September 19, 2020

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07/12 Links Pt2: US funds aided 2015 bid to oust Netanyahu; How Democrats Destroyed the Pro-Israel Consensus

From Ian:

US funds aided 2015 bid to oust Netanyahu, Senate probe finds
The US government supported a group that tried to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year to the tune of nearly $350,000, or NIS 1.3 million, a Senate inquiry published Tuesday found, though it cleared the State Department of any wrongdoing.
The bipartisan probe found no illegal activity in funding the OneVoice group, which became the V15 campaign to oust Netanyahu, though its report chided the State Department for having failed to prevent state funds being used, albeit legally and indirectly, to influence an allied country’s internal political process.
According to the report, authored by the permanent subcommittee on investigations of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the State Department gave grants totaling $349,276 to One Voice’s Israeli and Palestinian branches “to support peace negotiations” over a 14-month grant period that ended in November 2014.
After that period, the organizational infrastructure created with these funds were used by V15, a group that actively called on Israel’s to vote for “anyone but Bibi [Netanyahu]” during last year’s national election.
Netanyahu urged the Knesset to vote to dissolve itself on December 2, 2014, leading to new elections in March of 2015. V15 spent considerable efforts trying to convince Israeli voters that Netanyahu had to be replaced by a candidate for the center-left. Netanyahu’s Likud party and other right-wing groups derided the group for using “foreign funding” to try to unseat him. (h/t YOSEF22ADAR)

State Department Purged Emails About Secret Anti-Netanyahu Campaign

A State Department official deleted emails that included information about a secret campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the country’s last election, according to a Senate investigatory committee that determined the Obama administration transferred tax funds to anti-Netanyahu groups.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations disclosed in a massive report on Tuesday that the Obama administration provided U.S. taxpayer dollars to the OneVoice Movement, a liberal group that waged a clandestine campaign to smear and oust Netanyahu from office.
OneVoice, which was awarded $465,000 in U.S. grants through 2014, has been under congressional investigation since 2015, when it was first accused of funneling money to partisan political groups looking to unseat Netanyahu. This type of behavior by non-profit groups is prohibited under U.S. tax law.
The investigation determined that OneVoice redirected State Department funds to anti-Netanyahu efforts and that U.S. officials subsequently erased emails containing information about the administration’s relationship with the non-profit group.
The disclosure comes amid a massive effort by Congress to reform the State Department’s email practices in light of former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential frontrunner’s Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified materials.

NGO transparency bill passes final vote

The Knesset voted to pass a controversial law requiring organizations mostly funded by foreign governments to prominently label themselves as such, in a vote that took place late Monday.
The debate was expected to take six hours and be followed by votes on 50 proposed changes, before the third and final reading.
The bill states that any nonprofit organization that receives more than half of its funding from a foreign political entity would have to indicate as much in any publication or letter to elected officials or civil servants.
In addition, a list of the NGOs falling under the bill’s purview, as well as the countries from which they received donations, would have to be posted on the Non-Profit Registrar’s website.
NGOs already must report all contributions from foreign governments to the registrar.
The initiative has been controversial since its inception, because the vast majority of organizations that would fall under its purview – 25 of 27 NGOs listed by the Justice Ministry – are left-wing.
Its supporters say that the public has a right to know when foreign governments are trying to influence Israeli policy.

IsraellyCool: Israel’s Transparency Law: Two Questions Nobody Is Asking

It has been claimed that 23 of the 25 NGOs to be affected by the new law are left-wing in orientation and the other two unaligned. Left-wing NGOs apparently generally get the bulk of their financial support from foreign governments, mainly the EU; on the other hand, right-wing NGOs seem to garner financial support from private citizens, from within Israel as well as the Diaspora.
There are two questions few seem to be asking:
  1. What makes an NGO that receives funds from a government, foreign or otherwise, an NGO? After all, in case people have forgotten – NGO means NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION. It seems that in order to qualify as such, the organization would have to have no government contribution to its functioning.
  2. How many left-wing organizations are NOT affected by the Transparency Law? If the answer is 0, or even 5, then the question of interest becomes: what is it about left-wing issues that makes left-wing NGOs disproportionately subject to foreign government investment? After all, money talks, money is power, follow the money. There have to be vital interests at stake for foreign governments to be willing to put their money down in any particular way.

