December 1, 2020

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07/05 Links: Study finds first wave of COVID-19 positively boosted Israel’s image; Slavery Rampant in Africa, Middle East; The West Wrongly Accuses Itself

From Ian:

Study finds first wave of COVID-19 positively boosted Israel’s image
A new study conducted for Vibe Israel found that the Jewish state’s image in the international community was seen in a positive light during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The study, based on data from research done by Bloom Consulting from March 30-April 2 and utilizing a new type of measurement called Brand-Nought, analyzed how a country was perceived internationally based on its government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. This analysis focused on image impact in four specific areas: Whether people would want to visit the country (Tourism), whether people would want to work in or live in the country, whether people would want to study in the country and whether people would want to buy products from the country.

When compared to over 140 countries, Israel was found to have a positive image, especially compared to countries like Italy and the United States.

“Israel being one of the first to close its borders and being quick to react was an indication on how positively it handled the virus,” CEO and founder of Vibe Israel Joanna Landau told The Jerusalem Post.

“During the first wave, countries like the US were reluctant to quarantine, Italy was in a terrible state and Israel was two weeks into its full on quarantine… While New Zealand literally crushed the curve, we were able to flatten it, while others were still struggling with it.”

Landau believes that there were three aspects that contributed to Israel having such a positive image: reacting quickly, keeping quarantine seriously and being one of the countries involved in the race to develop a vaccine.

However, not all specific areas studied were impacted to the same degree, with some, most notably tourism, being surprisingly unaffected.

Legal Insurrection: I’m helping to launch a new, millennial-run Israel advocacy watchdog group

Against the backdrop of a rising tide of anti-Semitic incidents across the country and the failure of many mainstream Jewish organizations to condemn anti-Semitism emanating from the left, communities of color, or Islamists, I’ve joined a group of Jewish-American millennials in founding a brand-new non-profit organization called HaShevet.

It is my honor to serve on HaShevet’s founding board of directors with a cadre of brilliant, ambitious, and passionate Jewish leaders.

HaShevet is not a part of or affiliated with the Legal Insurrection Foundation.

On Monday, June 30, we published our first press release, announcing HaShevet’s launch and explaining our mission. JNS reported on our project:

Amid dissatisfaction with mainstream Jewish advocacy organizations, a new alliance of young Jewish American leaders was launched on Monday: HaShevet (Hebrew for “The Tribe,” which is also a nickname for the Jewish faith and people).

The organization seeks to “represent a diversity of political opinions and professional backgrounds” and “come together, united in our dedication to promote moral clarity within the Jewish advocacy sector, strengthen and mobilize young Jewish professionals to publicly oppose all forms of anti-Semitism (including anti-Zionism), and take up the mantle of Jewish community leadership to safeguard the future of the Jewish people,” said the organization in an announcement.

We believe so strongly in our mission that all of us on the founding board are volunteers, working on this project in our spare time:

Jonathan S. Tobin: Why Should We Give a Pass to Those Who Tweet Antisemitism?

Ours is a time when antisemitism is surging and the popularity of intersectional politics has given new credibility to radical groups that are keen to link the war on Israel to the culture wars being waged in the United States. At such a moment it is the duty of those who speak up against this prejudice to be ever more vigilant rather than to relax our efforts. Yet when a person who has associated herself with some of these smears and was an editor at a publication that habitually trafficked in them rises to a position of eminence at the country’s most important newspaper, the advice from some quarters is to not be too hasty in expressing alarm.

That is the conceit of a piece published by The Algemeiner that alleges that I have done an injustice to Charlotte Greensit, an incoming managing editor at The New York Times because I called her to account for tweets in which she promoted an antisemitic blood libel about Israel training American police to kill African-Americans.

