April 21, 2024

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03/29 Links: Third Israeli dies Sunday – 15 coronavirus victims; Manhattan D.A. Prosecuted Just 21 Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes in Past Decade


From Ian:

Third Israeli dies Sunday – 15 coronavirus victims
Three Israelis died of cornoavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of victims to 15.

The most recent victim is an 84-year-old woman who was being treated at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The two previous victims were in their 90s.

The 14th victim is a 90-year-old woman who had been hospitalized at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak. The 13th is a 92-year-old man who was admitted last week in serious condition to Shaare Zedek. Both had pre-existing conditions.

As of Sunday morning, 3,865 Israelis have coronavirus, coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry – 66 people are in serious condition, among them a young man in his 20s who is hospitalized at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital.

The numbers represent an increase of 246 more people since press time on Saturday night.

Coronavirus explained: 22 questions with epidemiologist guiding Israeli response

Professor Yehuda Carmeli is head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and a professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. He is one of the medical professionals leading the Israeli Health Ministry’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The Times of Israel spoke to him at 7:30 Thursday morning, the only slot available in his busy day. We asked him a host of key questions to try to understand more about the coronavirus. Among them: How is it transmitted, is it or is not airborne, and why it is so contagious? How many people worldwide will ultimately be infected, with what consequent rate of fatalities? Why are the elderly at greater risk, and why are other age groups so much less so? Why are Israel and other countries responding in the ways that they are, and whose approaches are more and less effective? And what should the public expect in terms of the virus’ impact — not only on our health, but the disruption to our lives — and for how long?

1. Why were there “only” 3,000 coronavirus deaths in China, while in Italy, a much smaller country, we are seeing hundreds of people dying a day?
Actually not all of China was affected. In most of China there was a relatively small number of cases. There is a specific county, Hubei, that was affected and within it, the city of Wuhan. Wuhan has a population of 11 million. Also, in Italy, it was mostly the region of Lombardy, which has a population of [10 million]. So approximately the same size of population has been affected in both cases.

2. How many people will become infected worldwide if this pandemic is not checked?
There are various mathematical models that try to estimate the number of cases expected in different places. There is a saying about mathematical models that all of them are wrong but some are useful. We truly don’t know which of them is correct.

All models I have seen predict that by the end of this outbreak, which could be in several months or could be in a year or two, about 60-70 percent of the population will be infected at some point. Not all people who are infected become sick. Some don’t even notice that they have it, or have very minor symptoms.

But in the end you can take the world’s population and calculate 60 or 70 percent, and those are the numbers that will be affected by this pandemic.

Stephen L. Miller:Why was early coronavirus coverage so lazy? The media’s insatiable thirst for political correctness

The night that President Trump issued his order, Vox tweeted, ‘Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.’ That tweet was then deleted with a correction earlier this week. Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post wrote on January 31, ‘Get a grippe [sic], America. The flu is a much bigger threat than Coronavirus, for now.’ The next day, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled, ‘Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake.’ In what appeared to be a full court press against the president’s order, the paper published another piece on January 31, ‘How our brains make coronavirus seem scarier than it is.’ On February 3, they hit us with another op-ed headlined, ‘Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus’, arguing it would lead to more stigmatization of marginalized populations.

On January 29, in concert with the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News tweeted, ‘Don’t worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu.’ Just a few days before President Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said on air that ‘if you’re freaked out about the Coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu.’ And then shortly after Trump’s address, CNN’s Brian Stelter commented that ‘Sean Hannity and Fox were going to celebrate the travel ban while evading the scourge of community spread within the US.’ CNN then published online in late February that racist attacks against Asians (only of which a handful in the United States have been authenticated and documented) spread faster than the coronavirus.

This was all, of course, reflexive coverage to a president they see as an emotional and oppressive opponent. Trump has made a hobby of hitting the media over the head with whatever bat they hand to him, and it’s one of the reasons it’s hard to listen to any of their sky-is-falling coverage now. Donald Trump is going to spin his way through this crisis, just like any communications-minded president would do, and the media’s attempts to play catch-up will leave them with a public that no longer trusts them.

Europe Wasn’t Ready for Coronavirus. It May Never Fully Recover.