I would like to see left-wing NGOs get off their nirvana-utopia-I’m-a-victim cloud and begin to explore why foreigners are putting their money down on them. That begins with asking themselves the appropriate questions.

US voices concern for free speech over Israeli NGO bill

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing that some of Washington’s concerns regarding the bill were alleviated by amendments made before it was finally passed by Israeli legislators.
Nonetheless, he expressed the White House’s concerns “not just about free expression but association and dissent.”
“We are deeply concerned that this law can have a chilling effect on the activities that these worthwhile organizations are trying to do,” he said.
The Israeli government has defended the law as a way to increase transparency of foreign government intervention in Israeli affairs, but has been widely pilloried by critics in Israel and abroad who see it as targeting leftist groups and clamping down on free speech..
Supporters of the law, including one of its authors, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, said Monday that it was intended to create public awareness about large-scale foreign governmental intervention in Israel’s domestic politics. The law’s authors charge that advocacy groups funded by foreign governments “represent in Israel, in a non-transparent manner, the outside interests of foreign states.”
The law was passed a day before a bipartisan Senate report found that the V15 campaign to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 was indirectly funded by US State Department dollars.
Likud minister Zeev Elkin said Tuesday that the Senate’s findings were proof “of how correct the laws of transparency in foreign state funding of NGOs is.”

EU: NGO law risks undermining Israel’s democratic values

The European Union said Tuesday that the recently passed NGO law goes “beyond the legitimate need for transparency,” appears to be aimed at limiting the activities of certain groups, and risks undermining Israel’s democratic values.
The law — approved by Knesset late Monday night — mandates that non-government organizations that receive more than half their funds from foreign governments or state agencies disclose that fact in any public reports, advocacy literature and interactions with government officials, or face a NIS 29,000 fine ($7,500).
The Israeli government has defended the law as a way to increase transparency of foreign government intervention in Israeli affairs. Critics, meanwhile, maintain the law unfairly targets left-wing and human rights organizations, many of which receive funding from European countries.
“The reporting requirements imposed by the new law go beyond the legitimate need for transparency and seem aimed at constraining the activities of these civil society organizations working in Israel,” the European Union said.

EU ‘sidelining’ diplomats’ advice to press Israel on settlements — report

The European Union has been “sidelining” calls from its top diplomats in Israel to step up pressure on Jerusalem to abandon the settlement enterprise, according to a report Tuesday.
According to the London-based Guardian newspaper, the EU has disregarded requests to increase moves to “halt trade” with the settlements, despite Brussels’s repeated claims that they are illegal and threaten the two-state solution.
Late last year, a group of European diplomats, known as the Heads of Missions in Israel, filed a report with the EU warning of growing “despair… anger and a loss of hope in the future” among Palestinians, in light of the ongoing construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as the fear among Palestinians that Israel intends to alter the status quo on the Temple Mount, a claim that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied.
The Guardian claimed to have obtained a copy of the EU diplomat’s secret report, which calls for a number of actions to be taken by the European body to prevent a further deterioration of the possibility of a two-state solution, including additional measures to not recognize settlements as officially part of Israel.

AP Headline on Israeli Law Breaks Journalistic Rule

On a controversial new Israeli law to increase regulation of Israeli non-profit organizations which receive more than half of their funding from foreign states, an Associated Press headline violates the journalistic imperative to maintain impartiality. “Israel passes law targeting human rights organizations,” is the AP news headline, mirroring the position of the law’s critics.

The Associated Press is a leading wire service, and the tendentious headline was republished on top news sites including The Wall Street Journal, ABC News and Fox News.
This partial headline is coming down on one side of a controversial issue (the law’s critics.)
As the article itself states: “Opponents of the law argued that the Netanyahu government was trying to target liberal human rights organizations that are critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.”