Greensit scrubbed her Twitter account of this and other outrageous tweets that she posted during her time at The Intercept. We are now told that promoting such awful articles was just part of her job and, according to the author of The Algemeiner article, since jobs are hard to find in journalism, we shouldn’t judge her. Her half-hearted non-apology for her past actions notwithstanding, that is, of course, a very low standard. Nor do I think it is likely that she, or anyone else at the Times, would be as charitable to those who retweet hateful views that they opposed.

Instead, we are told we should listen to Greensit’s friends, who all vouch for her virtue and opposition to antisemitism. One such friend cited in The Algemeiner repeated the discredited argument that she is merely guilty of holding “an unauthorized view” about Israel even if those views aren’t legitimate criticism but actually in accord with smears promoted by antisemites.

The point here is that actions and associations that would result in a person being “canceled” if they testified to links to racism never seem to apply to antisemitism. Since Greensit is a member in good standing of the elite chattering classes, we are told to judge her kindly. Had she categorically renounced the content of the antisemitic story and other awful tweets, that would buttress her defenders’ arguments. But she has not done so.

Slavery Rampant in Africa, Middle East; The West Wrongly Accuses Itself

For the intersectional activists, the US is the world’s biggest oppressor — not China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or Iran.

“What the media do not tell you is that America is the best place on the planet to be black, female, gay, trans or what have you. We have our problems and we need to address those. But our society and our systems are far from racist”. — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Twitter, June 9, 2020.

“The new anti-racism is racism disguised as humanism (…) It implies that every white person is bad… and that every black person is a victim”. — Abnousse Shalmani, born in Tehran, now living in Paris, to Le Figaro, June 12, 2020.

“America looks different if you grew up, as I did, in Africa and the Middle East”. — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020.

It is high time for the United States to stop funding the United Nations…. The United Nations is now being used to perpetuate injustice, not stop it.

Real slave traders and racists — those who believe Western societies and values should not exist at all — most likely look at the current Western self-flagellation and cheer their approval.

Anti-Israel Rallies Display Outrageous Hatred and Hypocrisy

A chant of “death to Israel” and “death to America” triggered an enthusiastic response on Wednesday during an anti-Israel protest in Brooklyn.

Similar rallies were held throughout the country, ostensibly to oppose a possible Israeli annexation of some West Bank settlements. But the speeches and chants made it abundantly clear that the participants oppose Israel’s very existence, and the settlement debate simply offered an opportunity to voice their desire to see the world’s only Jewish state eliminated.

The rallies also witnessed the ever expanding spectrum of “intersectionalism,” in which organizations and movements — supporting everything from North Korea to the Seattle COVID Mutual Aid Group, which are entirely unrelated to the Middle East — are joined in a common cause: the destruction of the State of Israel.

So it was at the rally in Brooklyn that the crowd embraced a speaker who lauded North Korea — which has one of the world’s worst human rights records — for its refusal to recognize Israel.

A woman representing the New York-based Nodutdol, which says it is “[i]nspired by the democratic social movements in Korea,” said Koreans who seek to unite North and South understand the Palestinian cause.

“We Koreans recognized that the struggle against imperialist aggressors in our land back home is something our Palestinian comrades understand firsthand,” said the woman, who was identified as Jamie Tyberg. “And we also know that the fight for self-determination is as much Korea’s fight as much as it is Palestine’s. The solidarity between Koreans and Palestinians dates back to 1966, when the DPRK officially started supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization. The DPRK [provided] small amounts of arms and military aid to several revolutionary movements in Palestine. The DPRK also refuses to recognize Israel and calls it an imperialist satellite of the United States.”

It’s tempting to wonder if Sacha Baron Cohen wasn’t in disguise pulling another prank. But using North Korea to bash Israel fits neatly into a key element of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism: “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

P. Diddy Promotes Anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan’s Independence Day Message: ‘We Can’t Trust White Folks’

The Grammy-winning, multi-millionaire rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs is showing his support for the anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan by promoting the Nation of Islam leader’s July 4th message, which aired Saturday on Revolt TV, the cable channel founded by Combs.

