March 31, 2020

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08/09 Links Pt2: Preaching violence from the pulpit; The Olympics Should Investigate Iran

From Ian:

Clifford D. May: Preaching violence from the pulpit
Imagine if an American priest, minister or rabbi were to call for Muslims to be annihilated. It would be a scandal and it would spark a nationwide controversy over Islamophobia, hate speech and incitement to violence. So why is that not the case when an imam calls for the annihilation of Jews?
On July 21, Ammar Shahin, the Egyptian-born imam at the Islamic Center of Davis (ICD) and an instructor at the Zidni Islamic Institute, both in California, preached from his pulpit: “The Prophet Muhammad says that the time will come, the Last Hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. … O Allah, liberate Al-Aqsa mosque from the filth of the Jews. … O Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any of them. … O Allah, make this happen by our hands. Let us play a part in this.”
A video of the sermon was released by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that for almost two decades has provided access to primary source materials from the Muslim world, translating such materials from Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and other languages.
Stories soon appeared in the Israeli press and right-of-center American news outlets such as Breitbart, The Washington Times, The Washington Free Beacon, The Blaze and Fox News. Left-of-center outlets, also known as mainstream media, apparently saw nothing to report.
The ICD put out a press release calling MEMRI “an extremist agenda driven organization” and claiming that Shahin’s sermon had been “mistranslated” and taken “out of context.” The imam told a local television reporter that it was “very sad to hear that people are taking your words and they are twisting it around.”
In response, MEMRI pointed out that it had posted the sermon uncut and unedited. There could be no question about the accuracy of the translation. The prayer had referred specifically to “the Jews” — not Israelis or Zionists. MEMRI also translated a sermon from July 14 in which Shahin “made similar statements.”

Stabbing attack thwarted near Cave of the Patriarchs

A stabbing attack was thwarted this evening (Wednesday) near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron.
An Arab approached a Border Police checkpoint near the holy site in a suspicious manner. He stopped several feet from the police before calling out to them. The officers then noticed that he was holding a knife.
The police pointed their weapons at the man and ordered him to drop the knife and surrender. The suspect complied and the situation was resolved without violence.
The suspect a 25 year old resident of Hevron, is being interrogated by police.

‘What if Paris attacker was treated like those who attack Jews?’

Amid outrage in France over a suspected terrorist attack against police officers, the CRIF umbrella group of French Jews suggested the incident highlights indifference to anti-Semitic violence.
CRIF on Wednesday posted on Facebook a tongue-in-cheek statement, questioning whether authorities would place under psychiatric evaluation a suspect who fled after ramming six police officers with his car in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. Two officers sustained serious injuries and the rest suffered moderate ones in the Wednesday morning attack.
“What do you think, should this insane person be put in a psych ward while we contemplate the reasons for his actions?” CRIF posted in French on Facebook about the attacker in Levallois-Perret.
It was a provocative reference to the handling by authorities and the media of the slaying of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, in April by a Muslim man who was sent to observation as per his insanity plea even though he has no record of mental illness. He shouted about Allah while killing Halimi, his neighbor, whose daughter he allegedly once called a “dirty Jewess.”
CRIF has campaigned vigorously for the inclusion of an aggravated element of a hate crime into the murder indictment against Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traore. The judiciary’s omission of this element is a “cover up” of the anti-Semitic character of the crime, CRIF President Francis Kalifat has said.


Well, so much for Sydney’s second airport. There’s no way the project can proceed now, following the Land and Environment Court’s decision to block construction of a Bondi synagogue on the grounds it may attract terrorists.
Islamic extremists are notoriously fond of attacking airports. Airports and aircraft are basically at the top of any serious terrorist’s target list. Any consistent view from the Land and Environment Court would have Sydney’s planned second airport banned on obvious safety grounds.
The court’s decision came in response to an appeal from Sydney’s Jewish community, which previously had its Bondi synagogue knocked back by Waverley Council because it presented too great a security risk for users and local residents.
Waverley Council declared that the application to build a synagogue “raises concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the Synagogue, nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians in Wellington Street.” Furthermore, “the physical measures proposed to deal with the identified threats will have an unacceptable impact on the streetscape and adjoining properties.”
It’s not that the people attending the synagogue would have posed any kind of threat. Not at all. They’re as peaceful as can be. It’s that certain other people would be drawn to destroy the synagogue, and possibly take out a few non-Jews in the process.
A reasonable person might conclude, then, that the problem involved not the synagogue but those intent on blowing up or otherwise attacking the place. Perhaps it might be an idea to deal with them instead, since they – not the synagogue and not Jewish people – are the source of any potential violence.

