August 12, 2020

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07/04 Links Pt2: Yoni Netanyahu, Israel, and the Fourth of July; Keith Ellison Embraces Antisemitic UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn; The anti-Israel LGBT community should think again

From Ian:

Yoni Netanyahu, Israel, and the Fourth of July
On July 4, 1976, Yonatan Netanyahu re-sent America and the entire world a message that Jews have been delivering for thousands of years.

Yes, we have such things as the Hebrew Bible’s message of proclaiming liberty throughout the land on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the first colonists seeing Americas as the “New Zion” and such. But, for now, I’m referring to something post-biblical…

Rabbi Hillel, a contemporary of Yehoshua/Jesus, who lived during the Roman occupation of Judaea, restated already ancient Jewish teachings when he proclaimed: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am not for others, what am I?”

Israel has tried very hard to come to fair accommodations with the “others” in its neighborhood…indeed, those who see the entire region as merely purely Arab patrimony: Justice through Arab eyes only.

The compromises Israel has already accepted (i.e., Jordan was created in 1922 on almost 80% of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine–just for starters) and has subsequently sought with Arabs, who already possess almost two dozen states, are light years beyond what Arabs have offered to scores of millions of non-Arab, native peoples with whom they have clashed and competed themselves.

As I’ve often stated before, nothing will really change until the oppressive, self-centered, supremacist Arab mindset changes. Until then, Israel must concentrate on the first part of Rabbi Hillel’s famous quote–seeing that its own resurrected nation and millennially-persecuted people not only survive but prosper.

Reflecting on One of Israel’s Most Daring Rescue Missions

Forty-three years ago, Israeli forces executed one of the most brave and daring missions in the country’s history — the rescue of the over 100 hostages at a Uganda airport. Ex-Mossad agent Avner Avraham discusses with host Jeff Smith.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld: Sweden Is a Perplexing Location for an Antisemitism Conference

This phenomenon of paying honor to dead Jews, criticizing Israel, and completely ignoring or diminishing one’s own country’s delinquencies toward living Jews is common in Europe. Freivalds’ behavior was subsequently exposed by four former chairmen of the Swedish Jewish community who wrote about the rampant racism and antisemitism in the country.

The current Swedish FM, Margot Wallström, also a Social Democrat, has asked for an investigation into the killing of terrorists by Israel. She hasn’t made any such request from other democratic countries where terrorists have been killed after attacks. According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, by singling Israel out in this way, Wallström committed an antisemitic act.

In January 2019, the European Commission published a report on perceptions of antisemitism in the 28 EU member states. Sweden was found to be the country where the largest part of the general population, 80%, think antisemitism is a problem.

There are reports that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu rejected requests for a meeting with Löfven at the UN in 2016 and 2017. This was because of Sweden’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state in 2014. One wonders whether Israel will attend the planned conference in 2020. Its absence would thoroughly undermine its credibility.

The best reaction to the announced conference would be the preparation of a detailed black book on antisemitism and anti-Israel incitement in Sweden to be widely distributed and sent ahead of the conference to all participants. In the meantime, one should expect international Jewish organizations to provide participants with a detailed overview of Sweden’s below par record on fighting antisemitism. This might force the Swedish government to finally accept the IHRA definition for domestic use and start acting against antisemitism. If it does not, it could at least prevent the Swedish government from abusing the conference for public relations purposes.

Barry Shaw: The anti-Israel LGBT community should think again

At a press conference with the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Mass in June, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has the gall to say publicly that his country executes gays because of “moral principles.”

But so do the Palestinians.

In this survey only Palestinians living in the ‘West Bank’ were included in the research. Had the survey included the Gaza Strip the figure of 5% would have been even lower.

Hamas enforces a deadly form of homophobia in the Strip. Gays are gruesomely executed in Gaza.

Mahmoud Ishtiwi, was shot three times in the chest on charges of engaging in gay activity. The fact that he was a Hamas commander who hated Jews and Israel didn’t save him. Others have been thrown off rooftops.

One thing is common knowledge in Palestinian society. If you are gay in Gaza you either stay in the closet or escape to Tel Aviv.

Richard Grenell, the gay US Ambassador to Germany, is leading the campaign to end the criminalization and persecution of LGBT members in Middle Eastern societies.

