April 13, 2021

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05/06 Links Pt2: Col. Kemp: Palestinians, Israel and the Coronavirus; Israel reports no new deaths since Tuesday from COVID-19


From Ian:

Col. Richard Kemp: Palestinians, Israel and the Coronavirus
Israeli and PA health departments meet regularly to coordinate action and share vital information. Troops from the IDF’s Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) are organising joint training for medical teams. Israel provides test kits, laboratory supplies, medicines and personal protective equipment for Palestinian health workers.

Some Palestinian Arab leaders today seem to prefer that their own people succumb to disease rather than cooperate with Israel. While Palestinians and Israelis on the ground pull together against Coronavirus…. articles in official Palestinian Authority publications assert that Israel is deliberately spreading the infection and trying to contaminate Palestinian prisoners, using Coronavirus as a biological weapon. Of course, Israel-haters in both mainstream and social media are only too eager to amplify such defamatory and divisive outbursts.

A recent Coronavirus op-ed in the Washington Post demanded that Israel “lift the siege on Gaza”. Predictably, the author ignores the fact that Israel’s lawful blockade of the Gaza Strip — also imposed by Egypt — is in place for one reason only: the regime there remains intent on using Gaza as a base for terrorist attacks against both Israel and Egypt. But even in Gaza, a form of cooperation has been achieved.

Israel-haters don’t want to know this, but what the author calls for is of course exactly what has been happening since the Coronavirus outbreak.

Israel reports no new deaths since Tuesday from COVID-19

There have been no new deaths reported since Tuesday from COVID-19 for the first time since early March.

As of Wednesday morning, there are 16,314 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel, while 238 patients have succumbed to the virus.

The Health Ministry said there are 5,549 people currently infected with the pathogen, while 10,5 have recovered from the disease.
Out of those currently infected with the virus, 90 are in serious condition, with 70 requiring respiratory assistance.

Another 55 people are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

At least 247 people are hospitalized with the virus.

According to the ministry, 7,741 coronavirus tests were reported Tuesday.

The southern Bedouin city of Hura, which the government has put back on lockdown Tuesday, still leads the country in infection rate at 19.2%, with 20 new confirmed cases in the past three days.

How did Israel keep its death toll so low and does it now risk a new spike?

Prof. Yehuda Carmeli, head of the Department of Epidemiology at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and one of the medical professionals leading the Israeli Health Ministry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, was asked how Israel kept its death toll so relatively low.

After more than a month in lockdown, the government has begun dramatically easing coronavirus restrictions, buoyed by a stream of encouraging statistics. Daily new cases were in the low dozens. And there were almost 240 fatalities, figures much less severe than countries of comparable size, including countries that imposed stay-at-home orders relatively early in their outbreaks.

“This virus will probably stay with us for a very long time. Even if we are able to control it fantastically within Israel, at some point we will once again have more ties to the rest of the world. We will have to adapt to a different way of life,” Carmeli said.

“The reason for the low mortality rate is that although there was a lot of criticism about how many tests were done, Israel is among the leading countries in the world in testing people. We do a lot of tests so we detect a lot. Also, it’s because most of our affected population are young people, and they have a very low mortality rate. If you look at the distribution of sick people in Israel, fewer than 5% are over the age of 80. That’s the age where you start to see very high mortality rates. And in Israel, the population over 70 and 80 was quite well protected.”

The WHO: Sick with the UN’s corruption virus – opinion

The WHO’s failures don’t stop at the practical. The organization has repeatedly proven itself to be a political actor that behaves in bad faith toward other countries – in particular, those countries which China doesn’t like. The WHO has excluded Taiwan from its World Health Assembly for the last three years, and banned Taiwan from an emergency WHO conference on coronavirus this year. The irony of this is, of course, that Taiwan is one of the few places where the COVID-19 response has proven extremely effective.

In an interview with a Hong Kong journalist, WHO representative Dr. Bruce Aylward was awkwardly “disconnected” from the reporter when he was asked to comment on Taiwan’s response to the virus, after first acting as if he didn’t initially hear the question, and then asking to move to the next line of inquiry. When he was reconnected with the reporter, he again refused to answer, in a painfully awkward exchange that perhaps demonstrates the true agenda of the WHO: toeing the line for the Chinese Communist Party.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a UN agency if it wasn’t obsessed with Israel in some capacity. The World Health Assembly, which is the WHO’s policymaking body, has only one item on its permanent agenda directed at a specific country.