Gene Simmons: Islamic Terrorists Don’t Care About Politics, ‘They Hate All of You’

Gene Simmons, the blood-spitting bassist and vocalist of rock supergroup Kiss, had some harsh truths for listeners tuning into an interview on Chicago’s WGN Radio about politics in the United States.
“The last thing we should be doing as a country is to fight with each other,” Simmons said. “Everybody’s got a different point of view, and that’s okay — that’s what makes America great.”
“By the way, al Qaeda, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, all the bad guys in the Middle East don’t make a distinction between left and right, Democrat or Republican; they hate all of you,” he added. “They just think you’re all Americans. Now that’s a good idea — the American party.”
Simmons did, however, deviate from his own advice given back in December when he urged celebrities to keep their “pie holes” shut instead of ranting on and on against Donald Trump. But as a friend and former contestant on Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice, Simmons echoed his previous comments:
“And for people out there who think every time you say ‘President Trump’ that it’s a political conversation, I urge everybody to just take a deep breath. He was elected, and so were the Republicans across America. And the next time there’s an election, you’ll have a chance to draw the curtains — because it’s nobody’s damn business who you vote for — and vote your conscience. If you like our president, you’ll vote him back in. If you don’t like him, then you’ll vote for somebody else.”
In a Rolling Stone interview last year, Simmons said Trump is “good for the political system” because of how “everybody is sick and tired of being politically correct.”

Winston Churchill, the Jews, and Israel

Although Churchill’s record on Jews and Zionism is far from spotless—at times he even dabbled in anti-Semitism, perhaps for cynical political reasons—the great British statesman ultimately became both a philo-Semite and a supporter of Zionism, as Michael Makovsky explains. What ultimately convinced him to desire the creation of a Jewish state was a 1921 visit to Mandatory Palestine, where he became persuaded that Zionism was a force for the advancement of civilization. He would later regard Israel, and the Jews, as natural allies of the West in the struggle against Soviet Communism. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 41 minutes.)

The Olympics Should Investigate Iran

The International Olympics might be about putting sports above politics, but that sort of brotherhood is something the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Olympics Committee forget whenever it comes to competing against an Israeli.
Consider the following:
– In 2004, Arash Miresmaeil, a judo champion and the flag-bearer of Iran’s Olympic Team, withdrew from the Olympics rather than compete against Israeli Ehud Vaks. Then-President Mohammad Khatami, often described as a ‘reformist’ by Western journalists and diplomats, said: “Miresmaeili’s act will be recorded among the nation’s glories.” While Miresmaeil said he was boycotting for political reasons, Iranian authorities later said they were withdrawing him because he was overweight.
– In 2008, Iranian swimmer Mohammed Alirezaei pulled out of the 100-meter breast stroke race against Israeli Tom Be’eri because of “illness.” He subsequently pulled out of a race against another Israeli at the Shanghai FINA world championships because he felt “tired and drowsy.”
– In 2012, Iranian judo champion Javad Mahjoub pulled out of the London Olympics because of the likelihood he would need to compete against an Israeli. He blamed the need for a 10-day course of antibiotics.
When non-Olympic competitions are considered—the World Judo Championships, World Wrestling Championships, and the World Fencing Championships, for example—the list is even longer.
To withdraw from competition because of the nationality of an opponent is a violation of the Olympic by-laws, hence the scramble by Iranian competitors to come up with any number of medical excuses, no matter how implausible. Until now, the International Olympic Committee was content to let episodes like these slide with a nod and a wink.