In the midst of this festival of frivolity, harsh reality landed in Europe. In just ten days, we discovered that neither the tampon issue, nor the participation of transsexuals in the Olympic Games, nor the climate emergency were real problems, nor emergencies, nor anything of the sort. They were just fictitious problems, the pastimes of a generation that hadn’t known tragedy.

The reactions of politicians in Europe reflect the bewilderment of those who were living in the Matrix and have just been awakened. Most governments in Europe have moved from denial to chaos. But probably the most vile reaction has been that of the Social Communist government in Spain, which encouraged Spaniards to participate massively in the March 8 feminist rallies, the next day hiding reports that the coronavirus was already out of control in the country — something they may well have to answer for in court. Vice President Carmen Calvo said at the time that to attend the demonstrations was a moral obligation for all Spaniards: “what is at stake is the life” of many people. She was referring to violence against women, I think. It goes to show that Sanchez’s government only tells the truth by accident. Yes, many people’s lives were at stake, as we have unfortunately found out. Now Calvo is recovering from coronavirus, as are most of the members of government who took part in the demonstrations. Of course, the Spanish do not seem to be worried about the government’s taking a few days holiday: It’s worse when they’re actually on the job. The government is currently returning 650,000 defective coronavirus tests bought a few days ago. The president appeared on TV to show them off last Saturday, saying: “These are approved tests and that is very important, very important.” They don’t work. They weren’t from an approved Chinese supplier. Spain has been ripped off. A joke going around here in Spain says: “I took the government’s coronavirus test and… it’s a girl!”

Something similar happened in France, where president Emmanuel Macron closed bars and discos but refused to suspend the March 15 elections. Even so, until a few days ago, Germany and France both boasted about their good crisis management. However, the truth is that lying does not solve the problem: We now know that neither Germany nor France is counting the deaths from coronavirus that occur outside of hospitals, and that the Germans don’t call it “death from coronavirus” if the patient had a previous illness.

At some point between March 8 and March 15, all European countries unilaterally closed their borders. For 20 days, as nations took the lead, the European Union ceased to exist. Even today, it is discussing possible economic measures, without any decision being made. The main obstacle to an economic agreement is that the countries that have been frugal for years, in particular the Netherlands and Germany, refuse to bail out the more wasteful Mediterranean countries with their money again. And that’s understandable. However, for those who are now on their own, namely the United Kingdom, things aren’t looking any better. The UK will pay a heavy price for its experimental immune policy. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s infection looks like writing on the wall. To survive in a globalized world, you have to do more than just antagonize everyone else all the time.

Europe, whose nations had staked everything on an all-powerful state that could protect its citizens from all evil, has been cruelly disappointed. The future is uncertain. But what is certain is that death and poverty are two words that will stay with us for a long time. Europeans now miss having competent governments, cohesive civil societies, responsible economic administrations, and citizens capable of giving their lives for others — that is to say, citizens with values. The same values that were deliberately excluded in the European Constitution in order to please the extreme left-wing secularists.

Tajani was right. The coronavirus has reopened the deepest wounds in the European Union.

The Pacific Century: Suing China?

Hosted by John Yoo, Michael Auslin

Misha and John welcome to the podcast James Kraska, Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law at the Naval War College, to discuss ways in which international law may hold China responsible for allowing the coronavirus pandemic to spread. Misha then discusses his recent article arguing that the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to blame the world for the pandemic illustrates the beginning of a new Cold War between the U.S. and China.

WHO Says It’s Working With Taiwan Experts After Video Goes Viral

The World Health Organization said it’s working with Taiwanese health experts after an interview went viral in which a senior official appeared to hang up on a reporter who asked about the island’s membership status in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

In the segment aired by Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK, a journalist asked Bruce Aylward, who helped lead a WHO mission to China’s Wuhan, if the organization would consider giving Taiwan membership. The footage showed him saying he couldn’t hear properly, and asking the reporter to skip to the next question. It then showed the line disconnecting after the reporter said she’d like to hear more about Taiwan.

Later when the call was reconnected, the presenter asked him to comment on Taiwan’s progress in containing the virus. Aylward replied that all areas of China have done well and wished Hong Kong luck in its efforts.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted that the WHO should set politics aside when dealing with a pandemic. Supporters of Taiwan say the WHO is too deferential to Beijing, which considers the self-governed democracy part of China.

