April 5, 2020

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05/11 Links: Former Miss Iraq Dismisses Anti-Israel Tirade by Roger Waters: ‘Use Your Power for Good, Bring People Together’; 12 fun facts about Israel and the Eurovision Song Contest


From Ian:

Former Miss Iraq Dismisses Anti-Israel Tirade by Roger Waters: ‘Use Your Power for Good, Bring People Together’
Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan on Friday shot down an anti-Israel rant by ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters in which he urged the boycott of the Eurovision song contest being held next week in Tel Aviv.

“An artist has power to inspire. Make sure you use your power for good and to bring people together,” Idan, 29, said in a series of Twitter posts. “I never understood artists who boycott an entire country, you’re singing for people not for governments.”

The former beauty queen’s comments were in response to an article, posted on Twitter by the blog Israelycool, about the latest anti-Israel video uploaded onto Facebook by Waters, who is an avid supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Idan, the founding CEO of the organization Forward Humanity, was attacked on social media in 2017 and received death threats for taking a selfie with Miss Israel Adar Gendelsman at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas. At the time, she refused to delete the photo despite pressure from her Iraqi sponsors, including the director of the Miss Iraq Organization, and out of fear, Idan and her family fled Iraq. She now lives in New York.

Jared Kushner’s Peace Plan Would Be a Disaster

Soon to become Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister, Netanyahu’s longevity owes to a combination of ruthless political skill and innate aversion to risk. No democratic leader today matches his natural talent for figuring out how to win elections, even if victory involves skating perilously close to the political, legal, and moral edge. And no leader on the world stage today has registered his success in combining bold, creative diplomacy with restrained, judicious use of military power to improve his country’s strategic position.

Under normal circumstances, the last thing Netanyahu would want is for the President of the United States to propose a detailed plan for the permanent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a champion of incrementalism, step-by-step diplomacy that tests both the other side’s true intentions and the political flexibility of his own core supporters—and he has been right to shy away from big, “Made in America” ideas about what’s best for Israel.

Why, then, does Netanyahu appear sanguine about the coming peace plan? Why does he seem willing to legitimize a dangerous strain of know-it-all American solutionism and welcome, even encourage, Trump to propose precisely what he has long opposed?

There are many possible explanations. After Trump’s decisions to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, to scuttle the detested Iran nuclear deal, and to recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights, perhaps Netanyahu views the Trump presidency as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enshrine the Administration’s pro-Israel inclination as official U.S. government policy. Perhaps Netanyahu is confident that Abbas will flub the leadership test and that Palestinian miscues will open the door for Israel to annex key parcels of West Bank territory without triggering either outrage in Washington or much opposition in the wider Arab world. Perhaps Netanyahu is so deeply burdened by his own legal woes that he views the “deal of the century” as a political life preserver.

Whatever the rationale, I hope that “Bibi the strategic thinker” wins out over “Bibi the political tactician,” and that he uses whatever tools at his disposal to abort the Kushner plan in the few weeks left before Trump releases it as his own. This may demand a direct appeal to the President. Alternatively, it may require enlisting the support of someone the President respects—prominent Republican donor Sheldon Adelson or Trump-whisperer Lindsey Graham come to mind—to make an appeal on his behalf. For Israel and its friends, the key point remains: The only way to protect the long-term viability of the best aspects of the Kushner plan is to kill the plan.

Former Obama Friend, Catholic Priest Invites Louis Farrakhan to Speak at Church

A radical Catholic priest and former adviser to Barack Obama invited Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to speak at his Chicago parish.

Farrakhan was kicked off Facebook last week for his long history of hateful comments, including denouncing “wicked Jews.” In response, Father Michael Pfleger invited Farrakhan to speak at St. Sabina Church on Thursday to defend himself from charges of anti-Semitism.

“I have been and always will be a defender of free speech as I believe we must all continue to defend,” Pfleger told a local news station after the event.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Chicago indicated they were not aware of the event and were not sponsoring it.

