July 30, 2021

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02/26 Links Pt2: The BBC and Guardian as fake news outlets. Enabling antisemites; Thirty-million-page backup of humanity headed to moon aboard Israeli lander


From Ian:

‘Telling Israel’s story in the 21st century will have a lot less to do with the Warsaw Ghetto than it will with Kurdistan and Aleppo.’ An interview with Matti Friedman
Journalist and author Matti Friedman talks to Fathom Deputy Editor Calev Ben-Dor about his acclaimed recent book, Spies of No Country which tells the little known story of the origins of Israeli intelligence by following four of Israel’s first spies through the 1948 War of Independence. He also discusses the importance of the ‘Mizrachi’ component in Israel’s identity, arguing that without grasping its centrality, neither Israelis, Westerners nor those in the Arab world can properly understand the country

CB-D: I recently interviewed Yossi Klein Halevi about his book, Letters to my Palestinian Neighbour and one of the things he emphasised was how he wanted to tell a 21st century Zionist story. You touched on this earlier, in that the story often told is overly Euro-centric – the narrative begins with the pogroms in Russia and ends with the Holocaust. Your book, which is different in many ways, has a similar idea in that if we are to tell the story of Israel today – both to Israelis and outsiders – we need to make it more accurate to include a Mizrachi component.

MF: People still tell the story of Israel as: When the Jews of the Islamic world moved to Israel they joined the story of the Ashkenazim – so the story of Israel is the story of the Jews of Europe. But having thought about this, and having lived here for 23 years, it is clear to me that what actually happened is much closer to the opposite. The remnants of the Jews of Europe come to the Middle East and inserted themselves into the story of the Jews of the Islamic world. The State of Israel is shaped by our contact with Islam and Jews who have lived here for centuries. The dominant narrative of the European Jews is wrong.

Looking ahead, telling Israel’s story in the 21st century will have a lot less to do with the Warsaw Ghetto than it will with Kurdistan and Aleppo. And Western observers find that difficult. But if we want to understand Israel, we are going to have to make an effort to move our centre of consciousness to the Middle East because that’s where we are.

Jewish ‘New York Times’ writer to pen book on antisemitism

New York Times opinion editor and columnist Bari Weiss will be writing a book about fighting antisemitism.

Weiss has penned a two-book deal with Crown Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House, she announced on Twitter this week. The first book, due out in September, is titled How to Fight Anti-Semitism, and was described as “an urgent wake-up call to all Americans, exposing the alarming rise of antisemitism in this country and in Europe – and explains what we can do to defeat it.”

Weiss gave a speech on the topic of fighting antisemitism on Monday evening, at the Temple Emanu-el Streicker Center in New York City.

The Jewish writer and editor, who grew up in Pittsburgh, worked at Tablet magazine and The Wall Street Journal before landing at The New York Times in 2017.

During her time there, she has written several columns on the Jewish-American experience and antisemitism in the 21st century.

Weiss called US President Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn neo-Nazis in Charlottesville an “utter moral failure,” and called out Rep. Ilhan Omar for “making accusations based on nothing more than prejudiced stereotypes.” Last year, after the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where Weiss held her bat mitzva, she penned a moving op-ed.

David Collier: The BBC and Guardian as fake news outlets. Enabling antisemites.

When did the BBC and the Guardian become ‘fake news’ outlets? Last week the Guardian newspaper, published a letter, written by ‘over 200 Jewish members’. It was compiled to belittle the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party, and in support of Jeremy Corbyn. For some (as yet to be discovered) reason, BBC News even gave airtime to it. The letter is no more than a rehash of the last time the Guardian decided to give this particular rabble a voice. Nor any different from the one before that, nor the one before that. We can follow this line all the way back to 2002, when the Guardian first gave publicity to the movement that was to become BDS.

Who is inside the rabble? People like Naomi Wimborne Idrissi, who have spoken under the flag of the soon to be proscribed Hezbollah and Elleanne Green, founder of the antisemitic Palestine Live Facebook group. Without the antisemites, this group could not gather a regular ‘minyan‘, which is why they never publicly demonstrate. In other words everybody should know, including those at the BBC and the Letters Editor at the Guardian newspaper, that this fringe crowd is not a legitimate ‘Jewish’ voice.

