January 18, 2021

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02/09 Links Pt2: UNRWA Teachers Promote Nazis, Antisemitism, Anti-Gay Hate; Why do peace organizations rely on ‘alternative facts’?


From Ian:

UNRWA Teachers Promote Nazis, Antisemitism, Anti-Gay Hate
UNRWA’s funders—the U.S., the EU, the UK, Sweden, France—need to to urgently investigate why UNRWA teachers praise Hitler and the Nazis and incite antisemitism and anti-gay hatred. Urge them to create a commission of inquiry now into UNRWA

Why do peace organizations rely on ‘alternative facts’?

A prime example features in Breaking the Silence’s tour of the Southern Hebron hills region. In Susiya, tourists are taken to a well opening in the ground, roughly a meter square. As I stood there, the guide explained that the IDF had pushed an entire vehicle into the well. “Here, if you look, there’s a Subaru car deep inside,” he claimed. “They pushed it inside in order to poison the well.” A detached white car door lies on the ground adjacent to the hole.
It sounds dreadful. Initially, I was shocked. There’s just one problem: As anyone who’s been there can attest, no car is actually visible. That’s because there isn’t one in there at all. The aforementioned door is nothing but a devious, strategically positioned prop. And after taking a moment to think about it, I realised the sheer impossibility of ramming a whole car through a one meter square opening. But how many people simply accept the story unquestioningly?
Another time, Breaking the Silence uploaded a story to its Hebrew Facebook page, claiming that a Palestinian family was instructed to leave home eight times in one year so that the army could perform drills nearby. At the time, I was part of My Truth, an organisation that had refuted a number of Breaking the Silence’s lies. Although I had already developed a deep mistrust of the organisation by this point, this claim was too strong to ignore. I was concerned by the possibility that the IDF could acts so callously.
Anxious to verify the details, I relayed concern to my boss that we should tread carefully in case the army had indeed marked out this family’s land as a firing zone. I advised that it would be prudent to examine the case further. And so we did. We obtained aerial photographs of the area from 1999 and from 2016. In so doing, My Truth uncovered what really happened there: Whereas the 2016 photograph clearly showed homes, the image from 1999 showed uninhabited land. When the area was declared a closed military zone that year, no Palestinian village existed there. The family then deliberately chose to live in a military firing range, in defiance of both the law and common sense. Put simply, Breaking the Silence’s claim that the army was cynically embarking on a training exercise and using this as a cover to evict a family was a barefaced lie.

PMW success in US Congress
Representatives Ted Budd and Mark Sanford introduce the No Bonuses for Terrorist Act of 2017 (Feb. 9, 2017)

A new bill introduced by U.S. Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) aims to ensure that American taxpayer dollars will not be used to reward Palestinian terrorists. Palestinian Media Watch first revealed to the international community in 2011 that the Palestinian Authority pays significant monetary rewards to terrorists. Since then, PMW has documented the PA’s continued practice of using foreign aid money to reward terrorism in a series of follow up reports:
The PA’s Billion Dollar Fraud (April 27, 2016)
Is the PA Lying to Western Donors? (May 18, 2015)
Compilation of PMW Reports on PA Salaries to Terrorist Prisoners (Feb. 13, 2013)
The No Bonuses for Terrorist Act of 2017 (H.R. 789), if passed, will require the US Secretary of State to certify that the PA and PLO have terminated all financial rewards to terrorists and their families. In describing the new bill, Representative Ted Budd showed his familiarity with PMW’s findings in The PA’s Billion Dollar Fraud, which exposed last year that the PA has funneled its salary payments to terrorists through the PLO in order to deceive donors:
“Although our current law allows reductions in aid to the Palestinian Authority based on the amount of payments they make to terrorists and their families, they’ve found a way around this by giving to third party organizations – like the Palestinian Liberation Organization.”
– Representative Ted Budd [Feb. 1, 2017]
The No Bonuses for Terrorist Act is designed to close all loopholes. If the US Secretary of State is unable to certify to Congress that the PA and the PLO have ceased payment of financial rewards for terror, the aid money designated for the PA will be redirected towards funding Israel’s Iron Dome program.

