” . . .

[The Revisionist Zionist leader] Jabotinsky, [by contrast], wanted a Jewish army raised immediately and said so, even though the mainstream American Jewish leadership called him a “militarist” and published a pamphlet warning against his views. In the pages of the Forward, its editor Abraham Cahan mocked him as a “naïve person and a great fantasizer.” There was no need for Jabotinsky’s Jewish army, Cahan thought, and the Jewish problem would be solved not by a Jewish state but by an Allied victory and democracy. “If true democracy exists,” [wrote Cahan], “there is no place for anti-Semitism.” In other words, the way forward was to be American citizens and soldiers, like [those described by Henderson].

Recent events in Europe and America would seem to suggest that anti-Semitism does, in fact have a place in democracy. . . . The old idea of “Jewish warmongering,” about which Weizmann was so careful in 1940, is still current, as evidenced by the flap in September over a tweet by Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent, suggesting just that. And though the Zionist plan succeeded and there is a Jewish army, the normalization of the Jews has failed to materialize and their existential fears continue.

Yisrael Medad: Shiloh and Jimmy Carter – 40 Years On

Shiloh, where I live with my wife and where my children were raised and grew up since September 1, 1981, is celebrating the 40th anniversary since its founding in 1978. On the 1st of the Hebrew month of Shvat, January 9, 1978, the first 8 families and some Yeshiva students arrived and on the 15th, Tu B’shvat, the public ceremony was held.

At that time, Shmuel Katz ran against Haim Landau as a Minister in the new government, a Land of Israel Movement protest was being held outside the Prime Minister’s office, Karnei Shomron’s land was being prepared, Arik Sharon was planning expansion in the Rafiah Salient and the government was authorizing a limited settlement plan. The Egyptians arrived in Jerusalem to continue the talks a few days before the founding ceremony with Buhtros Ghali, Ibrahim Kamal and also the American Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Alfred Atherton.

But there is a back story concerning the American administration that should be recalled in connection with the reestablishment of Jewish life in the Hills of Efraim, at the site of the Tabernacle.

Jimmy Carter and his aides were quite opposed to resettlement activity ion Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Ireland shelves bill against Israeli settlements amid controversy

The Irish Senate has put on hold a controversial bill that would have banned the import of products from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, after Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney issued a surprising statement saying he opposes the bill.

“Settlement construction is consistently undercutting Palestinians’ hope for the future,” Coveney said on Tuesday, adding that such construction is “unjust and provocative.”

However, he said that despite this view, he opposes the bill, because “there are many countries around the world about which we have serious human rights concerns. We do not seek to prevent trade with those countries, except in very rare circumstances, in accordance with decisions at the EU or U.N. level.”

Coveney’s suprise announcement came hours before the Senate was supposed to vote to the bill, which includes a five-year prison term for those who violate its provisions. If passed, Ireland would become the first European country to ban settlement products, though several countries already label them. In light of the government’s view on the bill, it is unclear whether it will be voted upon any time soon.

In 2015, the European Union approved guidelines to label settlement products. It said the move was meant to differentiate between Israel, a close trade partner, and the settlements, which it considers illegal.

Netanyahu summons Irish ambassador over bill criminalizing settlement trade

Israel summoned Irish Ambassador Alison Kelly for a meeting on Wednesday over a bill making its way through her country’s Senate to criminalize trade with Israeli firms in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemns the Irish legislative initiative, the entire goal of which is to support the BDS movement and harm the State of Israel,” his office said on Tuesday.

“The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice,” it added.

“Netanyahu instructed that the Irish Ambassador to Israel be summoned to the Foreign Ministry on this matter,” his office said.

Put forward by Sen. Frances Black (Independent), the bill would prohibit trade with “occupied territories” and impose a prison sentence of one to five years for such activity.

The text doesn’t specify Israel, but it was drafted with an eye to taking action against Israeli activity over the pre-1967 lines. All the comments in Tuesday’s Senate debate focused on Israel.