“The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO Member States, not WHO staff,” spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email. “WHO is taking lessons learned from all areas, including Taiwanese health authorities, to share best practices globally.” Jasarevic did not respond to a question on whether Aylward had hung up on the reporter.

The WHO has a point of contact with Taiwan to receive information, and the country is involved in epidemiology training. Two Taiwanese public health experts took part in a research forum the WHO organized in February.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly backed China, even as Beijing was criticized by other countries and organizations for being slow to respond initially to the outbreak there, and for resisting cooperation with international disease-trackers. After weeks of wrangling, Aylward’s WHO response team gained access to Hubei province, where the virus first erupted.

Honest Reporting: Say No to Hate

During these times, we have a decision to make: either come together or turn on each other.

Humanity needs to work together to fight our common enemies. We need to say no to hate.

Prince Harry under fire for inviting IDF soldiers to Invictus Games

Prince Harry has drawn ire of UK’s Muslims after it emerged that he invited Israeli soldiers and veterans wounded in battle to participate in a sporting event organized by the British royal, the Daily Mail newspaper reported Sunday.

The Duke of Sussex is the founder of the international multi-sport event, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in nine sports.

Important to note, the representatives of Jordan and Iraq took part in the Invictus Games in 2018 in Sydney and are also set to participate in the competition in 2022, due to be held in Germany.

Sources tell the Daily Mail the Israeli delegation, which has never participated in the event, has agreed in principle with the British Royal to take part in the 2022 Games.

The British Muslim community and various human rights groups find the move unacceptable, due to the investigation recently launched by the International Criminal Court into alleged war crimes committed by the IDF troops in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

“It will be seen as a way of provoking Arabs by a British Royal,” Abdel Bari Atwan, a high-profile Arab journalist in the UK, told the Daily Mail.

The participation of the Israeli delegation was apparently confirmed during a meeting of Invictus Games’ officials in London on March 10 and has already received financial backing from global charity Genesis Philanthropy Group.

GPG was co-founded by London-based Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, named in a M16 dossier alleging ties between high-profile Kremlin officials and U.S. President Donald Trump. Fridman was also indicted on various corruption charges.

Benny Gantz: I chose the only path possible at this time, a national emergency government

We are facing one of the most serious challenges in the history of our country. It is a global challenge of exceptional magnitude, and it has hit Israel at a time of crippling political deadlock and unbearable divisions — a lethal combination. Leadership has never been more necessary. Leading has never been more difficult.

As a soldier who has dedicated my life to protecting the State of Israel, I have vowed to carry my commitment to the country forward and inform my decisions as a political leader. At this time of crisis, I had no choice but to put politics aside and choose the only path that allows us to avoid fourth elections. Because at a time like this, pulling people out to the polls again — many of whom have lost their livelihoods and are riddled with anxiety about the future — is inconceivable. I chose the only path which positions Israel to effectively fight this horrific pandemic: the path of a national emergency government.

More than ever, Israel needs unity. Israel needs strong and capable leadership, able to relentlessly fight the coronavirus, while protecting Israel’s democracy.

And let me state clearly: No matter how fierce the battle, I will never compromise on democracy. I will never compromise on the principles underpinning the votes of the more than one million Israelis who voted for Blue and White.

Martin Sherman: Back from the brink!

Just over a year ago, immediately after the announcement of the union between Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, and the establishment of the Blue & White party (Feb. 21, 2019), I published a column, entitled: Gantz-Lapid’s directionless ad hoc political concoction (Feb. 22, 2019).

Perverse political entity
In it, I predicted that “… it is not easy to envisage great cohesion and sense of purpose in the party ranks regarding multiple issues that are bound to arise after the elections–whether in the security, diplomatic or socio-economic spheres—and whether the Blue & Whites find themselves in government or opposition.”

This of course, was not really a difficult conclusion to draw. Indeed, any mediocre political scientist, with a minimal grasp of the fundamentals of his professional discipline, should not have had any problem arriving at it. After all, as I pointed out, even a cursory “glance at the composition of the Blue & White list reveals it to be a highly anomalous—the less charitable might say “perverse”— political entity”.