PMW report prompts Wiesenthal Center’s condemnation of German-Palestinian sports agreement

Following Palestinian Media Watch’s disclosure this week that Germany signed a sports agreement with one of the Palestinian Authority’s most outspoken terror promoters, Jibril Rajoub, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging Chancellor Angela Merkel to “suspend this unthinkable agreement until the Palestinian Authority removes all names of terrorists from all sectors of Palestinian sport and their acts of terror be publicly condemned by Ramallah.” [Simon Wiesenthal Center website, Feb. 7, 2017]
The Wiesenthal Center suggested that Germany instead encourage joint football matches between Israelis and Palestinians. PMW has documented that Rajoub, in his capacity as head of the PA’s Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs and the Palestinian Football Association, has described such peacebuilding matches as “a crime against humanity.” He has similarly announced, “I won’t allow and won’t agree to any joint game between Arabs and Israel.” [Official PA TV, July 1, 2013]
PMW has documented that it is PA policy to present terrorists as role models. Naming sporting events after terrorists is one of the many ways the PA glorifies and honors terrorists.

Ryan Bellerose: Are Jews Indigenous to the Land of Israel? Yes.

As an indigenous activist—I am a Métis from the Paddle Prairie Metis settlement in Alberta, Canada—there is one question I am most often asked by the public, one that can instantly divide a community due to its intense and arduous subject matter.
Yet, regardless of the scenario, each time I hear the words, “Are Jews the indigenous people of Israel?” I’m inclined to answer not only with my heart but with the brutal, honest truth, backed by indisputable, thousands-year-old historical and archaeological fact: yes.
While evidence in favor of this view is overwhelming, activists who oppose Israel’s right to exist and deny the Jewish people’s connection to the land—perhaps before learning where indigenous status stems from and what it means—still have an issue with this claim, supporting a narrative built on falsehoods that today is basically acknowledged as fact.
It is my belief that strengthening Jewish identity is the optimum way to fight against the perpetuation of false narratives and lies. This can be achieved only through an indigenous decolonization of Jewish identity, which would urge Jews to see themselves through a Jewish lens and manifest the indigenous aspects of Jewish identity in a meaningful way.
Now, to understand indigeneity, one must also understand indigenous people, how we see ourselves, and how we see the world. At its simplest, indigenous status stems from the genesis of a culture, language, and traditions in conjunction with its connections to an ancestral land, most commonly derived from ties to pre-colonial peoples. Once a people have such a cultural, linguistic, and spiritual genesis as well as a coalescence as a people, they are generally acknowledged as an indigenous people.

The Aboriginal Rights of the Jewish People

What of the Arab People? The great Arab People of history is aboriginal to Arabia, not the Holy Land. Judaism, the Hebrew language, and a self-identified “Jewish” People were already in Eretz Israel about a thousand years before the ethnogenesis in Arabia (circa 600 CE) of the Arab People, the birth of which was approximately coeval with the emergence of Islam and Classical Arabic. Nor traditionally did this Arab People claim to be aboriginal to Eretz Israel. To the contrary, Arabs always knew the Koran to say that Allah had promised “the Holy Land” to the Jews, all of whom would return there by Judgment Day. Moreover, erudite Arabs were aware of their own narrative that celebrated the 7th-century Arab conquest of a Byzantine-Roman province already inhabited by Jews, Samaritans, and Greeks.
Under Muslim rule, Jews there suffered persistent discrimination and periodic persecution. But, neither the Arab People nor subsequent Muslim invaders succeeded in eradicating local Jews or bringing an end to enduring links between the great Jewish People and its aboriginal homeland. To the contrary, Jews continued to stubbornly exercise millennial rights of entry, sojourn, and settlement—and, even more so after the mid-19th century. Result? Jews legitimately became the majority in Jerusalem as early as the 1860s. And today, Jews are legitimately the majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
The last 150 years have witnessed several failed attempts to curtail Jewish migration. For example, the 1939 U.K. White Paper announced British policies signaling an early end to Jewish migration to Mandate Palestine. But, Jews boldly exercised their aboriginal rights of entry and settlement in full defiance of the U.K. government, especially after the Second World War. Then, Jewish rights of entry and settlement were championed by the USSR and the United States. A glance at the diplomatic archives from 1947 and 1948 suffices to remind that the war then launched by the Arab States was as much a failed attempt to stop Jewish migration as to frustrate the partition of Mandate Palestine.
Despite all obstacles, Jews still continue to exercise their enduring rights of entry, sojourn, and settlement. Thus, the Jewish People can now draw increasing benefit from the key doctrine of the self-determination of Peoples, which normally allocates territory by the national character of the current local population. It is not easy to understand how anybody could think that the Jewish People might somehow have lost fundamental treaty rights and millennial aboriginal rights, just because the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (1948, 1967) twice volunteered to initiate armed attacks, or because the U.N. Security Council wishes to abolish existing Jewish rights by fiat, outside of governing legal definitions and structures.