NGO Monitor: Powerful NGOs, Antisemitism, and the Irish BDS Bill

Designed for Political Attack, Not Legislation

The language of the bill applies extremely broad and inscrutable definitions of key terms and promotes discrimination based on categories of religion and national origin. For instance, an “illegal settler” is not a resident of settlements, but a “member of the civilian population” of Israel “who was or is present within the relevant occupied territory.” In other words, every Israeli citizen who crosses the 1949 Armistice Line is defined as an “illegal settler.” “Occupied territory” is determined not by international agreements, law, or litigated cases, but rather by a non-binding advisory opinion requested by the UN General Assembly.

Under the bill, Jerusalem’s Old City and the Kotel (Western Wall of the Temple Mount) are considered to be “occupied territory.” As a result, among many other absurd outcomes, Irish citizens who visit the Jewish Quarter and buy a souvenir to bring back to Ireland, study the Bible, or pray at the Kotel could face jail time and fines.

Participating in tours and other programs conducted in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Israeli human rights organizations (such as the Irish-government funded Breaking the Silence) would be illegal.

Similarly, an Irish citizen or resident could run afoul of the law if they hail a cab and that cab happens to drive even a centimeter over Green Line, if the driver happens to be “member of the civilian population of Israel.” The bill provides a defense if “the subject of the alleged offence was carried out with the consent of an entity or form of authority which is recognised by the State as being the legitimate authority over that relevant occupied territory.” In other words, a person can only be found innocent if the PLO agrees to waive the prosecution. (Although under the 1993 Oslo Accords, as guaranteed by the international community, Israel is the “recognized… legitimate authority” of East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.)

Taken as a whole, the language in the bill reflects a broader goal of isolating Israel and implementing a discriminatory BDS agenda. References to settlements and “differentiation” are pretexts.

Trump asks Congress to cut aid to US ‘enemies’ who opposed Jerusalem recognition

US President Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday night to limit foreign aid to only countries that align themselves with his administration, following up on his threats to suspend funds to countries that refused to support his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The promise of new legislation came toward the end of his first State of the Union address, a landmark annual speech at which the administration typically sets major policy goals for the year to come.

Referencing a United Nations vote in December, in which the world body voted overwhelmingly (128-9) to reject the president’s unilateral move, the president elevated his past rhetoric of withdrawing monetary support for such countries into legislation.

“Dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition,” Trump said. “In 2016 American taxpayers generously sent those same countries more than $20 billions of dollars in aid. That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America.”

Tribune Editorial: U.N. Watch — UNRWA’s comeuppance

Those who follow the controversies surrounding the United Nations’ relief agency for Palestinian refugees shouldn’t be surprised by a Trump administration decision to withhold $65 million from the organization. Maybe that could have been avoided if Turtle Bay bothered to investigate years of accusations against the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The State Department says the money in question — part of America’s nearly $364 million annual contribution to UNRWA — is “frozen and being held for future consideration.” The U.S. reportedly wants to see “revisions” in UNRWA operations. There are ample reasons to do so:

• Agency employees have been accused of inciting violence against Israelis.
• A UNRWA campaign used a picture of an 11-year-old girl “from Gaza” in a bombed-out building to portray Israel as an oppressor of Palestinian children. But the monitoring group U.N. Watch exposed the photo as disingenuous; it was shot in Syria.
• Hamas rockets reportedly turned up in a UNRWA Gaza school amid attacks against Israel in 2014.

“Just over the last year alone, UNRWA officials were elected to the leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA schools denied the existence of Israel and terror tunnels were dug under UNRWA facilities,” according to Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the U.N.

TV: US may reject UN’s granting of Palestinian refugee status to descendants

Amid its deepening standoff with the Palestinians, the Trump administration is considering halting all of its financial aid to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, and declaring that it rejects the UN criteria under which refugee status is extended to millions of descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, a TV news report said Tuesday.

