September 23, 2023

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08/02 Links Pt2: Lies, Damned Lies and the Academic Boycott of Israel; In politics of grievance, peace is just a dirty word

From Ian:

Why Western leftists adore right-wing religious extremists abroad
On a fairly consistent basis people in the West embrace values abroad that they shun at home.
This is particularly odd and contradictory among those who self-identify as “Left” and “liberal” and then embrace movements, leaders, ideologies and religions that are manifestly illiberal and right- wing extremist abroad. For instance American philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler said in 2006 that “understanding Hamas [and] Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of the global left, is extremely important.”
That contradictory view is emblematic of a phenomenon spanning everything from Michel Foucault’s embrace of the Islamic Revolution in Iran to those “anti-war” activists in the UK who support Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russia’s bombing of civilians.
Why do people who support women’s rights in the US or France excuse the Iranian regime? Why do those who dislike militarism view as romantic people in uniform in Pakistan or Moscow?
Why do those who dislike US presidential candidate Donald Trump find bombastic populists like Venezuala’s Hugo Chavez so endearing?
Why is Assad’s war on terror so good, but George W. Bush’s so bad?

Lies, Damned Lies and the Academic Boycott of Israel

These days the phrase ‘academic boycott’ seems to have acquired a thoroughly restricted meaning. It has nothing to do with China, which has been in occupation of Tibet since 1949 and which routinely imprisons or ‘disappears’ human-rights lawyers; nothing to do with the US or the UK, which invaded Iraq in 2003 without the authorisation of the UN Security Council; and nothing to do with Russia, which seized 27,000 square kilometres of Ukrainian territory two years ago and has (with the enthusiastic support of Iran) been helping the government in Damascus to bomb Syrian civilians. Instead, ‘academic boycott’ is a term of art to describe a means of punishing Israeli academics for the actions of a government over which they have little or no power.
Supporters of the boycott say that their aims are to support Palestinian universities and to oppose the occupation of Palestinian territories, but I show here that their true purpose is much more radical than these stated aims suggest. In addition, I illustrate the way in which the academic and cultural boycotters of Israel disrupt the work of individual scholars and artists – disruptions that belie the moderate and peaceable language the boycotters use to describe their tactics.
First let’s get some acronyms out of the way. The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is a branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. PACBI’s ‘key partner in the UK’ is the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) (PACBI, 2009). The latest manifestation of BRICUP is an advertisement that appeared in The Guardian last October, in which some 340 British academics signed a commitment (‘commitment4P’) to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The commitment4P website gives a prominent link to the booklet Why Boycott Israel’s Universities? published by BRICUP (2007). In what follows I shall quote from both.

In politics of grievance, peace is just a dirty word

With hindsight the organisers of the soccer peace tournament between Jewish and Arabic children should have heeded George Orwell’s warning: football is merely war without the shooting.
The kids at least behaved. “I love it when we play together like this,” Qusai, an 11-year-old Palestinian, told journalists. “I hope that one day there will be peace between Arabs and Jews and that there will be no more wars and death.”
Qusai’s dream of a normal life is not shared by local sports administrators, who shudder at the very thought of normality.
Palestinian Olympic Committee chairman Jibril Rajoub demanded “that all individuals and institutions distance themselves from such activities”. Their recurrence would arouse “disgust and aversion” since “any activity of normalisation in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity”.
The anti-normalisation movement is the latest pernicious force in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians, no matter how peaceful or helpful, is denounced as a sellout.
The strides towards Palestinian independence that began with the 1993 Oslo Accord have stopped. Today the Palestinian elite and their friends on the international Left forbid even baby steps.
Israeli peace activists attending a grassroots peace conference in Ramallah, on the West Bank, two years ago were confronted by a large poster reading “Normalisation is an act of treason”. They had to be escorted to Israel in police vans when their hotel was stoned. Last year, Arab women taking part in the annual Jerusalem Hug rally were attacked outside the Damascus Gate by Arab youths who ordered them to leave the “normalisation event”.