Last September, the Independent also gave publicity to another list of Jewish organisations that upon closer inspection was also not a legitimate Jewish voice. That list even contained the vile group ‘Scottish Jews against Zionism‘. The face of ‘ScottishJAZ’ is Jolanta Hadzic:

Jolanta is just another person who spreads rabid antisemitism and Holocaust denial:

What do all these letters have in common? That it is always the same names. Some of those involved are not Jewish and some are even publicly outed hard-core antisemites. Both the Independent letter and the Guardian letter have signatories who spread Holocaust Denial. The situation is absurd. There are always people who will stand in opposition to anything. You can find Christians who oppose Christ, people who believe in Santa and Muslims who fast on Yom Kippur. There are more people who believe that they were abducted by aliens, than there are active anti-Zionist Jews in the UK. Would the BBC or Guardian run an article about alien abductees every time they aired a show featuring Brian Cox in order to ‘add balance’?

No of course not, because they would quickly be regarded as fake new junk sites. Which is exactly why we must not let them get away with how they treat Jews.

Anti-Zionism Is the New Anti-Semitism

Readers are invited to reflect on European anti-Semitism in its current guise in a new little book, Mission Impossible? Repairing the Ties between Europe and Israel, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) and edited by Fiamma Nirenstein, a distinguished journalist and former member of the Italian Parliament.

The book is a collection of papers delivered at a conference last March in Jerusalem with the participation of European officials, politicians and intellectuals.

Many of the articles tell readers that though Israel seems to have good bilateral relations with most members of the EU, yet as a collective body it has become something of a hotbed of unbalanced, even vicious, criticism of Israel ignominiously reflecting the hostile partisanship of the United Nations.

Both are versions of the individual with Jewish friends who bashes Jews by joining an anti-Jewish organization.

Thus the strange spectacles of leaders of European countries who promote anti-Semitism at home visiting Israel to declare their friendship to the Jewish people — and, alas, being received there as allies. They also entertain Israel’s prime minister and his colleagues as honoured guests in their midst.

Thus, while the EU votes in praise of Israel’s enemies, critics argue that some Israeli politicians implicitly collude in the guise of expediency because of advantageous bilateral relations.

Pittsburgh mayor to ‘Post’: ‘Hate speech leads to hate crime’

Before October 27, Pittsburgh conjured up images of tough football players missing front teeth, three rivers, and a rust-belt steel town that weathered bad times but was now on the rebound.

But then a gunman walked into a synagogue during Shabbat morning services, killed 11 worshipers and injured seven others. From that moment on, as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto acknowledged during an interview Sunday with The Jerusalem Post, the city has an asterisk by its name that will be difficult to erase: the site of the worst antisemitic attack in American history.

Peduto said it will not be possible for years to determine whether Pittsburgh will forever be associated in people’s minds with the Tree of Life-Or L’Simcha synagogue attack, just as Dallas is associated with the John F. Kennedy assassination, and Memphis with the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It puts us in that category that no city wants to be recognized for, just as now we are part of the community of cities that have faced mass homicides through gun violence,” Peduto said.

The mayor is currently in Israel taking part in the American Jewish Congress-Foreign Ministry sponsored International Mayors Conference. He hadn’t planned on participating until the synagogue attack.

“I knew after October 27 that we had to be part of this,” Peduto said on Sunday, sitting in the lobby of Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, less than 24 hours after landing for his first visit to Israel. He had just come from visiting a memorial plaque in honor of the victims located at the KKL-JNF AND JNF-USA 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in Jerusalem’s Emek Ha’arazim.

“We had to be in Israel to speak out against antisemitism, and to remind people what the effects of hate speech are. Hate speech leads to hate crime.”

Original copy of infamous 1939 British White Paper to be auctioned

Three pamphlets issued by the British during the Mandate of Palestine period are set to be auctioned off in Los Angeles this week.