MEMRI: Saudi Writer: Arab States Should Stop Hiding Their Relations With Israel

In his August 2, 2017 weekly column in the Saudi daily Al-Madina, Muhammad ‘Arif criticized Arab countries for maintaining ties with Israel while denying this fact, and called on them to be honest about these relations, because hiding them leads to embarrassment. He condemned these countries’ feeble reactions to the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque to Muslim worshipers (following the July 14, 2017 terror attack that resulted in the death of two Israeli policemen) and their failure to take tangible measures against Israel. He mocked them for banning the American movie Wonder Woman because the lead actress is an Israeli, noting that this is hardly likely to stop Israel from “harming Al-Aqsa,” and added that maintaining overt relations with Israel would at least enable these countries to criticize Israel openly.
‘Arif’s criticism is apparently aimed mainly at Qatar, as part of the ongoing crisis in Saudi-Qatari relations and the mutual accusations in the two countries’ media.[1]
Below are selected translated excerpts from his article:[2]
“I remember that many years ago, when Viagra first appeared on the market and men were captivated by it, one of my friends told me [an anecdote]: He and some friends were visiting a neighboring country and saw the blue pill, but each was ashamed to buy it in front of the others, until they [finally] told each other: ‘go ahead and buy some, and don’t be ashamed of me.’ But in spite of this none of them would buy it in front of the others. A short time later, when they met on some social occasion, it emerged that some of them had begun using Viagra, but they still wouldn’t admit it openly.
“I recently recalled this story when it became evident to me that some Arab [countries] maintain relations with Israel but deny it, [although] these ties can hardly be denied given the existence of embassies and mutual visits in full view. Those who deny these relations despite their existence are like someone who takes Viagra in secret and does not want anybody to know about it because he fears it will detract from his manliness and wants to remain a macho in the eyes of his neighbors and friends.

Following Chairman’s Antisemitic Speech, UK Government Confirms It Does Not Support British University in Egypt

The UK government has confirmed to the Campaign Against Antisemitism — a local Jewish watchdog group — that it does not give assistance to the British University in Egypt (BUE), after the chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees was caught endorsing the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Mohamed Farid Fouad Khamis told a conference in Cairo earlier this year, “The Protocols of Zion: one hundred of the most important Zionist leaders of the world assembled, got together, so that they agree on how to control the world. This event is definitely true and documented. …So they discussed: how can we control the world? And it is written: ‘We will control the world with the media, then with money.’”
“The protocols talk in a very clear way on how to carry out control of the media and whoever consumes it,” Khamis added, saying anyone who read the text would “discover a very strange thing,”
“He will understand the meaning of the ‘Arab Spring’ or the ‘Arab Autumn,’” Khamis continued. “He will understand [former US Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice when she described ‘creative [destruction and] chaos [in the Middle East].’”
In a statement, the CAA stated that it had contacted the British government to clarify its position on Khamis’ comments. Alistair Burt, the minister of state for international development, replied that the government does not support the British University in Egypt.
“I share your commitment to tackle antisemitism in all its forms, including in the perpetuation of the slanders within The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Burt wrote in a letter. “I note your concerns about BUE very carefully. Thank you.”

Editorial: A load of B.S. on BDS: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand jumps off a good bill

Amid rising political pressure based on lies, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has withdrawn her support for bipartisan legislation designed to defang the pernicious international movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel.
Big mistake, senator. Push ahead, Sens. Ben Cardin, Rob Portman, Chuck Schumer and others with this important update of longstanding law.
The BDS movement, as it’s known, seeks to turn Israel into a global pariah, offering the phony excuse of the disputed West Bank. Israel has been willing for a long time to hand over the vast majority of the territory along mutually negotiated borders to full Palestinian rule, as was done with Gaza.
But because Hamas and even a critical mass of supposedly moderate Fatah today cling to the hope that Israel can be eliminated, Israel’s presence there begrudgingly endures.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand not interested in running for President
So offended are a coalition of anti-Israel organizations and nations by Israel’s dogged insistence on defending itself, they want to isolate it — America’s staunchest regional ally, and the Mideast’s one true stable democracy — economically and diplomatically.
The obscene vilification of this small country, the singling out of it and it alone for such treatment, can only be called anti-Semitic.