Michael Lumish: Pew Poll Results: Liberal Democrats Prefer Palestinian-Arabs to Jews

Depending upon the level of American Jewish masochism and instilled self-doubt, this may begin to change. It certainly did with me. I come out of the tradition of the Democratic Party as molded by Franklin Roosevelt and bequeathed to me, and my post-Vietnam Era friends, via the New Left and the hodge-podge of its interests.
These included, of course, the anti-war movement, feminism, environmentalism, Gay rights, ethnic rights, and so forth.
When I was coming up as a kid I was a liberal Democrat and most of my friends tended to be liberal Democrats. For most of us this was probably less out of a conscious decision then merely representing the political environment that we grew up in. Most American young people, in the 1970s and 1980s from my part of the country, New York and New England, tended toward the Left.
However, I did what little I could do in recent years to warn the Democratic Party that if they continue to hate on Israel and provide venues of support for anti-Semitic anti-Zionists they would erode the support of American Jews.
It does not require genius to untangle the obvious.

DaphneAnson: “These People Only Care When There’s Jews Aboard”: Israel advocate socks it to the PSCniks (video) (updated)

Following on from my previous post, here’s another video of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Israel-haters in London being challenged by the truth-tellers from the Israel Advocacy Movement:

Peace activists attacked at Palestine Solidarity Rally

Oh, and since some of the Israel-haters seem to be getting their underwear in a twist over the perceived “Zionism” of Britain’s prime minister designate Theresa May, here’s her speech last year that’s making the Israel-haters so unhappy:

Yom Ha’atzmaut 5775 – The Rt. Hon Theresa May Home Secretary

Theresa May, Jews and Israel — 6 connections

Israel trip: May visited Israel for the first in June 2014 — three months after Cameron had delivered an exceptionally supportive speech in the Knesset. Hers was a relatively low-profile trip, focused on her areas of responsibility as home secretary — policing, human trafficking, cyber-security — although she also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and placed a wreath in memory of those killed in “the most terrible crime of history.” She later said of the visit that she was “delighted to see first-hand the flourishing partnership between the UK and Israel.” She also later lamented the murder of three Israeli teenagers at the time of her visit, and hailed the brave Israeli soldiers who have paid “the ultimate price” to defend Israel in wartime and against terrorism.
Elle est Juif: In the aftermath of last year’s Paris Hyper Cacher and Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, May was photographed holding a “Je Suis Juif” placard, and she has spoken since of the importance of Anglo Jewry to Britain. Addressing the Bnei Akiva youth movement’s Israel Independence Day event this year, for instance, May bewailed the “tragic fact of history that the Jewish people have had to protect themselves against repeated attempts to obliterate them.”
She said she was “appalled” by the reported rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, including in the UK — “no one should live in fear because of their beliefs,” she said. She acknowledged that “many Jewish people in this country are feeling vulnerable and fearful… I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say that they were fearful of remaining here in our country,” she said. “We cherish the enormous contribution you make… Without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain.”
No quenelles please, we’re British: In 2014, she banned the French anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne from entering the UK.

Douglas Murray: UK: Labour Pains

At one point Corbyn was asked about one Jackie Walker, an activist who had been suspended and then re-admitted to the party after describing Jews as being the “chief financiers of the slave trade.” According to Corbyn, Jackie Walker still had a “positive contribution” to make to the Labour party.
The Chakrabarti report had said, in its section on “guidance on language and behaviour,” that “racial or religious tropes and stereotypes about any group of people should have no place in our modern Labour Party.” Yet with the report’s author sitting behind him, nodding and urging him along, Corbyn then insisted that a figure like Walker not only had a place but had a “positive contribution” to make.
Asked before the House of Commons committee what would henceforth happen to Labour members who used inappropriate terms about Jews, Corbyn replied, “What will happen is that they will be told they should not use them.” A bold piece of leadership to be sure.
In any event, readers will not be surprised that after all this, on July 5, it was announced that Naz Shah — the Labour MP whose suspension had started most of this — had formally been readmitted into the Labour party. The Labour party for Bradford West is back and all is well. Britain’s Labour party has been successfully recaptured. It was all so easily predictable. As will be the next steps in the moral degeneration and demise of the British left.

