September 25, 2020

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08/04 Links Pt2: The Fragility of the Liberal Democracies and the Challenge of Totalitarianism; Why Philo-Semitism is Better Than Anti-Semitism; Advice to Jewish celebs: Grow up!

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2020/08/0804-links-pt2-fragility-of-liberal.html

From Ian:


JCPA: The Fragility of the Liberal Democracies and the Challenge of Totalitarianism
The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, triggered rioting, looting, and arson across the United States. It became evident that an underground leadership structure had been in place and set in motion a wave of violence whose destructiveness was unforeseen.

According to Marxist-Leninist doctrine, the goal of organized mob violence is to foment a state of civil war, which will lead to revolution. The would-be revolutionaries in the United States did so well that their success exceeded their expectations.

Mayors of several major cities and governors of some states where violence took place chose not to act and ordered the police and firefighters to stand down. Such inaction created a state of anarchy, leaving the public without protection.

The moral shock resulting from the outbreak of mob violence which was not put down may have been worse than the actual damage caused by the rioters.

In the United States, it has been assumed that the creation of wealth is good for society, especially if through hard work, one could achieve the “American Dream.” Nonetheless, for the past decade, life has become complicated for many young adults. The growing numbers of this increasingly dissatisfied group in society must be taken into account.

The fragility of the liberal democracies is a serious dilemma. There is a short distance between “peaceful demonstrations” and mob violence, civil war, and regime change. The dynamics of political warfare and the methods of mob violence are knowable. Because it is a matter of self-defense, we must use this knowledge to safeguard our democracies and our freedoms.

Yair Rosenberg: Why Philo-Semitism is Better Than Anti-Semitism

Why people who like Jews, even for the wrong reasons, are usually better than those who don’t

Some time back, I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post explaining my unified theory of Donald Trump’s relationship to the Jews. The purpose was to answer a simple yet confusing question: How can a man who has Jewish family, friends, and business associates, and who proudly proclaims his support for Israel, nonetheless regularly say anti-Semitic things?

In short, my explanation was that Trump accepts anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews (they’re greedy, good with money, control lots of stuff, only look out for their own, etc.), but that he views these things as positive. “He is the human embodiment,” I wrote, “of the Onion article ‘Affable anti-Semite Thinks The Jews Are Doing Super Job With The Media.’”I situated this thinking in a broader context of historical “philo-Semitism”—people who believe traditionally anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews, but take them as compliments and seek to befriend or emulate Jews as a result. In my piece, I explained how this sort of outlook can unfortunately be easily manipulated and used to turn people against Jews, and offered the example of South Korea, where philo-Semitic assumptions about Jews were used to galvanize the public against a Jewish businessman.

What I did not suggest in the article, however, is that philo-Semitism is the same thing as anti-Semitism. In fact, I was careful to say that it was better than the alternative. But nonetheless, thanks to the success and spread of the op-ed, I have seen commentators on both the right and left mistakenly suggest that its upshot is that philo-Semitism is simply another form of anti-Semitism, and that adherents of both should therefore be treated the same way. This is not what I believe and would actually be quite harmful in practice. I want to explain why.

1) It is a simplification to suggest that “philo-Semitism = anti-Semitism.” There are actually different types of philo-Semitism. There’s bad philo-Semitism that’s based on ignorance which typically regurgitates anti-Semitic stereotypes in a positive way, and then there’s good philo-Semitism based on actual knowledge of Jewish people and Judaism and the affinity that comes from that familiarity. Knowledge-based philo-Semitism is a wonderful thing and has produced true friends of the Jewish people! We should be striving to turn the former into the latter, whenever possible. (It is not always possible, as with ineducable individuals like the current president.)

Advice to Jewish celebs: Grow up!

I have a Jerry Seinfeld question. Why do Jewish celebrities keep whining about their parents?

Popular actor-comedian-director Seth Rogen ignited an Internet firestorm with his recent complaint that he was “fed [him] a huge amount of lies about Israel” when he grew up. His educators “never told him” that “Oh, by the way, there were people [Arabs] there.” But Rogen says he now knows the truth and realizes that having a Jewish state “makes no sense.”

