UN Watch: One year later — the answer to “Where Are Your Jews?”
Mr. President, one year ago in this chamber I asked the Arab states a simple question: “Where are your Jews?”
My question was met with dead silence. Millions of people worldwide watched the video, witnessing for themselves the hypocrisy and double standards that characterizes much of what is said and done here.
Today I have come to provide the answer to my question. Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya—your Jews fled as refugees after suffering persecution and deadly pogroms like the Farhud of Baghdad in 1941.
Fortunately, countries like Israel, the U.S., Canada, France and others opened their doors, offering citizenship and equal rights. These Jewish refugees from Arab lands—whose suffering and losses the UN has never addressed—put their hardship behind them and built great lives for their families.
Now let us contrast this with the situation of those descended from Arab refugees who fled the area of British Mandatory Palestine during the invasion of nascent Israel by Arab armies. What is holding them back? The answer is simple.
Palestinians are the only population in the world not eligible for services by the UN refugee agency. Instead these descendants are governed by UNRWA, which holds generation after generation trapped in refugee camps, denied integration in the Arab countries they were born in and denied resettlement elsewhere.
Some of UNRWA’s donors are waking up to the problem. As the Swiss Foreign Minister recently has put it: “By supporting UNRWA, we are only keeping the conflict alive.”
I thank you, Mr. President.
Melanie Phillips: Brexit, PA textbooks, Labour party antisemitism
Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Unwired Britain’s increasingly tumultuous Brexit drama, the UK Foreign Office’s sudden qualms over funding Palestinian Authority textbook incitement (!), the Labour party’s ever-deepening mire over antisemitism, and more.
IsraellyCool: The Palestinian Space Agency is a Thing
In the wake of Israel’s kick-ass efforts to land on the moon by next year, the following website has come to my attention
Yes, seriously. It seems to have been around since 2011, and much like their museum and, come to think of it, space itself, it is full of nothing.
You can get your PSA swag there – just send your post address and order to their email address.
Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, is one of the best-known killers in American history. Yet two major television networks recently broadcast segments about the Kennedy assassination without mentioning his name at all. What gives?
On June 5, 1968, Sirhan, a Palestinian Arab with Jordanian citizenship, shot the senator four times at point-blank range in a Los Angeles hotel. There has never been any dispute regarding Sirhan’s motive. In multiple interviews afterwards, he said he did it because Kennedy was pro-Israel.
The recent 50th anniversary of the assassination sparked much discussion about it in the news media. Around the same time, CNN broadcast a major four-part series called “1968: The Year That Changed America.” A large portion of it was devoted to that year’s presidential race, including Kennedy’s campaign for the Democratic nomination. There was a segment of several minutes about the assassination.
Incredibly, the CNN narrator never mentioned Sirhan Sirhan’s name or the reason that Kennedy was murdered. The segment portrayed the killing as if it was just part of the general turmoil in America that year, which included Vietnam War protests, racial tensions, and the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King’s murderer, James Earl Ray, was mentioned by name.
On July 4, the popular MSNBC program “Morning Joe” featured a special five-minute segment narrated by veteran anchor Tom Brokaw about the Kennedy assassination (hooked to the 50th anniversary). Once again, amazingly, there was no mention of Sirhan or the reason that he murdered RFK.
To me, the explanation is obvious. Some mainstream U.S. news media outlets are by now so profoundly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause that they will go out of their way to avoid mentioning anything that makes the Palestinians look bad.
In a now-viral video, five American girls staged a walkout on the final day of their trip to Israel courtesy of Birthright, a not-for-profit educational organization that sponsors free 10-day heritage trips to Israel for young adults of Jewish heritage.
The protest was organized by the anti-Israel organization IfNotNow, which seeks to end American Jewish support for Israel and has been widely criticized for refusing to even engage in dialogue with those it slams in the Jewish community.
The protesters accuse Birthright of hiding what they claim to be Israeli oppression of Palestinian Arabs. IfNotNow is on record that publicity is its main goal. “It’s a big deal for us to be leaving the trip, but that’s also why we decided to do it,” said one of the girls who staged the walkout.