The Western LGBT community could take a courageous step by reassessing their position regarding the Palestinian attitude against them and become much more affirmatively active in highlighting the predicament of gays in Palestinian society by promoting the tolerance and freedom afforded their members within Israeli society as an example to the rest of the region.

Young Jews ‘feel generally unsafe in Europe,’ says EU watchdog group

The majority of young European Jews express a strong Jewish identity despite feeling unsafe due to rising anti-Semitism, a new study conducted by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has found.

The survey, which was based on interviews with more than 2,700 Jews between the ages of 16 and 34, collected in 2018, found that 81 percent of young Jewish Europeans “declared the strength of their Jewish identity to be high” while an identical percentage stated that they believed that “racism is a problem in their countries.”

Forty-four percent of those polled said that they had been victims of anti-Semitic harassment, while 85% reported “that people in their countries accuse or blame them for anything done by the Israeli government at least ‘occasionally.’”

Nearly half of respondents said that they did not believe they were receiving adequate protection from their governments and 45% stated that they “choose not to wear, carry or display distinguishable Jewish items in public because they are concerned about their safety.”

Earlier this year, the top German official in charge of fighting anti-Semitism stated that he could not “recommend to Jews that they wear the skullcap at all times everywhere in Germany,” sparking a backlash from Jewish groups around the world.

Keith Ellison Embraces Antisemitic UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former Democratic National Committee deputy chairman, posted a photo of himself on Tuesday night with UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn’s Labour Party has been embroiled in an antisemitism controversy that has seen key leaders leave the party. According to one report, nearly 40 percent of British Jews said they would consider leaving the UK if he were to become prime minister.

Ellison, a savvy politician, must be aware of Labour’s problems. But that did not give him pause about posing with Corbyn, who has embraced terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, and called them his friends.

“Awesome day in London,” Ellison wrote, “especially meeting with Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn — a true grassroots organizer.”

Before becoming Labour leader, Corbyn praised a reissue of a century-old book that claims Jews control banking and the press. Corbyn wrote a foreword in the 2011 edition of J.A. Hobson’s Imperialism: A Study.

Poll: Majority of British Labour Party Supporters Back Readmission of MP at Heart of Latest Antisemitism Scandal

A poll of readers of a British political website with close links to the Labour Party has revealed that a decisive number of the party’s backers were supportive of its decision last week to readmit controversial parliamentarian Chris Williamson.

The MP for the Derby North constituency in central England had been suspended in February after declaring at a public meeting that Labour — led by Williamson’s close ally, Jeremy Corbyn — had been “too apologetic” over the antisemitism scandals that have rocked the party’s public reputation since Corbyn was elected leader in 2015. But on June 26, a three-person review panel rejected a recommendation by party officials to refer Williamson to the next stage of a disciplinary process.

In a poll of over 10,000 of its readers, the Labour List website — which operates independently of the party itself — revealed that 61 percent of respondents were in favor of Williamson’s readmission, with 31 percent of them opposed.

A vocal backer of the BDS campaign targeting Israel and a backer of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign — a group which advocates the elimination of the Jewish state — Williamson’s offenses include signing a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a notorious antisemite and former Israeli citizen who is based in the UK.

Williamson’s social media behavior has included approving retweets of posts by Sonia Mot — a Holocaust denier and an active defamer of the Talmud, the ancient body of Jewish religious law.

Ten Jewish Groups Unite to Undermine Israel

For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.

I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.

Last week, J Street and nine other Jewish left-wing groups declared themselves part of the new “Progressive Jewish Network.” I’m using the term “J Street and nine others,” without listing the other nine by name, because the truth is that all 10 are essentially indistinguishable from one another.

Oh, I’m sure the chairperson of Americans for Peace Now will insist that there are significant differences between it and, say, Partners for Progressive Israel. And no doubt the chairperson of Partners for Progressive Israel will insist that there are very important reasons justifying that organization’s separate existence.

But, come on, folks. Look at their platforms. For all intents and purposes, they’re identical.

Pro-Palestinian activist who was jailed for racist rant on plane found dead

A disgraced pro-Palestinian activist from Britain who was jailed for staging a rowdy and racist scene aboard an airplane was found dead in what police are treating as a suicide.

The lifeless body of Simone Burns, 50, also known as Simone O’Broin, was found last month on a beach, the Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Sussex Police said in a statement that “a body of a woman found at Beachy Head on June 1 has been identified as Simone Burns.”