Farrakhan delivered a more than two-hour Independence Day speech in which he called the head of the Anti-Defamation League “satan” and urged people in Africa not to take medication for COVID-19, singling out Bill and Melinda Gates. He also assailed President Donald Trump and addressed the killing of George Floyd.

“We can’t trust you no more, white folks. Not with our lives,” Farrakhan said.

Farrakhan, 87, appeared frail and unsteady as he gave his speech, titled “The Criterion.” His meandering, semi-coherent discourse singled out several perennial targets, including Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the ADL.

“Mr. Greenblatt, you are Satan. Those of you that say that you’re Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You’re not a Jew… you’re Satan and it’s my job now to pull the cover off of Satan,” Farrakhan said.

The Nation of Islam leader also spoke about the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, urging people in Africa not to take a vaccine against the virus.

“I say to my brothers and sisters in Africa, if they come up with a vaccine, be careful. Don’t let them vaccinate you with their history of treachery through vaccines, through medication. Are you listening? I say to the African presidents, do not take their medications,” Farrakhan said.

He then directed his ire at Bill and Melinda Gates, who have pledged $125 million toward global efforts to fighting the coronavirus and developing a vaccine.

“What the hell gives you that right? Who are you to sit down with your billions and talk about who can live and who should die?”

Farrakhan also addressed the death of George Floyd, launching into a bizarre conspiracy theory involving Israel.

“That’s why you gotta come at us like a coward,” he said. “Like snakes trying to wrap yourself around us so you could give us the treatment that you were taught in Israel. You may, as you gonna stop your police from going to Israel to learn how to kill better.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: At Our ‘Day Of Rage’ Gathering We Almost Had A Minyan To Say Kaddish For Terrorists by Yonah Lieberman, If Not Now (satire)

Yesterday’s series of protests in solidarity with Palestine and against Israeli annexation of Palestinian land attracted so many attendees that at our best-attended event, in Philadelphia, we could almost cobble together the ten-person quorum necessary for the Mourner’s Kaddish in honor of Palestinians who died trying to kill Jews. It was a smashing success.

Our organization aims to smash the monopoly that certain established groups have long exercised over perceived authority to speak for American Jews, and we do that by showing how out-of-step those mouthpieces for Israeli expansionism and Apartheid are with the bulk of American Jews. The fact that we could muster as many as two demonstrators for some of our Day of Rage rallies demonstrates to those stodgy mainstreamers just who has the numbers behind them, and who can make the more credible claim to speak for American Jewry.

The direction of the trend is clear, but that does not mean this accomplishment signals we can rest on our laurels. Much remains for us to achieve – keep setting higher and higher goals, or, as our Palestinian allies have always put it, keep increasing your demands after the other side has already made concessions, because concessions are a sign of weakness, so if they’ll grant you autonomy over part of the territory from which you want to cleanse them, keep pushing and eventually you’ll push them into the sea as you originally intended more than seventy years ago. It’s not a perfect analogy to our situation, but I appreciate the poetry and obvious resonance of it.

US to decide on Israeli sovereignty ‘within 45 days’

“The American window for deciding on the matter of Israeli sovereignty [in parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley] is between a month and 45 days,” senior White House officials recently told Zionist Organization of America National President Morton Klein.

The officials also told Klein there was “more than a 50% chance” that the sovereignty initiative would be approved.

Klein, who heads the most influential Jewish-American organization in the White House, relayed the details to dozens of leading ZOA activists in a video conference call last week. He then confirmed the details to Israel Hayom on Friday.

Administration officials did not discuss the Israeli sovereignty issue over the weekend because of US Independence Day celebrations. Internal White House deliberations and talks with Israeli officials are expected to resume in the coming days. Many officials in Israel and the US have attested to the difficulties in implementing the sovereignty plan but emphasized that a final decision hasn’t been made yet and that all options were still on the table.

In the conference call with ZOA officials, Klein laid out 12 reasons the Israeli sovereignty plan should be given the green light.