“There is no place in American life for discriminatory rhetoric of any kind,” the archdiocese said. “At a time when hate crimes are on the rise, when religious believers are murdered in their places of worship, we cannot countenance any speech that dehumanizes persons on the basis of ethnicity, religious belief, economic status, or country of origin.”

Israeli TV claims Iran weighing attack on Saudi oil production facilities

Israel has warned the US that Iran is contemplating targeting Saudi oil production facilities, an Israeli TV report said Friday night, as tensions between Tehran and the Trump Administration soar.

The unsourced Channel 13 report said the Iranians were “considering various aggressive acts” against American or American-allied targets. Tehran had looked at targeting American bases in the Gulf, but that had been deemed too drastic. The main target they were interested in was “Saudi oil production facilities,” the TV report said. Such a strike would also send world oil prices soaring and enable Iran to get more income from its oil sales, the report added.

Channel 13 also quoted unnamed Arab intelligence sources saying there was a debate raging in the Iranian leadership about striking US and US-allied targets, with some in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps pushing for attacks, including against Israeli targets, while others cautioned that it would be “suicidal” to get into serious military conflict with the US.

The Channel 13 report came four days after the same TV channel first reported that the Israeli Mossad had tipped off the White House two weeks ago about an Iranian plan to attack either a US or US-allied target. That earlier report did not specify potential targets for such an ostensible attack.

The Israeli intel was conveyed by an Israeli delegation led by National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, which met with American intelligence officials at the White House late last month, the May 6 TV report said.

Caroline Glick: Trump’s Policy on Iran Is Working

There are only two moves the U.S. and its allies can make to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The first is to apply crippling sanctions on Iran. And the Trump administration is certainly doing that.

By undermining Iran’s financial stability, the U.S. makes it difficult, if not impossible, for Iran to pay for its illicit nuclear and other operations. Iran’s reported curtailment of its financial support for Hezbollah and Hamas is an indicator that the sanctions are having the anticipated positive effect on the region. The more precarious the Iranian regime’s position becomes, the more difficult it will be for it to carry out its nuclear work and maintain its support for terrorism in the Middle East and worldwide.

The second is to develop a credible threat to use force. Over the past year of steadily increasing U.S. economic pressure on Iran, coupled with stalwart U.S. support for Israel and the Sunni Arab states threatened by Iran, President Trump has built up his personal credibility in the Middle East. In the context, his decision to deploy the carrier group to the Persian Gulf constitutes a credible threat to use military force against Iran if it fails to comply with U.S. demands.

Rouhani’s announcement Wednesday was eminently predictable. The regime is clearly hoping that Europe will run to its side to save Iran from Trump’s effective policies. But if the EU’s tepid responses to the move are any indication, it appears that the ploy backfired. Trump has demonstrated his seriousness of purpose to Europe no less than he has to Iran. And so far, the EU is not willing to breach its relations with the U.S. in order to give in to Iranian nuclear blackmail.

While there is every reason to be concerned that unforeseen events will place the U.S. and its allies in challenging positions vis-à-vis Iran and its terror proxies, and the U.S. and its allies must prepare for the worst, Iran’s announcement that it is stockpiling plutonium and enriched uranium is not proof that Trump’s policy of maximum pressure is failing. It is proof that it is working.

New U.S. Sanctions on Iran Hit Ballistic Missile Program, Regime’s Cash

In announcing another round of sanctions on Iran this week, the Trump administration took unprecedented steps to roll back a series of cash windfalls authorized by the Obama administration that have lined the extremist regime’s pockets and enabled it to make strides in its ballistic missile technology, according to policy experts.

President Donald Trump, on the anniversary this week of leaving the landmark nuclear deal, issued another salvo of sanctions that target Iran’s lucrative iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors. Each of these arenas has helped Iran’s hardline regime stockpile billions in cash as the country’s economy teeters on the brink.

The sanctions represent “the first significant expansion of sectoral sanctions since 2013,” according to veteran foreign policy analysts at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, or FDD, a think-tank that enjoys close ties with the Trump administration.