The Nate D. Sanders Auction House will be selling three booklets, dating from 1936 to 1946, that detail British policy regarding Palestine and Transjordan.

One of those items is a copy of the original “White Paper” policy issued by the British in 1939. The infamous ruling limited Jewish immigration to the Mandate of Palestine during the Second World War. The 12-page booklet claims that “fear of indefinite Jewish immigration is widespread among the Arab population and that this fear has made possible disturbances which have given a serious setback to economic progress, depleted the Palestine exchequer, rendered life and property insecure, and produced a bitterness between the Arab and Jewish populations which is deplorable between citizens of the same country.”

Bidding on the White Paper is slated to begin at $3,000.

The auction house is also offering for sale a pamphlet dated December 1946, titled “Palestine Pamphlet: Terrorist Methods With Mines and Booby Traps.” The 38-page booklet includes a history of “Jewish terrorist activity” in 1946 as well as instructions on how to handle various mines and booby traps used by those groups.

The booklet includes illustrations and images of Jewish bombings that year, including of the King David Hotel, which “is included for its illustration of the extreme methods which Jewish Terrorists may employ when planning deliberate murder,” the pamphlet reads, according to the auction house. Bidding on this item begins at $2,800.

Another of the pamphlets, published in 1936, is titled “Notes on Tactical Lessons of the Palestine Rebellion.” In its 18 pages, the pamphlet notes that Arab forces are working to attack “armed forces, Jewish interests and road, rail and telegraph communications.” Bidding on that item is set to begin at $1,750.

Ireland’s Raw Bigotry

The Irish legislation, banning the import of goods from Israeli communities located beyond the 1949 armistice lines, not only coincides ironically with the U.S. Senate passage of a motion to prevent anti-Israel boycotts, but also constitutes a breach of European trade law.

These Irish “humanitarians” also do not seem to care about the suffering of the inhabitants of the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip, who continue to suffer from large-scale abuse and persecution at the hands of their own despotic leaders.

Meanwhile, other nations actually guilty of serious human rights abuses, war crimes and ethnic cleansing — such as Syria, Iran, China, North Korea, Turkey and Russia, to name a few — are spared Irish indignation and legislation.

Ireland’s legislation appears to be less about actually helping Palestinians to have better lives than an effort to eradicate Israel.

Greece Has Few Jews, but They Are Still Blamed for Political Problems

During the Nazi occupation of Thessaloniki, a large Jewish cemetery was destroyed to make room for what is now Aristotle University. In long-overdue recognition of the fact, a commemorative monument was installed on the university’s campus. The monument was vandalized in 2017, and again in January—this time with particular viciousness, apparently by a group of several people who smashed much of it to pieces. Devin Naar comments:

According to Greek government statistics, vandalism of Jewish sites has been on the rise. The recent desecration took place on January 25, two days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The timing may be only a coincidence, but the vandalism—attributed to neo-fascists and supporters of the extreme-right Golden Dawn—was likely linked to a heated vote in the Greek parliament that took place that very same day—and had nothing to do with Jews.

Still suffering from the financial crisis and pressured by the refugee crisis, the Greek government, led by the far-left Syriza, embarked on the landmark Prespes agreement with its neighbor, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to resolve a longstanding dispute over the latter’s name—now the Republic of North Macedonia. . . . Since before World War II, Thessaloniki has played a central role in the debates as the historic capital of a region known as Greek Macedonia, [especially given] fears that acknowledging the Republic of North Macedonia’s claim to the name could legitimize irredentist aspirations.

Those in Greece who opposed the Prespes agreement—especially those on the right but also moderates—have unsurprisingly found in “the Jews” a convenient scapegoat for this alleged national betrayal. In a country known for conspiracy theories, it is perhaps no surprise that demonstrations against the agreement were rife with anti-Semitic slogans. At Syntagma, the main square in Athens, in front of the Greek parliament itself, a banner read: “[With] Jews and people from the Balkans in the Parliament, you are screwed.” (Notably, there are no actual Jews in the Greek parliament.) The destruction of the Jewish cemetery monument took place on the exact same day that the Prespes agreement was signed, and three previous desecrations of another Holocaust monument, in downtown Thessaloniki, over the past six months coincided with earlier demonstrations against the agreement.