Jenny Tonge in the Independent: unrepentant on antisemitism

Yet, despite this shameful history of antisemitism and Jew-baiting, the Independent published a letter by Tonge on July 25th, putatively to defend herself from the latest accusations. Though much of the letter addresses specific criticism from Campaign Against Antisemitism regarding the antisemitic organ theft charge, and is nearly unintelligible, here’s the section where she defends her latest smear about Israel and terror:
As for [Gideon Falter’s] assertion that “dictating to Jews what their relationship should be with the Jewish State of Israel is unacceptable”, I dictate to no one. I merely ask that they travel more widely and hear the opinions of Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world, as I do in my international development work, and they will find that my interpretation of the effect of Israeli government policies is absolutely true. It is fuelling terrorism.
She concludes thusly:
As stated by my party, I no longer take the whip in the House of Lords, nor am I a party spokesperson, but I am still a Liberal Democrat; the party that has always campaigned for justice, human rights and international law.
So, not only does Tonge double down on her assertion that Israeli Jews are responsible for fuelling international Islamic terrorism, but has the audacity to conclude by couching her hateful views as somehow a byproduct of her passion for justice and human rights. Indeed, Tonge’s “social justice” brand of Judeophobia is a perfect illustration of the the antisemitism scandal current plaguing the Labour Party.

How Can AIPAC Give a Platform to ‘Breaking the Silence’?

It is appalling that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) organized and conducted a panel discussion event for visiting rabbis in Jerusalem last month that gave a platform to the vicious anti-Israel propaganda group “Breaking the Silence” (“BtS”).
Breaking the Silence is notorious for inventing and publishing throughout the world (and giving biased UN investigators) false, unverifiable and anonymous “testimonies” defaming and demonizing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as war criminals who deliberately target, shoot and beat up Palestinian and Gazan civilians (See this NGO Monitor report for more information).
BtS also defames Jews living in Judea and Samaria with blood libels (that are then propagated throughout the world), such as falsely accusing Jews living there of “poisoning the entire water supply” of a Palestinian Arab village, and causing the “entire village [to be] evacuated for a period of several years” — neither of which ever happened.
BtS also lectures and displays its false “photo exhibits” and “testimonies” demonizing Israel, and participates in anti-Israel, pro-BDS events in Scotland, Switzerland, the EU Parliament, South Africa, US college campuses and numerous other international locales.
The UN Report of the “Independent” Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza War quoted extensively from BtS’s false, anonymous “testimonies.” A Hamas press release complained that even more BtS falsehoods should have been included — namely, “explicit confessions” by “many soldiers affiliated to the Israeli organization of ‘Breaking the Silence’’’ of Israeli soldiers’ and officers’ “war crimes” and “direct instructions to target civilians.”

UN ignores calls to save tomb of Biblical Hebrew prophet in Kurdistan

The representative of Jewish affairs in Iraqi Kurdistan has launched an appeal to save the tomb of the Hebrew prophet Nahum, famed for having correctly predicted the fall of the Assyrian Empire and its capital Nineveh, as is recorded in the Bible.
The tomb has gained some attention in the past couple of years, with various Jewish groups visiting it and media warning about its close proximity to Islamic State activity.
The Kurdish Regional Government last year appointed Sherzad Mamsani as the Jewish representative of the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, with the aim of rehabilitating Jewish culture in the area, preserving the rights of Kurdish Jews there, as well as “for the grievances of Kurdish Jewish refugees with regard to the Arabization and genocide campaigns of the Iraqi central government.”
The tomb lies inside a synagogue in the Christian town of Al Qosh, whose doors are guarded by a Christian family who reportedly promised the town’s long-departed rabbi to safeguard it.
Mamsani warns that it could be just a matter of days before the ancient tomb crumbles to its ruin. He says he has been holding urgent meetings with the ministries of tourism, culture and religious affairs to ask for help in preserving the historical site.
He has also appealed to UNESCO and told The Jerusalem Post he has a meeting scheduled with a representative in Erbil in the coming days.