What actually makes no sense is the notion that his educators said there were no Arabs in pre-Israel Palestine. Who in their right mind would think there were no Arabs? The 28 years of conflict leading up the creation of Israel in 1948 consisted of Palestinian Arab pogroms against the Jews there. I sincerely doubt the Rogens were so delusional as to not be aware of that.

Another Jewish pop-culture icon managed to reach from beyond the grave to peddle a similar complaint about his parents. Harvey Pekar, icon of the comic-book world, spent his final days on this earth creating a full-length graphic novel titled Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me. It was published a few years back, shortly after his passing.

His parents’ apparent sin was being pro-Israel. I doubt that Mr. and Mrs. Pekar ever “promised” little Harvey that Israel was perfect. His book is a dreary regurgitation of standard anti-Israel nonsense that Pekar thinks he uncovered after shaking free of the shackles of his mother and father.

His initial “enlightenment” came via a “Jewish Trotskyist friend” who revealed that Israel is “racist.” That was soon followed by some uncle at a Passover seder making remarks “against gentiles.” Pekar turned that into a one-sentence summary of the Israeli-Arab conflict: “A lot of Israelis came from Eastern Europe, where they had been abused for centuries. They thought turnabout on gentiles was fair play.”

The rest of the book drips with resentment at “Chauvinist Orthodox Jews” and demonic Jewish settlers. One is actually shown holding a saw and telling an equally villainous cohort, “Hold that board steady, Chaim Yankel!” I kid you not.

Global chaos is breeding antisemitism. Global leaders must end it

THESE EXTRAORDINARY last few months are a fascinating and worrying laboratory for understanding what happens when antisemitism against Jews as individuals, part of a community, or represented by Israel, is allowed to flourish. When the classic bigoted antisemitism of the Right meets the new “rational” antisemitism of the Left, it is more dangerous than ever. It is intensified by the echo chambers of social media, which reinforce the feelings of marginalization and detachment. It is fertile ground for extremism and hatred.

Jewish history has taught that these trends cannot be ignored. A potent mixture exists of economic instability, social unrest, threats to law and order, political division and a failure of leadership. For some, the entire world order appears under attack. Jews are invariably the first victims of such chaos, but they are never the last. Additional minority groups and the very values and institutions of democracy are also in the crosshairs.

With the global tide of instability seemingly set to continue and most likely intensify, the time has come to take concrete steps against antisemitism. First, governments must openly acknowledge the imminent threat posed by antisemitism not only to Jewish people, but to society as a whole. Second, collaborative mechanisms must be established between Jewish lay leaders and governmental bodies to better coordinate the fight against antisemitism. Third, methodology must be developed to hold governments and international corporations including social media companies to account, using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition as a framework. Lastly, we must foster alliances between governments and institutions across the world to create best practices and truly unite to defeat the antisemites.

There are plenty of reasons why today is not the 1930s. But unparalleled tragedy should not be our benchmark. This is not the time to panic, but the poison of antisemitism is clearly infecting the world at a dangerous pace. As this trajectory continues, now more than ever is the time to plan, prepare and take action. Failure to do so would be a betrayal not only of Jewish communities, but society and democracy as we know it.

27 killed, 2,500 hurt as massive blast rocks Beirut, causing widespread carnage

A huge explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 27 people and injuring over 2,500, according to the country’s health minister.

The blast shook buildings, shattered windows, sent a huge plume of smoke into the sky and left a wide swath of destruction across the city. There were thousands of casualties, with bodies buried under the rubble, officials said.

Lebanon’s health ministry said 27 people had been confirmed dead and over 2,500 were injured. Hours after the explosion, ambulances were still carrying away the wounded and officials said Beirut’s hospitals were full. Army helicopters helped battle fires raging at the port.

Doctors were operating on patients in parking lots as hospitals overflow. Some hospitals have also lost electricity due to Lebanon’s long-running infrastructure problems.

“We’re doing surgery in the hallways,” a Beirut hospital director told al-Mayadeen.

Lebanese officials said the blast was caused by a fireworks storehouse at the city’s port catching fire, but some later said that the explosion was caused by chemicals being stored at the dock. Though some suspicions around the blast turned to Israel, which has been involved in a standoff with Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, both sides denied any link.