“Applying sovereignty is the most rational, humane and security-driven decision, which is reinforced by the Bible. It gives Israel defensible borders instead of the ‘thin waist’ it has now, and brings stability and normalcy to the lives of 500,000 Jews who currently reside in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley,” he said.

According to Klein, “Opposition to the sovereignty initiative means the ethnic cleansing of half a million Jews from their homes in their national homeland.”

Klein also lambasted the large Jewish organizations that have come out against the initiative.

Former world leaders warn against Israeli sovereignty plan

A group of former world leaders urged European leaders on Friday to keep pressuring Israel against applying sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria, warning against complacency after Israel made no move to take over the territory on July 1.

The Elders, founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, said in letters to the leaders of France, Germany, Britain and the European Union that they should insist to Israel that annexation, as they call it, would have negative political and economic consequences for bilateral and regional relations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had aimed to start the process by Wednesday, July 1, saying he wanted to begin applying sovereignty in parts of Judea and Samaria in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s Mideast plan.

But Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis said the sovereignty process had been delayed, telling Army Radio last week that officials were still working out the final details with their American counterparts. He said he expected the sovereignty initiative to take place later in July.

The Trump administration’s peace plan, unveiled in January, envisions bringing some 30% of Judea and Samaria under permanent Israeli control and gave a green light for Israel to legally claim that territory. The Palestinians have vehemently rejected the plan as pro-Israeli.

The delay cast further uncertainty over whether Israel will ultimately follow through on the explosive sovereignty initiative, which has also drawn condemnations from some of Israel’s closest allies.

Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat tapped for Eritrea post

Ishmael Khaldi, Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat who recently made headlines after a security guard in Jerusalem choked him, will be appointed ambassador to Eritrea, the Foreign Ministry announces.

The nomination still requires cabinet approval.

His is one of 11 ambassadorship nominations announced by the ministry, which will be brought for a ministerial vote.

Bedouin join mourners of ‘hero’ who save four from drowning

Jewish and Beduin mourners joined together Sunday at the Ashkelon funeral of 45-year-old Michael Ben-Zikri, who rescued a 40-year-old woman and her three children from drowning on Friday.

Ben-Zikri, from Ashdod, didn’t have the strength to save himself after saving the distressed swimmers in a man-made lake near Zikim, after they apparently fell into sinkholes.

The members of the rescued family, from the Beduin village of Hura, including a 14-year-old girl, a 10-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl, were released from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon on Sunday.

Their father, interviewed on KAN radio, expressed his remorse and gratitude for Ben-Zikri’s efforts, whom he labeled a hero. Many residents of Hura attended Ben-Zikri’s funeral in solidarity with the family.

Ben-Zikri’s wife Tali, who was with him at the lake, told the KAN Drom website that they had gotten married in February. “He was a good man, there wasn’t a second thought that he wouldn’t try to save that family.”

On Sunday, questions were raised as to why the lake wasn’t fenced off, if the sinkholes posed a danger?

PMW: PA culture of death: “Martyr, we must follow in your footsteps”

A most effective form of mind control is repetition. The PA excels in repetition. One message that it is repeating now is the value of Martyrdom for Allah. For example, one music video broadcast by PA TV Live repeats to Palestinians the ideal of dying as “Martyrs” for “Palestine”: “Martyr, we must follow in your footsteps.”

It also repeats something else. Part of the visuals in the music video is footage of a real stabbing attack. A Palestinian terrorist stabbed and wounded Israeli police officers near Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem in 2015 before he was killed and “became a Martyr.” The repeat broadcast of his attack is a reminder to Palestinians that carrying out terror attacks against Israelis is a good way to achieve Martyrdom for Allah:

Terrorist killed – achieves “Martyrdom.”