Hadashot TV news said this “new ultimatum” under consideration by the Trump administration is one of the avenues being explored as the US seeks to press the Palestinian Authority into returning to peace talks with Israel.

The TV report said that State Department sources, asked for confirmation of the report, noted only that President Donald Trump said in Davos last week that all US aid to the Palestinians was under review and that no formal statements were yet being issued.

Hadashot reported that the State Department, having already frozen some $100 million in UNRWA funding, was considering stopping all of its $360-million annual funding for the organization, and instead allocating it to other UN bodies that work with the Palestinians.

At the same time, it further reported that some in the administration and the State Department want to accompany that move with a formal declaration that the US rejects the mandate under which UNRWA operates — according to which Palestinian refugee status is transferred from generation to generation.

Trump’s business approach to foreign aid

When you give humanitarian aid, you don’t check what it is used for. So Europe avoided inquiring about the reasons for the Palestinian distress, like Hamas’ huge investments of hundreds of millions of dollars a year in the production of rockets and construction of attack tunnels at the expense of Gaza’s poor residents. No one checked how money from these humanitarian donations went to the Palestinian leaders’ private and secret bank accounts. Europe started asking questions only after receiving proof that the Palestinian Authority was using donations to pay respectable salaries to terrorists who had been convicted and jailed in Israel and to build public institutions and name them after terrorists.

In recent years, the US has been giving the PA some $500 million a year and giving UNWRA $250-400 million. Trump sees this aid as an investment which should yield a good return. Since the rationale for aiding the Palestinians is the existence of a peace process, and the Palestinians are refusing to negotiate, and since they held the same stance during most of Barack Obama’s years in office, the justification for helping them has been dropped. Trump was also offended by the Palestinian boycott of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit and the insults hurled at him by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his people.

Trump’s business approach could challenge Israel too. Part of the American aid is dedicated to the training and maintenance of the Palestinians’ security apparatuses. Freezing the aid could sabotage the PA’s security cooperation with Israel, worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and perhaps even lead to a new wave of violence.

The US gives Israel about $3 billion a year in military aid. Trump said Israel would have to give something in return for his Jerusalem announcement and make significant concessions as part of a peace agreement. The business principle will provide him with a heavy leverage of pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he presents his “ultimate deal.”

Diplomatic success in campaign against UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Commissioner, Jordan’s Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, has decided to postpone indefinitely the publication of a “blacklist” of Israeli and international companies operating in Judea and Samaria.

The postponement of publication of the list comes after heavy pressure exerted by the US and Israel on the Commissioner with the assistance of diplomats from other countries.

However, a document issued Wednesday by the commissioner mentioned that 206 Israeli and international companies operating in Judea and Samaria or in contact with businesses operating in the area had been identified.

In recent months, the Human Rights Commission has contacted 64 of the 206 companies.

The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, and the American ambassador to the organization, Nikki Haley, have led the campaign against the blacklist.

Danon harshly condemned the publication of the report today by the UN Human Rights Council which included information on the number of Israeli and international companies operating in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

UN omits ‘blacklist’ from report on firms doing business in settlements

The United Nations human rights body on Wednesday again delayed the publication of a controversial “blacklist” of companies doing business with Israel in territories captured in 1967, amid intense Israeli lobbying to quash the database.

A report from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, dated January 26, noted that 206 companies are accused of doing business in the settlements, but didn’t list them. The report noted that only 64 of the companies have been contacted about the allegations so far, necessitating a delay in the publication of their names.

The report blamed “limited resources” for the delay and said the roster would eventually be published.

“Once OHCHR has been in contact with all 206 companies, and subject to determinations of their responses and non-responses, OHCHR expects to provide the names of the companies engaged in listed activities in a future update. Before the determinations on the companies are made public, OHCHR will notify the companies concerned,” the report read.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon slammed the publication of the interim report and said he would continue to fight to have the list trashed.