The official National News Agency confirmed deaths in the blast, without citing a number.

Israeli involvement in massive Beirut blast ruled out by both sides

Massive blasts that struck Beirut were not caused by Israeli activity, sources in Lebanon and Jerusalem said Tuesday afternoon, as officials attempted to determine what sparked the huge explosions.

Lebanese officials indicated that an initial explosion was caused by fireworks stored at the port, and a second, even larger explosion may have been caused by the fire reaching explosive material that has been kept there for years.

The blasts came amid high tensions between Israel and Lebanon and hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a fresh warning to the Iran-backed terror group.

Senior Hezbollah officials told OTV Lebanon that social media rumors about an Israeli attack were false.

“There is no truth to rumors about an Israeli strike against Hezbollah weapons in the port,” a source told the station.

An Israeli official told journalists that Israel was not involved. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi also indicated that Israel was not involved, telling the country’s Channel 12 news “I see no reason to not believe the reports that it was an accident.”

Despite the lack of Israeli involvement, there was still some speculation that the blast would have been caused by explosive materials stored by Hezbollah.

Those responsible for modern antisemitism must also be held accountable

While the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference strongly condemned “denigrating statements regarding people of the Jewish faith” and denounced Muhammad’s meme, it did not reprimand him. It passed the buck to NAACP national leadership, which at this writing has yet to utter a word on the matter. Silence is complicity.

In fact, Muhammad’s insensitivity toward, or plain dislike of Jews, has been evident for a long time. The Mosque No. 12 he heads is affiliated with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Muhammad, originally from Chicago, home to NOI headquarters, is a disciple of Farrakhan.

On his mosque’s Facebook page is a video of Farrakhan speaking to an adoring audience in which he criticizes anyone who apologizes to Jews. “I don’t have anything to apologize for,” says Farrakhan, adding that he told Jesse Jackson not to apologize for calling New York City “hymietown” in 1984. “The Jews are the most unforgiving white people you are ever going to meet,” says Farrakhan.

My colleague Marcia Bronstein, director of AJC Philadelphia, has pointed out that Mosque No. 12 regularly posts offensive, antisemitic material.

“If Minister Muhammad claims to stand with members of the Jewish faith and the fight for social justice, he needs to take responsibility for the items that are posted on his mosque’s website and social media. They are very hurtful,” said Bronstein.

Fortunately, Jews in Philadelphia are not fighting antisemitism alone. The partnership AJC and others established decades ago with the black community, and more recently with the some in the Muslim community, is resilient.

But ultimately the scars of Muhammad’s antisemitism will begin to heal only when the organizations he represents hold him accountable.

Top Soros Official Embraces Anti-Semitic Black Nationalist and Slams Bill Clinton

Patrick Gaspard, a former Obama administration official and president of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, blasted former president Bill Clinton on Friday for condemning Stokely Carmichael, a racial separatist who called Hitler the only white man he could respect.

Gaspard slammed Clinton for referring to Carmichael unfavorably in a eulogy for the late civil-rights leader John Lewis. Clinton said civil-rights activists for a brief period “went a little too far towards Stokely.”

“I didn’t want to tweet this during the funeral for John Lewis, but who is Bill Clinton to show up at a black funeral to attack Stokely Carmichael? Stokely was ours,” Gaspard said in a tweet on Friday. “He was targeted for destruction by the FBI and forced into exile. He gave all for us. Bill Clinton ain’t no hero.”

As Lewis’s successor leading the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, Carmichael pressed blacks to embrace direct confrontation rather than peaceful demonstration. He opposed most forms of coalition-building with white liberals and pressed blacks to “close ranks” and exclude whites from the organization.

“Stokely had become a fierce anti-white black nationalist, and eventually … expelled whites from the organization—even though many had sacrificed during Freedom Summer and after,” Hudson Institute adjunct fellow Ron Radosh told the Washington Free Beacon.

Carmichael also peddled anti-Semitic tropes, telling the British journalist David Frost that he believed Hitler was “the greatest white man.” In remarks at the University of Maryland in 1990, Carmichael complained, “Zionist pigs have been harassing us everywhere…. And when this anger rises, [we] will snap our fingers and finish them off.”