The sanctions will pressure Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, or IRGC, the regime’s paramilitary fighting force that also controls significant portions of the country’s economy, mainly those like the precious metals sector that can be used for military purposes.

The Trump administration shows no signs of slowing down with its sanctions, angering the Islamic Republic and fueling a range of hostile military moves that have put U.S. military assets in the region on high alert.

Auschwitz museum slams Lapid ‘lie’ after he claims Poles helped run death camps

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland on Thursday night criticized the Israeli Blue and White party’s Yair Lapid for a claim he made on Polish cooperation with the Holocaust, likening his allegation to the claims made by Holocaust denyers.

Lapid said in an interview with Polish website onet released Thursday that “Poles cooperated in creating and running extermination camps. Poles handed over Jews to the Germans and thus sent them to death.”

Quoting the first part of Lapid’s statement, the Auschwitz memorial on Twitter said that such a claim by “a known Israeli politician hurts like a clash with Holocaust denial.

“Both are a conscious lie,” it said. “Using Holocaust as political game mocks the victims.”

Lapid had added in the interview: “There were many Polish Righteous Among the Nations who saved Jews and we are grateful to them for all time. But can you pretend that there were no Polish helpers in the extermination camps? Of course they were!

Palestinians reject plan to teach Abbas ‘quotes’ in schools

He made his announcement during a press conference in Ramallah that was attended by several PLO and Fatah officials, as well as representatives of Palestinian civil society organizations.

Scores of angry Palestinians took to social media to denounce the introduction of the Abbas booklet to the school curriculum, saying it came in the context of efforts to “suck up” to the PA president.

“Regardless of my opinion of President Abbas and whether I agree or disagree with him, this is a matter concerning our curriculum, ideology, politics and beliefs,” commented east Jerusalem political analyst Rasem Obeidat. “What is worrying is the hypocrisy of some in the Palestinian arena and the dangers this decision poses to the cognizance and culture of our children and students.”

Obeidat warned that imposing the booklet on Palestinian schools would mean “raising a new generation in a culture of allegiance and subordination.”

Several Palestinians complained that the PA leadership was trying to imitate Arab totalitarian regimes, where leaders are glorified and idolized, especially through the media and the educational system. They accused Abbas of seeking to copy “dictatorial cultures” of Arab heads of state, including Gaddafi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi.

Ehab Mansour, a former PA Ministry of Education official, told the Al-Khaleej Online site that even Abbas’s predecessor, Yasser Arafat, did not take such a decision.

“Abbas’s achievements for the Palestinians don’t deserve to be included in a booklet,” he said. “There are many who criticize him for his eagerness to negotiate [with Israel] and the division of the homeland. The endorsement of the booklet is totally rejected, and an attempt by Abbas to imitate the approach of Muammar Gaddafi.”

Commenting on the decision, Palestinian writer Nadia Harhash said she first thought it was a lie, a joke or a rumor.
“Will the booklet be like the Green Book of the late President Muammar Gaddafi?” she asked.

Backed by Corbyn, hundreds march for ‘free Palestine’ in London

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists marched through London on Saturday, calling to “free Palestine” and for an end to “unprecedented attacks” on Palestinians by Israel.

Marchers — who chanted “Palestine will be free” and demanded a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, the Guardian reported — were commemorating the 71st anniversary of the “Nakba,” or disaster, as Palestinians call the events surrounding the formation of the State of Israel.

Leading the march was Ahed Tamimi, an 18-year-old who became an icon of the Palestinian cause after she was jailed for slapping an Israeli soldier on film.

At the protest, Tamimi called herself a freedom fighter. “From the river, to the sea, Palestine will be free,” she said.

Tamimi served an eight-month sentence in an Israeli prison for slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh late last year. She has since crisscrossed Europe and the Middle East as a superstar of the campaign against Israel’s rule in the West Bank.

A small counter-protest was held by pro-Israel activists, who waved Israeli flags and expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Ahead of the protests Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn expressed his support.

“We cannot stand by or stay silent at the continuing denial of rights and justice to the Palestinian people,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “The Labour Party is united in condemning the ongoing human rights abuses by Israeli forces, including the shooting of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza… demanding their rights.”