“On the day that the UN is marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UNHRC has chosen to publicize this information about the number of companies operating in Israel,” Danon said in a statement. “This is a shameful act which will serve as a stain on the UNHRC forever. We will continue to act with our allies and use all the means at our disposal to stop the publication of this disgraceful blacklist.”

The database, intended to list all companies doing business with Israelis situated in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, was first delayed in February 2017, nearly a year after the Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for it to be created. It was again pushed back in December.

More than 200 companies have Israeli settlement ties

Citing “lack of resources,” the United Nations has delayed the publication of its black list of companies doing business in areas of Israel over the pre-1967 lines.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had been scheduled to release a data base of those companies by the end of December 2017 to fulfill a mandate the UN Human Rights Council first set in 2016.

But it did not meet that December deadline and in a progress report published Wednesday it stated: “OHCHR was given limited resources to carry out the mandate within the anticipated time frame, which required it to calibrate its research and engagement with companies accordingly.”

“Not all companies about which OHCHR had received information could be contacted by the time of submission of the present report,” the OHCHR stated.

It explained that it had whittled its initial list of 321 companies believed to meet the criteria for inclusion in the data base, down to 206. Out of those it had contacted only 64.

It not provide the names of any of the companies in its report.

NGO Monitor: Statement on UN Blacklist Delay

In response to the UN High Commissioner’s report, announcing that the proposed UN blacklist will be published in a “future update,” NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg released the following statement:

“For more than a year, NGO Monitor has repeatedly warned that there are significant due process concerns with the creation of a UN blacklist of companies. In his report and in announcing previous delays, the High Commissioner acknowledged the centrality of these issues.

NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Al Haq, have been advocating for this discriminatory blacklist for many years to advance a BDS agenda. However, this does nothing to further human rights, and the UN should not devote further resources to this charade.”

Click here for NGO Monitor’s position paper (December 2016) on the lack of due process and legal safeguards in the original formulation of the UNHRC initiative. The announcement of the initial delay in February 2017 largely echoes this document.

Israelis sue New Zealanders for pressing Lorde to cancel concert

An Israeli legal rights group said Wednesday it was filing a lawsuit against two New Zealanders for allegedly convincing pop singer Lorde to cancel her performance in Israel in what appears to be the first lawsuit filed under a contentious Israeli anti-boycott law.

The 2011 law opens the door to civil lawsuits against anyone calling for a boycott against Israel, including of lands it has occupied, if that call could knowingly lead to a boycott. The law, which is part of Israel’s fight against a global movement calling for boycotts against the Jewish state, allows courts to order defendants to pay damages.

Critics said the law would stifle free expression.

The two New Zealanders, Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab, penned an open letter to Lorde last year in which they urged her to “take a stand” and “join the artistic boycott of Israel.” The New Zealand singer-songwriter replied to a tweet of the letter saying “Noted! Been speaking (with) many people about this and considering all options. Thank u for educating me i am learning all the time too.”

Late last year, Lorde announced she was cancelling her Tel Aviv concert, which had been scheduled for June 2018. With her cancellation she joined a number of international stars who canceled shows in Israel for political reasons, although many have continued to perform despite pressure from activists.

Kansas law barring Israel boycotts violates free speech, court rules

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a Kansas law barring state contractors from participating in boycotts against Israel, saying the state law violates free speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree wrote in his decision that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the “First Amendment protects the right to participate in a boycott like the one punished by the Kansas law.”

Several states have enacted laws in recent years to counter an increasingly visible movement protesting Israel’s policies toward Palestinians. Backers of boycotting Israeli companies argue they are defending Palestinian human rights, while boycott critics contend the goal is to destroy the Jewish state.

The judge granted the request from the American Civil Liberties Union to block enforcement of the Kansas law while the case proceeds, saying it is “highly likely” the Kansas law is invalid.

“A desire to prevent discrimination against Israeli businesses is an insufficient public interest to overcome the public’s interest in protecting a constitutional right,” Crabtree wrote.