Abraham Foxman, the former president of the Anti-Defamation League, blasted Carmichael as “an unabashed racial separatist and anti-Semite who often uses the slogan, ‘the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.’”

Karen Bass Denies Links To Nation Of Islam, Despite Photos And Event Appearances, But Doesn’t Disavow Radical Group

Rep. Karen Bass, a top contender to become presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, appeared at Nation of Islam events, posed for a picture with a top Nation of Islam official, and attended a forum in 2013 hosted by the organization’s official mouthpiece.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has referred to Jewish people as “satanic,” blamed them for the Holocaust and the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks, and once praised Adolf Hitler as a “very great man.” Farrakhan has also denounced interracial marriage, which he said has “mongrelized” the black race.

The Nation of Islam holds that white people were created 6,000 years ago as the result of a selective breeding program by a black scientist called Yakub.

“This teaching of the birth of the White race has been central to the belief system in the Nation of Islam and it has been met with hostility and profound resistance by its critics, who have most commonly termed it ‘hate teaching,’” the Final Call, the Nation of Islam’s official mouthpiece, states on its website.

But Bass, a California Democrat, appeared alongside Tony Muhammad, the director of the Nation of Islam’s Western division, at events in 2014 and 2015. Bass is seen posing with Muhammad in a photo posted online by Mablean Ephriam, the former host of Fox television program “Justice With Judge Mable.”

She attended an anti-police brutality event in April 2015 along with Muhammad and other Los Angeles-area activists, video shows. Dr. Mauluna Karenga, the founder of the holiday Kwanzaa, also spoke at the rally.

Karenga was convicted in 1971 on charges that he tortured two women who were part of his black liberation paramilitary group, US Organization.

Bass attended a summit hosting first ladies from Africa in April 2013 hosted by the Final Call, the “official communications organ of the Nation of Islam,” which posted a photo of the California Democrat at the event.

Disgraced former MP Chris Williamson publishes unhinged conspiracy theory video claiming “Zionists” and CAA control the “racist” EHRC in service to the Conservative Party

The disgraced former Labour MP, Chris Williamson, has published an unhinged conspiracy theory article and video claiming that “Zionists” and Campaign Against Antisemitism control the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in service to the Conservative Party.

Mr Williamson, who was suspended from the Labour Party several times before running as an Independent in the 2019 General Election and receiving so few votes that, extraordinarily for an incumbent MP, he lost his deposit, has been embroiled in controversy over comments about Jews, “Zionists” and antisemitism for a long time.

Mr Williamson claims in the article and video, titled “Unmasking the EHRC”, that “over the last few years, we’ve seen how the Commission’s lack of independence has led to its purpose being perverted in order to attack the British Left, Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters” and ludicrously asserts that “the number of antisemitism cases in the Labour Party are miniscule”.

In a more sinister vein, however, he claims that these cases “were clearly exaggerated as part of a pernicious smear campaign against Corbyn and his supporters”. Such comments are in line with Mr Williamson’s tradition of calling attempts to address antisemitism in the Labour Party “smears”, thereby accusing Jews of acting in bad faith when they complain about anti-Jewish racism.

Mr Williamson’s particular interest in the EHRC is due to the full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party launched by the independent body in May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. He believes that the EHRC has become part of the ‘smear campaign’, although he seems conflicted as to whether this is because it is staffed or manipulated by “racists” and “Zionists” or is simply doing the bidding of the Conservative Party.

44% of UK Muslims back anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, poll finds

Nearly half of British Muslims endorse some anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, a newly published report has found.

However, anti-Semitic sentiments drop sharply — by as much as 12 percentage points — among those Muslims who are more integrated into British society.

It also suggests that British Muslims who attend mosque most frequently have the warmest feelings towards Jews and the State of Israel.

The report, published by the London-based Henry Jackson Society think tank, finds that 44 percent of Muslims agree with the statement that British Jewish people tend to be more loyal to Israel than to the UK. Just 13% of Muslims disagree and believe British Jews are more loyal to the UK than to Israel.

