Did Benny Morris Change His Views on Alleged Zionist Ethnic Cleansing Plan?
At the beginning of the previous decade, some of his positions began to evolve. Correcting a Mistake was the name of his 2000 book. The most publicized revision concerned the current political question: are the Arabs ready to accept the existence of a Jewish state in any borders? In a response to Blatman about a year ago, Morris wrote:
As for my change of opinion, it changed during the 1990s about only one thing – the Palestinians’ willingness to make peace with us. At the beginning of the decade, I thought maybe something had changed in the Palestinian national movement and they were willing to recognize reality and arrive at a compromise of two states for two peoples.
But in 2000, after Yasser Arafat’s “no” at Camp David (which was backed by his successor Mahmoud Abbas), and in light of the second intifada and the nature of that intifada, I realized they weren’t interested in peace. Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t changed since.
Another change in Morris’ position, articulated in The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited (2003), concerned the history of the 1948 war. According to Morris, he adjusted his view in light of new access to archival material which wasn’t available when he wrote his original book:
Birth Revisited describes many more atrocities and expulsions than were recorded in the original version of the book. But, at the same time, a far greater proportion of the 700,000 Arab refugees were ordered or advised by their fellow Arabs to abandon their homes than I had previously registered. It is clear from the new documentation that the Palestinian leadership in principle opposed the Arab flight from December 1947 to April 1948, while at the same time encouraging or ordering a great many villages to send away their women, children and old folk, to be out of harm’s way. Whole villages, especially in the Jewish- dominated coastal plain, were also ordered to evacuate. There is no doubt that, throughout, the departure of dependents lowered the morale of the remaining males and paved the way for their eventual departure as well.
Contrary to Daniel Blatman’s assertions, there was no revolutionary change in Morris’ position regarding the general picture of the Palestinian “Nakba.” Evolutions in his views over the years, which occurred, he said, due to new revelations and a new assessment of the Arabs’ intentions, did not touch on his assessments about the source of the Palestinian refugee problem. Perhaps his detractors attack him precisely because he is a renowned historian who doesn’t hesitate to “correct a mistake” even if the correction is in favor of the Israeli side; who doesn’t wholeheartedly adopt the Palestinian narrative; and who dares to express views that deviate from what is customary in the radical left.
This writer asked Morris whether this piece accurately reflects his views over the years. Morris responded (CAMERA’s translation from Hebrew):
Your description is completely accurate.
But I would add another thing- that Israel, as an agreed government policy, prevented the return of those who became refugees. That decision was made at government meetings in April, August and September 1948 (that is, already when only half of the refugees became refugees).
The word ‘refugees’ is problematic- because two-thirds of the refugees have moved to another place in the land of Israel (the West Bank, Gaza) and only a third left Mandatory Palestine (a refugee is usually defined as one who left his country).
A Palestinian woman, who is also the niece of one of the founders of the Fatah movement, recently stated her unequivocal disapproval of terror attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israelis, citing violent education as the root cause of the phenomenon’s continuation.
Sandra Solomon, a Palestinian born in Ramallah who converted to Christianity more than ten years ago and became a supporter of Israel, condemned the recent Halamish attack in which a terrorist broke into a home and killed three members of the Salomon family.
“The Palestinian terrorist who murdered a family on Friday evening in Halamish; where did he get the idea to enter a home and kill the people who were in there?” asked Solomon. “The young Palestinians who carry out attacks are already murdered from a psychological point of view by the education that is given to them.”
The 39-year-old Solomon, originally called Fida, is the niece of a Fatah official Sahar Habash who was a close confidant of Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat.
“As a child, I was brought up to hate Israel,” she admitted during a visit to Israel. “The most important thing to us was the liberation of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the liberation of Jerusalem and the destruction of the State of Israel.
“We watched the second intifada on television” she said as she recalled her childhood between Jordan and Saudi Arabia. “After every big terror attack—including when children were killed—candy was given out. The education that was given to me was that only Palestinians are the victims, that they are oppressed in this conflict and that the Zionists are the occupying criminals who took the land for themselves.”
The life changes Solomon underwent and her decision to turn away from the culture of hate instilled within her didn’t take place overnight.