Michael Lumish: Today’s Nothing Left Podcast

A fantastic speech on Israel at the Republican Convention 0: 10
David Singer 14:40
Mike Lumish 45:00
Richard Millett 50:00
Stan Goodenough 1:12:40
Isi Leibler 1:29 00
As usual Michael Burd and Alan Freedman are the hosts and this represents my second to last piece for these guys.
If you care about Israel, or the well-being of the Jewish people, and if you are sick-to-death of politically-correct authoritarianism of the sort that they continue to dish out in places like Daily Kos or the Huffington Post or the Guardian, then you should definitely give these guys a listen.
My brief piece is part of my larger series which I call The Failures of Progressive Left Zionism, links to which can be found on the right sidebar of this blog.

Suzanne Nossel condemns GONGOs, except when she supports them

The current issue of Democracy Journal has an article by Suzanne Nossel, described in the byline as a former COO of Human Rights Watch and former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, dealing with confronting efforts of authoritarian regimes to suppress civil society. This is an altogether important issue. However, in the second paragraph, Nossel writes, “… as well as democracies like Israel, India, and Turkey, have gone on the attack, aiming to discredit and harass local groups,” thus likening Israel to the pseudodemocracy of Turkey where the opposition is free to run whatever candidates it likes, but is restricted by government decree in disseminating why the public should support it. While it is unsurprising that a former executive from Amnesty and HRW would seek to leverage any legitimate issue in order to bash Israel, there is a part of her article that is worth a look.
Later on in the article, Nossel writes:
For all these reasons, civil society has become both more important and more dangerous in the eyes of governments. So much so that authorities in China, Azerbaijan, Russia, and elsewhere have constituted government-controlled entities that pose as NGOs (so-called GONGOs or government-organized NGOs) with the objective of claiming the mantle of citizen-based credibility in order to defend government positions.
One factual point that must be made clear, Israeli-staffed NGOs receiving their budgets from foreign private entities will face no new disclosure requirements. The entities that will be required to disclose their funding sources will be those receiving their funds from foreign governments, in other words the GONGOs.
This raises the questions, when does Ms. Nossel, and her fellows at HRW and Amnesty, consider public endowment of GONGOs to be a perversion of civil society that simply provides an astroturf fig leaf for governmental action and is support for GONGOs to be praised with every attempt to expose it to be condemned? Could it be that when GONGOs are a weapon in the war to delegitimize Israel that everything about their perversion of civil society should be ignored in order to fulfill the world’s most pressing priority, putting uppity Jews in their place?

Vic Rosenthal: This Jewish doctor wants me dead

Is that enough? It is for me. She obviously has Israel Derangement Syndrome, otherwise known as “the new antisemitism,” the displacement of irrational antagonism against Jews and the Jewish people to the Jewish state.
Her statement on foreign policy doesn’t mention Da’esh, Hezbollah or Iranian nukes. It doesn’t discuss Russia, Ukraine, China, Japan or the European Union. There’s no discussion of Mexico, Britain, Turkey, Pakistan, India, North Korea or Syria. Iraq is mentioned in passing (the US killed people there). Africa (except Egypt) and South America do not exist. With a passing gesture at Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it’s all dumping on Israel, all the time.
This is because it is not intended to articulate a policy, but rather to create support by feeding the frothing-at-the-mouth Jew haters of the extreme Left. This isn’t a foreign policy, it is an obsession, an irrational, overpowering preoccupation with something, like a white whale or a Jewish state. It is a mental disorder, which Stein, whose undergraduate major included psychology, should be able to recognize.
But it’s more than just a subject for Stein and her therapist to talk about, because the folks she supports – Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran – are not just wealthy radicals playing games. They are building rockets and digging tunnels, getting ready for war. Insofar as she spreads her obsession around, it is dangerous.
Oh, there is another third party candidate, Gov. Gary Johnson running on the Libertarian party ticket. Have a look at his platform. You may or may not agree with him, but at least he doesn’t want me dead.