You might think that the country would be China, given the high number of infectious diseases which come from that country, but you’d be wrong. It’s Israel.

Not only that, but last year the only report adopted by the assembly which targeted a single country was, of course, aimed at Israel. This disproportionate focus once again demonstrates the misguided and politically loaded agenda of the WHO today.

It’s been proven multiple times, and at a very high cost to human life, that the WHO can’t adequately respond, educate or assist in the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases. It is a pity that the organization with such an honorable mission, the organization which initially made tremendous achievements such as the eradication of smallpox, has fallen so deeply into politicking around the world.

After the Ebola outbreak, experts around the world talked about the need for the WHO to reform. But here we are in 2020 and the same thing is happening. Perhaps the only way to make meaningful change in the WHO is to demand change with more than just talk. Cutting $500 million might just be a good start.

How the Coronavirus Is Hitting Jewish Communities Worldwide

While the impact of the coronavirus has significantly eased in Israel, in many large Jewish communities worldwide the virus is still wreaking a terrible toll, and the death rate among Jews is far higher than the local non-Jewish population.

In Britain, at least 366 Jews have died, representing about 1.7% of all deaths in a country where Jews comprise just 0.3% of the population.

In the New York area, with an estimated 2 million Jews, haredi media reported in mid-April that there were more than 700 dead in New York City alone.

In France, the Jewish section of the Thiais cemetery near Paris that had been built to last for years has filled up over the past few weeks and is nearing capacity.

Jonathan Tobin: Are lockdown protests signaling a resurgence of anti-Semitism?

As if American Jews didn’t have enough to worry about.

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic shutdown that is threatening our elderly, as well as the ability of our institutions to survive, according to many in the media, there’s a new mass movement of neo-Nazis threatening our security.

That’s the way the disturbing images of Nazi slogans and swastikas from the lockdown protests that have swept across the Midwest and other parts of the country are being portrayed in much of the mainstream media. Articles about the demonstrations by people who believe that it is time for state governors and other officials to end the stay-in-place lockdowns have led with pictures of people carrying indefensible signs that say “Heil Whitmer” or “Heil Pritzker” – referencing Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker – or arbeit macht frei—the words that hang above the gate to Auschwitz and that have disturbed generations with the meaning of “work sets you free.”

Those images, as well as some with Confederate flags, have become the reference points for the protests, and some in the Jewish community have reacted accordingly. The Nazi analogies have not only been rebuked; all those who took part in these demonstrations have been labeled as Nazis.

Some, like the Michigan Jewish Democratic Caucus, declared that the protests were evidence of conspiracy-mongering of the far-Right and blamed President Donald Trump for encouraging anti-Semitism. And when Trump, who has given the protesters some support, noted that many of them were “fine people,” it didn’t take long for his critics to link this to the 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Va. Trump has never lived down his foolish conflation of those who simply opposed the removal of Confederate statues, whom he also called “very fine people,” with the Nazis.

But as fraught with emotion as these subjects may be, the argument for labeling anyone who took to the streets to protest the lockdowns as a neo-Nazi doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

It’s possible to argue that any protest against the lockdowns is wrongheaded. The notion that the shutdowns intended to halt the contagion were unnecessary is illogical. Though the suspension of civil liberties is troubling under any circumstance, the need to save lives has been paramount. In emergencies, as in wartime, extraordinary measures are needed to be put in place.

However, it is not out of bounds to note that if the initial stated purpose of the lockdowns was to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic and ensure that health-care facilities were not overwhelmed by the sick, then that goal has now either been reached or will be soon. Those who have moved the goalposts on the lockdown, like Whitmer and Pritzker, and seem to be calling for more indefinite closures must now reckon with the costs these measures are inflicting not merely on the economic well-being of the nation, but also on its physical and mental health. We are now approaching the moment when it is fair to at least ask whether they are beginning to do more harm than good. Simply accusing the demonstrators, even if some of them have not used proper social distancing, of wanting to kill the elderly is no longer persuasive.