The ACLU brought the lawsuit on behalf of Esther Koontz, a math and science curriculum coach at a Wichita public school, who is seeking to overturn the Kansas state law that took effect in July and prohibits the state from entering into contracts with individuals or companies participating in a boycott of Israel.

McGill University Considers Rejecting Use of Endowment to ‘Advance Social, Political Causes,’ Drawing BDS Protest

The Board of Governors at McGill University in Montreal, Canada is considering advising against the use of its resources “to advance social or political causes,” a move that has faced opposition from students supportive of boycotts against Israel.

In a December 12th meeting, the board considered including the language in the mandate of its Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility, which informs the board of the social impact of investments in its 1.6 billion CAD endowment. It also discussed a proposal to review the mandate every five years, rather than the current three.

McGill Students in Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) and Divest McGill warned in The McGill Daily on Monday that such changes “would have effectively destroyed the potential for any divestment campaign in the next five years.”

Divest McGill has sought to pressure the university to withdraw its investments in fossil fuels, while SPHR has called for divestment from companies that “profit from the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories,” in line with the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Representatives from both campus groups disrupted the meeting to ensure the amendments would not pass.

Posters of giant bloodthirsty dog emblazoned with a Star of David posted around UCL campus to promote event

University College London (UCL) members of staff and students have contacted Campaign Against Antisemitism about an extremely disturbing poster depicting the United States trying to restrain a bloodthirsty giant dog emblazoned with a Star of David, eating a smaller animal with the Palestinian flag painted on it.

UCL Friends of Palestine Society, UCL Islamic Society and UCL Marxist Society are hosting a series of events for so-called “Al-Aqsa Week”. This highly-offensive and inappropriate poster is being used to promote a talk hosted by UCL Friends of Palestine Society and UCL Marxist Society on“Trump and Jerusalem: How to stop Imperialism” at 19:00 tomorrow.

Other talks in the series include one called “US Embassy in Jerusalem: What’s the big deal?” on Wednesday and another called “Winning and losing Jerusalem” on Friday.

Campaign Against Antisemitism is writing to the UCL administration, calling for a disciplinary investigation.

An inquiry by UCL in January last year found serious problems in its previous performance, and since then speakers including Miko Peled and eugenicists have been invited to speak at the campus.

Anti-Israel Students to Protest Arrest of Palestinian Teen Who Assaulted Israeli Soldiers

Forty anti-Israel students and community organizations plan to protest Wednesday at New York’s Penn Station in a show of support for a teenaged Palestinian arrested by Israeli authorities for assaulting two Israeli soldiers.

The “Free Ahed Tamimi” campaign calls for the release of the Palestinian teen who was arrested Dec. 19 for assault after she and her cousin were filmed hitting two IDF soldiers in the West Bank earlier that week. The Tamimi family has claimed that the soldiers Ahed assaulted had shot a relative in the head with a rubber bullet an hour before the filmed incident. In the footage, which went viral, the soldiers are not seen physically responding to Tamimi.

Nerdeen Kiswani, president of the New York City chapter Students for Justice in Palestine, which is co-organizing the Penn Station activity, said in a statement, “We must demand the release of Ahed Tamimi, who is held in Zionist captivity paid for by U.S. tax dollars that funded the soldiers who harassed and shot her family in the first place.

Kiswani has often expressed her support for extremist forms of anti-Israel activism, galvanizing the crowd at a December Times Square rally at which speakers called for the violent end to Israel and celebrating a 2017 track-ramming attack in which four Israeli soldiers were killed as a “F- you” to “settlers.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Anti-Religion Activist Finds Way To Paint Tu Bishvat Nature-Celebration As Anti-Nature (satire)

A local campaigner against the influence of religion on public life averted a crisis today by devising a line of reasoning that characterizes a minor Jewish holiday honoring trees as in fact a subversion of everything trees stand for and therefore another argument to do away with Jewish practice and thought, as opposed to something positive about Judaism.