Indeed, rather than being a body that “coalesced around some ideo-intellectual credo or consensus—however remote—on some socio-political or strategic agenda, there is now little doubt that the centripetal forces that brought Blue & White’s disparate components together, comprised little more than an anti-Netanyahu sentiment: Some bear him a grudge because of a past affront they felt he had inflicted on them; others appear to harbor an aversion to him, on a personal basis rather than due to any substantive disagreement over policy.”

Thus, within the “same political framework, we find a Labor Union leader alongside a champion of free market competition; hardline hawks as well as left-leaning doves….”

Government reportedly close to deal on NIS 80 billion rescue package

Government officials are reportedly nearing an NIS 80 billion ($22.5 billion) package to help businesses struggling under the coronavirus crisis, which has shuttered businesses and left hundreds of thousands of people out of work.

The aid package seemingly began to come together during a late-night meeting between Treasury officials and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, after it became clear that an earlier NIS 4 billion plan would fall well short of keeping the ailing economy alive.

According to reports, several parts of the deal remain to be hammered out, including how the money will be divied up and where all of it will go, including whether Israel’s vital tech industry will see a piece of the bailout.

The deal will include an NIS 5 billion ($1.4 billion) fund to help small business and NIS 6 billion ($1.7 billion) for large businesses. The deal also includes a fund for leveraged loans to help businesses that have already taken on considerable debt manage the credit crunch as the global economy contracts, according to the Calcalist business daily, citing unnamed sources involved in the talks.

Bennett calls for defense establishment to be responsible for corona fight

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has called on the government to transfer the responsibility of fighting the coronavirus from the Health Ministry to the IDF and defense establishment, as he released an exit plan from the virus, which has had a significant impact on the economy.

“We are in a war,” he said Sunday. “The IDF is a bulldozer and that’s what we need to fight against this virus.

“The Health Ministry has not been built for this kind of emergency. They are smart, good and dedicated professionals, but the ministry specializes in healthcare, not emergencies and logistics. Therefore, I am convinced that the responsibility for establishing and operating the testing system must be transferred to the security system.”

Bennett said the Health Ministry has not been built to handle the logistics needed to battle the virus, writing in his plan that “this whole logistics system is too complex for the Health Ministry to execute.”

In the plan, released on Sunday, Bennett recommended that the nationwide lockdown be changed after Passover so that the at-risk population continues to self-isolate while the rest of the population returns to a sense of normalcy.

He called for the immediate ban on the elderly population from leaving their homes and for the responsibility for the battle against the virus to fall to the IDF and defense establishment.

Failure to stop mass Haredi funeral reveals distancing’s fatal flaw: Enforcement

The Israel Police on Sunday exposed a fatal flaw in the government’s effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus by forbidding gatherings: It is unwilling to enforce the restrictions if there’s a likelihood of opposition.

In the predawn hours of Sunday morning, residents of the overwhelmingly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak — one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus — held a mass funeral procession and burial for Rabbi Tzvi Shenkar, a leading figure in the so-called Jerusalem Faction, a hardline group known mainly for holding large protests against mandatory military service.

Police made no move to break up the procession, in which thousands of people took part, or the funeral itself, in which hundreds of people gathered at a cemetery in the city, despite Bnei Brak having the second-largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

Amid an outcry against police inaction, the force issued a statement defending its decision to allow the mass funeral despite government regulations forbidding gatherings of almost any kind, let alone ones with thousands or hundreds of participants.

“We had two options: Cause a clash with the participants, thousands of whom came out of their houses in the span of a few minutes, or wait until the funeral ended quickly and the crowd broke up,” police wrote.

“These are the types of events that require the careful consideration of commanders and risk management, and it is good that the event ended in this way,” police said.

Ultra-Orthodox leader bans ‘minyan’ prayers; officials mull Bnei Brak quarantine

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a prominent leader of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community in Bnei Brak, on Sunday called on his followers to perform their prayers individually and not in quorums of ten, as permitted by the Health Ministry.

The comments come after thousands of residents of Bnei Brak, a predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of nearly 200,000 people, took part in a funeral procession for a venerated rabbi and hundreds attended his burial early Sunday morning in violation of emergency directives against the virus.