It is shameful that this publicity stunt was staged the same week when two female Palestinian journalists were beaten by Palestinian Authority police officers. The women were violently assaulted while covering Palestinian demonstrations calling on PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to lift the economic sanctions he imposed last year on the Gaza Strip.
“The truth is that the Palestinian Authority is a body that has long been functioning as a dictatorship that suppresses freedom of speech and imposes a reign of terror and intimidation on Palestinian journalists and critics,” writes Palestinian scholar and human-rights activist Bassam Tawil.
Sadly, the subjugation of women and journalists is a regular occurrence in the Palestinian-controlled territories. According to a 2016 report brought to light by Israeli-Arab award-winning journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, an estimated 36 Palestinian women have fallen victim to sexual exploitation by Palestinian officials. In recent years, at least 13 female Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip were victims of sexual assault.
A week after returning from a trip to Israel, NBA star Draymond Green has been slammed online for his visit by critics of the Jewish state.
While in the Holy Land, the Golden State Warrior and Michigan native met with President Reuven Rivlin and visited an IDF base, in addition to taking in the sun and the sites.
Many critics were particularly upset over a video posted to the Israel Police Instagram page, featuring Green shooting a gun inside a Border Police training center.
“You got played,” wrote Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist and political commentator, on Twitter. “Flashing a toothy grin w/ a sniper rifle in Israel on a trip sponsored by Friends of the IDF is so horribly offensive. They’ve recently slaughtered 100s of unarmed Palestinians w/ those rifles.”
— Or Shkedy (@Orshkedy) July 4, 2018
After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the political world by defeating longtime New York Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary last month, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez quickly aligned himself with the former political outsider, saying on a radio show that “she represents the future of our party.”
If so, that future appears to include the kind of sharp criticism of Israel once considered taboo in both major parties.
Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform of Medicare for all, fully funded public schools and a universal jobs guarantee. But she has also been critical of Israel, calling its military’s killing of Palestinian protesters in May a “massacre.”
The Democratic Socialists of America, of which Ocasio-Cortez is a member, supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Ocasio-Cortez has remained silent on the issue.
In Minnesota, Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar calls herself an “intersectional feminist” and Israel an apartheid regime. In Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn is the co-author, along with her husband, of “Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship,” a scathing 1991 attack on the Jewish state.
“It seems to me that some criticism of Israel is part of a package among young progressives along with health care for all and jobs for all,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told Newsweek.
That puts Democrats who are both liberal and pro-Israel in a bind. Whether the result of “intersectionality,” which links Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to other left-wing causes or a willingness to call out its right-wing government, progressive criticism of Israel may make for some hard choices come Election Day.
A Democratic candidate for a seat in the California state assembly blames Israel for committing genocide against the Palestinians and has offered her support for antisemitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Maria Estrada, a candidate for California’s District 63 representing the southeast suburbs of Los Angeles, garnered the second most votes, some 28 percent, in a top-two primary on June 5 for the November election. She will run against incumbent and fellow Democrat Anthony Rendon, who also serves as Speaker of the California State Assembly.
In an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Dr. Harold Brackman of the Simon Wiesenthal Center noted that Estrada posted last year on Facebook: “Democrats turn a blind eye to the genocide against Palestinians and justify it by bringing up the Holocaust. As if what happened 70 years ago justifies it. Anyone who believes they are one of ‘God’s chosen people’ automatically feels superior and justified in all they do. Religious fanaticism is used to justify apartheid and crimes against Palestinians and no one should be okay with it. #FreePalestine”
On Tuesday she posted a screenshot of a dictionary definition of the term genocide, and wrote: “Because some people are unsure of the meaning of the term genocide because the number of people being murdered isn’t enough for them. #FreePalestine.”
She added in a comment to her post: “The argument from Zionists is that the number of Palestinians has grown. Apparently they aren’t killing enough Palestinians for them to consider it a genocide.”
The op-ed also noted that Estrada tweeted that ““I, for one, enjoy listening to Farrakhan’s sermons.”
A Labour MP once suspended in a row over anti-Semitism has been made shadow equalities minister.