Alon Kantran, 27, faced a potential conflict of values heading into the holiday, in line with his position that religion, Judaism in particular, has nothing positive to contribute to humanity and must be abolished or abandoned. The fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Shevat, cited by the ancient Mishnah text as “Rosh HaShanah LaIlanot,” the “New Year for Trees,” has become a celebration of trees, especially fruit trees, among Jews, and among the more secular, a day for planting trees and emphasizing ecological concerns. Such a constructive role for Jewish tradition threatened Mr. Kantran’s ethos, and he has for years sought to develop a thesis that would allow him to dismiss or taint the source so as not to be forced to acknowledge a positive role for something with a religious pedigree.

This year, reported the activist, he succeeded in formulating an argument he finds sufficiently compelling. “I’m happy, and a little relieved, I confess, to inform all concerned that I’ve done it,” he announced. “It goes like this: what Judaism actually celebrates on Tu Bishvat isn’t the beauty or symbolism of trees and nature, but human exploitation of trees and nature. It’s all about exploiting different varieties of produce to illustrate or symbolize something alien to the tree’s authentic experience, casting everything in human terms, regardless of the tree’s point of view or wishes.”

2300 word Guardian article on the history of terror in cities has a glaring omission

A Guardian article by Jason Burke (Cities and terror: an indivisible and brutal relationship, Jan. 29th) on the history of terror attacks in cities around the world – an expansive 2300 word piece which spans hundreds of years – includes a diverse array of examples.

Attacks on London in the mid 19th century by Irish extremists.
Attack on French Parliament in the late 19th century.
Marxist terror in Central and South America in the mid to late 20th century.
Islamist attacks in Africa, on Western targets in the Mid-East and in Western European and US cities in the late 20th century and early 2000s – including the “new” tactic, used by ISIS just last year, of car ramming.

Yet, despite the fact that Burke acknowledges that “the emergence of terrorism as we know it today” begun “in the second half of the 19th century”, his historical overview of modern terror somehow manages to avoid any mention of the thousands of Palestinian terror attacks against Jews in Israeli cities, or Palestinian attacks on Jewish targets in Western cities.

Modern Palestinian terror ‘innovations’, such as the widespread use of suicide bombing – cruelly deployed to maim and murder civilians of all ages in cafes, pizza parlors and bus stops – go unmentioned.

BBC ignores its own previous reporting in coverage of Polish bill

Interestingly, none of the BBC’s coverage of the story mentioned that attempts to pass this bill began several years ago – even though the BBC reported on that topic in 2016.

Oddly too, the BBC’s reporting did not remind audiences of a relevant story the BBC covered in 2016 and early 2017 concerning a museum in Gdansk.

“Poland’s nationalist government has won a court ruling that will enable it to take over a brand new World War Two museum and reshape its exhibition to fit a narrower Polish perspective. […]

The ruling on Tuesday by Warsaw’s Supreme Administrative Court means the Museum of the Second World War will be merged with a yet-to-be built museum on 1 February.

Poland’s Culture Minister, Piotr Glinski, will then be able to nominate his own director who can change the museum’s exhibition to fit the government’s needs. […]

Mr Glinski has said that following the merger the museum will concentrate on more Polish aspects of the war including the country’s defence against the Nazi invasion in 1939.”

Another relevant story reported by the BBC last year was also ignored in this latest coverage.

As we see, rather than building on its previous reporting on attempts by Poland’s current government to dictate a narrative of history, the BBC has elected to present this story through the context-free narrow perspective of the objections of Israeli politicians.

The cold north version of anti-Semitism

Norway is far from being considered an anti-Semitic country, which is why it is interesting to read the findings of a study by the Norwegian Institute for Holocaust Research and Religious Minorities on Norwegian attitudes toward Jews and Muslims.