Do You Think the Cultural BDS Movement Is Failing? Think Again

Do you think that the cultural boycott campaign against Israel is a colossal failure?
Think again.
Scotland’s Sunday Herald recently published an open letter signed by artists, media workers and academics that called for a boycott against Israeli artists at Edinburgh’s “Fringe Festival,” the largest performing arts festival in the world.
This is the third such letter by artists in twice as many weeks.
Previously, more than 50 artists called for Radiohead to cancel its concert in Israel, and dozens of high-profile members of the theater community asked Lincoln Center to scrap the performance of an anti-war Israeli play.
While the cancellations of scheduled concerts in Israel due to boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) pressure peak and valley, pressure on international venues to rescind invitations to Israeli artists by other artists is growing.
Regardless of whether a boycott campaign results in a cancellation, Israel’s reputation is damaged by the mere efforts alone — which slander Israel in the international media and other forums.
The disturbing drumbeat of international artists urging the boycott of Israeli artists should concern us all.

Tablet magazine hires reporter who broke Chicago Dyke March story

Tablet magazine has hired a journalist who was relieved of her reporting duties at a Chicago newspaper after breaking the story of three Jewish women who were ejected from a lesbian march.
In July, Gretchen Rachel Hammond, formerly an award-winning reporter for the Windy City Times, a Chicago LGBT newspaper, was moved full-time to the paper’s sales desk after reporting on the women being asked to leave the Chicago Dyke March for carrying rainbow flags emblazoned with Jewish stars. The story gained widespread attention and appeared in major media outlets across the country.
Dyke March organizers said the women were ejected because they were carrying flags reminiscent of the Israeli flag at an anti-Zionist event and had “repeatedly expressed support for Zionism during conversations” with other marchers. An organizer told Hammond that she and the newspaper had “failed in its journalistic mission.”
On Tuesday, Tablet announced that starting this month Hammond would be writing for the Jewish online magazine full-time as part of a yearlong fellowship.
“I’m deeply honored to welcome Gretchen to our staff,” Tablet’s editor-in-chief, Alana Newhouse, wrote on its website. “I know she will enrich all of our lives and minds, and only hope we can give her half of what she’ll give us. And I also hope our readers imbibe the broader message here: If a half-Punjabi, half-Church of England transgender convert to Judaism can find the courage to stand up for what’s right and true, you can too.”
The Tablet announcement included a statement by Hammond in which she reminisced about stories she wrote for the Windy City Times and addressed the Dyke March incident.

Petty in pink

This past Saturday, thousands marched in the yearly pride parade in ‎Stockholm — among them, Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman. ‎Bachman has been a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights, and during his five years in ‎Sweden he has put a particular emphasis on the issue, often underscoring Israel’s values ‎and practices in regard to equality between genders and sexual orientations.
During the pride parade, Bachman, carrying a big Israeli flag and wearing a T-shirt promoting Tel Aviv, enthusiastically danced with a Swedish policeman. Behind him were several ‎big rainbow flags. Because Bachman and the policeman were so genuinely happy and ‎carefree, someone decided to film them dancing, and the video soon went viral on ‎social media. There were plenty of responses to the short clip, the vast majority of them supportive and happy, but one stood out as particularly hostile.
When Bachman tweeted the video, Anna Karin Hammar, a priest in the ‎Swedish state church and head of its educational board, responded: “Pinkwashing it is called.” ‎
For those who don’t already know, “pinkwashing” describes the practice of a state or company presenting itself as gay-friendly and progressive in order to downplay their negative behavior. By publicly accusing the ambassador ‎of pinkwashing, Hammar was implying that he was covering up Israeli human rights ‎abuses by marching in the pride parade, and also that Israelis — and perhaps all Jews — had no right to ‎participate in such parades because of who and what they are. ‎