Exclusive: Top Corbyn adviser Andrew Murray linked 9/11 terror to ‘Zionist colonialism’

Andrew Murray, a close adviser to Jeremy Corbyn, wrote that the roots of the 9/11 terror attacks lay in “Zionist colonialism” of the Balfour declaration, the JC can reveal.

In a December 2005 article for the Morning Star – unearthed by investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin – Mr Murray suggested that the attacks were a criminal act rather than an act of war.

He continued: “Even if one considers it a war, only the most Anglo-Saxon-centric commentator could consider it the start of the war.

“For millions around the world, the ‘war’ began with the Anglo-French seizure of Arab lands as the Ottoman empire rotted, with the Balfour declaration in 1917 giving the green light to Zionist colonialism.”

This was not the first time Mr Murray connected the 9/11 attacks to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Another Morning Star article by Mr Murray published on September 15, 2001 claimed: “New York is merely the latest battlefield in that new world order…

“The Palestinian people remain among the first victims, their daily torment largely ignored by the world media now weeping over the ruins of the World Trade Centre”.

Asian Image calls out antisemitic video blaming Jews for putting more gas in carbonated drinks during Ramadan

The Asian Image has exposed a conspiracy-theory laden antisemitic video that blames Jews for deliberately increasing the gas content in carbonated drinks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Campaign Against Antisemitism thanks and commends The Asian Image for reporting this story and for bravely calling out antisemitism. The Asian Image is the “North West’s biggest and most widely read Asian Newspaper.”

The newspaper voices concerns about the dissemination of antisemitic videos, stating: “One of the most alarming features is how people are now sharing videos without realising the antisemitic nature of the content. Some of these are in English but a growing number are in other languages.”

It concludes with: “If a video was being shared which supported anti-Muslim conspiracy theories there would indeed be understandable uproar. So, why are we so irresponsible when it comes to such content?”

Labour successfully stands Rachel Abbotts as a councillor after ignoring complaint and letting local Party rule that sharing article claiming “Jews declared war on Germany” was not antisemitic

The Labour Party has succeeded in standing Rachel Abbotts as a councillor in Derbyshire amid claims that the Party totally ignored a complaint that she had posted on Facebook that “the Jews declared war on Germany in 1933.” Despite the complaint being passed to the local MP, Ruth George, the national Labour Party said that it had no record of a complaint and the local Labour Party said that the post was not antisemitic because Cllr Abbotts had shared it without commenting on it.

According to the JC, Cllr Abbotts posted the neo-Nazi material in 2016 as she took part in a discussion on Facebook with her partner, Mark Abbotts. He had told another person that: “people seem to forget that it was the Jews who declared war on Germany”, before attempting to share a link to back up his claim. When he could not share it, he wrote that: “Hitler stated that no-one will ever ask the victors if they told the truth…and its [sic] probably isn’t available, the truth apparently rarely is, but its [sic] still true…”

Cllr Abbotts then reportedly shared a screenshot of the article that her partner appeared to be referring to, an article republished on a website called “Wintersonnenwende”, which attempts to rehabilitate the image of Hitler and the Nazi regime.

According to Wintersonnewende, the article was originally published on The Barnes Review, a website the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “one of the most virulent antisemitic organisations around…dedicated to historical revisionism and Holocaust denial.” The article put the words “The Holocaust” in quotation marks and claimed that “Jewish leaders, in combination with powerful international Jewish financial interests” boycotted Germany “for the express purpose” of crippling the economy to bring down the Nazis. It added that Jewish people “effectively fired the first shot in the Second World War.”

Disgraced journalist and Momentum activist Greg Hadfield supported Alex Braithwaite during suspension by Labour over conspiracy theory tweets about Israel and “Rothschilds”

Disgraced Labour activist Greg Hadfield, has reportedly been caught supporting Labour candidate Alex Braithwaite, who was suspended from the Party for a series of tweets which included conspiracy theories about Israel and the Rothschild family.