There is no excuse for the Nazi analogies and imagery. Some of Whitmer’s lockdown rules may seem arbitrary or unnecessary, such as her ban of the sale of home-gardening products. But she is no Nazi. Neither is Pritzker, with the added factor that using that epithet against someone who is Jewish, as he is, is appalling.

Even if the promiscuous use of Nazi imagery is deeply wrong, it doesn’t necessarily follow that those holding the signs are Nazis. To the contrary, they are accusing those who ordered the lockdowns of being fascists.

Frydenberg ‘targeted by racist extremists’

RACIST extremists were reportedly behind threats made to Josh Frydenberg during the coronavirus crisis, prompting the Australian Federal Police to issue 24/7 protection for the Treasurer.

Frydenberg confirmed the threats on national media this morning (Wednesday), stating while they “may be” unsettling for him and his family, “At the same time I’ve got an important job to do.

“There are many lives on the line right now in terms of ensuring the economy bounces back, ensuring the health restrictions are adhered to and that’s what I, and the prime minister and our parliamentary colleagues across both sides of the political divide, have been focusing on.”

It is the first time an Australian treasurer has been issued with around-the-clock security.

Condemning the incident, Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich told The AJN, “Let us remember that words can turn violent and that we are better than this ugly and dangerous behaviour.

“At a time when we as a nation are pulling together to fight this coronavirus pandemic, there are evil forces out there who are intent on attacking our leaders through a blizzard of jaw-dropping racism.”

In May last year, Hitler moustaches, devil horns and the words “right wing facist (sic)” appeared on Frydenberg’s election posters.

Coronavirus: Mass temperature scan? Israeli company has the solution

An Israeli company is offering a solution to scan the temperature of a large number of people entering a facility in a limited amount of time. That could be extremely effective as countries are starting to lift restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Israel, for example, has begun to allow activities that have large crowds of people gathering in a specific location to resume.

Venues such as theaters, cinemas and stadiums will commence operating within the next few weeks. Shopping malls are going to reopen on Thursday, provided that special measures are observed. They include limiting the number of people allowed in and taking the customers’ temperature. For that, an automated solution that can be installed at mall entrances is offered by an Israeli company, ASI Technologies CEO Kobi Ventura told The Jerusalem Post.

Located in Kibbutz Netzer Sereni, the company was established more than 20 years ago. It specializes in electronic manufacturing assembly and deals with many types of products.

“We have many partners all over the world, among other countries in China, where they are already in a more advanced phase in the battle against the coronavirus, including in finding solutions for the post-lockdown phase,” Ventura said. “One of them has developed a special gate that measures the body temperature of people, suitable for facilities that are accessed by many in a short amount of time, like shopping malls, stadiums and even military basis.”

The technology employs infrared cameras and is able to instantaneously take the temperate of a person, as long as only one enters at a time, he said. If the temperature is too high, the system sends out a signal. Moreover, the product also offers an option to connect it with cameras and computers, as well as an integrated metal detector, combining the coronavirus safety measures with regular security measures.

Mossad: “Track and Trace Apps are New?” (satire)

Following other governments’ launches of coronavirus “track and trace” apps, Mossad proudly announced this week that they’ve been tracking citizens’ movements for years, for both national security and those ‘just in case’ scenarios.

In a testament to the superiority of Israeli intelligence, Mossad claims that their concerns around infectious diseases began at the exact same time as the launch of the first iPhone. And, in their signature low-key way, the agency imbedded a new app: Mossad’s Coronavirus Anticipatory Regulation for Effective Security (Mossad CARES) into all Israeli models. The app makes sure that citizens do not come into contact with an infectious threat to Israel, are alerted by Mossad personally if they have, and ensures they can be whisked away from their families for an indefinite period of time to self-isolate.

“Governments act like these tracking apps are brand new…but let’s be honest we’ve been doing this for years,” former Mossad track and tracer Timor Aphel told The Mideast Beast. “Our top focus is preventing dangerous things from being communicated… I mean communicable…”

Although people in other countries are worried that these tracking apps will form a direct threat to privacy, Mossad is assuring folks that it only feels like an assault on civil liberty if you know you’re being watched.