Naz Shah was stripped of the parliamentary whip and barred from party activity for three months in 2016 while an investigation was carried out.
It followed the unearthing of a 2014 Facebook post in which she shared a graphic of Israel‘s outline superimposed on to a map of the US under the headline: Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israelinto United States, with the comment: “Problem solved.”
A Twitter post later emerged in which she urged supporters of the Palestinians to vote in an online poll on Israeli military action, claiming that “the Jews are rallying” to skew the result.
Ms Shah later admitted she was “ignorant” about discrimination against Jews and said she was determined to win back the community’s trust.
She was later praised by the Jewish community for her positive efforts to understand issues around anti-Semitism.
Israel summoned Irish ambassador Alison Kelly to its Foreign Ministry on Thursday morning to protest her country’s advancement of a bill that would criminalize trade with east Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank.
The bill mandates that an Irish citizen found guilty of engaging in trade with areas of Israel beyond the pre-1967 lines could be jailed for up to five years and fined up to a quarter-of-a-million euros.
The Senate, known as the Seanad Éireann, passed the bill 25-20 in a second reading. It now moves through eight stages that include a committee meeting and a vote in the Ireland’s house of representatives, known as the Dáil Éireann. It becomes law only with the signature of the Irish president.
Such a law would mark the first time a European Union member state has banned commercial activity over Israel’s pre-1967 lines. The EU has issued guidelines for countries wishing to label such goods, but has not taken any steps to ban them.
Palestinians welcomed the vote and called on other European countries to similarly criminalize trade with Israeli settlements.
Ronn Torossian: Are you standing with Ireland’s boycott of Israel?
A bill banning all goods from Israeli “settlements” is set to be approved by the Irish Parliament on July 11. The bill’s sponsor has responded that EU governments may take actions outside EU trade policy to address violations international law, which considers all Israeli “settlements” – that is, Jewish communities in Area C of Judea and Samaria, as illegal.
Six months ago, a group of radical left Israeli activists sent a petition to the Irish parliament, asking it to support a bill that forbids the sale and export of products from Israeli “settlements”. Beyond outlawing the import or sale of such products, it would also ban services originating from the so-called “occupied territories”.
The 1993 Oslo Accords divided Judea and Samaria (aka ‘West Bank’) into Areas A,B and C, with only C under Israeli jurisdiction, A and B self governed by the Palestinian Authority. All Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are in Area C, (and only 4% of the region’s Arabs) on lands which are legally termed “disputed territories” in international forums. The anti-Israel bias prevalent in those forums and in the media has given rise to the false term “occupied territories.”
According to Haaretz, the petition stated:
“Sir, – We, concerned citizens of Israel, are writing to you regarding the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, which was brought to our attention and which is due to be debated in Seanad Éireann on January 30th. We urge Ireland to support any legislation that will help enforce differentiation between Israel per se and the settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
We are convinced that Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is morally and strategically unsustainable, is detrimental to peace, and poses a threat to the security of Israel itself. While Ireland, along with the rest of the EU, considers the occupation illegal, it continues to economically sustain it by trading with illegal Israeli settlements established in clear and direct violation of international law.
As people who care deeply for Israel’s future and long for our country to live in peace with its neighbors, we urge you to support the aforementioned Bill.”
Those who signed included leaders of the New Israel Fund and its beneficiaries including:
Naomi Chazan- Director in the NIF, who served as president of the New Israel Fund from 2008-2012.
Avrum Burg- Member of the NIF international council. (Burg has declared that “Zionism is over,”, that Israeli society is fascist and violent, due to continuing trauma over the Holocaust, and claimed that “to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end. “
Itzhak Galnoor- Member of the NIF international council.
Miki Kratsman – Breaking the Silence`s Board of Directors Chairman. Breaking the Silence is the infamous organization that blackens the name of IDF soldiers. It has been shown over and over to be lying and is banned from lecturing in the Israeli school system.
And there are others.
A bill expected to pass Ireland’s Senate on Wednesday would criminalize trade in products and services produced in Israeli settlements. If enacted, it could force U.S. firms with Irish divisions or subsidiaries to make a costly choice.