Lyrics: “Our Jerusalem, we’re at your service when you ask…
Our Jerusalem is a jewel of gold in the crown of the Arabs
O sun that lights up the homeland and is not extinguished
O [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu, listen or we’ll make you listen
Your army needs to disappear from Palestine…”

Visuals of stabbing attack by terrorist Muhammad Sa’id Ali, who wounded 3 Israeli police officers; and clashes between Palestinian rioters and Israeli soldiers

“No matter how wide our Al-Aqsa is, there will be no place for you (i.e., Israel)
It won’t allow a division (i.e., of prayer times for Muslims and Jews)
If you are not convinced, we’ll convince you by force…
O our Martyr, we must follow in your footsteps
The homeland’s wound has been healed by your blow [against Israel].”

[Official PA TV Live, June 13, 16, 2020; Fatah-run Awdah TV, Jan. 9, 2017]

The same promotion of the PA’s culture of death has been repeated in the last few months in several music videos. One video presents two suicide bombers as role models for Palestinians to emulate while the lyrics explain that for Al-Aqsa “life is insignificant” and pleads “God, grant us Martyrdom there”:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Is Hamas facing a new mutiny?

Chanting “We want to eat, we want to live,” dozens of Palestinian men demonstrated on Sunday outside the offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza City to protest economic hardship, poverty and soaring unemployment in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The protest came following the death of three young Palestinian men, who committed suicide over the past weekend in the Gaza Strip. In addition, a woman from the southern Gaza Strip who tried to take her own life by hanging was critically injured.

On Sunday morning, another Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip was seriously injured after he too tried to commit suicide by swallowing a large number of antibiotics. It was the sixth failed suicide attempt in the Gaza Strip in the past few weeks.

The death of the three men – two unemployed university graduates and a disgruntled street vendor – has sparked widespread anger among Palestinians, many of whom are blaming Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for the failure to improve the living conditions of Gazans and providing jobs for young people.

Sources in the Gaza Strip said that Sunday’s protest in Gaza City could spread to other parts of the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave and trigger mass demonstrations similar to those that took place there in 2019.

JCPA: The Capitulation of the Iraqi Prime Minister to Iran

Did Kadhimi Capitulate or Was There a Deal?

Sources close to Prime Minister Kadhimi claimed that the Hizbullah Brigade militants were released as part of a deal, in which they would halt attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq in exchange for release. However, senior officials at the Al-Hashad Al-Sha’bi umbrella organization have firmly denied this.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office just a few months ago, and this incident is considered by Iraqis to be a painful humiliation, harming his dignity and status as prime minister.

The Iraqi government is maintaining silence and has not provided a public explanation of what happened.

The obvious conclusion is that the release of the Hizbullah Brigades activists and the surrender of Iraqi Prime Minister Kadhimi to Al-Hashad Al-Sha’bi militia pressure indicate that the pro-Iranian militia can effectively veto any political decision that they do not approve. Kadhimi’s surrender is seen as a big political mistake that would be very difficult to correct.

All the Iraqi assumptions that the pro-Iran armed militias will agree to disarm after the new government is set up have faded. The Kadhimi government faces a major challenge: forcibly dismantling the armed militias or accepting the existing situation.

Akram al-Kaabi, the head of the pro-Iranian al-Nujaba militia, joined the circle of those refusing to disarm the militants, and instead called for “ignoring the demand to disarm and for strengthening the capabilities for the big campaign.”

Al-Hashad Al-Sha’bi militias formally belong to the Iraqi army, but they openly ignore Prime Minister Kadhimi’s demands. According to Iraqi law, Kadhimi is considered the supreme commander of the armed forces.

The bottom line is that the latest incident means that Iran registered another victory in Iraq. It will continue to influence the political system and decisions in the country, such as the Iraqi parliament’s decision to expel U.S. forces from Iraq. There is no doubt the Americans are outraged at Mustafa al-Kadhimi, which raises a question mark over Kadhimi’s expected visit to the United States.

Seth J Frantzman: Is intercepted rocket attack on US embassy a game changer? Analysis

Hours after the US reportedly tested a defense system that can stop mortars, artillery and small rockets, a rocket was said to be intercepted after it was fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad where the US Embassy is located.