Kanievsky cited pikuah nefesh, the Jewish imperative to save lives, as praying in groups could endanger people’s health.

Kanievsky also said that whoever doesn’t adhere to the instructions of doctors was a rodef, or threat to society.

The ruling marked a reversal for Kanievsky, who two weeks ago pushed back on government orders to shutter schools and yeshivas to curb the spread of the virus, insisting that Torah study continue uninterrupted.

Israel allows up to 20 people to attend religious events such as a funeral or wedding, provided they maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) between each other.

State-mandated cremation a posthumous ‘mitzvah,’ says leading Orthodox rabbi

A leading Orthodox rabbi rules that Jewish communities in Europe should embrace cremation if their governments require it — and consider it a posthumous “mitzvah,” or fulfillment of a commandment, on the part of the deceased.

As some countries halt burials for coronavirus victims or move towards doing so, out of fear that it increases coronavirus transmission, Kenneth Brander, the rosh yeshiva or dean of the Israeli Ohr Torah Stone network of institutions, said that any Jewish person who is cremated in this context should be seen as posthumously fighting against the virus that killed them.

“The highest honor that a person who isn’t alive can achieve is to help the living,” said Brander. While Judaism normally deems cremation a “desecration,” in the context of saving a life it would be seen as “a mitzvah that the deceased is doing posthumously.”

Brander spoke with The Times of Israel soon after it emerged that a Jewish man, Ruben Bercovich, was cremated near Buenos Aires despite protests from his community.

Argentina’s first Jewish coronavirus death is cremated, sparks controversy

Despite protests from a Jewish community in northeastern Argentina, the first Jewish victim of the coronavirus in Argentina was cremated by local authorities, causing controversy and sparking concern among other Jewish communities throughout the country.

Cremation of the dead is not allowed under religious Jewish law.

Ruben Bercovich, a 59-year-old businessman and father of three, passed away on Thursday in Resistencia, the capital of the northern Chaco province. Bercovich, owner of the BercoMat construction materials company, had returned to Argentina on March 9 after a trip to the United States.

His death and subsequent cremation has started a dialogue between Argentine rabbis and officials over a possible compromise to uphold Jewish law. Authorities said the cremation was the best practice to avoid further spread of the disease.

Rabbis and officials have already compromised on leaving open mikvahs, or Jewish ritual baths. Those who wish to use one correspond with the government and get a code to enter once they are deemed healthy enough.

Alfred Landecker Foundation donates 1 m. Euros to aid Holocaust survivors

The Alfred Landecker Foundation, based in Berlin, has committed to donating 1 million euros in support of Holocaust survivors during the coronavirus crisis.

The newly established fund is designated to financially support organizations that are aiding Holocaust survivors impacted by the ramifications of the virus. The organizations help survivors get food and meet other basic and emotional needs. They also help infected survivors handle the effects of the virus.

“During these particularly difficult and uncertain times we have a responsibility towards Holocaust survivors, who have experienced a terrible trauma and tragedy in the past. We will need to invest in new forms of communication to ensure that their needs are met,” said Dr. Andreas Eberhardt, CEO of Alfred Landecker Foundation.

The first four organizations to immediately benefit from the funding include Jewish Care, the largest health and social care organization serving the Jewish community in the UK, AMCHA Israel, the Central Welfare Organization for Jews in Germany and the UJA Federation New York.

The announcement came just after William Stern, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor living in the UK, died from the virus on March 23. Stern was the UK’s first Holocaust survivor to pass away from coronavirus.

NYC Mayor to synagogues: Close for coronavirus or be shut down permanently

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the Jewish community that synagogues that continue to defy coronavirus regulations and hold services will be permanently shut down.

While the majority of synagogues have closed in accordance with city orders aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus by limiting social gathering, others have stayed open.

“We’ve had extraordinary, across the board rabbinical support from all the different elements of the Jewish community and the same is true of other faiths as well,” de Blasio said in his Friday news briefing, according to The Jewish Press.

Some synagogues, however, are still holding minyanim, gatherings of 10 worshipers or more, to hold prayer services.

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” de Blasio said.

“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church, and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he warned, however admitting that he does not “say this with joy.”