A separate poll cited by the report suggests that 24% of the British public at large believe British Jews are more loyal to Israel than the UK.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism states that “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” is a form of anti-Semitism.

The report is based on a poll of 750 British Muslims conducted by the Savanta-ComRes polling agency between November 25 and December 5, 2019. It draws comparisons with wider attitudes in the UK which were explored by an ICM Unlimited survey of 2,011 British adults carried out between December 6 and 9, 2019.

StandWithUs Initiates National Campaign to Protect Jewish Students on Campus

In light of the foregoing, we are deeply concerned about the treatment of Jewish students, both remotely and when your school reopens for in-person learning. We therefore urge you to proactively take appropriate steps now to ensure that all students, including Jewish students, are treated as valuable members of your campus community, free from bigotry and discrimination, and with the full support and protection of the administration. At a minimum, this includes thoroughly reviewing existing university policy—in particular, harassment and discrimination policies—and modifying those policies as appropriate to strengthen protections for your Jewish campus community. Doing so protects your students against antisemitic discrimination and, if enforced properly, lessens your risk of Title VI infractions.

The following suggested action items, if properly implemented and enforced, will help provide a safe and equitable campus community in compliance with Title VI:

(1) Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism—which has been adopted by the U.S. Department of State, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and used as a template for an antisemitism law passed by the Florida state legislature in June 2019—and utilize this definition as a guide when addressing potential incidents of antisemitic discrimination;

(2) Issue an official statement recognizing that, for many individuals, Zionism is an integral component of Jewish identity;

(3) Issue an official statement expressing zero tolerance for antisemitic or any harassment based on identity, and encouraging administrative reports of such harassment;

(4) Institute new (or modify existing) policies to provide sufficient oversight and accountability when students allege antisemitism. Such policies should ensure that incidents of alleged antisemitism are handled as prescribed by applicable policies for reporting and responding to other forms of discrimination on campus;

Privileged Profs Claim Victimhood to Rage Against Israel and America

“Ending capitalism, that is the ultimate solution,” preached Rabab Abdulhadi, the radical, Israel-hating San Francisco State University associate professor of ethnic studies. Throughout the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel’s (USCACBI) June 30 webinar, she and other professors pilloried Israel as an outpost of Western colonial oppression.

Pitzer College anthropology professor and Zoom host Daniel Segal’s introduction set the stage for the webinar’s repetitive droning. He began with the now ubiquitous virtue-signaling land acknowledgement that California’s Pitzer College “continues the project of settler-colonialism” with the “occupation of indigenous land.” The wider “Claremont Colleges must seek to resist, disturb and work through this settler-colonial facet of racial-capitalism,” as well as “its devaluing of black lives, to reach a future defined by restorative social justice.” Pivoting via intersectionality to the webinar’s topic, he asserted that Pitzer is “complicit also in Israeli state apartheid, occupation and ethnic cleansing” through an Israel study-abroad program. For good measure, Segal praised college chapters of JVP and its thuggish ally: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

Thuggish leftist nihilism also characterized Abdulhadi’s comments, as when she sputtered that companies “should just go out of business,” or in her references to “Lenin’s dictum” on imperialism. She warned that “trying to actually appear that we are conciliatory towards the Zionist project [i.e., Israel] is very problematic.” She also praised America’s ongoing riots and Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as having the “makings of an intifada.”

Consequently, Abdulhadi lauded the then-upcoming July 1 “Day of Rage” against Israel’s possible declaration of sovereignty in the disputed West Bank. Such events ostensibly commemorate the “fallen” of a “racial project” encompassing such disparate places as Brazil, Kashmir, Puerto Rico and the wider United States. Adhering to the ideology of intersectionality, she looped in the myth that “Michael Brown was killed and martyred” by a police officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.

BDS: ‘Fine, You Can Watch Fauda’ (satire)

The leadership of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement announced that even if you are dedicated to the destruction of Israel, it is permitted to watch Fauda. The decision was announced along with other allowances such as permission to use any Israeli-made vaccines for the virus, after they decided that its members were probably going to watch it anyway.