This adds to 24 hours of tension in Iraq that coincided with American Independence Day. There were claims the US had deployed a C-RAM system to confront threats to its embassy and other facilities.

Anti-American forces in Iraq, consisting of Iranian-backed militias such as Kataib Hezbollah, have been firing rockets at US forces for more than a year. These have killed three members of the US-led coalition and one contractor. They have also frequently targeted the embassy and Union III facility in Baghdad, as well as Western coalition areas near the airport and Ayn al-Assad and Camp Taji bases.

On Sunday, rumors that Washington had brought missile-defense systems into Baghdad to be deployed near the embassy led to calls for the US to stop turning the area into an “armed camp.” Iraqi members of parliament, including the deputy speaker, said the US decision was a provocation.

While Iraqi politicians spread rumors about “Patriot missiles” in Baghdad, the actual system apparently is not the Patriot but the smaller C-RAM. Patriots are designed to intercept larger missiles and have been deployed at other bases in Iraq.

Gantz on Iran blasts: ‘Not every event that happens there is connected to us’

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday responded to a series of mysterious blasts in Iran, saying that not everything that happened there could be blamed on Israel.

“Everyone can be suspicious of us all the time,” Gantz said. “But not every event that happens in Iran is connected to us.

“A nuclear Iran is a threat to the world and the region, as well as a threat to Israel. And we will do everything to prevent that from happening. And we will do everything possible to prevent Iran from spreading terror and weapons, but I do not refer to any individual event,” he said.

An Israeli TV report Friday night said that Israel was bracing for a possible Iranian retaliation as officials in Tehran suggested that a mystery fire and explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility the day before could have been caused by an Israeli reprisal cyberattack to an April cyberattack attributed by Western intelligence officials to Iran, in which an attempt was made to increase chlorine levels in water flowing to residential Israeli areas.

The explosion reportedly “destroyed” a laboratory where Iran was developing advanced centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment, with a Kuwaiti report quoting an unnamed source assessing that the strike set back the Iranian nuclear program by two months.

Then on Saturday, an explosion reportedly damaged a power plant in Iran.

Persian and Arabic media reported the explosion and fire at the Zargan power plant in Ahvaz in Iran’s southwest, near the Persian Gulf and the Iraqi border.

Iran’s IRNA news agency later reported that the fire at the plant had been brought under control. It said the blaze was ignited when a transformer exploded.

A Timeline of the Fires and Explosions at Iranian facilities

Images of black smoke and fire billowing from a power plant in the city of Ahvaz, some 500 miles away from Tehran, were circulating on social media.

Some cited a faulty transformer as the cause of the blast. Mohammad Hafezi, the power plant’s health and safety manager, told Iran’s official news agency that he launched an investigation to find the cause of the incident.

Later in the day, a chlorine gas leak at a petrochemical plant in Mahshahr, also in the Khuzestan province, sickened some 70 workers, the Associated Press reported.

The incidents come a week after an explosion near the Parchin military complex rocked the outskirts of the Iranian capital, and one day after an unspecified “incident” in the vicinity of the Natanz nuclear facility.

Some reports claim Iran’s regional arch-foe Israel is behind both incidents, while others write this theory off as an example of the Islamic Republic trying to blame accidents caused by incompetence on external forces.

Another Holocaust Metaphor Kerplunks as Cartoonist Equates Wearing Facemasks with Boarding Cattle Cars

The Anderson County Review’s Facebook page on Friday posted a cartoon showing Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, wearing a mask adorned with a Star of David, in front of a picture of Jews being hoarded onto the trains during the Holocaust, with the caption: “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car.”

According to Wikipedia, the Anderson County Review is a local weekly newspaper for Garnett, Kansas with a circulation of about 3,000. The publisher, Dane Hicks, is the Republican county chairman in Anderson County, and apparently drew the cartoon himself.