Howard Dean: ‘I Don’t Consider Iran to Be a Muslim Country’

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean told Breitbart News that “Iran is the farthest thing from an Islamic Republic” and that Iran is not “a Muslim country.”
Instead, Dean said, Iran is “a republic that’s been hijacked by thugs and murderers.” He explained that he does not know Muslims whom he respects and who behave the way the regime does.
Dean was speaking exclusively to Breitbart News from Paris last month during a conference hosted by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The PMOI (also referred to as MEK) is an opposition movement that played an active role in overthrowing Iran’s last Shah while President Jimmy Carter was in power, and which was de-listed as a terrorist organization under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
During the interview, Dean also pointed out his belief that the term “radical Islamic terrorism” is a manufactured phrase “for political, domestic consumption in America.”

The Silent Struggle of Bethlehem’s Christians

It’s a surprisingly short drive from West Jerusalem to Bethlehem – 10 or 15 minutes, at the most. But on a hot summer night a couple of weeks ago, it felt like I had traveled light-years, setting out from a bustling city-center Jerusalem neighborhood and arriving at a modest home in a quiet Bethlehem village.
In my mind, the leafy, well-lit street from which I departed was quickly juxtaposed with my gloomy destination. I flashed back to a journey I had made from West to East Berlin in the late 1980s. Back then, the Stasi (East German secret police) were the threat.
Today in Bethlehem, it’s the Islamists.
After the guards glanced at our United States passports, my American friends and I were waved through the checkpoint that separates Israel from King David’s ancient hometown.
Upon our arrival, the wariness of our hosts also felt eerily familiar to me. I could almost read their minds: “Who saw them come into our house? Who might be listening? Can we trust these friends-of-friends?”
For me, having visited Berlin before its infamous wall came down, the mood was reminiscent of the bad old days: Life behind the Iron Curtain.

Anti-Israel Human Rights Watch Accidentally Admits: Israel Does Not Occupy Gaza

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a self-described human rights advocacy organization, inadvertently acknowledged that Israel does not occupy the Gaza Strip in a July 31, 2016 report. CAMERA has frequently highlighted HRW’s record of anti-Israel bias and distortions (see, for example “Human Rights Watch Discredited Even By Its Founder,” Oct. 20, 2009).
Elder of Ziyon, an American blogger who writes about the Arab-Israeli conflict and antisemitism, highlighted HRW’s admission in its recent report on Palestinian Arabs seeking to visit family members incarcerated by Israel for terror-related offenses.
Ziyon noted that one theme of HRW’s report is “Israel is violating international law by incarcerating Gazans in prisons within Israel rather than within the ‘occupied territories.’ They get this from the Fourth Geneva Convention article 76, which states ‘Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied territory, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.’”

Oberlin Alumni Outraged That Assistant Prof Who Blamed Jews, Israel for 9/11 Still Employed by College

The continued employment by Oberlin College of a blatantly antisemitic assistant professor can no longer be ignored, the head of an alumni group told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Melissa Landa of Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) — part of a national network engaged in combating antisemitism and anti-Israel bias on campus — blasted her alma mater for not having taken swift and serious action against Joy Karega, who also publicly blamed Israel for global terrorism in comments posted on the internet.
Last week, Oberlin ACF sent a letter to Board of Trustees Chair Clyde McGregor — who in a March 5 statement called Karega’s posts “antisemitic and abhorrent” — asking for clarification on Karega’s continued employment and the school’s ostensible investigation of her behavior. The letter — which was obtained by The Algemeiner — stated in part:
…As you may know, members of our chapter were the first to bring Professor Joy Karega’s antisemitic Facebook posts to the attention of the college…
We were encouraged by your response of March 5, in which you stated, ‘These grave issues must be considered expeditiously. In consultation with President Marvin Krislov, the Board has asked the administration and faculty to challenge the assertion that there is any justification for these repugnant postings and to report back to the Board.’ We share your view that Professor Karega’s posts are repugnant, and we are appalled that she openly shared her antisemitic views with students on Facebook and during her class sessions.
Given that four months have passed since your statement and that the academic year begins next month, we are writing to inquire whether you have received the report that you requested.