The survey was conducted from January to April 2017 and was followed by in-depth interviews with local Jews and Muslims. A similar survey had been conducted six years earlier, and the contrast between the results is remarkable. The worst number: While in 2011 only 3% of Norwegians thought physical attacks on Jews were justified in retribution for Israel’s policy in the Palestinian territories, in 2017 that rose to 12%. Among Norwegian Muslims, that figure is 20%.

There are only about 3,000 Jews in Norway, the northernmost Jewish community in the world. The number has never gone higher than that. Meanwhile, an estimated 150,000 Muslims live in Norway, and this could be a low eastimate. A few hundred Jews arrived in the cold nothern country after being expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497. But less than 200 years later, in 1687, King Christian V decided to follow suit and banned Jews from his country, jailing and then expelling the few Jews living in Norway.

In 1814, Sweden and Norway united (in a pact that held until 1905), and their joint constitution included an explicit ban on Jews, with some exemptions. It was only in 1851 that the Norwegian parliament lifted the ban on Jews, allowing them to enter the country and have religious rights on par with those of Christian dissenters.

Austria to dissolve ‘Nazi songbook’ fraternity linked to Freedom Party

Austria’s chancellor said Wednesday that one of the country’s controversial nationalist fraternities would be disbanded after it emerged that it had printed song texts celebrating the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities.

The lyrics in the book produced in 1997 by the Germania zu Wiener Neustadt organization included “Step on the gas, old Germanics, we can make it to seven million,” according to media reports.

Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust during World War II, many of them in gas chambers. Other songs in the book praised the Waffen SS and Nazi paratroopers behind war crimes committed in Greece.

The scandal took on a political dimension because until recently the vice-chairman of the fraternity was Udo Landbauer, a candidate for the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) in local elections in Lower Austria state last Sunday.

It also put Chancellor Sebastian Kurz under pressure since he had formed a coalition at federal level in December with the anti-immigration, Islamophobic FPOe, giving the party the interior, foreign and defense ministries.

Bloomberg: More Jerusalem Arabs Working in Jewish Section of City, Narrowing Income Gap

An increasing number of residents from Arab sections of Jerusalem are working in the Jewish parts of the city, leading to a narrowing of the income gap between Jews and Arabs in the city, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

Ro’aa, a 22-year-old sales clerk, explained that she didn’t have success working in the Arab section of the city. “There were no benefits, my salary was always two months late,” she told Bloomberg. “On the Israeli side you get paid more and receive all your benefits, and if they see you are working hard you get promoted.”

According to the report, Ro’aa is emblematic of “an increasing number of young Arabs … finding more professional opportunities in the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem.”

“We want to create a better life for our residents,” Hussam Watad, who runs a community center that offers Hebrew classes in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina told Bloomberg. The center also supports lawsuits to improve the infrastructure in Arab neighborhoods. The goal, Watad said, is “to show a rosier future” to resident of Arab neighborhoods.

Currently some 6,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem are studying Hebrew, and more are registering to attend institutions of higher learning in the Jewish sections of the city. The municipality has established one employment center in east Jerusalem and is planning to build a second one.

Weizmann Institute research: Large semi-arid forests could cool the planet

Planting the “right kind” of forests extensively in areas that have mostly been neglected in forestation efforts − semi-arid regions in Africa and Australia − could have a measurably positive influence on the climate and help offset a significant portion of human-induced global warming.

This was discovered recently by Weizmann Institute of Science researchers led by Prof. Dan Yakir of the earth and planetary sciences department who used an Israeli forest as a model. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Forests are considered one of the best means of offsetting global climate change, because they tie up large amounts of carbon. In other words, they have a large biomass compared to other types of plant cover and, since they tend to be long-lived, they keep that carbon tied up for a long time in a process called “carbon sequestration.”

But forests interact with the climate in all sorts of ways – not just through their uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Their color changes the amount of radiation absorbed by the Earth’s surface; and together with evapotranspiration – the movement of water up through the roots to the leaves and out through pores in the leaves – provides the trees with ways of adjusting their internal temperature.