Fighting fire with fire: The Right discovers Lawfare.

It seems like an axiom of political quantum mechanics that the Left is extremely well financially endowed, while the Right operates on air.

Armed with financing from European governments or governmentally related NGOs and the American based New Israel Fund, Left wing organizations have long viewed judicial activism as their best antidote to electoral failure.

Students of the court system, particularly the High Court of Justice, have remarked about the rampant proliferation of petitions from Left wing groups against ordered home demolitions, prison sentences for convicted terrorists, as well as petitions against Jewish home and road construction in Judaea and Samaria.

Other than the breathtaking efforts of Shurat HaDin, Right wing groups have traditionally eschewed the court system in favor of trying to create facts on the ground. Shurat HaDin has been remarkably effective, but their efforts have been largely against governments such as Iran or the Palestinian Authority. Their critical work has been macro in focus, and deliberately not granular.

Of course, there have been notable Right wing judicial commentators and analysts who have done important work in highlighting the overreach of the hyperactive High Court and the intrusiveness of the legal bureaucracy of prosecutors and legal advisers. Kohelet and the Movement for Governability and Democracy have been particularly effective advocates for judicial restraint and discretion.

In terms of on the ground judicial activism, there are a few Zionist organizations that have been stalwart in using the legal process to advance their particular agendas. Prominent among them has been Regavim, which has consistently pushed for Jewish land rights, and has used the legal system to confront the incursion of those rights by Palestinians in Judaea and Samaria and Bedouins in the Negev.

Ilhan Omar signs onto AIPAC letter backing Trump’s position on Iran

A letter released by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in support of the Trump administration’s position on extending an arms embargo against Iran has elicited support from an unexpected source.

Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who has criticized the pro-Israel lobby in the US and drawn criticism for accusing pro-Israel groups of buying support in Congress, is one of the 391 members of the US House of Representatives to sign onto an AIPAC-backed letter drawn up by Republican Mike McCaul (Texas) and Democrat Eliot Engel (New York).

The letter endorses the Trump administration’s position on the arms embargo against Tehran, and calls on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “extend these provisions in order to prevent Iran from buying and selling weapons.”

An embargo barring the sale of conventional weapons to Iran is set to be phased out incrementally starting this October, under the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

While much of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses in Congress have backed the letter, three of the four members of the “squad” – a group of progressive-left freshman congresswomen including Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) – have declined to sign on.

David Collier: Corbynites seek to ignite a race war with the Jews

Many people think that with the election done, the battle is behind us. They use several arguments to rationalise this – chiefly based on the idea that the troublemakers are a small fringe who have been ‘dethroned’. This type of blinkered and naive vision is the same short-sighted, stick-your-head-in-the-sand strategy that allowed for Corbynism to arise in the first place. Even the first wave of ‘Corbynism’ may have single-handedly managed to bankrupt the Labour Party. Our problems are deep-rooted and societal, they won’t just disappear because we want them to. As some of us rejoice and think it is over – the haters are using the defeat to radicalise the troops even further. They have a tried and tested strategy and the leaked Labour report was part of it.

The leaked report
The leaked report is a clear piece of internal sabotage. Corbyn’s allies formulated the report – chose which quotes were for use and which were ignored – and then leaked it. It is undeniably part of a civil war. Then they turn their anger onto those exposed in the report, who they say ‘sabotaged’ the party leadership – but hey, isn’t that exactly what they are doing themselves?

Taking the report at face value or addressing it as a legitimate piece of evidence is an extremely dangerous thing to do and plays directly into sinister hands. It was written not to investigate, or tell the truth, but to shift the blame and deflect the conversation. To suggest that an alliance of those ‘pesky Jews’ and ‘Blairite Zionists’ scuppered our children’s chances for a better and fairer future. Most importantly, in an act of brazen chutzpah – the story suggests that the reason antisemitism wasn’t dealt with – it was everyone’s fault but the antisemites and their allies.

The Communists used ‘agitprop‘ to spread their message to the masses. This type of propaganda fits neatly into the design. The report – obviously written with the knowledge that the EHRC is about to tear the Labour Party to shreds, is designed to protect the movement from the fallout. All propagandists need is a piece of paper that looks like it says something. The illusion of an excuse or argument.