If companies abide by the Irish law, they could violate U.S. law, which prohibits U.S. companies from participating in foreign boycotts that the U.S. government does not endorse. Violations of U.S. anti-boycott laws are punishable by fines and by imprisonment for up to 10 years.
The U.S. in 2017 accounted for 67% of all foreign direct investment in Ireland. Some 700 U.S. companies currently employ over 155,000 people in Ireland, including Apple (Ireland’s largest company), Google (4th largest), Microsoft (5th), and Facebook (9th). All four also have sizeable R&D operations in Israel.
Many components inside Apple’s iPhones are made in Israel. If an Apple engineer lives in Jerusalem and telecommutes, will Apple be in violation of Irish law?
In addition, U.S. law would require any U.S. company with operations in Ireland to report to the Internal Revenue Service on whether it has cooperated with Ireland’s boycott.
Furthermore, U.S. companies in Ireland, and the 440 Irish companies doing business in the U.S., could be forced by the Irish law to run afoul of the two dozen U.S. state laws that require divestment from companies that boycott Israel (in some cases specifically defined to include Israeli settlements).
2) The bill adopts unique definition of “occupied territories” that applies only to Israel, excludes WSahara, Crimea, NCyprus, etc. Authors care so little about int’l law they’re happy to legitimize those occupations to reduce political cost of beating up on Israel.
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) July 11, 2018
4) And its outrageous: it could make it a bailable offense for an Irish national to take a cab to the Kotel, or get a tour there. Could also make it a crime for the US to hire Israeli employees for its new embassy.
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) July 11, 2018
6) Echoing Iran’s use of fringe anti-Israel Jewish groups, the supporters of the bill gleefully point out that a few far-left Jewish boycott supporters wrote a letter in favor of the bill. That just shows that Israel is a free country; not that the Irish bill is not anti-Semitic
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) July 11, 2018
A senior Palestinian official praises the Irish government for advancing legislation that would ban the sale and import of goods produced in Israeli settlements.
In a statement, Saeb Erekat says the “courageous step” sets an example for the rest of Europe who “continue encouraging Israel’s culture of impunity.”
“Those trading with Israeli settlements are complicit in the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination,” the statement says.
After the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 was frozen in late January, it is now scheduled to be voted on in the Irish Senate later today.
Arab Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday threw their support behind an Irish bill expected to be advanced later in the day that would outlaw the sale and import of settlement-produced goods in Ireland.
“This is a welcome and legally correct step,” the Joint (Arab) List party said in a press statement.
The Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 declares it an offense “for a person to import or attempt to import settlement goods.”
Likewise, those who “assist another person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” would be committing a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, if the bill were to become law.
In praising the bill, the Joint List took aim at both Israeli “oppression against the Palestinian people” and what it described as European capitulation to the “Zionist lobby.”
The party said that it hoped the passage of the bill would “mark the beginning of a new stage in which Israel starts to pay an international political, economic and moral price for its actions,” and, the statement added, “a new stage in treating the Zionist lobby as a danger to the values that Europe claims to represent.”
Honest Reporting: Israel Hate Journalist Tweets Old (Fake) News
Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland came to our attention in 2015 after we raised a genuine issue with her on Twitter concerning one of her stories. Her response?
“Not interacting with Zionists anymore.”
Utterly unacceptable from a professional journalist.
Unsurprisingly, Holland’s anti-Israel sentiments aren’t a one-off judging by this new tweet.
Thousands Of Israelis Take To The Streets Calling For Palestinian Genocide https://t.co/wE2ndEBw4v
— Kitty Holland (@KittyHollandIT) July 8, 2018
The tweet links to a story not from this week but from October 2016.
Were thousands of Israelis really taking to the streets calling for Palestinian genocide?
In a word, no.
In the hours following the publication of this post, Kitty Holland deleted her tweet perhaps having realized that it threatened her fragile credibility.
Fifty activists held a musical protest against the Batsheva Dance Company’s opening night performance at the Joyce Theater in New York. Protesters decried the internationally recognized dance company’s role “whitewashing” the Israeli government ‘s human rights violations.