Kashmir: New Islamic State Backed by New York Times, BBC

Jihadis, trained and armed by Pakistan, are purging Kashmir of its native Hindu and Sikh population, and waging a terrorist campaign to carve out a separate Islamic country in that part of India.
What the New York Times did not say is that these “boys with guns” are members of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a group designated as a terrorist organisation by both the European Union and the United States.
After being at the forefront of gun control campaigns in the U.S. for decades, the New York Times finally supports “open carry” — but only for terrorists waging jihad against “infidels.”
India is not “occupying” Kashmir, which is already part of India. India is waging a war against Islamic terrorism, which has claimed the lives of more than 4,800 Indian civilians and more than 2,400 Indian security personnel.

Jumbled, Incoherent NYT Op-Ed Slams Netanyahu

The editors of The New York Times Op-Ed page have declared that facts in op-ed submissions “must be supported and validated.” They also claim to edit opinion columns that are “jumbled and disorderly” to clarify the arguments.
But they were either sound asleep on the job or decided to abandon these imperatives when they approved for publication the newspaper’s latest opinion piece slamming Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Here the case against Netanyahu – made by free-lance journalist Ruth Margalit, who describes herself as “an Israeli writer living in New York” – was comprised of unsubstantiated accusations, self-contradictory assertions, and a jumble of unrelated non-sequiturs and innuendo – all under the rubric “How Benjamin Netanyahu Is Crushing Israel’s Free Press.”
Margalit’s first argument seems to be that Israel Hayom, a free daily newspaper owned by Sheldon Adelson is “widely believed to promote the views of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” This privately-funded publication, distributed free of charge, is similar to free tabloids handed out to commuters in major American cities. But Margalit cites its “outsize influence” as the reason Freedom House downgraded Israel’s freedom of press from “free” to “partly free.”
Of course, no one coerces the Israeli public to accept or read these free handouts and many journalists believe that freedom of the press ought to apply to all, including those espousing opinions they do not share. Nevertheless, the fact that a perceived pro-Netanyahu publication has garnered such a wide readership has aroused the ire of others, including Freedom House, the author of the column, and some of the journalists on Israel’s left whose readership is presumably not as large as Israel Hayom’s.

ITV News repeats UK media mantra on Gaza: Israel to blame…Israel to blame…Israel to blame…

However, the claim that Israel’s blockade is the main cause of slow reconstruction is categorically untrue.
As we’ve noted on these pages previously, the only items for Gaza which Israel restricts are those with a military dimension, or a potential military dimension (dual use items). The blockade does not limit cement or other vital building materials.
Since the end of the war, and the implementation of (and Israeli cooperation with) the UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM), more than a million tons of building materials – 1,430,012.595 tons to be precise – have arrived in Gaza for projects coordinated by international groups, foreign countries, the PA and private parties.
The reasons for the relatively slow pace of reconstruction are as follows:
First, donor countries have only delivered only a portion of the promised reconstruction funds. According to the World Bank, only 40% of the $3.5 billion of the promised funds have been dispersed. According to a report by the Washington Institute, Western donors have given the most aid and almost met their full pledges. However, Qatar and Turkey have fulfilled only 10% and 29% of their pledges, while “Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have all given less than 13% of their pledge.”
Second, a large percentage of the cement meant for civilian homes is illegally diverted by Hamas to be used for attack tunnels and other military infrastructure projects. Hamas reportedly often raids civilian construction sites to seize cement.
Finally, the long running dispute between Hamas and the PA has hampered reconstruction. As Nabil Elaraby, the secretary-general of the Arab League, said: “the internal differences and the absence of cooperation between the PA and Hamas are behind the delay in reconstructing the Gaza Strip.”