Ilhan Omar’s tweets were not antisemitic, says CAIR representative

A representative of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has defended the antisemitic comments of Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

According to the website Citizen Truth, Robert McCaw, director of government affairs for CAIR, said his organization does not see the antisemitism in Omar’s pointing an accusatory finger at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), saying the organization is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.

“CAIR supports Representative Omar and her efforts to highlight the lobbying efforts of [AIPAC],” McCaw commented. “CAIR does not feel there was any antisemitic meaning in her tweet, but due to the brevity some took it as such.”

Citizen Truth reported that McCaw thanked Omar for “standing firm in her willingness to speak out” about the influence of organizations such as AIPAC in Washington, D.C.

Omar is slated to be a keynote speaker next month at a CAIR benefit in Los Angeles.

The organization is known for supporting terrorist organizations that have acted against Israel and the United States, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

CAIR’s Radical-Speaking Circuit: Faith-Led, Seventh-Century Justice-Driven

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has grown accustomed to promoting overt anti-Semitism to push its radical Islamist agenda. This week, CAIR chapters defended freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar after she came under fire for anti-Semitic tweets. And, on Nov. 25, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter, wrote that the Middle East would be “better off” if Israel were “terminated.” Days later, CAIR-San Francisco director Zahra Billoo echoed her colleague’s genocidal zeal by plainly stating, “I am not going to legitimize a country that I don’t believe has a right to exist.”

And yet, in boilerplate letters endorsing CAIR’s 24th annual banquet and fundraiser, nationally prominent lawmakers like Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) praised the nonprofit’s “fight against discrimination of all forms,” and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) lauded CAIR for welcoming “people of goodwill from all faiths and nationalities into our neighborhoods and our schools … “Bottom of Form

Despite these glowing endorsements, in Senate testimony CAIR has been called a “radical Islamic fundamentalist front group for [the Palestinian terrorist entity] Hamas.” The FBI cut ties with the group in 2009, and the United Arab Emirates designated CAIR as a terrorist entity in 2014.

Nevertheless, 101 congressional lawmakers sent letters glorifying the Islamist organization ahead of its 2018 national banquet.

Our Generation’s Cable St Moment

There was a choice that this Jewish community and others could have made. The leaders of the community and all those besides could have bent their heads and their knees.

The Jewish politicians could have discreetly left their religion, their politics and their integrity behind in favour of the ‘democratic’ tyranny that Corbyn, Milne and McDonnall’s thugs brought with them into almost power.

But they didn’t.

These communist tyrants in the making thought that they were on their way into Downing St, they pushed and they pushed and rather than find a community that buckled they have found themselves pushing slap bang into Jewish steel.

The same kind of steel Moseley met at Cable St, the same kind of steel those who would lord over the Jews have met for thousands of years.

These little communists who think that this country is merely a plaything for their schoolboy fantasies of power don’t realise the can of worms they have opened.

Whether they be the old communists of Militant or the young communist pretenders of Momentum they will not succeed in bringing the Jews of Great Britain to their knees or of turning the people of Great Britain against the Jews.

On the contrary they will only succeed in bringing all the people together in opposition to their schemes.

JPost Editorial: Labour’s Pains

There is something rotten in Britain. Over the last week, nine UK Labour MPs have resigned over what they say is an outbreak of antisemitism and racism plaguing the party.

The most recent defector – MP Ian Austin – told British media over the weekend that he was “ashamed” of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and the Labour Party, adding that he was “unfit to deal” with the party’s antisemitism.

“Jeremy Corbyn and the people around him have turned what was a mainstream party into something really different. They’ve created a culture of extremism, intolerance and bullying,” said Austin, adding that his father, a refugee from the Holocaust, had taught him about the evils of hatred and prejudice.