IsraellyCool: Roger Waters Again Spouting Lies, Hate and Antisemitism In New Interview

Rock’n’roll BDS-hole Roger Waters was recently interviewed by an outfit called Radio Sputnik – and once again his lies, hate and antisemitism came to the fore.
You can catch the entire thing here:
Listen to “Roger Waters Continues Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” on Spreaker.
Or, you can listen to the shorter “low-lights” compilation below, which I created. Note:
How Waters treated his Israeli fans and then describes how he felt uncomfortable after they reacted in shock
His claim he was “molested” by “settlers”
How he speaks of the “local resistance” (i.e. terrorists)
Speaking about his father came to Palestine in the 1930s, and complained about Zionists buying up land with American money
Constantly referring to Jewish money, lobby and organizations in a derogatory way (before trying to correct himself)
Lying about BDS not being able Israel’s destruction or antisemitic
Lying that Israel treats the palestinians like subhumans because we consider ourselves superior (i.e. like the Nazis)
Comparing himself to Martin Luther King
Claiming the palestinians are an “ancient people”
Excusing palestinian terrorism and lying about the nature of terror attacks against Israelis

PreOccupiedTerritory: Aspiring Chef Hopes To Invent More Dishes That Can Be Politicized (satire)

Ohr Ben-Zikri, 22, might have finished only one year of culinary school, but she already has her eyes set on an ambitious goal: to create new delicacies for purposes of having them invoked or fought over in the protracted conflict between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.
Ben-Zikri has experimented widely with both familiar and exotic ingredients, and peers and faculty alike agree she has an eye for the aesthetic, a keen sense of flavor contrasts, and a sensibility over cost that few chefs her age have yet cultivated. The Hod HaSharon native hopes to employ those those assets into the development of dishes that gain enough popularity that they become the focus of vehement political disputes over indigenous status, authenticity, appropriation, and bigotry.
“I can see it now,” she mused in a telephone interview. “I come up with a street-food-type dish that captures the flavor of the region, and it immediately attracts the attention of Palestinian activists protesting a usurpation of their cultural heritage, followed by rebuttals from Israel-supporters. That’s when I’ll know I’ve hit the big time.”
Ben-Zikri has already wowed her instructors with sassy reinterpretations of classic dishes, and with a mastery of kitchen techniques that puts her at the top of her class. Upon earning her certification, the aspiring maestro of cuisine aims to become a sous-chef or apprentice at one of the finer establishments in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, where she can work on adapting her ideas to the real world of restaurant and hotel kitchens. Only then, she admits, can her ambition of creating the next big political food gain traction.

‘Parasitic Thug’ Is New York Times’ New Name for Netanyahu

The New York Times has published a reader comment claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “likes to control the US Congress,” describing American supporters of Israel as a disloyal “fifth column” and calling the Israeli leader a “parasitic thug.”
The Times didn’t just publish the comment, which traffics in classic antisemitic tropes — it awarded it a gold ribbon as a “NYT Pick,” one of just two of the 113 reader comments on the article to earn that distinction from the paper’s editors.
The reader comment, signed Richard Marcley of Albany, N.Y., came on a dispatch from Jerusalem about investigations of Mr. Netanyahu. The comment reads, in full:
That, along with the 4 billion every year from US taxpayers!
netanyahu likes to influence our elections and he likes to control the US Congress through AIPAC. And he always, ALWAYS has his hand out for another 40 billion or so from his fifth column of followers in the US!
He’s a parasitic thug!

US foreign aid to Israel is actually closer to $3 billion than $4 billion annually, and comes with a new requirement that most of the money be spent on American-supplied equipment and technology. The idea that the American government is subject to “control” by Israel is reminiscent of the antisemitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; in any event, it is proven false by the fact that Congress was not able to prevent former President Barack Obama from providing Iran with $700 billion in sanctions relief, despite the best efforts of Netanyahu and his American supporters.