Comparing BBC reporting on strikes on hospitals in Syria and Gaza

The BBC has also covered previous attacks on medical facilities in Syria, including in Aleppo in June and in April. In an article from February 2016 titled “Syria crisis: Air strikes on hospitals ‘war crimes’“, the BBC News website took the trouble to provide audiences with a short guide to the legal background to the topic.
So as we see, the BBC is aware of the fact that medical facilities can be a legitimate military target in certain situations but notably, it did not go to the trouble of informing its audiences of that fact two years ago during the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Moreover, the corporation went out of its way at the time to conceal Hamas’ use of hospitals in the Gaza Strip for military purposes and to provide amplification for denial of that tactic, thereby implying that Israeli actions were unnecessary, unjustified and even unlawful.
So as we see in Syria, where there is cause to believe that medical facilities really are being attacked indiscriminately, the BBC uses very cautious wording and informs its audiences of the legal background to the issue. In contrast, in its reporting from the Gaza Strip in 2014, the BBC failed to provide any such background information, repeatedly promoted the theme of Israeli wrongdoing and actively misled its audiences with regard to the reason for Israeli actions against institutions such as Wafa hospital: Hamas’ use of that medical facility for military purposes.

nti-Semitic hatred is now part of daily life for Jews online – and no-one does anything to stop it

For most of my 51 years, anti-Semitism was something I encountered only fitfully; the odd unthinking throwaway remark or “joke”. Certainly nothing that would give me pause for thought.
But the past few years have been different. I have not gone a day without encountering it. As a journalist, I have reported the spate of such comments from Labour members with astonishment that anti-Semitism can have entered the language of a mainstream party, however marginally.
My hunch is that it has always been there, but we simply never heard it.
In the years after the Second World War, no one voiced anti-Semitism, even if it lay buried deep within their psyche. Even Jewish jokes were rarely told in polite company. But as memories faded and the Holocaust grew further away, social wariness of Jew-hate dissipated.
History then reasserted itself. It’s not called the longest hatred for nothing. And the kind of anti-Semitism that once remained private, behind closed doors, now has the megaphone of social media. And that, we surely know, is not going anywhere.

Germany’s Hot New Party Thinks America is ‘Run by Zionists’

On March 13, there were state elections in three German states: Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saxony-Anhalt. In all three states, the biggest winner was the “Alternative for Germany” (Alternative für Deutschland, or AfD) with 12.6 percent of the votes in Rhineland-Palatinate, 15.1 percent in Baden-Württemberg and unprecedented 24.3 percent in Saxony-Anhalt. With almost 11 million inhabitants, Baden-Württemberg is the third-biggest and third-most-populated state in Germany; the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Bosch are located there. As a result, Baden-Württemberg also has a very low rate of joblessness (3.7 percent compared to 6.4 percent in all of the FRG, which is an all-time low in Germany since the reunification in 1990). So much for those who believe that poverty or unemployment are the simple causes of right-wing extremism.
In late May and early June, public attention in Germany was focused on an elected AfD member of Parliament in Baden-Württemberg, Wolfgang Gedeon, a retired doctor and author who in 2012 published a pamphlet titled The Green Communism and the Dictatorship of Minorities. A Critique of the Western Zeitgeist. In that work, Gedeon argued against the “Judaization of Christianity” and the “Zionization of Western politics.” In particular, he took aim at the United States, whose foreign policy is run by Zionists. He also argued for “family values” while protesting against “ethno-suicide,” “the cult of being gay,” and the “holocaust of abortion.” Among Gedeon’s heroes is the imprisoned Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi Horst Mahler, whom Gedeon calls a “dissident” fighting for a true German “national identity.” He mocks the Holocaust as a “civil religion,” an anti-Semitic term well-known not just from neo-Nazis, but also from anti-Zionist scholars.