The Unbearable Hypocrisy of MESA

Whether one supports the ban or is against it or takes the perspective that it was a reasonable idea poorly implemented, there are easily observed hypocrisies and ironies to MESA’s umbrage.
First, MESA hardly lifts a finger to condemn the almost total ban among many states—including those subject to Trump’s proposed ban—regarding Israelis. Such bans affect Israelis or dual Israel citizens studying in America universities. This is important given the proliferation of U.S. college campuses in Arab states. Several Arab states demand a statement of religion on visa applications as well, a request intended to enable the exclusion of Jews.
Second, Gulf News reported in 2011 that Kuwait had banned citizens of five majority Muslim countries. The Kuwaiti government denies that this ban is in effect now but, even if it was temporary, did MESA react? No.
Most ironic, however, is that MESA appears ready to embrace if not endorse BDS—effectively banning Israeli scholars and students and denying access to Israel with university grants—and yet opposes Trump’s ban. That shows that intellectual consistency—something in which academics should take pride—is absent among MESA’s leadership and probably the vast majority of its membership which now unapologetically places politics above scholarship.

Enemies of the state

Every day I watch the news and see another country turning against me, making me the enemy in a place I call my home. I no longer trust my government or its emissaries to protect me or my own and the journalist employed to tell the truth prefer to tell stories, skewed for political gain.
We Jews helped build Sweden, and we have been an integral part of it for almost 300 years, yet we are treated like strangers in this land and enemies of it when it suits the majority. It is not only immoral but also deeply disloyal, and should worry non-Jewish Swedes, as well, as we are the symptom of a greater flaw in a country searching for its soul.
During the war, Sweden switched sides based on political expediency, and hid behind false neutrality to fill coffers and strike shady deals. Not much has changed, and the country still plays all teams and takes all sides, yet somehow we Jews end up on the losing side of any and all political and societal considerations. Watching that news segment, I realized that Sweden has created a perfect cycle, where it criticizes, demonizes and ostracizes the Jews until we find ourselves so far removed from Swedish society that the stereotype of us as the other eventually comes true.
We’re so used to this treatment — the lies and distortions and constant barrage of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish reporting — that we’ve gotten too desensitized to feel the outrage it deserves. Watching that report from Gaza alongside a non-Jew, seeing his shock and comparing his reality to mine, made me see how bad it has become and what anomalies I refer to as my normal. My friend’s reaction was healthy; it came from someone who feels part of this country and expects change when he demands it. That is citizenship, and that is belonging, and I’m beginning to think that as a Jew, I never truly had either.

Israel Bonds and US Universities: A Win-Win-Win-Win Situation

Over the years, many universities purchased Israel Bonds because they are a good investment. This does not happen as often as it once did, in part because interest rates dropped precipitously and universities could earn better returns with other investments.
Today, however, interest rates are rising and Israel Bonds offer competitive rates. So this is an ideal time to resurrect an idea that I proposed in 2005 — called Ivest.
The goal of the Ivest campaign is to increase the level of investment by US colleges in Israel. This objective could be accomplished by encouraging donors to universities to demand their cash be converted to Israel Bonds; by donors contributing Israel Bonds they already hold or wish to purchase for the purpose of giving to a university; and/or by establishing a program for universities to match contributions of Israel Bonds and/or cash with an Israel Bonds purchase from the university’s funds.
The Ivest project has a number of goals beyond the broad desire to promote investment:
By making contributions in the form of Israel Bonds, donors can send a strong message to universities about their commitment to Israel and the value they place on how Israel is treated on campus.