“We’re here to let Batsheva, and the Joyce Theater, know that they cannot use art to distract us from Israel’s crimes. While Batsheva performs as part of Israel’s celebration of the establishment of the Israeli state, Palestinians are being killed demanding freedom and basic rights,” Jenna Laila from Adalah-NY told her fellow protesters.
“As the growing global BDS movement turns 13, we renew our commitment, and redouble our efforts to fight for Palestinians’ rights to freedom, justice, and equality,” she continued.
The Consulate General of Israel in New York is hosting Batsheva’s New York run from July 10 to 22.
Counter-protesters from the Jewish Defense League protested in front of the Joyce Theater in support of Batsheva and the Israeli government, holding signs saying “Thank God for Trump.”
An alumni group has criticized Columbia University’s response to concerns shared about a professor who has been accused of promoting a hostile environment for Jewish students.
The controversy centers around Hamid Dabashi, an instructor in Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at the New York school, who claimed on social media in May that Israel is behind “[e]very dirty treacherous ugly and pernicious act happening in the world.”
In the same post, Dabashi also described “opponents of the Iran Nuclear deal” as “diehard Fifth Column Zionists.”
The professor’s remarks were denounced later that month by a coalition of nearly 250 Columbia and Barnard College alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community members, as well as officials from several national Jewish and Zionist groups.
Dabashi’s public comments, they said, along with his history of “depicting Israelis as Nazis, comparing Israel to ISIS, [and] accusing Israel of genocide,” promotes “a hostile environment on campuses for pro-Israel and Jewish students.”
Provost John Coatsworth and Executive Vice President of University Life Suzanne Goldberg replied on June 8 to the letter’s organizers — Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), which fights antisemitism at universities nationwide — by expressing their institution’s commitment to freedom of expression, even in the face of views that some may “find highly objectionable.”
One of the teachers was Shawn Redden, who was first suspended without pay after an incident in which, according to a parent, he bashed Israel after the country, in May, killed 60 Palestinians, the vast majority of whom were terrorists. Riverdale also booted Joel Doerfler, who said on a pro-Palestinian outlet that “there exists at Riverdale, and in the culture at large, assertive, influential and highly emotional supporters of Israel and of pretty much everything it does and has done, who are hell-bent on stifling…academic investigation.”
He talked to teachers and administrators a couple years ago and said “History curricula are controversial. Because ‘history’ (by which I mean what historians write and teach) is an important element in national invention and integration, national narratives…are frequently battlefields where contemporary political issues are fought out. In these often vitriolic debates far more is usually at stake than simple questions about ‘what actually happened’ in the past.”
So we immediately see that Doerfler subscribes to the progressive notion that there is a difference between history and the past. These people believe, like author and NDP politician Thomas King said, that “history is the stories we tell about the past.” When history is no longer just the unchangeable fact, leftists have an excuse to mold their politics into curriculum and discredit history they don’t like as some kind of “false narrative.” No! Bad Doerfler! The guy also says that when parents complained about his course, the headmaster encouraged the teacher to allow speakers picked by parents into the class.
About this, Doerfler said, and notice the word choice here: “what teacher, after all, wants to take on the Israel Lobby and its local minions?” But here’s the problem, dude: you can’t admit that you have a biased approach to teaching and then smear others with different points of view as activists, now can you? Why can’t we just agree to return to the days when kids were taught how to think, not what to think?
One sentence in a page-one article of Haaretz’s’s English print edition yesterday packed in multiple errors. Headlined “Netanyahu: Israel to close commercial Gaza crossing over airborne firebombs,” the article erred:
Palestinians began flying the devices into Israel after many weeks of protests at the Gaza-Israel border in which over 130 demonstrators were killed by Israel Defense Forces sharpshooters and some 4,000 were wounded by live fire.
This sentence is wrong on multiple counts.
First, as Haaretz itself has previously reported, the kite attacks began less than two weeks after the “March of Return” events began on March 30, not after “many weeks of protests at the Gaza-Israel border.” As Almog Ben Zikri reported April 16 (“Gazans Fly Firebombs Tied to Kites Into Israel, Sparking Several Blazes”):
BBC audiences have not seen any coverage of that statement (along with a vow to reject the anticipated US peace plan before it has even been made public) from Mahmoud Abbas.