Nazi hunter to Lithuanian mayor: Stop recreational concentration camp use

The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Tuesday called on the mayor of Kaunas City, Lithuania, to put an immediate end to recreational activities held at a former concentration camp at the Seventh Fort heritage site.
The letter comes following JTA’s exposé that the site is used as a wedding venue, in addition to the services offered on the Seventh Fort website which include children’s parties and camps, military-themed birthday parties, and themed parties for adults.
In a letter addressed to Kaunas mayor Visvaldas Matijosaitis, the Center’s Director for Eastern European Affairs, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff slammed the use of the site for such activities as “disgraceful.”
“As you no doubt are aware, the site of the mass murder of several thousand Jews in 1941 was privatized several years ago, and has now been turned into a recreation and entertainment center which violates the memory of the victims,” Zuroff wrote.
Critics say this reality is a byproduct of the Lithuanian state’s alleged failures in confronting the country’s dark history during the genocide.
“This sad situation was revealed already several months ago in Musiskiai, the book Ruta Vanagaite and I wrote about the subject of Holocaust memory and commemoration in Lithuania,” Zuroff stated.
He urged the mayor to immediately suspend the above-mentioned activities and to find a way to restore the site to the municipality or to an organization “whose purpose will be to honor the memory of the victims, rather than insult them.”

‘Desperate’ Schindler letter on sale online for $32,500

A letter written by Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved some 1,200 Jews from the Nazis, to his bookkeeper Itzhak Stern is for sale online.
The letter is on sale for $32,500 on the website, which deals in rare original autographs and historical documents. It was put up for sale by a descendant of Stern, who composed the list of Jews that Schindler saved by calling them essential to the running of his factory, Page Six reported.
The two-page letter, which is type-written in German and can be viewed on the website where it is a featured item, is from 1963, and deals with the industrialists’ finances.
“If I think in retrospect, that a year ago I was with you and full of optimism towards the future, and now/today I have to carry the effects of the last year, I sometimes ask myself if it’s even worth living,” Schindler writes in the letter which discusses the “desperate situation” of his finances.

Rocker Sting serenades Israeli aid workers, Mideast refugees in Berlin

English rocker Sting on Monday night serenaded a group of Israeli aid workers alongside refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria at a private show in Berlin.
The world-renowned musician, 64, performed the exclusive jam session ahead of a sold-out concert in front of thousands in the German capital, according to the Israeli non-profit group IsraAID.
“This was an incredible experience for everyone. By 4 pm there were thousands of people already lined up to fill the 23,000 seat stadium,” said IsraAid in a statement. “But, Sting and his band were so welcoming and took the time to get to know everyone.”
The Israeli organization lauded the artist and his band for their motivational gesture.
“Sting and his band heard about IsraAID’s work in helping the refugees across Europe as well as some of the moving stories of the harrowing journey refugees endured on their way to Germany,” the group added.

Matific math app nabs $45 million investment

Education game developer Matific has raised $45 million from investors and, according to a company statement, will use the new funds to increase research and development activities in Israel.
Matific is a series of math video games developed by Slate Science. To date, 15,000 teachers use the games aimed at kindergarten through sixth grade to add a bit of fun to math. ISRAEL21c included the Matific series in a recent article on best Israeli games.
“Matific appeals to children’s love of playing games. By making math interactive and hands-on, children learn the important fundamentals and enjoy the process of learning more. We’re proud of the product we’ve made and even more proud of the children who are learning because of it,” Guy Vardi, CEO of Slate Science, said in a statement.
“The current investment provides Matific with even more growth opportunities and allows us to expand our R&D center and global sales team,” said Gil Almog, chief operating officer and the managing director of the Israeli office.

EyeControl gives ‘locked-in’ patients a voice

Crowdfunding sites show off creativity in technology and the arts. They call on people to help back an environmental issue or just a fun one.
And then there are the crowdfunding campaigns that want to change the world. EyeControl is one of those.
The people behind EyeControl are Israeli entrepreneurs on a mission to give a voice to “locked-in syndrome” patients – people who are aware of what’s happening around them but cannot communicate verbally due to paralysis.
The EyeControl team — together with the nonprofit Prize4Life – recently turned to crowdfunding to raise $30,000 to get a pilot program for ALS patients off the ground for its cheap, accessible and screen-free mobile communication device. In its first 15 days on the indiegogo campaign site, the social technology startup topped $35,000. Now they’ve launched a stretch goal of $50,000 and promise to donate 10 EyeControl sets for patients in developing countries if they succeed.
“ALS patients and their families tell us that they’ve been waiting for such a device to be affordable and accessible,” CTO and co-founder Itai Kornberg tells ISRAEL21c. “Even with all the technology available today there is no device that lets ALS patients tell their families how they’re feeling after a treatment. Everyone who hears about our idea has given us great feedback.”