“That led to me as a teenager 35 years ago… to join the Labour Party, to fight racism,” he told The Guardian. “I would never have believed that I would be leaving the Labour Party today because of racism as well.”

Luciana Berger, a Jewish MP since 2010 who also resigned last week, told The Jerusalem Post’s Jeremy Sharon that she left the party because she had done everything she thought possible to challenge the rising antisemitism in Labour – including speaking about it and bringing forward motions to deal with it within the party, as well as challenging it in public – but all of that did not have the desired effect.

Noting that Corbyn himself has talked of a “zero-tolerance attitude” to antisemitism, Berger said that little has actually changed.

“There’s clearly a gulf between the warm words and the promises, and what has actually happened every step of the way – and regrettably, there is a catalogue of terrible incidents which, in my view, bring shame to the Labour Party,” she said. “Despite my best efforts… I was seeing things getting worse, not better.”

Corbyn has deflected the criticism, telling Sky News that the Labour Party “does not accept antisemitism in any form.” In direct response to Austin’s statements, Corbyn added that “there is no place for harshness, bullying or anything else” in the party.

“I don’t believe that it exists on a wide scale. Where there is bad behavior, we deal with it.”

However, in Labour’s case, the bad behavior starts at the top. Corbyn has almost single-handedly become the case study of whether it’s possible for a public figure to express virulently anti-Israel sentiments without spreading over to blatant antisemitism.

How Labour anti-Semitism has impacted British Jews

In September 2015 Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the UK Labour Party. More details of his lengthy hatemongering activities are still being discovered. In February 2019 investigative journalist, Tom Bower, published his biography of Corbyn titled, Dangerous Hero. He found that Corbyn spoke to a historian in 2015 about his early life, including his first job in London in 1973 as an assistant researcher at the National Union of Tailor and Garment Workers.

Corbyn claimed that he had challenged the Jewish employers of union members in order to recover the members’ unpaid wages. He said that the “scumbags” and “crooks” (as he described the employers) went bankrupt before Christmas still owing money to their workers. Corbyn said it was his job to fight the employers. Bower interviewed Corbyn’s then trade union superior. From that conversation it became clear that Corbyn had not been in contact with union members, but was just an office worker.

This invention of his past might thus be characterized as an antisemitic fantasy. It is an add-on to Corbyn’s self-definition as a “friend” and “brother” of genocidal terrorists. He also supports and mixes with Holocaust distorters. Corbyn is an extreme anti-Israel inciter and a part-time antisemite who has used Iranian media for his hateful purposes.

Under Corbyn’s leadership the lack of desire of Labour to confront the substantial antisemitism in its ranks has become evident. There were already a number of extreme antisemitic expressions under the previous Labour leader, Ed Milliband, who is Jewish. These received little or no attention. Under Corbyn, antisemitism in the party expanded and became a public issue.

BBC R4 ‘Today’ listeners hear an esoteric item on antisemitism

The anonymous journalist that Williamson claims is Jewish is Asa Winstanley – a known anti-Israel activist and a contributor to the extremist site ‘Electronic Intifada’ and the Hamas linked, London-based outfit MEMO. Significantly, Williamson omitted part of the Tweets he ‘quoted’.

With listeners not told who that “Jewish journalist” is and not made aware of his long record of anti-Israel activity and his stance concerning antisemitism in the Labour party, they would of course be unable to judge Williamson’s response.

Robinson: “So do you agree the claims are false?”

Williamson: “Now that is a Jewish journalist and I would also refer you to…”

Robinson: “I was asking for your view Mr Williamson.”

Williamson: “I would also refer you to the letter that was signed by over two hundred prominent Jewish members of the party who say in an open letter that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn…”

Robinson: “Can you tell me your view. You’re only quoting other people’s views.”

Williamson: “Let me just answer in my own way…that Labour and Jeremy Corbyn are a crucial ally in the fight against racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.”