‘Remain’ Campaigner Bianca Jagger Tweets Neo-Nazi Link In Support Of Labour’s Embattled Jeremy Corbyn

Council of Europe Ambassador and Amnesty International representative Bianca Jagger has tweeted out a web link attacking critics of embattled Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for being black or Jewish.
The link, which directs to a Neo-Nazi website called Metapedia, describes Iraq War-supporting Labour MPs as “negros” and “Jews”, with Oona King MP listed as “Judeo-Negress hybrid”.
Ms. Jagger – the ex-wife of Rolling Stone Mick Jagger – took to Twitter at 4am last night to post links to a list of Labour MPs who voted in favour of the Iraq War. The tweet came as many in Labour’s parliamentary party begin to mount a leadership coup against the long-standing hard-left activist and recently anointed leader Jeremy Corbyn.
But the list also makes reference to the sexuality, race, and religion of Labour MPs in favour of the Iraq War.

How Democrats Destroyed the Pro-Israel Consensus

Twenty-seven Jewish “social justice organizations” recently wrote a widely-publicized open letter calling upon “political candidates to put an end to the racism, antisemitism and xenophobia” which “has emerged in this year’s campaign.”
Naturally, all Jews — and decent people anywhere — agree that racism of any form is unacceptable, and none of us approve of what these organizations describe as “hurtful characterizations of entire ethnic groups as criminals.”
All Americans can agree that “the Jewish community knows all too well what can happen when particular religious or ethnic groups become the focus of invective. We have witnessed the dangerous acts that can follow verbal expressions of hate.”
As such, it was disappointing that a radical, extremist organization such as The New Israel Fund, which openly supports a boycott of Israel, was among the organizations that signed this letter.
It is quite clear that today’s Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of old.

In new GOP platform, ‘undivided’ Jerusalem is in, ‘Palestine’ is out

The Republican Party has reinstated a reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital in the latest draft of its platform, and removed a reference to “Palestine.”
The 58-page draft platform, which supports a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, could change several times before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 18.
The language shared with members of the Platform Committee by the Republican National Committee at an orientation on Sunday night was first reported by CNN.
In the party’s 2012 party platform, the word “undivided” was deleted from the platform of four years earlier and the reference to Palestine was added.
The 2012 platform read: “We support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders; and we envision two democratic states — Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine – living in peace and security.”
The previous 2008 platform declared: “We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.”

Pro-Palestinian student group won’t recant claim that IDF influences US police brutality

A pro-Palestinian student group at NYU that blamed Israel for recent police shootings of black men is now scaling back, somewhat, on the accusations it made on Facebook.
In the original Facebook post from July 7, the New York University Students for Justice in Palestine group held Israel accountable for the black people “lynched” by police forces in the United States because “many US police departments train with the Israel Defense Forces.”
“The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians,” said the post.
The post attracted plenty of attention, but not many likes. The majority of the more than 600 comments expressed disgust, amusement and incredulity at the group’s claims.
“You just elevated stupidity to a PhD level….congrats,” commented Mark Shamash.
The NYU Students for Justice in Palestine followed up on the backlash with something of a clarification, if not actually a reinforcement, of the sentiment that the IDF bears culpability for oppressive practices on black Americans.

Canadian Green Party sponsors resolutions targeting Israel

It would seem natural for Canada’s Green Party, which supports social justice and sustainability, to support the Jewish National Fund, an organization widely recognized for its environmental contributions to Israel – but it’s not the case.
Members of the Green Party sponsored two resolutions last month that target Israel: one urging the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the JNF’s charitable status and another to support BDS in Israeli sectors that allegedly profit from occupied Palestinian territories.
“Given the glut of environmental and human crises the world faces, it strikes us as absurd and inappropriate for Green Party members to negatively single out Israel or Israel-related matters as the primary subject for attention,” said Josh Cooper, CEO of JNF Canada. “They’re allowing an obsession with Israel to distract them from the Green Party’s valid environmental priorities.”
The resolution regarding the JNF states that the organization is discriminatory against non-Jewish Israelis, that Ayalon Canada Park sits in occupied Palestinian territory and that it takes away the rightful land of Palestinians through the creation of parks and forests.
The BDS-related resolution states that Israel is violating international law through its settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Liberman: Jews shouldn’t donate to anti-Zionist causes