The leader of the movement, Omar Barghouti, tweeted that they could watch the show without betraying the movement because it would provide entertainment during Corona-related quarantine and because “we already said they could take an Israeli made vaccine…. so I guess, fuck it”. He added that it would be in line with their cause if you rooted for the terrorists in the show, although he understood if some members were more interested in letting lead actor Lior Raz “occupy them long and hard”.

The BDS movement has been famous for not really following any of their rules anyway since a major part of computers, software, and other technologies, and medicine are all partially developed or produced in Israel. A spokesperson for the Israeli government said that they had no problem with BDS supporters watching Fauda and expected nothing less from them because they are “gigantic pussies who aren’t willing to be bored for their cause, let alone die for it”.

The third season of Fauda premiered this past April and is the heartwarming story of secret Israeli agents looking for hookups in all the wrong places.

BBC NEWS COVERAGE OF TERRORISM IN ISRAEL – JULY 2020

The Israel Security Agency’s report on terror attacks (Hebrew) during July 2020 shows that throughout the month a total of 94 incidents took place: 70 in Judea & Samaria, 22 in Jerusalem and inside the ‘green line’ and two in the Gaza Strip sector.

In Judea & Samaria and Jerusalem the agency recorded 61 attacks with petrol bombs, fourteen attacks using pipe bombs, two shooting attacks and fifteen arson attacks. In the Gaza Strip sector two rocket attacks were recorded.

No injuries or fatalities were sustained during July.

The BBC News website did not report any of the attacks which took place in July, including two rocket attacks involving three missiles on July 5th which were known to at least one of the BBC’s Jerusalem-based correspondents.

Since the beginning of the year visitors to the BBC News website have seen coverage of 5.6% of the terror attacks against Israelis which actually took place and no reporting of the one fatality. BBC coverage of rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip in 2020 stands at 13.6% as of the end of July. Six of the first seven months of 2020 saw no BBC reporting on Palestinian terrorism at all.

BBC News website report claims ‘Wiley apologised’

But is the BBC’s account accurate? In the context of social media, sharing often means the redistribution of content created by someone else rather than publication of one’s own original posts. Unlike the BBC, the Sky News interviewer Noel Phillips was able to clarify to his audience that the antisemitic Tweets were written by Wiley himself:
“…he posted a series of antisemitic comments on social media…”

“UK rapper Wiley has been heavily criticised after posting a series of antisemitic tweets. In an exclusive interview with Sky News, he denies he is racist.”

The BBC’s use of the words “shared” and “sharing” obviously does not adequately clarify who wrote the antisemitic Tweets.

Sky News presented that filmed interview on its own ‘Entertainment & Arts’ page with the caption:
“After an antisemitic diatribe on social media, the rapper Wiley has refused to distance himself from most of his comments.”

During the interview Wiley said:
“I want to apologise for generalising, number one, and I want to apologise for comments that were looked at as antisemitic.”

However, the Sky News reporter also noted that during the interview Wiley made similar comments to the ones he posted on Twitter, describing them as “too inflammatory to broadcast”. The reporter also said that “despite saying he regrets the generalisations he made about Jewish people”, his interviewee went on to make more statements in a similar vein. The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who also took part in the report, observed that “he’s clearly not sorry whatsoever”.

Nevertheless, the BBC would have its worldwide audiences believe that “Wiley later apologised”.

Anti-Semitism monitor to women’s group: Advances in Argentina, concern in Yemen

In an online briefing about anti-Semitism earlier this month, Ellie Cohanim, deputy special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism at the U.S. State Department, discussed the situation in South America and Yemen, where Iran and its terror proxies have been increasingly active.

Noting that it has been 26 years since Iran and Hezbollah bombed the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires—killing 85 people and wounding hundreds—Cohanim said “Hezbollah remains active throughout the region in terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking.”

America “commends” Argentina for its continued designation of Hezbollah as a terror group, she said.

Also noted is the South American country’s “freezing assets of individuals and entities tied to Hezbollah,” she continued, adding that following their lead, Guatemala, Honduras and Columbia have designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization and that Uruguay is considering a “similar move.”

Yet in a virtual address to members of Israel Bonds Cleveland’s Women’s Division, Cohanim said not all news is good. For instance, the Chilean Senate approved a measure in early July that would allow the government to criticize Israel and boycott Israeli companies that operate outside of the “1949 armistice lines.”