Students complete training ahead of Israel Apartheid Week

Student advocates for Israel have finished a StandWithUs training programme preparing them to counter the annual Israel Apartheid Week at the end of March.
A group of 60 students concluded a full-day training session on Sunday, which included a presentation from a director of the Henry Jackson Society, together with involvement from Jewish and pro-Israel student groups.
The sessions covered international law, Israel history and media training from the Israeli embassy’s press attaché.
Organisers said there was “a focus on practical skills such as answering difficult questions, debating techniques and branding Israel differently on campus”.

Groups Involved in BDS Campaign on Illinois Campus Use Israeli Tech for Their Websites

Student groups co-sponsoring a new Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel at an Illinois university used Israeli software to build their websites, The Algemeiner has learned.
Mexican organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán and Persian art collective Gharbzadegi — part of a coalition created last week at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign to pressure the school’s Board of Trustees into divesting from companies the do business with Israel — used technology from the Tel Aviv-based company Wix to create their sites.
As The Algemeiner previously reported, groups involved in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement have been found to be using Israel’s Wix technology on multiple occasions, according to a 2013 report by the UK’s Zionist Federation (ZF).
At that time, ZF chairman Paul Charney told The Algemeiner that BDS activists “find that living without the benefits of the Start-up Nation might not be as easy as they’d hoped.”

Report: Concern for Safety of Jewish Students Grows After Holocaust Denial Leaflets Appear on Campuses Across Britain

Concern for Jewish students in Britain has grown since leaflets calling the Holocaust the “greatest swindle of all time” were found on campuses across the country, the UK’s Jewish News reported.
According to the report, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) is working with the Community Security Trust (CST) and the colleges’ individual Jewish Societies “to ensure the welfare and safety of all Jewish students,” following the discovery of the fliers at University College London and the universities of Glasgow, Cambridge and Edinburgh.
The fliers include references to Holocaust denier David Irving and US Professor Norman Finklestein, a notorious anti-Israel activist and author of The Holocaust Industry, in which he wrote: “Much of the literature on Hitler’s Final solution is worthless as scholarship. Indeed, the field of Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud.”
The CST said Monday that there are also unconfirmed reports of similar literature being distributed at the London School of Economics.
UJS called the incidents “deeply concerning,” according to the Jewish News, and CST said it is working with the police on its investigation into them.

Student Activist: Columbia University Feels Like ‘War Zone’ Ahead of Scheduled Lecture by Israel’s UN Ambassador

Columbia University feels like a “war zone” ahead of a scheduled lecture on campus by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, the event’s organizer told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Rudy Rochman — president of Columbia’s chapter of grassroots advocacy group Students Supporting Israel (SSI) — was referring to a “Racists Not Welcome” protest being organized against Danon by the school’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace and Columbia University Apartheid Divest, which are accusing him of representing a country “born, like America, through savage ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants.”
“His is a state that has besieged and bombed the Palestinian people since its inception,” protest organizers wrote on Facebook. “Their alliances are global, and ours must be too. We will beat the far-right, but we will only beat them if we turn up everywhere to fight them.”

Jewish Groups in Houston Rally Behind Local College Students After Peers Suggest on Social Media to ‘Kill All Zionists’

Jewish groups have banded together to support Houston college students, after it was brought to light that their peers were routinely threatening Jews online.
Local and national organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston (JFGH) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), have expressed serious concern over the “disturbing” social media activity of 12 current and recently graduated University of Houston students, exposed by a covert campus watchdog group and exclusively reported by The Algemeiner.
Lee Wunsch, president and CEO of the JFGH, told The Algemeiner that the violent posts — which included praise for Hitler and a poll asking people if they would be willing to press a button to “kill all Zionists” if doing so would also murder “every Jew out there” — had the group’s full attention.
“The chairman of our board has been in close contact with the general counsel of the university and they have been very responsive in regards to any issues that would create a hostile environment for Jewish students on campus,” he said.