Defense Minister and Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman met today with Michael Gross, a British Jewish philanthropist, who canceled a significant donation to Ben Gurion University because of it hosted a conference supporting BDS organizations. Mr. Gross told the minister that “battling BDS should begin in Israel. It cannot be that Israeli universities which receive funding from the state provide a platform for those acting against Israel worldwide and supporting BDS.”
Defense Minister Liberman agreed that much of the support for the BDS movement comes from Jews and Israelis, and spoke about the activities, legislative and otherwise, that the Yisrael Beytenu party has undertaken against those who delegitimize Israel.
Defense Minister Liberman declared that all Jewish philanthropists should act in the same manner and refrain from supporting anti-Zionist activities that encourage BDS and the delegitimization of Israel.
“Jewish philanthropists around the world should not to donate to anti-Zionist causes,” Defense Minister Liberman said. “Rather they should be supporting Zionist causes which assist building and defending our country and strengthening the Jewish People.”
“We all have a collective responsibility to our nation and people not to side with our enemies.”

The BDS Playbook

Since this series is dedicated to how to fight the BDS propaganda element of the wider war against the Jewish state, it’s time to take a closer look at the specific weapons and techniques used by the enemy in order to more effectively counter (and counter-attack) them.
As you read these over, never lose sight of the fact that BDS is a tactic in service of a wider strategic aim: the boycotters’ self-named “Apartheid Strategy,” designed to brand Israel as the inheritor of the legacy of South Africa’s racist and now-defunct apartheid system, in order to make the Jewish state’s demise (their ultimate goal) seem like an act of virtue.
With that fact top of mind, here is the BDS playbook:
1. Since the “Israel = apartheid” message would have no impact if it were issued by organizations already known for their anti-Israel stance, it is vital that condemnations of the Jewish state be presented as beliefs of large, well-known and respected institutions. This is why BDS targets established civic groups such as colleges and universities, Mainline Protestant churches, municipalities, food cooperatives and similar organizations. In fact, leveraging the brand of well-known institutions is so vital to the BDS project that the boycotters frequently resort to fraud in order to get their words to come out of someone else’s mouth.
2. Institutions targeted by the BDSers are almost exclusively politically progressive in nature. Partly, this is due to the fact that progressive institutions like the Mainline churches are particularly vulnerable to appeals made in terms of human rights and social justice, especially if the knowledge of members listening to such appeals is limited with regard to Middle East realities. But this phenomenon also reflects an important secondary goal of the anti-Israel movement: to colonize the Left end of the political spectrum by condemning any divergence from their anti-Israel agenda as heresy which will get you branded as a “PEP”: Progressive in Everything but Palestine.

BDS activists entering Israel on tourist visas operate freely

An investigation by the Christian Empowerment Council revealed that one of the better-known boycott, divestment and sanctions groups is engaging in illegal activities in Israel, and Israeli authorities appear to be completely oblivious to the phenomenon.
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, which is run by the World Council of Churches, has been active in Israel since 2002. The council is one of the biggest proponents of divestment from Israel.
As part of the program, around 80 Christians arrive in Israel every year — around 1,000 have arrived up until now — on tourist visas, to monitor the activities of Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria by filming and blogging about them, and then going on to lecture in campuses all over Europe.
Volunteers undergo meticulous training in dealing with security forces and documenting their encounters with them before arriving in the country. Volunteers then use these encounters to accuse Israel of harassing Christians in Jerusalem, planting weapons on the bodies of terrorists killed in attacks, preventing Christians from visiting the Temple Mount, provoking Christians by allowing Jews to visit the Temple Mount and massacring Palestinian children. The activists also tend to blame “the American Jewish lobby” for silencing any opposition.