The governor called on Hicks to remove the offensive cartoon, which suggests that enforcing health regulations in an attempt to stop the spreading of the most lethal pandemic in US history since the Spanish Flu of 1918 was tantamount to the Nazis sending Jews to Auschwitz.


Hicks refused to remove the cartoon from Facebook, and promised to run it in his paper’s Tuesday’s edition. He wrote an email saying: “Political editorial cartoons are gross over-caricatures designed to provoke debate and response — that’s why newspapers publish them — fodder for the marketplace of ideas. The topic here is the governmental overreach which has been the hallmark of Governor Kelly’s administration.”

Berlin metro to complete change of derogatory station name by year-end

Berlin’s public transport company BVG said on Saturday that completing the renaming of a city center metro station with a name based on a derogatory word for Black people will take until the end of the year.

“Mohrenstrasse” metro station literally means Moor Street, using the medieval term for people from North Africa.

It will be renamed after another nearby street, Glinkastrasse, named after 19th century Russian composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka.

BVG said on Friday it would change the station name, amid a worldwide reckoning with buried legacies of racism and colonial crimes underpinning many western societies, sparked by the death in the United States of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a police officer.

The station lies a few hundred meters from the Brandenburg Gate at the very center of Berlin, and has had a string of names since it was opened in 1908.

“We will change all network plans, signs at the stations and on buses. Everything must be changed on the subways,” said Rolf Erfurt, a BVG board member, in an interview with Reuters TV.

“We will have completed that by the end of the year,” he said.

Last month, unidentified activists taped over the station’s entrance, temporarily naming it “George Floyd Street.”

Amazon pulls swastika themed medical mask from site

With the US presidential race heating up, it seems anti-Republican elements are taking off their gloves in their campaign to remove US President Donald Trump from office.

In one such case of this no-holds-barred political fight, online retail giant Amazon recently posted for sale a protective medical mask featuring a US flag surrounded by Trump’s name designed in the shape of a Nazi swastika.

The mask was available for a short time before Amazon removed the anti-Semitic item following complaints from shoppers.

This wasn’t the first time that various elements, who tend to be opponents of the US president, have tried associating him with racist American movements and organizations.

Trump, for his part, has for years denounced expressions of anti-Semitism. His daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism. Either way, amid the tumult in the US over the Black Lives Matter protests and riots, which were triggered by the brutal death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, it appears that tensions between the right and left are once again boiling over.

Amazon was unavailable for a response.

OECD official: Israel leads in digitization, cyber

“Israel is in many ways in the forefront when it comes to digitization, cyber and medical technology,” said OECD Deputy Secretary General Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen told The Jerusalem Post. Knudsen’s remarks came ahead of Sunday’s conference marking 10 years of Israel as a member state of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), presented by Maariv and The Jerusalem Post Group.

Israel has benefited greatly from its membership in the OECD, which helps promote reform and improve government policy.

“The Israeli level of development and digitization is twice that of other OECD countries,” Knudsen said. “Israel has one of the highest levels in internet accessibility for children up to age 6. Israel has a lot of information in the field of network security, and it contributes a lot to our knowledge and experience.”

“So many people around the world have discovered the amazing ability of technology to help in all areas of life, in leisure, work and even in conversation with the personal doctor,” Knudsen said, in reference to the OECD’s flagship Going Digital project. “Digital transformation must continue to encourage innovation, optimize efficiency and improve services while increasing growth and improving welfare. It is essential to build a coherent and comprehensive approach to help organizations get the best out of that digital transformation, in both the government and private sectors. Technological changes will benefit society as a whole.”

Israel has devoted a great deal of resources to cybertech and digitization,” Knudsen said. “This has given you a very strong foundation and an opportunity for rapid development in the future. The challenges are mainly in expanding capacity of your internet network, and providing advanced digital access in both the government and private companies.”

Israel’s ‘Smart Shooter’ Revolutionizes World of Military

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