According to the Brighton and Hove News, Mr Hadfield, who has twice been suspended from the Labour Party, posted a series of tweets endorsing Ms Braithwaite in the local council elections after her suspension.

Mr Hadfield was first suspended in 2014 for 11 months over claims he had bullied fellow members, including jumping out at Labour’s South East Regional Director from behind a bin. He was suspended again in October 2016 for alleged intimidating behaviour, and only reinstated in February this year.

During this time, the paper wrote that he remained a member of Momentum, the pro-Corbyn campaign group, even serving on its steering committee and helping to draw up its slates when candidates for this year’s elections were selected.

Ms Braithwaite was suspended for a series of allegedly antisemitic tweets which included conspiracy theories about Israel and the Rothschilds.

The Daily Telegraph revealed that she shared a video which claimed that Israel was deporting “African migrants” to protect the “Israeli bloodline”. She also circulated an article which claimed that German police officers had marched against a “Rothschild European Central Bank”. It went on to claim the Rothschild family had been “responsible for almost every war on earth”, and were not “Jewish” but rather “satanist” and “the Illuminati.”

Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley sparks angry debate about antisemitism

For those on his wavelength, Valley is exposing his Jewish targets as hypocrites, enablers and worse.

To Valley’s critics — including some of the aforementioned targets — he is simply attacking Jews in ways that are indistinguishable from the way they’d be portrayed by an anti-Semite.

What sparked the latest Twitter conflagration is an op-ed in The Stanford Daily, the school’s student newspaper, comparing Valley’s comics to Der Stürmer, the Nazi paper.

Valley is scheduled to speak on campus Friday, co-sponsored by two pro-Palestinian groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, and some of his comics were posted to advertise the event. One featured Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, justifying the White House’s draconian immigration policies by inverting the messages of the Passover seder.

“For those unfamiliar with Mr. Valley’s work, it ranges from the morally repugnant to ethically disgusting,” wrote Ari Hoffman, a Stanford law student who is Jewish. “Like most hate, it’s remarkably lacking in insight. It is crude and disgusting, and its ceaseless recourse to Nazi imagery is matched only by its slavish devotion to the age-old tropes of Jewish caricature.”

Then Weiss, an editor for The Times’ op-ed page, shared Hoffman’s essay on Twitter and endorsed his assertion that Valley’s work traffics in “hatred that gloms onto Jews and the Jewish State.”

Then the whole thing blew up. Pro-Israel advocates attacked Valley, like the Israel on Campus Coalition, which also compared the art to Der Sturmer.

Linda Sarsour, the Democratic Socialists of America’s unofficial Jewish caucus and a range of other leftists defended him.

After ‘Post’ report, German bank will not close Israeli website’s account

Germany’s Deutsche Bank withdrew its notice of closure to a German-language Israeli news website and magazine Israel Heute (Israel Today) after The Jerusalem Post reported on the account’s slated termination earlier this month.

Aviel Schneider wrote on Friday on the website of Israel Today: “Deutsche Bank has officially canceled the closure of our bank account, which it had issued with effect from June 13 of this year. This was communicated to us by email on Monday.”

Schneider wrote the reversal of the closure was due to in part to articles “published in English and Spanish, including in The Jerusalem Post. What had probably caused quite a stir in the media was the fact that this message was accidentally published on Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

When asked last week why the bank closed Israel Today’s account, a spokesman told the Post: “Please understand that we cannot comment on suspected or actual customer relationships. Our commitment to Yad Vashem exemplifies our desire for reconciliation and our close ties with the Israeli people. This basic understanding also shapes our business connections.”

“The closure of account connections can have different causes, including regulatory reasons,” the spokesman added. “However, in no case does it have anything to do with religious affiliation. Deutsche Bank stands for diversity and pluralism.”

Schneider asked in article last week if there were “political reasons” for the Deutsche Bank’s closure of the account.

‘Pinkwashing’ and Israel: How to Work against Your Own Best Interests

A secular government that uses religious law to suppress human rights is a sign of how deeply ingrained homophobia is in Muslim countries, most of them much more conservative than Tunisia.