Another BBC airbrushing of the Quartet report

As documented here previously, the BBC News website’s portrayal of the report published by the Quartet on July 1st was far from satisfactory and failed to provide audiences with a balanced picture of its content. In this post we will take a look at how the same report was presented to listeners to BBC World Service radio in the July 1st edition of ‘Newshour’
The item ends there and as we see, once again BBC audiences have had their attentions focused on ‘settlements’ – described by Knell as an “obstacle to peace” – but have learned nothing about the much neglected subjects of incitement from official Palestinian sources as highlighted in the Quartet report and nothing about its condemnation of Hamas terror, tunnel building and arms smuggling.
This is the BBC’s third attempt to ostensibly inform its audiences what was in the Quartet report and it is the third time that it has refrained from doing so comprehensively, accurately and impartially. Obviously the way in which BBC audiences view the failure to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict will be influenced by these reports, with the fact that the BBC has airbrushed Hamas and Palestinian Authority related factors from the picture sabotaging audiences’ chances of properly understanding of the issue.

Guardian gets it wrong on “Jewish homes in East Jerusalem” claim

Though Macintyre acknowledges that the EU has not taken steps to implement the diplomats’ proposal, he provides the following background in an effort to contextualize such ‘illegal’ settlement activity
Besides continued settlement in Arab East Jerusalem – which intensified again this month with an announcement by Binyamin Netanyahu’s government of 840 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem and 560 in nearby Maale Adumim – the report says only 7% of all building permits in Jerusalem go to Palestinians; Palestinian neighbourhoods get less than 10% of the city budget despite comprising 37% of the population and Palestinian child poverty is 84% compared with 45% among Israeli families.
However, it is not correct that “840 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem” have been approved.
According to multiple news reports (including AP, Times of Israel and Al Jazeera), of the more than 800 Jerusalem homes recently approved, only 240 are for Jewish neighborhoods – 140 in Ramot and 100 in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev. The rest (600) are for Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa – a fact, of course, which undermines the narrative of the story.

Guardian briefly transcends echo chamber – highlights daily Jewish-Arab coexistence

The article also focuses on the director of the hospital’s heart institute, Professor Chaim Lotan, who selected Rizeq for his placement and who’s quoted stating his belief that “ties between Palestinian and Israeli hospitals will continue to strengthen”. “For me it doesn’t matter who someone is, once they are here they’re people. I don’t care about ethnicity or age,” he added.
The Guardian report also features other Israeli models of coexistence, including the the Max Rayne Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem (which has a mix of Jewish, Muslim and Christian students), an NGO that takes Jews on tours of Arab towns and a group which assists Jewish-Arab start-up ventures.
Though Shuttleworth greatly exaggerates Arab-Israeli tensions ‘outside the hospital grounds’, we nonetheless commend the Guardian for at least briefly providing readers with a glimpse of the diversity, pluralism and tolerance in daily life – ‘the real Israel’ that Israeli citizens and residents know so well.

NFL player’s wife accuses Dolphins owner of favoring ‘Jew buddies’

The wife of NFL player Brent Grimes used an anti-Semitic slur in ridiculing the Miami Dolphins’ Jewish owner for hiring a fellow Jew to be his team’s executive vice president.
Miko Grimes, who is known for her often brash Twitter feed, in a tweet Sunday said Stephen Ross “was keeping his Jew buddies employed” with his hiring of Mike Tannenbaum.
“Gotta respect ross for keeping his jew buddies employed but did he not see how tannenbaum put the jets in the dumpster w/that sanchez deal?” Miko Grimes wrote.
Grimes was also referring to Tannenbaum’s unsuccessful tenure as general manager of the New York Jets, where he offered quarterback Mark Sanchez an ill-fated contract extension.

Poles skip ceremony to mark Holocaust-era Jewish massacre

Some 150 people attended a commemoration on the 75th anniversary of a massacre of hundreds of Polish Jews by their neighbors in the country’s northeast. Absent, however, were the non-Jewish residents of Jedwabne.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also attended Sunday’s ceremony in the town of Jedwabne, whose history is controversial in Poland because it involves complicity in the Holocaust by members of a nation that many locals perceive primarily as a victim of the Nazi occupation.
Commemorating the victims in Jedwabne “grounds our work, which is to fight anti-Semitism, bigotry and racism,” Greenblatt said.
At Jedwabne, a few dozen perpetrators burned alive at least 340 Jews in July 1941.
The mayor of Jedwabne did not attend the event, citing previous engagements. Nor did any of the townspeople, according to Henryk Zandek, 90, a non-Jewish man who lived in Jedwabne for years after World War II.