A coalition of the usual leftist-Islamist suspects is getting ready to give Rasmea Odeh a big farewell party in Chicago on August 12, 2017.
It’s a farewell party because just a few days later, on August 17, 2017, Rasmea will be sentenced in federal court in Detroit after a guilty plea to immigration fraud. By her plea agreement, Rasmea will be deported and will lose her U.S. citizenship, but will not serve any further jail time.
This farewell party is part of the continuing attempt to turn Rasmea into a social justice hero, as I documented in September 2015, The Sickening Deification of Rasmea Odeh.
Rasmea, readers will recall, failed to disclose on her immigration applications her 1970 conviction and imprisonment in Israel for a 1969 supermarket bombing that killed two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.
“The Middle East is the graveyard of predictions” notes the left-wing writer and editor Adam Shatz. That’s partly because it’s so volatile (no one in 2014 imagined the revival of an executive caliphate after eleven centuries) and it’s perverse (Turkey’s President Erdoğan started a near-civil war against the Kurds to win constitutional changes he does not need).
In part, too, predictions fail because of the general incompetence of the specialists in the field. Often, they lack the common sense to see what should be self-evident. Case in point: the collective swoon upon the accession of Bashar al-Assad to the presidency of Syria in 2000.
Some analysts of Syrian politics expressed skepticism about a 34-year-old ophthalmologist’s ability to manage the “desolate, repressive stability” that he inherited from his dictatorial father who had ruled for thirty years. They suggested that the “deep tensions in Syrian society … could explode after the long-time dictator’s demise.”
But most observers divined in the young Assad a decent fellow if not a closet humanitarian. David W. Lesch, an academic who rejoices in the title of Ewing Halsell Distinguished Professor of Middle East History at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, led this particular pack. Lesch befriended the young strongman, enjoying what his publisher calls “unique and extraordinary access to Syria’s president, his circle, and his family.”
Those long hours of conversation led to a 2005 book, The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria (Yale University Press) and a cascade of praise from fellow academics: Moshe Ma’oz of the Hebrew University found it “very informative and perceptive.” Curtis Ryan of Appalachian State University called it “revealing.” James L. Gelvin of UCLA praised it as “an extraordinarily readable and timely account.” A prestigious Washington think tank hosted a discussion of the book’s findings.
Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe have announced they will submit plans for a new development application to build a synagogue in Bondi to Sydney’s Waverley Council and suggested jointly that a proposed weekend protest would “be unproductive”.
The two parties held a “without prejudice” meeting on Wednesday to discuss the proposed synagogue and apartments at 105 Wellington Street near the popular Bondi Beach for which the development application was refused by the Land and Environment Court on Aug. 2. The court had upheld a Waverley Council’s decision to ban the construction of the synagogue in suburban Sydney because it could become the target of a terrorist attack.
The refusal received world-wide media attention which focused on it as being an act of anti-Semitism.
The new development application could be in place as early as December.
In attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were the mayor, acting general manager and senior planning staff from the Council, and Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Rabbi Eli Feldman, and Rabbi Eli Schlanger from the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe, or FREE, along with their town planning advisor and architect.
The meeting opened with a prayer led by Rabbi Feldman who acknowledged Waverley Council’s commitment to and support of the Jewish community.
Coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud), who has thrown his support behind Beit Hamachpela, spoke to the group after the march.
“The contemptible decision of UNESCO completely ignored the Jewish people’s historical connection to the city where our forefathers are buried,” Bitan said. “It reinforces the need and importance of your presence here. There is no more symbolic moment than now to appeal to those of you who have not yet immigrated to Israel, that now is the time to return home, to the only true home of all the Jews.”
Yaakov Hagoel, vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization and chairman of World Likud, told The Jerusalem Post that he had come from Netanya to join the group.
“These are people who could have been at the beach or in air-conditioned rooms with their iPads, and instead they are marching here with Israeli flags in the midst of Hebron, where it all began for the Jewish people,” he said.
In the evening, near the checkpoint by the Tomb of the Patriarchs, border police officers arrested a Palestinian man, 25, who held a knife and whom they feared was about to stab them.
On the 35th anniversary of a deadly attack on a Paris kosher restaurant, French Jews called for the extradition of three Palestinian Arabs suspected of carrying out the terrorist attack.
CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities and organizations, issued a statement on the matter on Wednesday, August 9, the date in 1982 when six people were murdered and 22 injured on Rosiers Street in Paris in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in France after World War II.
The suspects in the attack on the Jo Goldberg deli are wanted for questioning in France as per a 2015 arrest warrant issued at France’s request. One of them lives in Jordan, another near Ramallah, and a third in Norway, according to CRIF. None of the relevant governments have agreed to extradite the suspects, whom French investigators believe belonged to the Abu Nidal terrorist group affiliated with Fatah.
But Francis Kalifat, president of CRIF, said France is partly responsible for the failure to bring the suspects in for questioning and possibly prosecution.
“We can only regret that France agrees to this situation and has not even complained about it to the Palestinian Authority, which is home to Mahmoud Kader Abed, also known as Hisham Harb, who was the main figure responsible for the attack,” Kalifat wrote in a statement referencing one of the suspects.
French Jewish leaders seized on a suspected terrorist attack against police officers to again criticize authorities for not labeling the murder of a Jewish woman as a hate crime.
On Wednesday, the CRIF umbrella group of French Jews posted a sarcastic statement on Facebook about the car-ramming Wednesday morning in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. Six police officers were injured in the attack, two of them seriously and the rest moderately. The suspect fled.
The CRIF post asks whether authorities would place the suspect under psychiatric evaluation, as they did the Muslim man charged in the slaying of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, in April.
“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.
It was back in 2008 when Matti Friedman, then a journalist with the Associated Press news agency, first wrote about the Aleppo Codex. This most ancient and precise version of the Hebrew bible, bound as a folio for ease of reference, was guarded by the Jews of Aleppo in a dark grotto under their Great Synagogue, its annotations threatening that a curse would befall whoever dared steal its pages. The Codex was, so the accepted version goes, badly damaged by fire in the 1947 riots which caused most of the Jews to flee, but was salvaged and smuggled from Syria to Israel where it finally reached safety at the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.
That had been the story of the Aleppo Codex, until Matti Friedman decided to delve a bit deeper. Every one of those initial assumptions turned out to be false, he found. His investigations resulted in a 300-page update: Friedman’s book, ‘The Aleppo Codex’.
For a start, the Codex did not originate in Aleppo. It was written in Tiberias in 930 CE, survived the Crusader siege on Jerusalem, was shipped to old Cairo, where it was studied by Moses Maimonides in the 12th century, before finally reaching Aleppo.
Next, the Codex was not damaged by fire, but by poor storage. It was not taken immediately to Israel, but was kept in private hands in Syria for almost 10 years after the riots.
The third myth is that, once smuggled out of Syria, the Codex was bequeathed to Israel as its national heritage. It was not. The Aleppan Jews had intended the treasure to remain within their community and fought an obscure court case to retrieve it.
I barely knew Neda Amin’s name before late last month. An Iranian-born journalist, blogger and rights activist who was critical of the regime, she had left Iran for Turkey in 2014, and had written a single freelance piece for The Times of Israel from there last year. I had never met her. I hadn’t even spoken with her.
But then she contacted us, and told us her life was in danger. She had been blogging frequently on The Times of Israel Persian, one of our foreign language sites. And her writing for an Israeli news site, along with her other writing elsewhere, had apparently made life difficult for her in Turkey.
She told us — in writing, and in a few very short phone conversations — that her life was in danger. She had been questioned repeatedly by Turkish police, and had now been told that she faced being kicked out of the country. Furthermore, if no country would take her in, she said she was told, she would be sent back to Iran — where the worst could happen
She said that she was supposed to have protection from the UN, but she did not believe that this would keep her safe. She had not written against the authorities in Turkey, but it had been made clear to her that her public criticism of the Iranian regime, and her writing for an Israeli site, were not tolerable.
She also contacted the Israeli authorities, and made a plea that she be allowed to come here.
Neda speaks a little English. It was enough for her to say to me, on the phone, “Mr. Horovitz, please save me.”
After gathering more of her details, I contacted a few people — Israeli and others — who I thought might be able to advise me, and to help Neda.
And they did. The readiness to help was quite remarkable. Almost nobody told me there was nothing they could do or nothing to be done.