Reasonable commentators see it for what it is and so ignore it. This is part of the strategic thinking too – they know it won’t be taken seriously by the mainstream. This allows Corbyn’s propaganda machine to claim they are being ignored. It adds to the fuel of ‘us’ against ‘them’ and exposes a media machine designed to protect the ‘Zionist elite’. This plays out exactly like the script.

Report leaked and with the ‘real enemy’ (those pesky Jews) clearly identified, it is time to up the stakes. We should be paying attention because what is occurring is truly frightening. The attempt to ignite a class war clearly failed them, so they now turn their attention to mobilising agitation between the ‘races’. Activists such as Jackie Walker and Salma Yaqoob have been openly inciting on social media.
Salma Yaqoob’s incitement

Salma Yaqoob has a history of being to the left of the Labour Party, alongside toxic characters such as George Galloway. Like many of the people pushing extremist ideologies, Corbyn’s rise gave them room to enter mainstream Labour Party politics. Salma Yaqoob even ran to be the Labour candidate in the Birmingham Mayoral election. She came third. Yaqoob was endorsed by those such as Owen Jones, Aaron Bastani, Momentum and Unite – a true Corbynite candidate.

This is part of what Salma Yaqoob just put out on Twitter:

This is a deliberate attempt to create an ‘us v the Jews’ atmosphere amongst BAME communities in the hard-left. To label the largest Jewish representative organisation in the UK a ‘hostile group’. How can this person possibly be a Labour member?

Former Brent mayor says posting antisemitic video on residents’ WhatsApp group was a “mistake”

The former Labour mayor of Brent – who has previously apologised for sharing a Facebook post claiming Zionists are “even worse than animals” – has claimed that he made a “mistake” when circulating another video clip in which it is suggested “the Jewish lobby” control America.

Cllr Aslam Choudry, a councillor in the Dudden Hill ward, sparked anger amongst locals on a WhatsApp group set up to support the local community during the current Covid-19 crisis when he posted the clip of a discussion that took place on the Real Face television channel.

It is understood that the Labour Party have now suspended Mr Choudry pending an investigation into his sharing of the video-clip to over 100 locals on the group.

The video shows a male presenter speak of “an easy way to know if you are controlled” before adding: “Is there something or someone you are not allowed to criticise? It’s as simple as that.”

The presenter then suggests that “if you lived in Nazi Germany you couldn’t criticise the Nazi Party,” before saying the same situation exists in China today, and also in the Soviet Union under Communism or in North Korea or Cuba.

Then the presenter says: “If you live in America who can’t you criticise?” Another presenter then answers: “The Jewish lobby.” The main presenter responds by saying: “Yes.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Study Finds Tyranny Of Majority OK If Your Side Does It (satire)

Researchers have discovered that a major principle of democratic systems – namely that those systems must find ways to prevent the interests of any political minority from getting trampled – only applies when your side comprises that minority, a new report indicates. If the positions get reversed, the study determined, then “the people have spoken” and your side may therefore implement whatever policies it desires, citing “democracy” and “the will of the people.”

Scholars at Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev published a study Wednesday showing that your policies and principles, which are manifestly superior and more morally sound than those of your political opponents, must see implementation despite their – and your – disregard for the wishes and sensibilities of other citizens who have expressed differing views from yours. At the same time, were you and your political camp to find yourselves in the minority, tyranny of the majority would become a powerful political principle to uphold, so important that the very foundation of the democratic governmental system would crumble without finding accommodation for the minority’s wants and needs.

Lead study author Professor of Political Science Maiwei Ohr-Haiwei explained that the principle shifts based only on your political positions. “It’s the only factor of any significance that determines whether the tyranny of the majority remains of concern,” she observed. “A remarkable consistency emerges once we disregard the mistaken notion that the tyranny of the majority is a phenomenon to minimize or avoid; it is in fact merely a tool for the right side – meaning the correct side, which is of course left, not right – to wield while in the minority or out of political power, to prevent the wrong side – which is the right, as opposed to left, side – from implementing the will of the number of voters who actually cast ballots for that majority. In reality that majority only counts eligible voters, not the non-citizens, minors, other ineligibles, and those who chose not to vote, the last of which represent a growing segment of the population that democracies ignore at their existential peril.”