US Holocaust Museum asks visitors to stop chasing Pokemon

Visitors to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have been asked to refrain from playing the wildly popular augmented reality game Pokemon Go while at the memorial to the 6 million Jews slaughtered by Nazi Germany.
Images circulating online in recent days showed the game’s cartoon monsters at several locations inside the Washington, DC, museum, prompting administrators to seek to have the memorial removed from the mobile game, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” museum communications director Andrew Hollinger told The Post. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”
Hollinger told the paper the museum is generally open to new technology, and encourages visitors to share their experiences of visiting the exhibits on social media. “But this game falls very much outside that,” he said.

eBay to buy Israel’s SalesPredict to track buyer tastes

eBay, the San Jose, California based e-commerce company, said on Monday it will acquire SalesPredict, an Israel-based maker of technology that is able to track consumer behavior and preferences when shopping online.
SalesPredict is eBay’s latest acquisition and is in line with the e-commerce company’s efforts to use artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science to boost sales, eBay said in a statement.
The acquisition follows eBay’s recent buy of Sweden-based Expertmaker. also a provider of machine learning analytics and artificial intelligence solutions. Financial terms of the deal for the Israeli company were not disclosed, but press reports valued it at $20 million to $30 million.
“SalesPredict’s deep expertise in predictive analytics and machine learning will contribute to eBay’s structured data efforts,” said Amit Menipaz, vice president and general manager of Structured Data at eBay. “For our buyers, it will help us better understand the price differentiating attributes of our products, and, for our sellers, it will help us build out the predictive models that can define the probability of selling a given product at a given price over time.”

Tame Impala brings psychedelic joy to Rishon Lezion

The Australian psychedelic sensation Tame Impala rocked the Rishon Lezion LIVE Park amphitheater Monday night, dazzling thousands of whooping fans with songs off their latest album, “Currents,” along with a handful of tunes from previous records.
The band took the stage just after 10 p.m., kicking off the evening’s set with “Nangs,” the second track from their new album, released last year.
The short, mostly instrumental track gave way to “Let it Happen,” which electrified the crowd. Fans in the balmy mosh pit jumped to the rhythm and screamed for joy when the song’s confetti cannons showered the attendees with multicolored bits of paper
That type of theatrics, along with the trippy visuals projected behind the band, is a common element in Tame Impala performances, adding an optical component to the 1970s vibe generated by the music.
Tame Impala is the brainchild of Perth-born Kevin Parker, a multi-instrumentalist who creates the band’s albums almost entirely by himself. In the studio, Parker plays guitar, drums, synthesizer and bass, layering them together with vocals to create Tame Impala’s signature sound.

RollingStone: A-wa turn their Yeminite tradition into a global groove

Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim — better known as Israeli group A-Wa —have fashioned a blend of darbuka drums, catchy harmonies and hip-hop electronics that deftly and happily transcends the complicated history of Arab-Jewish relations in their home country. With the help of producer Tomer Yosef of Balkan Beat Box, the three sisters (ages 27 to 33) have just released their debut album, Habib Galbi (Love of My Heart), featuring a title track that has gone viral across the Middle East.
In 1949 and 1950, Operation Magic Carpet brought 49,000 Arabic Jews — and their folk music — from Yemen to the new state of Israel. Among the immigrants were the grandparents the Haim sisters who’ve since reworked traditional Yemenite music into something colorful and liberating
Elder sister Tair Haim — no relation to the California girls — spoke with Rolling Stone from her home in Tel Aviv.
What was growing up in a little house on the prairie like?
It was amazing. We went around barefoot and were surrounded by goats, chickens, camels and horses. Everything was open to our imaginations because we had to create everything from scratch. We had no borders. All we could see were mountains and beautiful sands. We always wanted to sing and perform as little girls, so we used to go to the mountains and imagine we were performing in a cool festival abroad.
Did you live in a Yemenite community?
No. There were only 30 or so families in our village, and it was surrounded by kibutzim settlements that made Aliyah from the U.K. and U.S. Our vocal teacher was American. She taught the three of us jazz standards and we were very inspired by Motown singers.

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