Lecture at Columbia University: Israel is selling Arab body parts

Her curriculum vitae sounds impressive. Apparently, a lifelong student, mainly in Israeli universities, Nadera Shaloub- Kevorkian has built up a heavy resume allegedly related to her academic career as a criminologist. Kevorkian uses her Israeli academic connections to advance the vilest of Palestinian Arab propaganda as she accuses Israel of selling the body parts of Palestinian demonstrators and of medicine and weapons testing with Palestinians as guinea pigs.

An article in Middle East Monitor, known for its lack of fact checking and anti-Israel bias, lets her tramp out the old shibboleths of Jews similar to the taking the blood of gentile children to make their matzoh. It isn’t hard to see why they would publish Kevorkian’s “academic discoveries” about Israeli imaginary atrocities she recently discussed during talks at UCLA and USC in the United States.

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian has been a lecturer in law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Criminology. She also holds a teaching position at the Hebrew University School of Social Work. She received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Haifa University (1980) and another in Social Work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1982). She was awarded a Master’s degree in 1989 and a Ph.D. in 1994, both in Criminology, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. From 1985 through 1994 she served as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Bethlehem University, and from 1991 through 1994 she was an Instructor of Criminology at the Hebrew University. Shalhoub-Kevorkian was a Visiting Scholar at USC from 1995-1996 in their Center for Multi-Ethnic and Transnational Studies and their Center for Feminist Studies and a visiting professor at UCLA School of Law. She has conducted research in the area of domestic violence for many years and has published extensively in the field of women’s rights.

She disappeared from the lecture circuit for a while, but perhaps it was the need to make a splash to return as she started anew with blood libels against Israel and the Jews (the kicker is part of her college education was subsidized by the Israeli taxpayer).

Dutch Green Party endorses boycott of Israel

The Dutch Green Left Party became the Netherlands’ first mainstream political movement to endorse a boycott of Israel.

The endorsement came in a vote on a motion during the February 16 General Congress of the party, which has 14 seats out of 150 in the lower house of the Dutch parliament.

“BDS is a legitimate means to help Palestinians in their fight for justice,” the approved motion said. It states that Green Left “will be alert and resist forcefully attempts in any country to criminalize BDS.”

BDS is the acronym for the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement against Israel.

While practicing a boycott of Israeli goods or products is legal in all of Europe and in other countries around the world, promoting such boycotts is a violation of anti-discrimination laws in France and Spain, courts in those countries have ruled.

The Dutch Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, a Jewish group committed to fighting anti-Semitism and performing Israel advocacy work, condemned the resolution.

“Green Left conveniently ignored how, in practice, BDS goes hand in hand with expressions of anti-Semitism and is linked to terrorist groups,” CIDI wrote.

Avi Yemini: Palestinian “race hate hoaxer” assaulted me for offending Islam

Indy journo again falsely accuses Israeli politician of “glorifying” Palestinian civilian deaths

An op-ed by Independent Mid-East correspondent Bel Trew on the electoral hopes of Benny Gantz and his Blue and White Party expresses skepticism that the former IDF Chief-of-Staff truly holds a more centrist view on the Palestinian issue. The central argument of her piece (Centrism is finally returning to Israeli politics, but there are still plenty of reasons to be concerned) is found in these paragraphs:

While it is unlikely the pair will peddle the same fervent nationalist and populist line that Bibi has sculpted into his own brand, don’t expect a major break from the norm.

Lt Gen Gantz’s first campaign video was a disturbing rolling body count of the Palestinians killed by his soldiers during the 2014 war on Gaza that he oversaw. The advert, layered over footage of funerals and destroyed civilian neighbourhoods, concluded by saying that Gantz was responsible for killing 1,364 Gaza militants in the seven-week military campaign. The problem is that this militant body count is even higher than Israel’s agreed numbers and nearly double the United Nations’ figures.

The video effectively glorifies the killing of civilians.

However, as we’ve demonstrated previously in response to the same claim in another article by Trew, the allegation that Gantz’s video “glorifies the killing of civilians” is not accurate.