50,000 scholar NGO slams ‘antisemitic’ BDS prof., supports German rep.

The organization Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) on Tuesday published a letter in support of Germany’s commissioner for combating antisemitism, who classified a South African-based pro-BDS academic’s language as antisemitic.

The 50,000 scholars affiliated with SPME wrote that they support “the latest actions of Germany’s federal antisemitism commissioner Dr. Felix Klein who condemned the invite of Achille Mbembe. Klein correctly pointed out that Mbembe had made the antisemitic equation between the former apartheid regime in South Africa and the Israeli government, endorsed the global BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] campaign to divest and sanction from the Jewish state, and diminished the Holocaust by comparing it with the apartheid system.”

Mbembe and his wife, the academic, Sarah Nutall, advocated an aggressive boycott of Shifra Sagy, a psychology professor at Ben-Gurion University. As a result of a joint statement by Mbembe and Nutall, Sagy was disinvited from the South African Stellenbosch University’s conference in 2018.

The Jerusalem Post press queries to Sarah Nuttall, who is a professor of Literary and Cultural Studies and Director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and Mbembe, were not answered.

Mbembe also teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. The post-Colonial theorist Mbembe has written that there must be a “global isolation“ of the Jewish state.

Polling shows anti-Israel positions of youth fade in US with age

The 18-35 demographic surveyed in U.S. polls is traditionally the least supportive of Israel. Moreover, they are being educated on college campuses where they are exposed to a steady drumbeat of anti-Israel propaganda.

The annual Gallup Poll on American attitudes toward Israel released last week found that support for Israel is weakest among that age group, while support for Palestinians is strongest.

These findings are consistent with the findings of Gallup Polls going back to 1997, where the youngest age group surveyed proved the least supportive of Israel and the most supportive of Palestinians.

However, those 18-year-olds in 1997 – when only 36% said they supported Israel – are now 41. Gallup reports that 61% of 35-54 year-olds say their sympathies are more with Israel, while only 19% say they favored the Palestinians.

Valencia’s BDS stance ‘incites hatred’ – deemed illegal, unconstitutional

The Action and Communication on the Middle East’s (ACOM) lawsuit against the Provincial Government of Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, for attempting to mask discrimination based upon nationality or race was backed by the Spanish courts late last week, according to the Spanish pro-Israel group.

Many of the Provincial Government’s past proposals have outwardly promoted antisemitic views as well as the boycotts of Israeli products and institutions.

The legislation in question, which was introduced by the spokesperson of the Compromis, the pro-Catalan separatist group, Izquierda Unida-Podemos (Podemos) and the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Party) as an addendum in June 2018 to a previously annulled 2016 proposal establishing that “in this framework it will support the campaigns in defense of the Palestinian people,” stating that the province of Valencia is “declared a space free of war crimes” – including apartheid.

The 2018 motion promoted by the local fraction of the Podemos far-left party on the City Council of Valencia was passed, declaring a boycott of Israel and Valencia an “Israeli apartheid-free zone.”

“Today the Provincial Council of Valencia declared itself a free space from Israeli apartheid,” a party spokesman wrote on its official Facebook page at the time.

Finland: Other Half of Finnish Amnesty International’s Anti-Israel Tag-Team, Syksy Räsänen, Claims Israel Worse Than Hezbollah…….

Syksy Räsänen’s irrational, ideology (destruction of Israel) drives him to flack for the Islamonazi Hezbollah…

I’ve been blocked by ‘Syksy’ Räsänen on Twitter ages ago, so his recent anti-Israel comments escaped me. It doesn’t surprise me however that Räsänen has taken to flacking for the Islamonazi Hezbollah. Here he is five years ago at a “Pink-Washing” event that sought to undermine Israel’s human rights credentials in regards to its Gay community. In this hour-long video, Räsänen repeats every known anti-Israel propaganda smear/claim you can think of, as well as his invited guests.

What Räsänen didn’t know was that there was a well known Israeli Gay-Rights activist in the audience willing to challenge him. Avi Soffer noted that “not once in his entire rant did he mention anything about the responsibility of the Arabs during the decades of the ongoing conflict with Israel.” This mirrors the thinking of former Israeli Ambassador to Finland, Avi Granot, who noted back in 2009 (my video) in a comment to Avi Shlaim at Helsinki Univerity, that not once in his half-hour historical review not one mention of any Arab wrongdoing whatsoever.”