“Chile serves as a model for democracy, yet finds herself being praised by Hamas for passing this resolution,” said the envoy, adding that the United States is “deeply disappointed” by the resolution.

Antisemitism Is ‘Front and Center’ in Reactions to Coronavirus Pandemic, Expert Says

The global Jewish community is facing rising antisemitism due to the coronavirus pandemic, a senior Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says.

During a recent webinar titled “Anti-Semitism: Combatting the Other Global Pandemic,” hosted by the American Society of the University of Haifa, ADL Senior Vice President of International Affairs Dr. Sharon S. Nazarian said, “As a vulnerable minority Jews feel sensitive to the rise of conspiracy theories — particularly in non-democratic governments which use scapegoating of minorities, and especially Jews, to deflect from their own failures.”

“Governments that are not able to provide for their own citizens really use conspiracy theories as a mechanism for deflecting blame,” she added.

Nazarian noted that in her conversations with Jewish communities in many countries, “one of the very common themes we saw were the economic anxieties people were expecting to happen.”

“Jewish communities know that not only the pandemic itself, but the economic impact of a major slowdown like huge unemployment, what that historically rises to,” she continued. “Usually, the front and center of the reaction is antisemitism.”

Nazarian also addressed concerns about the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been accused of antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

“You have a big umbrella, with lots of organizations under it advocating for very similar issues and causes,” she pointed out.

“We will call out antisemitism at ADL as we always have, at any instance where we see it,” she pledged, “but as a civil rights organization with a long history of battling for civil rights, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the civil rights leaders of this country and all the people out demonstrating who really believe this is a moment of reckoning, and that we have to look at police brutality, and that we have to look at the racism that exists in the institutions in this country.”

“When that narrative crosses the line and is hijacked into antisemitic or anti-Israel narrative, then we will call it out no questions asked,” Nazarian said.

Israeli-modified erectile dysfunction drug shows some promise treating COVID-19

An Israeli innovator says he has repurposed an erectile dysfunction treatment for coronavirus, and reports that it is showing promise, having significantly improved the health of six patients.

Jonathan Javitt has developed a form of aviptadil — a drug that is used almost exclusively for injection into the penis along with another drug phentolamine, to help men dealing with erectile disfunction — to treat severe coronavirus. This version of the drug for intravenous injection to COVID-19 patients, RLF-100, is now undergoing clinical trials in five American hospitals.

No results from these trials are available, but Javitt has released a report on six patients who received the drug outside of the trials, claiming that they had taken strong steps toward recovery.

“As far as I know, this is the first drug to treat COVID with which the [lung] X-ray gets better, the blood oxygen gets better, and cytokines drop very quickly,” he said. Cytokines are the small proteins that COVID patients sometimes produce in huge numbers, causing harm to their bodies.

“If you ask me whether this is the cure to COVID, my answer is that I don’t know, but it shows promise, and I hope so,” he told The Times of Israel.

OrCam’s new feature helps visually impaired tell reading device what to focus on

OrCam Technologies, the maker of artificial intelligence-based wearable devices to help the blind and visually impaired read texts via audio feedback, has launched a new feature that gives users the ability to use voice commands to get a better “reading experience.”

The Smart Reading feature, released last month in the US, can be integrated into the devices that the Jerusalem-based firm has been selling worldwide, including the wearable 22.5 g/0.8 oz. MyEye, which uses a high resolution video camera magnetically attached to a pair of glasses that can instantly read aloud printed text and digital screens and recognize faces, products/bar codes, money and colors.

The other device is the OrCam Read, a handheld digital reader, meant to help people with language processing challenges, including dyslexia. The device captures and reads out full pages of text and digital screens.

The new Smart Reading feature will enable users to tell the device what to focus on.

So, for example, users can ask the device to read only the newspaper headlines, or solely the vegetarian items on a menu. It is also able to read out a bill’s bottom line, or just the date on a page.

The Smart Reading feature combines OrCam’s advanced computer vision and natural language understanding (NLU) technologies. The voice-activated feature is just in English for now, but will be available in the coming weeks in Japanese, German, French and Spanish, said Rafi Fischer, the firm’s public and media relations director.