Police confirmed her death “is not being treated as suspicious” and next of kin have been informed, the newspaper said.

Burns was not known to have life-threatening medical issues. According to the report, her death came days after she was released from prison.

Last year, Burns was filmed threatening to boycott Air India unless she was served more wine on the business class flight from Mumbai to London.

She was filmed spitting in the face of one steward and shouting that she was “an international criminal lawyer for the f***ing Palestinian people” in an inebriated rant.

‘Post’ exposé leads 15 banks to reject accounts for pro-BDS political party

The Jerusalem Post’s ongoing investigative series into financial institutions that provide accounts to Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) groups, extremist anti-Israel organizations, and terrorism entities prompted at least 15 banks in Germany to reject bank accounts for the pro-BDS Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD).

The intelligence agency for Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia revealed on Thursday: “In this context, the MLPD points to the cancellations of the party’s central state and district accounts by Deutsche Bank and Postbank, and emphasizes that 15 other banks and savings banks have rejected opening party accounts of the MLPD.”

The intelligence agents defined MLPD as part of “left-wing extremism” organizations in the state. Party membership for the pro-BDS MLPD increased from 650 to 750 in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Marxist party has an estimate 2,800 members across Germany. BDS seeks to impose economic and political sanctions on Israel.

In 2017, the Marxist party announced on the Deutsche Bank and the Postbank have closed all of its bank accounts in Germany. The anti-Israel MLPD had been embroiled in an election scandal alleging it campaigned during the federal election with sympathizers of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an EU- and US-designated terrorist organization.

The Post uncovered at the time the Deutsche Bank accounts for the MLDP. The Postbank is owned by the Deutsche Bank. The intelligence document noted that the MLPD announced in January, 2018 that it exceeded its fund-raising goal by collecting 851,760 euro.

BBC impartiality – a case study

The corporation’s coverage of the recent US initiated economic workshop in Bahrain provides an opportunity to look more closely at the issue of impartiality in BBC coverage ahead of a debate in the UK Parliament on that topic on July 15th.

Between June 20th and June 26th 2019 various BBC departments put out content relating to the conference in Bahrain. Common threads running through that coverage included:

  • Heavy promotion of Palestinian Authority and PLO talking points both by BBC journalists and by means of interviews with Palestinians.
  • Promotion of the notion of ‘the Palestinians’ as a homogeneous entity under one leadership with no mention of the long-standing splits between Palestinian factions and the fact that the PA and PLO do not represent the Palestinians as a whole.
  • The absence of any mention of the fact that Hamas and additional factions reject the idea of a peace agreement with Israel.
  • Exclusive promotion of the PLO’s interpretation of the ‘two-state solution’.
  • Use of partial terminology such as “illegal settlements”.
  • The absence of any mention of the participation of Palestinian businessmen in the conference and subsequent events.
  • Downplaying – and in most cases, ignoring – Palestinian terrorism and its role in creating the need for counter-terrorism measures.

While the table below is not exhaustive, it gives an overview of how the BBC addressed its obligation to “give due weight to the many and diverse areas of an argument” and to reflect “a breadth and diversity of opinion”.

Channel 4 News editor suggests PA leaders aren’t responsible for poor governance

A June 26th report (Israelis and Palestinians absent from Kushner Middle East conference) by Channel 4 News international editor Lindsey Hilsum is standard British media fare, but includes an observation worth briefly commenting on.

Pay attention to the section of the video beginning at 22 seconds and ending at 40 seconds:

It’s telling that, following US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin stressing that long-term investment in the Palestinian economy requires strong property rights and the rule of law, Hilsum editorialises:
“No answer to the question: how can Palestinians have property rights and rule of law if their land is occupied by Israel?”

There is “no answer” because it’s an absurd question, one born either of ignorance or ideology.

If it’s the former, let us remind the Channel 4 News journalist that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and there is nothing preventing authorities in Ramallah from instituting economic and political reforms necessary for an improved business climate.

Anti-Semitism, most of it online, on rise in Czech Republic — report

The Jewish community in the Czech Republic said there was an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country last year.

In a report released on Wednesday, the Federation of the Jewish Communities said there were 347 anti-Semitic attacks in 2018, up by 221 from 2015 when the last equivalent report was published.