Barkat evicts owners of gallery hosting Breaking the Silence event

Following an uproar over an anti-IDF lecture by the left-wing NGO Breaking the Silence at the capital’s Barbur Gallery on Wednesday night, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat abruptly announced the gallery’s owners will be evicted for numerous “zoning violations.”
Breaking the Silence is comprised of veteran IDF soldiers and others who condemn an Israeli presence in the West Bank, as well as purported crimes against Arab residents there. Its executive director, Yuli Novak, planned to delineate alleged IDF abuses to an audience at the gallery.
After right-wing political leaders demanded Novak’s speech be canceled, Barkat issued a statement on Wednesday saying that following a yearlong deliberation by the municipal legal team, it was determined that the owners of the gallery were not authorized to use it as such.
Moreover, Barkat said the building – whose owners reportedly chose not to attend municipal hearings – is municipal property, and must be returned to the city within 90 days.
According to the mayor, the decision is unrelated to the lecture.

Israel to reprimand Belgium over Breaking the Silence

The Foreign Ministry plans to reprimand the Belgian Ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle over his country’s support for the non-governmental groups Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to do so, after discovering that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel had met with representative of the left-wing group during his three-day visit to Israel.
“Israel views with utmost gravity Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel’s meeting today with the leaders of Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, during his visit to Israel. Initiatives are underway by the Belgian state prosecutor to try senior Israelis including Tzipi Livni and IDF officers,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“The Belgian government needs to decide whether it wants to change direction or continue with an anti-Israel line.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has directed that legislation be advanced to prevent financing by foreign governments for NGOs that harm IDF soldiers,” the PMO said.

Palestinian Misinformation and Hate Rhetoric on American Public Radio

Several weeks ago, Khalidi broadcast yet more false information and hate rehtoric on an NPR global affairs program – WBEZ-produced Worldview, hosted by Jerome McDonnell. In the past, that radio show was criticized for providing anti-Israel guests with an unfettered platform from which to promote their biased agenda and bigotry. But on this particular segment, entitled “Scholars On Israel And The United Nations” (January 17, 2017), Khalidi’s views were countered by those of Eugene Kontorovich, law professor at Northwestern University and expert on international law and the Israel-Arab conflict.
Still, Khalidi managed to stir up controversy by scurrilously suggesting American political supporters of Israel were an “unsavory” lot, akin to vermin. He said:
…The Israeli right wing and its enablers, the unsavory characters in American politics who have enabled and supported it, are about to move us far, far further down this road than any other administration has ever gone… [Worldview with Jerome McDonnell, Jan. 18, 2017, 5:18]
and later
…There are a group of people, a lot of them in Israel and some of them in the United States, who live in a world of their own…And unfortunately, these people infest the Trump transition team, these people are going to infest our government as of January 20. And they are hand in glove with a similar group of people in the Israeli government and Israeli political life who think that whatever they think can be imposed on reality. [Worldview with Jerome McDonnell, Jan. 18, 2017, 7:09]
Khalidi also defended the tactic of boycott (as used by BDS campaign against Israel) as “a cherished American tradition,”a “time-honored, internationally recognized technique” and a “peaceful means of free speech.” He condemned the efforts to pass anti-BDS legislation as “nauseating in and of itself,” and claimed such legislation is probably illegal.

UKMW prompts Times of London correction on settlement legalisation law claim

A Times of London article by Gregg Carlstrom published on Feb. 8th (in the print and online editions) on the settlement legalisation law, which legalises Israeli settlement homes built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land, included the following claim.
The bill, which legalises about 4,000 homes built in dozens of locations on privately owned Palestinian land without compensation for the owners, was passed in the Knesset late on Monday night by a 60-52 vote.
The claim that Palestinian land owners won’t be compensated is repeated in the photo caption.
However, every other major news story that we read on the extremely controversial bill reported that it does include compensation (in land or money) to the Palestinian land owners.

‘What’s he doing here?’ – BBC 5 live breakfast on Israeli PM’s London visit

Having laid out those three topics, Bowen then chose to completely ignore throughout the rest of the item both the Iranian issue and the potential trade deals which would probably have interested UK domestic audiences, instead focusing on his own “big thing”.
Despite having inaccurately suggested to listeners that Netanyahu had ‘authorised settlements’ in numbers large enough to cause concern to the UK government, we later (unsurprisingly) discover that Bowen knows full well that such a portrayal is in fact inaccurate. We can also assume that he knows full well that all Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria are located in Area C, the final status of which – under the terms of the Oslo Accords – is to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians and hence his portrayal of the region as “Palestinian territories” is premature.
Listeners next heard Burden promote the equally inaccurate – and downright bizarre – notion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is “the Middle East conflict”: a theme that was repeated throughout the item.