HR Prompts Telegraph to Change Temple Mount “Palestine” Photo

The Telegraph’s travel section has some interesting and surprising tourism news. While Israel is the tenth fastest growing tourist destination so far in 2017, the number one position goes to “Palestine.”
This was the opening photo in the article:

The caption reads: “This is the world’s fastest growing destination – but where is it?”
We can tell you where it is not. The Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock are located not in the world’s fastest growing destination (“Palestine” according to the Telegraph), but in Jerusalem where Israel is sovereign.
Following a request from HonestReporting, the Telegraph agreed and changed its photo to an image from Bethlehem, the most obvious tourist destination administered by the Palestinian Authority. We commend the Telegraph for its prompt action.

HR Fixes Double Trouble at the IBT

HonestReporting pointed out to the IBT that Israel did not use bombs on Palestinian protesters. This as well as the fact that the al-Aqsa mosque is not known to Jews as the Temple Mount, but is a structure that sits on the Temple Mount compound, which is referred to by Muslims as Haram al Sharif.
The IBT, rather than correcting the faulty caption, instead removed the image in its entirety as a result of HR’s complaint.
In the case of the US edition, the following sentence appeared in the story in reference to recent violence in Jerusalem:

This is a particularly serious factual error that implies that it was the installation of metal detectors that triggered the violence. In fact, it was the murder of two Israeli policemen by Arab terrorists that prompted the Israeli government to install the metal detectors.
By getting the order of events wrong, the IBT effectively turned Israel into the instigator of the violence.
A complaint from HonestReporting and the IBT made a change:
It is testament to the IBT’s poor editing and proofing that Benjamin Netanyahu’s surname is still spelled incorrectly despite HR also pointing this out. This in addition to a poorly laid out and worded amendment to the text.
Nonetheless, the actual error has been corrected thanks to HR’s intervention.

Can The Washington Post ‘Google’ Anti-Jewish Incitement?

A July 27, 2017 Washington Post report minimizes both Palestinian anti-Jewish violence and the Jewish people’s connection to their ancestral homeland, Israel (“New clashes erupt at holy site in Jerusalem”).
The dispatch, by Jerusalem bureau chief William Booth and reporter Ruth Eglash, is ostensibly about Palestinian attacks over the al-Aqsa mosque, which sits near the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. Yet—perhaps in keeping with Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) media guidelines—the article fails to inform readers that the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Jewish religion and tradition.
Instead, Booth and Eglash blandly note “the esplanade on which al-Aqsa stands is considered holy by both Muslims, who call it the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.” In addition to a false equivocation, this omits an important fact: the al-Aqsa mosque has only in recent years been referred to as the “third holiest site” in Islam.
As the historian Daniel Pipes highlighted in the Middle East Quarterly:
“Jerusalem appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and Zion (which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel) 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. In contrast, the columnist Moshe Kohn notes, Jerusalem and Zion appear as frequently in the Qur’an ‘as they do in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita, the Taoist Tao-Te Ching, the Buddhist Dhamapada and the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta’—which is to say, not once (“The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem,” Sept. 2001).”
Pipes noted that the importance of the al-Aqsa mosque in the Islamic faith is largely due to it being in a city controlled by non-Muslims. In fact, when under Muslim control, Jerusalem is often treated as a “backwater” by ruling Islamic authorities, according to Pipes.

Another Gaza missile attack and BBC silence continues

Since the beginning of 2017 thirteen separate incidents of missile fire from either the Gaza Strip or the Sinai Peninsula have taken place. The BBC’s English language services have not informed audiences of any of those attacks.
The pattern of reporting whereby the vast majority of missile attacks from the Gaza Strip are not covered in the English language but Israel’s response to those attacks is sometimes reported in Arabic has been in evidence since the end of the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas. Throughout 2016 just one of the ten attacks that took place received BBC coverage in the English language.
A similar policy of omission appears to have been adopted regarding missile attacks perpetrated by a terrorist group located in a neighbouring country, with all of the four attacks launched from the Sinai Peninsula since the beginning of 2017 having been ignored by the BBC’s English language services.