Most of the attacks — 93 percent — appeared on the internet, often on far-right, anti-liberal and pro-Russian media.

The group said there were two physical attacks and three attacks on Jewish property last year. The remainder involved anti-Semitic threats, harassment and verbal abuse.

The report said the Czech Republic remains a safe country for Jews and anti-Semitism is at a relatively low level compared with other European countries.

Swedish neo-Nazis disrupt exhibition of Holocaust survivors’ portraits

Neo-Nazis in Sweden blocked the entrance to an exhibition of portraits of Holocaust survivors and intimidated visitors already viewing the display.

In the incident Tuesday in the southern city of Visby, several men from the Nordic Resistance Movement gathered outside the venue displaying the exhibition “Fading Stories – pass them on” by the Raoul Wallenberg Academy and photographer Sanna Sjosward.

Last year, intimidation by the Nordic Resistance Movement led a Jewish community in northern Sweden to dissolve itself, citing security concerns.

In this week’s incident, the men tried to block the entrance but one woman pushed passed them, leading them to follow her inside.

“Three Nazis followed and also went into the room,” she told Expressen. “Inside they yelled “F***ing myths.”

Major Jewish Organization Urges Sweden to Outlaw Neo-Nazi Group That Blocked Entrance to Holocaust Exhibit

A major Jewish group has renewed its call on the Swedish government to outlaw the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR), a neo-Nazi group that on Tuesday blocked the entrance to a Holocaust exhibit in the city of Visby.

“The Nordic Resistance Movement is a dangerous organization which has absolutely no place in civilized society, let alone politics,” the World Jewish Congress (WJC) said.

This week’s “despicable demonstration,” the WJC added, was “just the latest” in the group’s “extensive track record of aggressive public actions, further underscoring the fact that its sole mission is to terrorize, and to callously eliminate ethnic and religious minorities from Sweden’s diverse national fabric.”

“At a time of rising antisemitism and violent political extremism, it is imperative that the Swedish government take a firm legal stand against any movement that seeks to undermine its democratic values and constitutional order,” the WJC declared. “We support the previous statements of Swedish PM Stefan Löfven that the government has commenced efforts to strengthen the legal framework in order to ban NMR and violent organizations of its type. This is an absolute requirement to make it clear that the NMR will never be indulged as a legitimate political force. Now is the time for rapid and determined action on behalf of the government, using all measures necessary, to ensure that this threat against Swedish society ceases at once.”

German far-right hosting lectures by Nazi veterans, security agency warns

German neo-Nazis are hosting Waffen-SS and Hitler youth veterans as inspirational speakers in an attempt to radicalize young people, Germany’s domestic security agency warned in a recent report.

According to German news magazine Focus, which gained access to the classified document by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, around 60 such meetings were held last year, featuring around six “zeitzeugen,” or historical witnesses.

“There has been a steady increase in event numbers” since 2016, the report stated, indicating that such events now take place across the country.

The security agency warned against the “ideology-forming function” of the meetings, which are intended to legitimize the war actions of the German Wehrmacht as “a defensive struggle of the German people.”

Neo-Nazi organization The Third Path, one of the groups organizing the events, was cited as describing the significance of such talks by saying that “our forefathers have made it clear to us … it is no use just to name the evil [you have to] to fight it and to eliminate the danger to your own people.”

In Joint Statement, Dutch Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches Decry Rise of Antisemitism in Country as ‘Unacceptable’

The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches in the Netherlands have issued a joint statement on the rise of antisemitism in the country.

According to Dutch public broadcasting outlet KRO-NCRV, which serves Dutch Christian communities, the churches’ statement said that they viewed “with great concern that antisemitism is becoming stronger.”

“Again and again there are incidents that lead to the creation of an unsafe climate for the Jewish community in the Netherlands,” they said. “That is unacceptable.”

“For the churches, the ongoing conversation with the Jewish community in the Netherlands is of great importance,” the statement added.

“We also consider it our responsibility to do everything we can to combat antisemitism throughout society and to support initiatives that put an end to it,” the churches said.

“We hereby call on the government and society as a whole to do everything in its power to combat antisemitism. As churches, we are naturally willing to further consult and collaborate,” the statement concluded.

Knife-wielding man chases London Jew: ‘I’m going to chop your head off’

A Jewish man was threatened that he would be beheaded as he was chased down a London street, the Evening Standard, a British magazine first reported.