Economist echos media lie that Israel restricts medicine to Gaza

The Economist is the latest British media outlet to mislead on the coronavirus-relate healthcare crisis in Gaza. Their March 26th article (“Gaza, already under siege, imposes lockdown”), published in their print edition, included the following:
An outbreak would be catastrophic. Gaza is one of the world’s most densely populated places. The health-care system, shattered by the long blockade, would be unable to cope. Even in normal times, basic items like antibiotics are often in short supply.

However, the medicine shortage in Gaza has nothing whatsoever to do with the the Israeli blockade – a fact we proved in a previous post which included a definitive statement from COGAT that there are NO restrictions on medicine and medical equipment.

In fact, even the NY Times has acknowledged – after communication with CAMERA – that “the import of medicine [to Gaza] is not restricted.”

The shortage has more to do with Hamas’s decision to spend millions on terror tunnels and other military items instead of on domestic needs such as healthcare. Another major factor is the longstanding inter-Palestinian rivalry which resulted in PA measures that have significantly reduced medical funds to Gaza.

BBC WS isolates narrative from context in another Gaza Corona report

As we have previously documented (see ‘related articles’ below), in the past couple of weeks the BBC provided its audiences with preemptive reporting on the topic of Coronavirus in the Gaza Strip and reports on the first two cases diagnosed there.

On March 26th seven additional cases were confirmed and the final item in that day’s afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ was billed as follows in the synopsis:

“And will Gaza’s health care system be able to stem the spread of the virus?”

Presenter James Menendez introduced the report using a novel euphemism to describe a terrorist organisation and promoting talking points already seen in earlier reports.
Menendez: “Covid 19’s shown its power to overwhelm well-funded health systems in the richest countries. How much greater the risk then when those medical services are weak to begin with and when people are packed into spaces in which calls for social distancing or self-isolation are all but futile. Gaza is the tiny strip of land between Israel and Egypt into which 2 million Palestinians are crammed under the governance of the internationally shunned Hamas movement. Matthias Schmale is the Gaza operations director of UNRWA – the UN agency for Palestinian refugees – and he’s been talking to my colleague Tim Franks.”

German journalist withdraws criticism of Israel as ‘Corona Dictatorship’

The German Spiegel magazine journalist Christoph Sydow on Saturday walked back his description of Israel’s government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the first “Corona Dictatorship,” after he faced days of intense criticism that he spread antisemitism on the website of the news outlet.

Sydow tweeted that “If I wrote the text again today, I would not use the word ‘dictatorship’ again. I stick to the assessment that the damage that has been done to the democratic system and that may be further inflicted is immense and will have ramifications for the country.”
The Jerusalem Post was the first news organization to report on the allegations that Sydow stoked antisemitism in his article.

The Israeli author and expert on antisemitism, Arye Sharuz Shalicar, who was born in Germany to Jewish-Persian parents and made aliyah in 2001, tweeted to Sydow: “I hope you now understand why there are people who claim that your reporting has antisemitic tendencies. Because you ONLY accuse the Jewish state of things that so many other countries and states do.”

Shalicar first exposed the alleged antisemitism scandal involving Sydow and Spiegel.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post in response to Sydow’s article that, “Germany remains a hot spot for the virus of antisemitism and false demonization of the Jewish state.”

Khaled Abu Toahmeh: Hamas official suspended for allowing TV crew inside quarantine center

Salama Marouf, head of the Hamas-controlled Government Press Office, has been suspended for allowing journalists to enter a quarantine center for Palestinians diagnosed with coronavirus.

Marouf, who reportedly authorized the entry of the journalists into the quarantine center in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, was suspended pending an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the issue.

A special commission of inquiry has been set up to look into the issue, the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Al-Resalah, reported. The commission will recommend that those who violated the regulations of the Health Ministry be held accountable, it said.

Marouf confirmed that he has been suspended from his job.

“My moral and understanding of government work oblige me to respect a decision to suspend my work until the investigation ends, even if it seems to me to be surprising and incomprehensible,” he said. “I’m fully prepared to assume responsibility if it’s proven that I had failed in my job.”

The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said a journalist and cameraman who entered the quarantine center have been placed under quarantine for fear they may have been infected with the coronavirus.