BBC reports from Golan Heights omit basic context

As regular readers will be aware, it is extremely rare for BBC audiences to be provided with the background information necessary for their understanding of the events which preceded Israel’s capture of the Golan Heights and additional areas in 1967. All too often we see that the BBC begins its accounts of history in June 1967 without providing the necessary context.
With the fiftieth anniversary of the Six Day War approaching – and with it, one can assume, augmented BBC coverage of the topic – it is obviously all the more important for audiences to be provided with accurate, impartial and comprehensive information concerning the background to that war.

Slurs against Jews in sport not racism, rules Italian judge

Members of the Italian Jewish community were disappointed to learn of a recent court ruling in Rome which saw the acquittal of two soccer fans from the S.S Lazio team after being filmed in 2013 calling out anti-Semitic chants.
The Lazio fans watched their team play against Calcio Catania, as they have done many times throughout the world, and cursed supporters of their urban opponents, Roma.
On March 30, 2013, closed-circuit cameras in the Stadio Olimpico captured the two screaming out the words “giallorosso ebreo,” Italian for “yellow-red Jew” in reference to the colors the club’s soccer kit.
Policemen brought the two suspects in for investigation shortly after and they later stood trial for “incitement and racial hatred.”
However, the judge appears to have acquitted the two on the grounds that the phrase “Jewish Roma supporter” does not constitute racism, but is rather an acceptable and legitimate term because of the “historic sports antagonism between the two urban teams.”
“This is merely sports ridicule,” the judge said before discharging the two. He even justified his decision by saying that on the same day, Roma fans were not even present in the stadium.

Police hunt for man who posted ‘anti-Semitic stickers’ on Tube

British Transport Police have urged members of the public to help them identify a man wanted in questioning about “racist and anti-Semitic stickers” posted in London Underground stations last month.
The force has issued an image of the man they would like to speak to in connection with the stickers, which used Nazi terminology, with swastikas drawn on by hand.
British Transport Police said they had so far identified seven stickers at Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden stations, which they removed. They are believed to have been posted during rush between Tuesday 10 January and Thursday 12 January.
Investigating officer Ben Hurley said: “There is no place for intolerance and racism in our society and we take a firm stance against anyone who carries out these offences. All instances of hate crime are taken extremely seriously and we would actively encourage anyone who has spotted these stickers on public transport to contact us. Our enquiries are ongoing and I am hopeful that someone will recognise the man in the CCTV images.”

Holocaust survivor Edgar Krasa, singer in Theresienstadt chorus, dies at 95

Edgar Krasa, a Holocaust survivor who sang in the Theresienstadt concentration camp’s chorus, has died.
His death Monday was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Defiant Requiem Foundation, which performs the music created by inmates at Theresienstadt (also known as Terezin). Krasa, who had moved to Boston with his family in the 1960s, was 95.
The Theresienstadt chorus was led by the Czech-born composer Rafael Schachter, who was Krasa’s bunkmate. In June 1944, the chorus performed Verdi’s “Requiem” before an audience that included high-ranking Nazi officials and a small number of representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross.
“Edgar provided living testimony to the extraordinary events that unfolded in Rafael Schachter’s choir at Terezin,” said Murry Sidlin, the foundation’s president and creative director. “He was my first teacher and we owe a great deal to him. We will miss him terribly and his indomitable spirit lives on in each of us and inspires our work every day.”
Krasa, a native of Czechoslovakia, was sent with his family from their home in Prague to Thereseinstadt, where the young Krasa worked as a cook. He also survived Auschwitz, slave labor and a death march.

New Dead Sea Scroll cave found near Qumran, but scrolls are gone

Over 60 years after the first excavations at Qumran, researchers from Hebrew University said Wednesday that they identified a twelfth cave near Qumran they believe contained Dead Sea Scrolls until it was plundered in the middle of the 20th century.
The latest excavation was conducted by Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority under the auspices of the IDF’s Civil Administration.
It yielded no new scrolls, but archaeologists found a small scrap of parchment in a jar and a collection of at least seven storage jugs identical to those found in the other Qumran caves.
Altogether there was “no doubt we have a new scroll cave,” Oren Gutfeld, head archaeologist from the dig, told The Times of Israel.
“Only the scrolls themselves are not there.”
The bit of parchment and other organic remains have been dated to the first century CE, when the community at Qumran was active during the twilight of the Second Temple period.
Pickaxes from the 1940s, a smoking gun from the Bedouin plunderers who dug in the cave, were found along with the ancient remains.