Israeli chemistry students win gold, silver, and bronze at 52nd Olympiad

A member of the Israeli delegation to the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad, held this year in Istanbul, became the first Israeli competitor in a decade to win a gold medal at the prestigious event.

Israel’s young chemistry whizzes competed against 240 youths from 60 nations, including Iran and Syria. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s IChO was held via Zoom.

Roi Peer, 18, of Gan Haim scored a total of 90.35, qualifying him for the gold medal. Peer finished 26th in the competition rankings.

Prior to the competition, Peer said, “Last year, I won a silver medal, and I won bronze the year before that. It’s been a weird year because of coronavirus, mostly because the competition will take place on Zoom, and that kind of lowers your motivation.”

After securing a gold medal, Peer said, “When they called my name, it was exciting. After three years in the competition, I found that the work paid off.”

Israeli Team Wins International Mathematics Competition for University Students

Israel’s national student team has won the International Mathematics Competition for University Students, Tel Aviv University announced on Tuesday.

The global competition involving 546 students from 96 universities took place online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the Israeli team came in first for team rankings. It also made the top ten for personal rankings.

During the competition, the participants answered questions on Algebra, Analysis (Real and Complex), Geometry,and Combinatorics. The answers were evaluated by team leaders and academics under the direction of the competition’s jury.

The Israeli team was composed of five students from Tel Aviv University and one from Bar-Ilan University. The team was coached by Dan Carmon and Lev Radzivilovsky of the School of Mathematical Sciences at Tel Aviv University.

Student Shvo Regavim said of his team’s victory, “It feels great. The competition was hard, we were short on time, trying to answer all the questions, and I’m glad we achieved all the goals we set for ourselves.”

“On a personal level, this victory is a major achievement, but I mostly enjoyed the challenge of solving high-level mathematical exercises,” he added.

Eilan Solan of Tel Aviv University, who supervised the team, commented, “I’m proud of our excellent students that brought great honor to the country and to the university.”

Celebrating the 108th birthday of Raoul Wallenberg: An unlikely hero

As the founder of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, I am always emotionally overwhelmed when we approach this date. This August 4th, we celebrate the 108th birthday of Raoul Wallenberg, one of the most admirable rescuers of the 20th century.

This young Swede demonstrated how one compassionate person can make a significant difference, even against one of the most powerful and sinister murder machines in the history of mankind.

Wallenberg was an unlikely hero. As a scion of one of the most powerful families in Sweden, he could have chosen a very different life path. He was intellectually bright and resourceful. His list of contacts was enviable. He could have ended-up amassing a fortune and living a long and comfortable life. Instead, he opted to embark in a life-threatening mission for him and a life-saving mission for tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews.

On July 9, 1944, at the young age of 32, Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest empowered by the US War Refugee Board (WRB) and the Swedish government, with the clear mission to try and save the remains of the local Jewish community.

Without any previous diplomatic experience, he plunged himself into one of the most awe-inspiring rescue operations known in the annals of history. His organizational skills became a powerful asset that enabled him to recruit a great number of volunteers and partners to his orchestrated rescue effort. His social charm and courage proved to be significant tools with which he sometimes cajoled high-ranking officers and oftentimes threatened them.

Knowing the German fondness for colors and papers, he conceived the granting of schutzpasses, documents which were devoid of any legal status but nonetheless, conferred a reasonable degree of immunity to its holders. These certificates carried colorful stamps with the Swedish national colors and made a strong impression upon the Nazis and their local henchmen. It is believed that Wallenberg issued and distributed more than 20,000 passes.

He set up 32 safe houses protected by the Swedish and other neutral legations, populating them with more than 30,000 Jews.

He organized improvised health centers, soup kitchens and day care centers for the most vulnerable populations.

On several occasions, he went down to assembly points where the Nazis and the Hungarian Arrow Cross had been rounding-up Jews for deportation of immediate execution and boldly confronted the Nazi officers, demanding the release of his “Swedish citizens.”

In all, historians believe that Raoul Wallenberg and his team managed to save some 100,000 lives in just 184 days, a remarkable feat indeed.



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