Avi Soffer in this second clip takes offense over Räsänen’s insistence that there is no Jewish character of Israel since “most Jews have an Arab background” (he never once noted that these so-called “Arab Jews” were driven out/expelled from their homes after the creation of the Jewish state of Israel).

Syksy Räsänen has been at the forefront of the anti-Israel movement for well over a decade. He’s also on the board of the Finnish chapter of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions Finland organization (ICAHD), which indoctrinates mainly Finnish university students with anti-Israel propaganda. So Räsänen’s joining the board of Finland’s Amnesty International chapter doesn’t come as a surprise, since the Finnish AI is still headed by Frank Johansson, who was outed by the Tundra Tabloid website ten years ago for declaring Israel a “scum-state” in a blog at the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti. Only after increased international pressure, did Johansson issue a formal apology.

How can foreign journalists be helped to understand Israel?

Zionist organizations and the Israeli government devote incalculable resources to contain the damage caused by news reports and opinion pieces that portray Israel unfairly. The conventional response is for Israeli diplomats and hasbara activists to bombard journalists with angry reader comments.

This approach is failing. Despite the valiant and intelligent efforts of the pro-Israel community, biased and misleading reporting about the Israeli-Arab conflict is as prevalent in 2020 as ever. This frustrating balance sheet has strengthened Israelis’ conviction that the world hates Israel and that the root of journalistic hostility towards Israel is the atavistic antisemitism of Western journalists.

This deduction is certainly correct in some cases. However it ignores the fact that Jewish journalists reporting from Israel are often just as critical of Israel as their gentile colleagues. Instead of pursuing a witch-hunt of alleged anti-Semites and self-hating Jews, it is sensible to understand the sociological and psychological dynamics that drive international journalists to believe and promote Arab and leftist narratives about Israel.

The first reason is the very human trait to seek the company and friendship of like-minded people. In the case of the foreign reporters with a progressive bent, this means hobnobbing with Israeli intellectuals, academics and NGO workers while in Israel. These milieus are notorious for being ignorant about religious Judaism, for not appreciating the Jewish connection to Judea and Samaria, and for claiming that rightwing Israelis and particularly Jews in the ‘West Bank’ are primitive and fanatic.

Once the “enlightened Israeli opinion” about the conflict is heard, foreign reporters tour the Palestinian Authority. In Bethlehem and Ramallah, Arab courtesy and hospitality together with moving litanies about endless Israeli abuses erase all hopes these journalists will appreciate the reasons most Jewish Israelis support hawkish parties.

Indy op-ed frames Israel as a ‘white’ nation oppressing Palestinians ‘of colour’

The suggestion, in the first paragraph preceding the section about Gaza we cited, that Palestinian “people of color dying from coronavirus in disproportionate numbers“, rests on two false premises. The first is that Palestinians are dying from coronavirus in disproportionate number, which is completely false. Whilst 238 Israelis have died from the virus, only 2 have died in the Palestinian territories. (The PA health site lists 4 deaths, but this appears to include Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem in their count.)

So, given the population of Israel (over 9 million) and the Palestinian territories (5 million), Israeli deaths are far, far higher proportionately than in ‘Palestine’.

But, the most serious deceit of the op-ed is the implication that Israel represents “whites” who are discriminating in their allocation of coronavirus resources to “people of colour” – the Palestinians. The writers don’t say that explicitly, but that’s clearly the desired take away from the headline and supporting text. Framing the conflict as one between powerful, rich Israeli whites (or even white supremacists) and poor, marginalized Palestinian people of colour represents one of the more dishonest narratives within the pro-Palestinian rhetorical repertoire – a false binary used to lure anti-racism activists in the West to the anti-Israel cause.

However, there’s one simple fact which, by itself, is sufficient to refute the charge: Most Israeli citizens are in fact people of colour – in that they are either Mizrahi, Ethiopian or Arab. And, even if we were to exclude Arab citizens, a strong plurality of Jewish citizens are Mizrahi (page 8, table 1), not Ashkenazi.