BBC News passes on Hamas terror financing story

The BBC has for a long time avoided providing its audiences with any serious reporting on the topic of Hamas’ presence in Palestinian Authority controlled areas and the connection of past and present Hamas operatives in Turkey to efforts to build up that presence. It was therefore not surprising to see that this latest story did not get any coverage at all.
However the BBC News website did have the space and inclination to publish a story it described as being about a “social media row over dog poo”. One can only conclude that story was deemed by editors to contribute more to audience understanding of Middle East issues than the one about Hamas terror financing.

French memorial honoring deported Jewish children vandalized

France’s President Emmanuel Macron condemned the desecration of a memorial to the Jewish children of Izieu, in eastern France, deported to Nazi camps in 1944.
In a statement Tuesday Macron denounced the “shameful and cowardly act that won’t remain unpunished.”
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb also called the attack “cowardly and despicable.”
The plaque bearing the names of the victims — 44 children and 7 adults — was broken and removed from its base in a public garden in the city of Lyon.
“We are horrified but we won’t give up. We’ll rebuild it,” said Jean Levy, the head of a charity committed to preserving the memory of the 44 Jewish children deported from Izieu in eastern France in 1944.
On April 6, 1944, the Lyon Gestapo, headed by Klaus Barbie, searched the Children’s Home of Izieu and arrested the children and their teachers. Most of them died in gas chambers at Auschwitz. Only one adult survived.

Yad Vashem marks 75 years since murders of Polish Jewish educators

Yad Vashem on Tuesday hosted a day of events to remember Polish Jewish educators Janusz Korczak and Stefania Wilczynska, who sacrificed their lives to care for orphans in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Both refused to abandon the children for safer hideouts. On August 5, 1942, the Nazis rounded up Korczak, Wilczynska and the 200 children of the orphanage. They marched in rows to the Umschlagplatz gathering point, with Korczak in the lead. Together they were sent to Treblinka, where they were all murdered.
On Tuesday, members of the Hamachanot Haolim youth movement participated in an educational seminar, conducted by Yad Vashem in conjunction with Yossi and Reuven Nadel of the Israeli Educational Institute in Memory of Janusz Korczak, and Liron Avnat, representing Hamachanot Haolim.
Yossi and Reuven are the sons of Shlomo Nadel, who is one of two remaining Holocaust survivors who lived in Korczak’s orphanage in Warsaw; the other is Yitzhak Belfer, 88. Neither men was able to attend the event due to their health, but Belfer, who had been scheduled to lay a wreath beside the monument commemorating Korczak and the children sent to their deaths, released a statement in his honor.

Legendary Movie Mogul Harvey Weinstein to Direct Film on Warsaw Ghetto Revolt

Jewish Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has announced that he will produce and direct a film about the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
Weinstein made his announcement in an article published by the Deadline Hollywood website, in which he wrote that his connection to the memory of the Holocaust was “personal” because he “lost eight great aunts and uncles to Auschwitz.”
While on a trip to Israel as a child, Weinstein was given the Leon Uris-authored book Mila 18, which depicts the Warsaw Ghetto revolt.
“It’s the story of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto,” the 65-year-old Weinstein wrote. “It’s the triumph of a few Jewish rebels (men and women) who think they’re going to die and instead defeat thousands of German soldiers in the ghetto, and half of them escaped. I’ve already started to talk to people about it after delaying it for so many years. I am now committed.”
Beginning as distributors of small, low-budget independent films, Weinstein and his brother Bob conquered Hollywood with their company Miramax and later The Weinstein Company. They have won a plethora of Oscars, including Best Picture for films like Shakespeare in Love; fostered blockbusters like Scream; launched the careers of dozens of filmmakers, such as Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith; and made stars of actors like Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon, among others.
Weinstein’s personal friend, artist Ron Agam, confirmed in an interview with The Algemeiner on Tuesday that Weinstein will be directing Mila 18, the first time he has gone behind the camera since 1986.