How is it, then, that LGBT people who claim to love the Palestinians and care about their lives, pinning all blame for whatever suffering they undergo on the state of Israel, never say a word about the excesses against gays – and other extreme abuses — by of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority?

More perversely, why is nothing said about Aguda and the work it does to save and protect gay Palestinians?

Why are no gay rights activists boycotting any of those lowest-ranking countries or protesting outside their embassies? Why do they choose instead to condemn and act against one of the world’s most genuinely progressive and liberal states?

Daphne Anson: The Muslim Brotherhood Not a Terrorist Organisation, Asserts Al Beeb’s Man

“The leadership of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood (MB, or Ikhwan) has said that its goal was and is jihad aimed at destroying the U.S. from within.

The Brotherhood leadership has also said that the means of achieving this goal is to establish Islamic organizations in the U.S. under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since the early 1960s, the Brotherhood has constructed an elaborate covert organizational infrastructure on which was built a set of public or“front” organizations.

The current U.S. Brotherhood leadership has attempted to deny this history, both claiming that it is not accurate and at the same time that saying that it represents an older form of thought inside the Brotherhood.

An examination of public and private Brotherhood documents, however, indicates that this history is both accurate and that the Brotherhood has taken no action to demonstrate change in its mode of thought and/or activity.”

That is the synopsis of a research report by Steven Merley for the Hudson Institute, on the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.

Why Is the Washington Post Covering Up Part of the Poway Shooter’s Manifesto?

On Saturday, April 27, there was, again, a tragic shooting at a US synagogue, this time at a Chabad center in Poway, California, near San Diego. While the Washington Post dedicated a huge amount of coverage to almost all aspects of the story, with respect to the alleged shooter’s ideology, the Post told only half the story.

In an article dated April 28, reported by no less than three reporters, titled, “Ancient hatreds, modern methods: How social media and political division feed attacks on sacred spaces,” the Post discussed the alleged shooter’s manifesto and ideology. The Post explained that the manifesto, if it is to be believed (and there is no known reason not to do so) embraced white supremacist ideology – and it certainly did. The manifesto also, however, incorporated tropes more commonly found on the left – those promoted by Farrakhan and the anti-Israel BDS movement. It falsely claimed that Jews had a “large role in every slave trade for the past two thousand years,” falsely claimed that Jews have a “cruel and bloody history of genocidal behavior” and falsely claimed that Jews persecute “Christians of modern day Syria and Palestine.”

Holocaust Deniers Fail to Wreck Oregon Legislative Hearing on Educating About Nazi Crimes

What was intended as a routine legislative meeting in Salem, Oregon, on Thursday concerning Holocaust education in the state’s school curriculum ended up being hijacked by a group of Holocaust deniers, including one who claimed to be “offended” by the “exaggerations” of the scale of the Nazi extermination of the Jews.

The ugly exchange took place during a meeting of the Oregon legislature’s House Education Committee, which focused on the implementation of a State Senate resolution in March requiring school districts to instruct students about the Holocaust and the wider problem of genocide.

Local news outlet Oregon Live reported that “after some 30 minutes of testimony from supporters [of the resolution] — including a husband and wife who had survived the Holocaust as children — the tenor of the hearing changed dramatically.”

One Holocaust denier opposing the legislation, Marvin Sandnes, questioned whether the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis had actually occurred. According to Oregon Live, Sandnes has frequently — but never successfully — run for legislative and congressional seats. He is also known for pushing 9/11 conspiracy theories in public displays at the state capitol.

Another person testifying against the bill, Mark DeCoursey of Salem, accused lawmakers of “cherry-picking the lessons from the past to satisfy one political group or one small religious group.”

US Salesforce buys Israeli conversation-AI startup Bonobo

US cloud-based software firm Salesforce.com, Inc. has acquired Israeli startup Bonobo AI, a developer of artificial intelligence-based software that helps companies glean insights on customers via support calls, texts and other methods of communication.

The insights enable sales teams to spot trends and improve their services to customers.