Israeli tech enables pilots to see through fog

Civilian airline pilots flying through fog or other limited visibility conditions will soon be able to benefit from an optical system designed by Israeli defense industry leader Elbit Systems, according to a report on Channel 2 news.
Normally, when flying through fog or smoke, pilots must rely on instruments alone as vision is severely reduced.
Elbit’s new system uses special cameras to analyze various wavelengths of light, then chooses and combines them with “synthetic vision” based on databases of terrain and infrastructure, into an image that will give the pilot the best visibility of the way ahead.
The image is then projected directly over the pilot’s eyes on a wearable heads-up display — basically a set of fancy goggles — allowing the pilots to fly the plane as if they were seeing through the inclement weather.

IDF unveils world’s most advanced armored carrier

The Israel Defense Forces on Monday unveiled its newest armored personnel carrier, considered the most advanced vehicle of its kind in the world.
The Eitan (“steadfast”) APC was developed in the wake of Operation Protective Edge, waged in the Gaza Strip in 2014. During one tragic clash in the conflict, seven Israeli soldiers were killed when their outdated M-113 “Cheetah” APC was struck by an anti-tank missile in the Shujaiyya neighborhood.
The new vehicle seeks to bolster the protection it offers passengers, a military official said.
At less than 35 tons, the 8×8-wheeled Eitan weighs nearly half of the new Merkava 4-based “Namer” heavy carrier currently in production, the Defense Ministry said Monday. Capable of autopiloted road travel at over 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour, Eitan — the first wheeled carrier in Israel’s military history — will “enable fast, strategic mobility, tailored to the existing threats in the arena.”
Both the Eitan and Namer are designed to carry 12 infantrymen and will replace the thousands of M113s still used by the IDF.

Two-thirds of Israelis back an army open to LGBT troops

A large majority of Israelis say the Israel Defense Forces should espouse a “pluralistic and open value system,” including openness to LGBT soldiers, according to a major poll.
Among all religious affiliations except Haredim, majorities support such openness, the latest monthly Peace Index has found. The majorities are dramatic among the less religious: eighty-one percent of those who said they were “secular,” 76% of “nonreligious-traditional,” 57% of “religious” and 52% of “religious-traditional.”
Even among the Haredi public, where homosexuality and, for many, even military service, is taboo, fully 29% “believe the army should take a pluralistic approach,” according to the study.
The Peace Index, run by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, has polled Israelis on social and political issues each month since the early 1990s.
“The survey focused on the IDF’s relationships with the general public and with the political leadership,” the IDI’s report said.

IsraellyCool: Matisyahu Attacks BDS In Latest Song0

The new “Dodging Bullets” video — premiering exclusively on Billboard — finds Kosha Dillz and Matisyahu, yes, dodging bullets in the desert at dusk.
Matisyahu said the single is referring to “anti-Semitic attacks against Jews and Israelis by the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement.” Although “Dodging Bullets” addresses the “bullet” Matisyahu faced when BDS supporters wanted the artist to denounce the state of Israel in order to continue his performance at a Spanish festival, the artist refused to comply.
“This particular ‘bullet’ backfired on the BDS movement, as Jews and non-Jews spoke up about the injustice of the only publicly recognized Jew on the festival lineup being called out to promote a political agenda. The outcry from fans of all backgrounds grew loud enough that even the country of Spain itself denounced the festival for giving into the BDS movement, and as a result, the festival asked me to perform again.
“Approximently [one] hundred BDS ‘bullies’ created a pyramid of antagonism trying to block my view of the fans while waiving large Palestinian flags, continually giving me the middle finger, and throwing shoes at me all while holding signs reading insults like ‘Naziyahu,’” Matisyahu recalled.

Kosha Dillz feat. Matisyahu – Dodging Bullets

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