Police arrested the man, who was also wielding a knife while reportedly yelling, “f****** Jew.”

“A man started running behind him saying ‘I’m going to kill you, I’m going to chop your head off,'” Barnet Councilor Nizza Fluss said, according to the report.

The man also hurled other alleged “antisemitic abuse,” at the Jewish man.

Police said they recovered a knife at the scene, according to the report.

Memorial for 400-year-old Jewish community to be built in town next to Auschwitz

Eighty years after the Great Synagogue of Oswiecim was set ablaze by the German occupiers of Poland, a memorial park will be built where the legendary shul once hosted up to 2,000 worshipers.

Located a few miles from the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Great Synagogue of Oswiecim was the centerpiece of a thriving, 400-year-old Jewish community. Some of Poland’s leading Jewish scholars came from Oswiecim — renamed Auschwitz in German — and Jewish families set up some of Poland’s first factories there.

The new memorial park is set to open on November 28, exactly 80 years after the lavishly appointed Great Synagogue was demolished by the Nazis. In attendance at the opening will be descendants of Jews who once called Oswiecim home, as well as current residents of the town.

A project of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, the memorial park is one of several sites managed by the organization. Chief among them is the so-called “Auschwitz Synagogue,” built in 1913 and the only Jewish house of worship that survived the Nazi onslaught intact. The modest prayer hall has been restored and connected to an adjacent building with a small Jewish museum. Together, they comprise the Auschwitz Jewish Center’s headquarters.

Holocaust survivors get more aid under new German government agreement

The spouse of a Holocaust survivor will continue to receive a monthly pension for nine months after the survivor’s death under new agreements with the German government.

The agreements negotiated by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany also provides a $50 million increase in funding for social welfare services for survivors, bringing the total for 2020 funded by Germany to over $587 million. Also, monthly pensions will increase by 46 percent from now until Jan. 1 to about $650 a month.

For the first time, righteous gentiles — non-Jews recognized by Yad Vashem for saving Jews during the Holocaust — will receive a monthly pension from the German government.

The agreements were announced Monday and will take effect Jan. 1.

Under the deal, the pensions for the surviving spouses are designed to help with funeral and living expenses, as well as other financial adjustments.

Israeli exits surge to $14.5 billion in first half of 2019, report shows

Exits of Israeli firms in the first half of 2019 totaled a record $14.48 billion in 66 deals, a report by IVC Research Center and attorneys Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal shows.

The data includes one “mega-deal,” the sale of Mellanox Technologies Ltd. to Nvidia for $6.9 billion. Excluding the Mellanox deal, the total value of exit deals (including initial public offerings of Israeli firms and merger and acquisition activities and buyouts) stands at $7.58 billion in the first half of the year, the highest amount for a first half-year in the last five years.

Despite a slight decrease in the number of exit deals to 66 in the first half of the year from 73 exits in the first half of 2018, the total exit value in dollar terms was significantly higher, jumping to $14.48 billion H1/2019 from $6.49 billion in H1/2018.

The average exit value in H1/2019 also set a five-year record, reaching $116.6 million.

Four initial public offerings were completed in H1/2019, with two companies, Fiverr and Tufin, listing their shares for trade and raising $110 million and $108 million, respectively, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Record number of Israelis fly overseas in first half of 2019

A record-breaking number of Israelis traveled overseas in the first half of 2019. Some 3.8 million took to the skies in what was a 7.4% increase from the 3.5 million Israelis who traveled overseas during the same period last year, according to findings published by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Some 185,900 of them also traveled to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a 34.2% increase over the last year.

No fewer than 123,900 Israelis flew to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states via Jordan, an increase of 10.1%.

Another 30,600 Israelis boarded cruise ships to reach their destinations, a 26.6% increase compared to the number who took cruises from Israel in the same period in 2018.

San Francisco Celebrates Israel with Koolulam: It’s My Life – Bon Jovi

Koolulam is a social-musical initiative centered around mass singing events that join diverse people in the creation of a collaborative musical experience.

On June 2, 2019, San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, the Israeli American Council, Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund, Jewish National Fund, and the Consulate General of Israel in San Francisco invited 1,200 people to celebrate Israel by singing together with Koolulam.

Check out the result as 1,200 of your best friends join together singing Jon Bon Jovi’s “It’s my life”.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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