The 1,364 “terrorists” cited by Gantz does include both those Palestinians identified as terrorists (936) and those killed who were of fighting age but not categorized as either terrorist or civilian (428). So, whilst the video can be faulted for assuming – without evidence – that the unidentified 428 Palestinian males of fighting age killed were definitely terrorists, Trew’s argument rests on the reverse blind assumption – that the 428 were all civilians. If Gantz wanted to “glorify” the killing of civilians, he would have used a much higher figure, over 2,100 (which includes those 761 Palestinians identified by the IDF as civilians), not the 1,364 figure.

German mayor apologizes for posting Nazi-era memorial ad

The mayor of Hildburghausen in Germany has apologized for publishing a Nazi-era memorial ad as part of an official notice commemorating the town’s bombardment by Allied forces during World War II.

Mayor Holger Obst was widely criticized over the weekend for posting the ad, which described the February 23, 1945, bombardment as a “terror attack” and listed a memorial event that included an address from Adolf Hitler.

In a follow-up published Monday on the town’s website, Obst said it had been a mistake to publish the historical notice without further comment, but insisted he hadn’t intended to downplay the Nazi dictatorship.

Far-right groups frequently try to portray Germans as victims in the war by highlighting instances involving large numbers of civilian casualties, such as the Februrary 1945 bombing of Dresden.

Downtown Mural Prompts Concern of Anti-Semitism

A downtown mural is causing concern among Los Angeles organizations and leaders for its depiction of a grim reaper wrapped inside an American flag emblazoned with Jewish stars. The figure appears to be dangling a dead baby from its grip. Other imagery includes a war rocket, snakes and what looks like a pile of money.

The Los Angeles artist Vyal painted the mural. He said on his Instagram page in 2018 that it was inspired by a trip he had taken “to Palestine some years back.”

The mural appears on the exterior wall of the Vortex, a performance space in an industrial neighborhood downtown.

Organizations that have expressed concern about the mural’s imagery include Progressive Zionists of the California Democratic Party, which shared a post on Facebook about it on Feb. 25.

“Hey The Vortex, Is this a real thing on your building? If yes, why? It’s wildly anti-Semitic. If not, you should probably clear up the confusion,” the organization said in the post, while tagging the Vortex’s Facebook page. “Signed, Some confused and concerned community members.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Country That Harbored Nazi War Criminals Shocked At Mass Graves On Its Soil (satire)

A nation that gave sanctuary to one of the Holocaust’s most notorious figures expressed horror this week upon discovering yet another site of wholesale execution of minorities in its territory.

Syria, which played gracious host to Adolph Eichmann assistant Alois Brunner from the 1950’s until his death, uncovered a mass grave containing thousands of Yezidi victims of the Islamic State this week, sending revulsion through a country that had no problem providing protection and benefiting from the experience of a man responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people.

“We stare in horror at thus further evidence of Islamic State depravity,” declared government minister Mustafa Massiqr. “What kind of culture would promote such cover for violence? The world must continue to combat ideological extremism masquerading as religious virtue or there will be many more occurrences of such atrocities.” Syria refused numerous extradition requests from European countries that sought to try Brunner for his hand in the deportation to death camps of 129,000 people, mostly Jews, from Nazi-occupied or Nazi-controlled France, Italy, Greece, Slovakia, and Austria, among others.

Israeli researchers develop AI-based software to track progression of ALS

Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a new, artificial-intelligence based software to monitor and predict the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of the university said.

The idea is to identify markers in diseases such amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, to help develop personalized patient care and improve drug development, BGN Technologies said in a statement.

The technology, developed by Prof. Boaz Lerner of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at BGU and his team, will initially focus on ALS and at a later stage will be adapted to various other neurodegenerative diseases. BGN Technologies has filed for a patent for the technology. The method was presented by the researchers at a number of scientific conferences, and now that the patent application has been filed, they are gearing up to publish their work in scientific journals, a spokeswoman for BGN Technologies said.

ALS is a motor neuron disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles and almost invariably progresses with time. It affects people of all races and backgrounds. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that between 14,000 to 15,000 Americans have ALS.