Israel is NOT a ‘white’ nation.

Additionally, many Palestinians are are whiter than the average Israeli.

Moreover, as Yossi Klein-Halevi has argued, efforts by social justice warriors – like the Indy authors of this piece – to cast Israel as a racist white nation itself draws upon antisemitic history.

Anti-Semites, he explained, have typically “turned Jews into the symbol of whatever it is a given civilization finds as its most loathsome quality”. Under early Christianity, Klein-Halevi note, the Jew was the Christ killer. Under communism, the Jew was the capitalist. Under Nazism, the Jew was the ultimate race polluter. Now, he continued, we live in a civilization where “the most loathsome qualities are racism, colonialism and apartheid”. And, lo and behold, he concluded, “the greatest offender in the world today” of these sins, Palestinians and their advocates argue, just so happens to be the Jewish state.

Framing Israelis as “white people” oppressing “dark” Palestinians represents, in Halevi’s view, a “classical continuity of thousands of years of symbolising the Jew”.

CNN’s Amanpour Recently Misrepresented Israeli Policies and Actions

The CNN star correspondent initiated the conversation with Shelah by asking, “Many have looked at the success that Israel has had in terms of the fairly low number of infections and very low number of deaths. Can you give us a status report?” “We are definitely in a relatively good situation, certainly, when you look at certain European countries, regarding the health situation in Israel. But my committee and myself think that it’s time to open up Israeli life …” replied Shelah.

Amanpour began to focus in on her target, the prime minister: “So, would you give good marks to the prime minister for handling of this crisis? And also, we hear on the Palestinian side, they have received, you know, praise from those who are watching how they’ve been handling it. There was some complaints, though, that the Palestinians said, checkpoints they had put up were taken down by Israeli forces, and a testing clinic in East Jerusalem was closed.”

But Shelah failed to take the bait: “I am not familiar or exactly familiar with those complaints. I deal with the coronavirus internally in Israel. I will say that as far as I know, the idea and Israel in general are doing much to keep the COVID disease at bay at – in Judea and Samaria, because, you know, it’s our doorstep, as well.”

Concerning the “complaints” — aside from Palestinian sources, there is little information about the checkpoint matter. But Barron’s reported on April 30 that “At the [Palestinian] Ein Yabroud checkpoint, a key priority has been preventing the Israeli army from entering the village during patrols or raids.” According to this report, then, the purpose of at least some of the checkpoints erected by Palestinians is to hamper Israelis patrolling for terrorists.

As to a particular “testing clinic in East Jerusalem [that] was closed,” the Times of Israel reported that Israeli forces shut down a coronavirus testing facility due to staffers’ affiliation with the Palestinian government. Israel considers it illegal for the Palestinian Authority West Bank government to carry out operations in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. Amanpour, a veteran of reporting from the region, should know this. But she withheld this context from viewers, apparently preferring them to believe Israel wants to hamper efforts to protect Palestinians from the coronavirus.

From India to the Kfir Brigade: Bnei Menashe join the IDF

Pvt. Baruch Chayim Gangte and Pvt. Yotam Singson are part of a group of 12 members of India’s Bnei Menashe community who made aliyah in 2014 and recently enlisted in the IDF’s Kfir Brigade.

The new recruits’ aliyah was organized by the Shavei Israel group, headed by Michael Freund, which helps Bnei Menashe immigrate to Israel.

Gangte said, “As a Jew, I felt a strong need to make aliyah to Israel and fulfill my role in protecting my homeland as part of the Israel Defense Forces.”

Singson added, “I love being in the army. All of my friends with whom I made aliyah are with me in the same platoon. We are all dealing with the same challenges and going through this new period in our lives together, knowing that we are doing something significant and meaningful.

“As the days go by, my friends and I are getting to be more and more familiar with Israeli culture and the Hebrew language, which helps us to successfully integrate into Israeli society. There is no doubt that army service is a huge milestone for us in this process,” Singson said.

Freund, founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, said with pride, “Thus far, Shavei Israel has been blessed to bring more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe immigrants from India, and I truly hope that in the near future the new Israeli government will allow us to bring the rest of the community on aliyah, as well.”

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