The firms didn’t disclose the amount of the deal, but people familiar with the matter said Salesforce would be paying $40 million to $50 million for the Israeli startup.

The Tel Aviv -ased firm was co-founded in 2017 by Barak Goldstein, Efrat Rapoport, Idan Tsitiat and Ohad Hen, who assembled a team of alumni from elite IDF technological units, specializing in AI. The startup raised a seed funding round of $4.5 million some six months ago, led by G20 Ventures with Capri Ventures.

“Salesforce’s acquisition of bonobo.ai will allow us to expand upon on our vision — driving the Conversational Intelligence revolution and helping companies know their customers like never before,” the Bonobo team said in a blog post, announcing the deal. “We are thrilled to become part of the amazing Salesforce family and continue to the next phase of our journey.”

Founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, its chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce pioneered the idea of CRM software in the cloud. The US firm, which employs 29,000 workers globally, reported revenue of some $10.5 billion in 2018.

US Marine Corps eyeing Israel’s Iron Dome system

The US Marine Corps is reportedly interested in purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

According to a report in the Marine Corps Times, the Corps is looking to purchase the system, known as SkyHunter in the United States, due to the “advancing military capabilities from Russia and China, as well as the proliferation of drone technology among small terror groups.”

The report which referenced briefing slides prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the USMC has sought limited funding for 2019 to begin testing and integrating the system with the Corp’s Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) and mount the launchers and Tamir rockets on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and Oshkosh’s Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement truck.

Less than six months ago, the US Army bought two Iron Dome batteries.

Since its initial deployment in 2011 outside Beersheba, the Iron Dome has intercepted roughly 85% of projectiles fired towards Israeli civilian centers, changing the face of battle between Israel and her enemies.

In the last round of fighting between Israel and groups in the Gaza Strip, 690 rockets were fired towards Israel in the span of less than 48 hours. While the majority landed in open territory and caused no injuries, the batteries intercepted 240 of the rockets on a trajectory towards a residential area.

Two Israeli judokas take gold and silver at Baku Grand Slam

Two Israeli judokas took home gold and silver medals at the Baku Grand Slam in Azerbaijan on Saturday, putting the athletes one step closer to the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Middleweight champion Sagi Muki defeated Bulgarian opponent Ivaylo Ivan in the men’s under-81 kilogram weight class to win the final held in Azerbaijan’s capital.

Fellow Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul won the silver medal in the under-71 kilogram category.

“I managed to win the gold after a long and exhausting day. I didn’t feel like it was my best performance, but I’m happy that I was able to overcome that,” Muki told the Sports 1 news site after his win Saturday.

“I get so much of my motivation from knowing that I represent Israel, and that my entire people are behind me in the good times and not-so-good times,” he said.

12 fun facts about Israel and the Eurovision Song Contest

The people of Israel have a certain fondness, not to mention national obsession, with the Eurovision Song Contest — you know, the annual global singing competition that has millions of people glued to their TVs and crossing their fingers that their country’s representatives will outshine the rest.

Luckily for us, the oh-so-fabulous Netta Barzilai was crowned the winner last year, meaning this year’s contest is going to be held in Tel Aviv. So what better time to delve a little deeper into one of the world’s most popular international singing competitions?

Check out these fun facts, and don’t forget to vote for Israel!

Israelis are slightly obsessed with Eurovision
This is a rendering of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest stage Expo Tel Aviv, as designed by Florian Wieder. Image courtesy of Eurovision

As you may have gathered, Israel is a Eurovision-obsessed nation. Every year, the country excitedly sends off its best singer to a faraway city to compete against other national talents in the bid to win the coveted title and host the following year’s competition.

Why do we care so much? It may have to do with our inclusion in a seemingly exclusive club that has the word “Europe” attached to it. Other countries really want to play with us!

Eurovision also gives a much-needed respite from the usual news cycle, and brings together people from all walks of life. It all starts to make sense now.

We’re actually pretty good at it

Israel has won the Eurovision contest four times, a fact that emits a very loud, collective sigh of naches across the country.

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