Report: India Closes $500 Million Deal to Buy Israeli Drones

India has reportedly agreed to buy 50 Israeli drones for $500 million.

According to Yediot Ahronot, the deal will see Israel Aerospace Industries sell a fleet of Heron-1 drones to the Indian Air Force. This would be the second such purchase, and talks between India and IAI have been ongoing for several years due to political complications in India.

As in previous arms deals between the two countries, one-third of the $500 million would be spent in India itself.

In recent years, said Yediot, there has been furious competition between American and Israeli companies over foreign drone sales, with America’s General Atomics and Israel’s Elbit Systems being the primary rivals.

The IDF already uses the Heron-1, which is known in the military by the name “Shoval.” It is utilized mainly for reconnaissance and intelligence collection.

The Heron-1 has been sold to both France and Turkey, and leased to Germany, Canada, and Australia. There have also been reported sales to Singapore and Azerbaijan. Morocco, which has no relations with Israel, has acquired the drone from France.

In first Israeli acquisition, Walmart purchases start-up Aspectiva

American retail giant Walmart has acquired Tel Aviv-based product review start-up Aspectiva for an undisclosed sum, the corporation announced on Tuesday.

The company, Walmart’s first acquisition in Israel, will join Walmart’s “Store N° 8” incubation arm but will continue to operate from its Tel Aviv offices under the agreement.

Aspectiva, established in 2013 by Ezra Daya and Eyal Hurwitz, utilizes artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to analyze large volumes of consumer opinions and turn data into valuable insights and informed recommendations for purchasers.

“Aspectiva has developed incredibly sophisticated machine-learning techniques and natural language processing capabilities, both of which are areas we believe will have profound impact on how customers will shop in the future,” said Lori Flees, Principal of Store No 8.

“Israel is a hotbed of tech talent and innovation. We’re thrilled to join the growing community of entrepreneurs in Israel and see it expand within Aspectiva,” said Flees.

No. of Israeli Arabs studying for doctorates doubles in a decade – report

There were 759 Israeli Arab doctoral students in 2018, according to a report released Sunday by Israel’s Council for Higher Education. That number is up from 355 in 2008.

The CHE report showed that 40% of Israeli Arab Ph.D. candidates were studying in the fields of engineering and natural sciences. Another 40% are learning social and life sciences.

Nearly 7% of Israel’s Ph.D. students are from the Arab sector, according to the report. Roughly 20% of Israel’s population is Arab.

The study also showed an increase of 90% in the past decade in the number of Arab students studying toward a master’s degree.

However, a recent study by the Israel Democracy Institute found that the rate of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) among Israeli Arabs between 19 and 23 years of age is 37%. The NEET rate in Israel in general is 28% – one of the highest among OECD countries.

Around 1,300 doctoral students complete a PhD each year in Israel, according to reports.

Thirty-million-page backup of humanity headed to moon aboard Israeli lander

On Thursday night, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried an Israeli-made spacecraft named Beresheet beyond the grasp of Earth’s gravity and sent it on its way to the surface of the moon. On board Beresheet is a specially designed disc encoded with a 30-million-page archive of human civilization built to last billions of years into the future.

The backup for humanity has been dubbed “The Lunar Library” by its creator, the Arch Mission Foundation (AMF).

“The idea is to place enough backups in enough places around the solar system, on an ongoing basis, that our precious knowledge and biological heritage can never be lost,” the nonprofit’s co-founder Nova Spivack told me via email.

The AMF also placed a small test archive on Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster that was launched in the direction of Mars aboard the first Falcon Heavy demonstration mission last year. That archive consisted of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy encoded in a disc made of quartz silica glass made to last millions of years as the Roadster orbits the sun. The AMF has also placed a solid-state copy of Wikipedia on board a cubesat from SpaceChain in low-Earth orbit.

The little lander Beresheet hopes to make history in multiple ways this year.

Part of the motivation for the far-out project is to leave a copy of humanity’s knowledge not just in the cloud, but far beyond the clouds, should the impacts of climate change or a potential nuclear war do us or the planet in at some point in the future. (h/t L_King)

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