As was noted here at the time, the BBC’s report did not inform readers that on the same day as the Israeli law was passed, Australia announced that it had “ended direct aid to the Palestinian Authority over fears its donations will be used to pay Palestinians convicted of terrorism and their families”.
The following day senior Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath (who is Abbas’ advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations) gave his reaction to that announcement on official PA TV.
“All the News That’s Fit to Print,” the venerable motto of The New York Times ever since publisher Adolph Ochs made it his newspaper’s pledge in 1896, has become malleable over time. The most egregious violation of its pledge came during World War II when the Holocaust, in the title of Laurel Leff’s scathing indictment, was Buried by the Times. While every newspaper must be selective about what it reports, when it comes to Israel the Times occasionally bends over backward to evade a story that might otherwise challenge its liberal base — and bias.
To the Times, Israelis are now the bad guys, perpetual perpetrators of harm to innocent Palestinians. A prime example is the Times‘ omission of the damage inflicted by Hamas-inspired kite terrorism from Gaza. Last month, it provided four-column front page photo coverage of a dead Gazan baby brought to the border by a family member and reported (falsely) to have died from inhaling tear gas fired by Israel. But its reporting of the damage from Hamas rockets, and fire kites and balloons, to kibbutz farm land and nature preserves has been less than minimal.
Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief David Halbfinger, joined by reporter Isabel Kershner, made their favored story line clear early on. Israel’s security barrier, they wrote (May 15), “fences off the Gaza Strip like an open-air prison.” The “fundamental imbalance — heavily armed soldiers firing on mostly unarmed demonstrators, many of them bent on breaching the fence” drove their narrative. On the perceived apathy of Israelis to the harm their soldiers were inflicting (by defending the border), they cited Etgar Keret, one of the left-wing Israeli writers the Times delights in quoting for criticism of their county. About their own apathy toward Hamas arson inflicted on Israel, they remained silent.
A member of a German neo-Nazi gang was jailed for life on Wednesday for her part in the murders of 10 people during a seven-year campaign of racially-motivated violence.
Beate Zschaepe, 43, showed no reaction as the judge read out her sentence at the end of one of the most closely watched court cases in Germany’s post-war history.
She was part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU), whose members killed eight Turks, a Greek man and a German policewoman from 2000 to 2007, the Higher Regional Court in Munich ruled.
The murders shook a country that believed it had learned the lessons of its past. A report later said police had “massively underestimated” the risk of far-right violence and that missteps had allowed the cell to go undetected.
The judges said Zschaepe bore “particularly heavy guilt” and handed her the heaviest possible sentence.
She had denied any knowledge of the murders during the five-year trial. But she said later she regretted not stopping two male members of the gang, Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, from carrying out the killings.
Those men killed themselves in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance.
Chelsea Football Club and The World Jewish Congress today launched the international Pitch for Hope competition, the first stage of a three-pronged joint initiative on combating the widespread phenomenon of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and anti-Semitism in sports, under the banner Red Card for Hate.
Pitch for Hope is a hothouse of ideas, calling on young people ages 18-23 in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Israel to submit proposals for a unique and creative project to harness the spirit of comradery in sports to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life.
In the UK and the US, Chelsea FC and the WJC have been reaching out to potential participants representing institutions working toward coexistence, including Jewish and Muslim organisations, as well as leading educational institutes. The competition in Israel will draw participants from people of all religions – including Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze, to include minority groups in the peripheral north and south of the country, as well as members of the lower socio-economic strata. Seven institutions are scheduled to take part in the Israeli competition, with a focus on the visual arts.
Finalists will be invited to present their proposals at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium in London to a panel of judges representing the WJC and Chelsea FC in September. The winners from each country will receive a $10,000 grant from Chelsea FC and the World Jewish Congress to develop and implement their pilot project.
The competition will expand to Germany and France for a following round next year, following high-demand from football clubs across Europe.