IsraelDailyPicture: Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, Is Celebrated on Saturday

One major activity of the JNF, or in Hebrew the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, was the planting of trees on Jewish-owned land in Palestine. Many a Jewish home had the iconic JNF blue charity box, or pushke, in order to buy trees. In its history, the JNF is responsible for planting almost a quarter of a billion trees.
Reforested hillside along the road to Jerusalem. “Demonstrating
reforestation possibilities” (circa 1930)
The day chosen for school children and volunteers to go out to the fields and barren hilltops to plant trees was Tu B’Shvat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat, a date assigned thousands of years ago in the Mishna for the purposes of determining the age of a tree and its tithing requirements.
Indeed, the date usually coincides with the first blossoms on the almond trees in Israel.
Today, Tu B’Shvat is commemorated as a combination of Arbor Day, environment-protection day, a kibbutz agricultural holiday, and, of course, a day for school outings and plantings.

IsraellyCool: Why It’s Unlikely Radiohead Will Ever Heed Calls To Boycott Israel

There have, of course, already been calls from BDSholes for them to boycott Israel, but nothing so far from rock’n’roll BDShole-in-Chief Roger Waters.
Not that such a call would help. From The Forward (which I hate linking to, but fair’s fair, since that is where I found this nugget of information):
Radiohead has personal ties to Israel. Guitarist Jonny Greenwood is married to an Israeli artist named Sharona Katan, and last year he appeared on Junun, a collaborative album with Israeli composer/singer Shye Ben Tzur. Junun is a collaborative album featuring 16 musicians (known as the “Rajasthan Express”) from across genres doing music composed by Ben Tzur, an Israeli who moved to India in the 90s to study it’s music. Recorded at Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India, the musicians sat in a circle and performed live together. The album’s music is pervaded by Jewish and Sufi spiritual themes, featuring tracks like “Hu”,“Modeh” and “Allah Elohim.”

Patriots Owner Kraft to Donate $6 Million for Israel’s First American Football Stadium

On the heels of his franchise’s latest Super Bowl title, New England Patriots owner and five-time National Football League (NFL) champion Robert Kraft has announced that he will donate $6 million to a new stadium near Jerusalem.
“This isn’t a business trip. It’s something about spirituality,” said Kraft, who is currently visiting Israel, Jewish Business News reported Tuesday.
Set to open later this year, the stadium will be Israel’s first regulation-sized American football field and will serve the country’s growing interest in the sport. Currently, there are 1,350 active football players in Israel, with dozens of teams across the country.
According to Bezalel Friedman, director of the Israel Football League, the shortage of regulation-sized football stadiums has made it difficult to continue to grow the sport in the Jewish state. The goal is to build three additional fields in Israel during the next decade.
The Jerusalem football field will bear the Kraft family’s name and is being built in cooperation with the Jerusalem Foundation, Moriah – Jerusalem Development Corporation and Israel’s Sports Betting Authority, as well as with the help of Israel Football Association President Steve Leibowitz.

Chuck Norris to Benjamin Netanyahu You will always have my support

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with actor and martial artist Chuck Norris on Wednesday evening in Jerusalem.
The prime minister joked that with Norris around, security was no longer a necessity.
Norris reaffirmed his support for Netanyahu telling him, “You will always have my support.”
The Walker, Texas Ranger actor has boasted of the three movies he has filmed in Israel, including the 1986-action thriller Delta Force, directed by Israeli filmmaker Menachem Golan. He has also voiced his support for Netanyahu and endorsed him in both of the country’s last two elections.
Netanyahu spent Wednesday relaxing, taking a break from the current investigations against him and international condemnation. The prime minister dined on hummus with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon earlier in the day at Hummus Ben Sira, in Jerusalem.

PM Netanyahu Meets Chuck Norris

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