Yakir and his group found that some trees, if they act together on a sufficiently large scale, can also promote cloud formation. So trees not only adapt to a climate, they shape their climate – and ours – as well.

Israeli entrepreneur calls for NATO-style cybersecurity alliance

Israel and its global allies, in the US, Europe and the Mediterranean region, must set up regional computer emergency response teams that will work together — a “cyber-protection alliance NATO” — to foil hacking attempts in the civilian sphere that are becoming more and more aggressive, said Erel Margalit, a former Knesset member and high-tech entrepreneur, on Wednesday.

Speaking at the 2018 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, Margalit, who was a member of the parliament’s task force on civilian cybersecurity, warned that citizens and civilian infrastructures are still very exposed to cyber-threats because there is not enough collaboration between government and private enterprise, and also because the cooperation between “democratic countries isn’t tight enough.”

More cooperation is needed, he said. “Together we stand and divided we are threatened.”

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance between North American and European countries in which member states undertake to defend each other if attacked by an external party.

As more and more devices are being connected to the internet and with the greater use of cloud computing, the cyber-attack surface is getting wider, cyber security experts have warned.

Shin Bet Chief: Israel Is Leading Cyber Power, Has Thwarted Hacking Attacks From All Over World in Past Year

Israel has foiled numerous foreign-originated cyber attacks in the past year, Nadav Argaman — the head of the Shin Bet security agency — said on Tuesday.

In remarks given at the Cybertech 2018 TLV conference, Argaman declared, “The State of Israel is one of the leading cyber powers in the world.”

“We, as an organization, have very significant cyber capabilities,” Argaman noted. “Cyber is a main tool for us in our work of thwarting terrorism.”

First Temple-era relics of possible royal estate found in Jerusalem hills

Israeli authorities inaugurated a nature park on Wednesday near Jerusalem after five years of archaeological excavations at Ein Hanya, the second-largest spring in the Judean Hills and a key site in the history of Christianity. Along with an announcement that the park will open to the public free of charge within months, the Israel Antiquities Authority revealed some major findings at the site, including a column capital typical of royal structures from the First Temple era and one of the oldest coins ever discovered in the Jerusalem area.

Excavations and conservation and development work were conducted between 2012 and 2016 at the site, which is part of the Rephaim Valley National Park and located beyond the Green Line but within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries.

“The result is an extraordinarily beautiful site incorporating archaeology, an ancient landscape and a unique visitor experience,” the IAA said in a statement.

The new findings were publicized for the first time as senior officials participated in a tree-planting ceremony for the Jewish festival of Tu Bishvat and revealed the new nature park.

Arbor Day (Tu Bishvat) Guide for the Perplexed

1. Judaism stipulates four new years celebration — one of them is the New Year for the trees, Tu Bishvat (Arbor Day), the 15th day of the month of Shvat (January 31, 2018).

Tu Bishvat highlights the rejuvination and blooming of trees and the Jewish people. According to Rashi, the leading Jewish Biblical commentator, this date was determined because most of the winter rains are over by Tu Bishvat, sap starts to rise and fruit begins to ripen. The Knesset, was established on Tu Bishvat, 1949.

The other three New Years are the first day of the month of Nissan (the Biblical Exodus — the birth of the Jewish people), the first day of the month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year) and the first day of the month of Elul (the tithing of cattle — only if the Temple is rebuilt).

2. The Hebrew word for tree — Etz (עצ) – is the root of the Hebrew words for independence (עצמאות), power (עוצמה), identity/selfhood (עצמיות), essence (עצם) and bones (עצמות).

3. Another Hebrew word for tree is Ilan (אילן), whose root is איל (the awesome/mogul), which is also the Hebrew spelling for the majestic ram. The two letters, אל, mean God and the letter י is an acronym for God.

4. Just like trees, human beings aspire for stability, long-term planning and durability in face of rough times. Rough times forge stronger trees and character.

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