Manhattan D.A. Prosecuted Just 21 Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes in Past Decade

Records from the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicate D.A. Cyrus Vance prosecuted just 13 individuals for anti-Semitic hate crimes between 2017 and 2019, less than half of those arrested in his jurisdiction during that time and a bare 6 percent of all complaints of anti-Semitic crime.

Records obtained from the New York County District Attorney—the official name of the Manhattan D.A.’s office—under New York state’s Freedom of Information Law indicate just 21 prosecutions for anti-Semitic hate crimes in total since Vance took office. Although rates of prosecution have risen and fallen with recorded complaints and arrests for such crimes, they remain just a small proportion of each.

These new data raise questions about the seriousness with which the Manhattan D.A. office has taken anti-Semitism in its jurisdiction. This seriousness is of particular import to a city now facing not only a rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes but a surge in crime in general.

Initially, the data indicate the Manhattan D.A.’s office has grown more aggressive toward anti-Semitic hate crimes. Vance’s tenure as district attorney began in 2010, but his office made only one prosecution for an anti-Semitic hate crime a year until 2016. The majority of prosecutions took place in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

But that increase in prosecutions likely mirrors an overall increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes. Data from the New York City Police Department show that in precincts located in Manhattan, reports of and arrests for anti-Semitic hate crimes rose in 2018, then fell, but remained elevated, in 2019.

Swastikas spray-painted at Bernie Sanders campaign office in Florida

A campaign office for US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Florida was vandalized with swastikas, a member of his team said Saturday.

“Didn’t know if we should share, but one of our grassroots Bernie offices in Florida was vandalized with swastikas. Sheriff sent a team to clean it up,” wrote a staffer from the office on the “Florida for Bernie” Twitter account.

Pictures from the scene showed a number of Nazi swastikas, as well as the sentence “voting didn’t stop us last time.”

Florida for Bernie did not identify where in the US state the office was located. There was no official response to the vandalism from the Sanders campaign.

The incident came weeks after a suspected white nationalist unfurled a Nazi flag during a Sanders rally in Arizona. One attendee at the rally told BuzzFeed that the man shouted anti-Jewish slurs at Sanders and gave the Nazi salute. The ADL identified the white supremacist as Robert Sterkeson of Glendale, Arizona, who on multiple occasions has posted videos of himself harassing Muslim and Jewish targets.

Polish composer Penderecki, who was inspired by Jerusalem, dies age 86

Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki died at his home in Krakow on Saturday. He was 86.

Widely regarded as one of the great musical geniuses of our time, Penderecki was famous for Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960), Saint Luke Passion (1966) and his massively important Polish Requiem (1984).

Penderecki kept returning to this composition, which was originally commissioned by the Solidarity movement that eventually replaced the Socialist Republic of Poland with the current democratic system.

Inspired by the rich musical heritage of Christian sacred music, as well as Polish history and reality, he revised the work regularly until he completed the final version in 2005.

When Penderecki was 80 years old, he visited Israel to conduct Polish Requiem as part of a world tour.

The Polish Requiem was, in the context of that historical moment, both a rejection of the fashion of innovative contemporary Western music and of the atheist ideals promoted by the socialist world view.

Penderecki had many admirers in Israel, and was asked in 1996 to compose Seven Gates of Jerusalem to honor Israel’s capital.

Pope backs UN chief’s call for global ceasefire to focus on coronavirus

Pope Francis on Sunday backed a call by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at his weekly blessing, delivered from the official papal library instead of St. Peter’s Square because of the lockdown in Italy, Francis specifically mentioned the appeal Guterres made in a virtual news conference on Monday.

Saying the disease knows no borders, Francis appealed to everyone to “stop every form of bellicose hostility and to favor the creation of corridors for humanitarian help, diplomatic efforts and attention to those who find themselves in situations of great vulnerability”.

More than 662,700 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 30,751 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

About a third of the deaths have been in Italy, where the toll passed 10,000 on Saturday, a figure that made an extension of a national lockdown almost certain.

Confirmed cases in Italy stood at 92,472, the second-highest number of cases in the world behind the United States.

The Vatican, a 108-acre city-state surrounded by Rome, has had six confirmed cases and on Saturday spokesman Matteo Bruni said tests were carried out after a priest who lives in the papal residence tested positive.Bruni said the pope and his closest aides did not have the disease.

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