Fox picks up new singing show based on Israeli format

Fox will counter its onetime powerhouse “American Idol” with a new singing contest, “The Four.”
The network canceled its long-running “American Idol” last year because of dwindling ratings and rising costs, only to see it snapped up by ABC for an early 2018 debut.
Fox Television Group CEO Dana Walden, announcing the new series Tuesday, said there’s room for a “fresh” take on the contest format as she defended the axing of “American Idol.”
While other shows are “more about celebrity panels and less about star-making,” Walden told a TV critics’ meeting, “The Four” will be the opposite.
“Our show begins where the others end,” she said, with four finalists pre-selected from auditions by a panel of industry experts. The singers will have to fend off weekly challenges from newcomers trying to replace them.

Weizmann Institute places 6th in global rankings

The Nature Index, 2017, of the Innovation supplement published on Wednesday, placed the Weizmann Institute of Science in sixth place in an international ranking of the world’s top 200 research institutions.
The Index ranked the institutions according to the impact academic research is having on innovation by examining how research articles are cited in third party patents.
Their rationale: By looking at patents owned by third parties – informed by and citing academic work – rather than those held by institutions themselves, the influence of research on the development of products and services is exposed.
According to Nature, the academic players featured in the index are those “whose ideas may shape tomorrow’s inventions. The top of these tables are occupied both by institutions with global reputations for high-quality research and others whose published work is having a disproportionately high impact relative to their size.”
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is the only non-US institution in the top ten. It follows such heavyweights as The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, Rockefeller University in New York and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
David Swinbanks, founder of the Nature Index, said, “This analysis comes at a time when following the transfer of scientific knowledge into industry and the economy is a growing priority for governments and research funding agencies – for them, the need to demonstrate that publicly funded science is being used for society’s benefit is paramount.”
The academic players featured in the index are those whose ideas may shape tomorrow’s inventions

A Christian Spin on Birthright Brings Faith-Based Millennials to Israel

One of the strongest sources of support for Israel today is evangelical Christians in the US. Yet many evangelical millennials, like the rest of their generation, are becoming less religiously observant — which Christian leaders fear may eventually erode support in their community for the Jewish state.
In order to counter this trend, Christian leaders are taking a page from the Jewish playbook, and launching highly-subsidized (students pay only $500) 10-day trips to Israel for college-age adults.
According to Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel — an international Christian nonprofit that is behind the initiative — one of the main motivations behind launching the Covenant Journey program was his experience working with millennials as the former dean of Liberty University Law School.
“[Millennials] oftentimes become disconnected from their faith when they enter into college. The more they are disconnected from their faith, they are also disconnected from Israel, with some even becoming anti-Israel, and in the worst-case scenario becoming antisemitic,” Staver told
Students from some 230 colleges have visited Israel with Covenant Journey since 2014. Staver said that many of these students are chosen for the trip based on their leadership capabilities.
“We like them to be active in leadership at school, through clubs, organizations or different activities … that demonstrate leadership,” he said.

Christian-Jewish Group Applauds Israel’s Aid Increase to Venezuelan Immigrants

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) praised the Israeli government for its increase in aid to Venezuelan Jewish immigrants who recently fled the South American country’s rampant violence and instability.
Israel’s Ministry of Immigration and Absorption announced an increase in aid every six months to Venezuelan olim (immigrants) by an additional $4,170 per family and $1,668 per single person. In total, the benefits now amount to $9,700 for couples; $8,200 for single-parent families; $5,100 for singles; $3,000 for children up to age 4; $2,200 for children ages 4-18; and $2,600 for immigrants ages 18-21.
“We are profoundly grateful to the Minister of Aliyah and Absorption Sofa Landver for agreeing to increase this critical support for these new olim,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The Fellowship. “This additional aid will go a long way toward helping the Jews of Venezuela as they begin new lives in Israel and incentivize others to come on aliyah as well.”
The Fellowship said it provides $800 per adult and $400 per child on top of the Israeli government’s support for the immigrants. Additionally, the group conducts follow-up visits to assist families with needs such as food, appliances, furniture, day care, vocational training and dental care.

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