Zebra Medical Vision, an Israeli startup that uses machine learning technology to read and analyze data from CT and X-ray scans, said it has received a nod from the US Food and Drug Administration that will allow the firm to market its product in the US, to help physicians detect the buildup of calcium in coronary arteries, which serves as a measure of heart disease risk.
Zebra’s AI-based automated coronary calcium detection product is capable of automatically calculating a patient’s coronary calcium score from CT scans, providing physicians with important data that enables them to assess the risk of coronary artery disease, Zebra said.
A coronary calcium scan measures the amount of calcium in the walls of coronary arteries. Overview. Calcification is a sign of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, or coronary microvascular disease.
The approval is the first Zebra has received from the FDA and “one of the first ones for AI” in healthcare imaging, Eyal Gura, the co-founder and chairman of Zebra said by email.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and a major cause of death in the US, both in men and women, according to the US National Library of Medicine.
When Hungarian-Jewish teenager Istvan Rokza arrived at the Neuengamme concentration camp in northern Germany in late 1944, he had very little on him — only 20 pengo (then the Hungarian currency) and a “Tintenkuli,” a black stylograph-type pen. The Nazis confiscated these from Rokza, placing them in an envelope and listing the contents on the outside.
Rokza survived the war, but died in 1996 without ever seeing the money or pen again. Infinitely worse, he was never reunited with his mother Hedwig (Miriam), father Anton (Shlomo) and older brother Gyorgy.
He also never learned their fates. He had heard a rumor that perhaps his brother had returned to Budapest after the war, but for all intents and purposes, Rokza believed he was alone in the world.
Rokza moved on with his life, immigrating to Israel in mid-1949 and rarely speaking of his wartime experiences. However, unbeknownst to the Holocaust survivor, his pen had remained intact in Germany. It was one of thousands of confiscated personal belongings recovered by Allied forces at the Gestapo headquarters in Hamburg, or at the Neuengamme, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps as they liberated Europe. These items were deposited with various archives and restitution organizations in Germany.
This month, 22 years after Rokza’s death, his pen was returned to his family in Israel thanks to the joint efforts of the International Tracing Service (ITS) and this Times of Israel reporter.
Claude Lanzmann, whose 1985 documentary Shoah deeply affected the way many saw the destruction of European Jewry, died last week at the age of ninety-two. Henry Gonshak revisits his work:
Shoah is almost unique among Holocaust documentaries in that Lanzmann used no documentary footage, usually gleaned from Nazi archives, or any fictionalized scenes. Instead, the movie is composed exclusively of interviews with those who became entangled, for one reason or another, in the Holocaust: survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators. Lanzmann justified this approach by insisting it was the only way to represent the Holocaust authentically.
After Shoah was released, Lanzmann became a constant critic of the slew of Holocaust films that took more license than he had with the historical record. He attacked Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster Schindler’s List, accusing it of “commodification” of the Holocaust, because Spielberg used professional actors and invented several scenes from whole cloth. Perhaps Lanzmann imposed excessively strict limitations on the boundaries of Holocaust representation. I don’t believe the Holocaust alone must be represented with no degree of artistic latitude—a demand not made of the portrayals of any other genocide. However, without question, Lanzmann’s narrow approach worked brilliantly in Shoah. . . .
Lanzmann’s directorial style eschewed the “fly on the wall” technique employed by many other documentarians, where the director serves purely as witness, taking no active role in the unfolding action. Instead, Lanzmann is a constant presence in his movie, both on and off camera, asking pointed questions that at times verge on badgering his often-fragile subjects. . . .
Not only did Lanzmann interview survivors and witnesses, but he also spoke with perpetrators—another directorial decision that provoked controversy. For example, Lanzmann talked to Franz Suchomel, who had been an SS functionary at Treblinka and after the war was convicted of war crimes and spent six years in a West German prison. . . . Initially reticent, Suchomel became more garrulous as the interview progressed, until by the end he was regaling the director with a camp song composed by the SS. Lanzmann’s interview with Suchomel demonstrates that many perpetrators felt no remorse for their participation in genocide.
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