Hours after she arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Thursday, Neda Amin, an Iranian-born journalist and dissident who feared being deported to her native country, thanked the Israeli government for granting her refuge, adding that she has Jewish roots and would love to live in Israel.
During a press conference at The Times of Israel’s Jerusalem offices, Amin — who blogged regularly and freelanced for The Times of Israel’s Persian site — described her anguish as she feared Turkey, where she had lived as a refugee since 2014, would deport her back to Iran.
Having written critically about the regime, Amin feared she would have been arrested, tortured, and that her life would have been in danger had she been forced to return to the Islamic Republic.
“I am very happy. Israel is my country,” she said in broken English, adding that she finally felt “safe now” because no one wants to attack or arrest her here.
Amin, 32, said she had no immediate plans but indicated that she would seek permanent residence status or citizenship.
For Muslims in other parts of the world, inflammatory outrage — often based on spurious charges — against Israel, has always been given immediate priority, while serious human rights violations by Muslim nations, dictators, and mobs are shrugged off as problems “over there.”
This silent refusal by many Muslims to condemn attacks that are openly inspired by Islam does not come from aggression, but from a fear of challenging religious authority or needfully holding our own community accountable. In a post-Trump era, Muslims are not worried about what Jews, Americans or a new administration will do. Many of us fear first and foremost our own community for the ostracism and harassment we risk if we rise as a dissenting voice.
Extremist ideology will only change once we remove the imams and the mosque leadership who are complicit and who have unfettered access to a powerful platform. These are not people of faith; they are not spiritual leaders. They are dangerous propagandists and they need to be removed.
Israel’s bitterest American critics had reason to celebrate this week. The efforts of anti-Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine to defeat the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a proposed federal law prohibiting compliance with commercial boycotts of Israel, got a major boost when two U.S. senators came out against the measure on the grounds that it would suppress free speech. But what’s at stake in this debate is not so much whether the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement will gain mainstream support. Rather, it is whether their disingenuous campaign could actually reverse the outcome of a decades-old battle over the legality of the Arab boycott of Israel that once threatened to strangle the young Jewish state.
The Arab boycott is ancient history to Israelis. That boycott actually dates back to before the State of Israel was born when in 1945 the Arab League declared a ban on all business with the Jewish community of British Mandatory Palestine. But it persisted after the State of Israel was declared in 1948 and became a serious effort that placed severe limits on the ability of the new Jewish state to expand its economy.
The boycott made it impossible for individuals and companies that wished to do business in the Arab and Muslim worlds to also work in Israel. Part of the boycott involved denying entry to Arab countries if your passport showed you had been to Israel, as well as bans on films with Jewish or pro-Israel actors. But it was primarily about ordinary commercial conduct. It was successful in isolating Israel prior to, and reached its height in the aftermath of, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when an Arab oil boycott of the West raised the price to be paid for open support for Israel.
But within a decade of that high point, the boycott began to collapse. Part of the reason was that peace with Egypt undermined its rationale. But the real reason was the devastating impact of laws such as the ones passed by the U.S. Congress in 1976 and 1977 that treated compliance with the boycott as a crime punishable by costly fines and jail.
A new poll of close to 1000 New Zealanders has found surprisingly strong support for Israel.
According to local news outlet J-Wire, the Israel Institute of New Zealand found that respondents supported the Jewish state by a margin on 55 to 13 percent.
The institute’s co-director David Cumin commented, “The support for Israel is most encouraging at a time when Israel is demonized in the media and blamed, by some, for putting obstacles in the way of peace.”
“It’s also important to know that there is support when Jews are once again under threat around the world and need to know that they have a safe haven in their ancestral homeland,” he added.
The poll showed other positive results for Israel. It found that on the question of whether Israel should be a Jewish-majority state, 60 percent of men and 51 percent of women said yes. Fifty-eight percent of those under age 30 and over age 60 responded affirmatively.
These numbers are particularly striking because of recent tensions between the governments of New Zealand and Israel.
An Israeli athlete won the bronze medal on Tuesday at a Thai boxing championship held in Bangkok, Thailand, after his rival, a Palestinian, refused to fight him, the UK’s Jewish Chronicle reported.
Amit Mdah, 16, defeated a competitor from Madagascar to reach the bronze medal quarter-finals fight in the World Youth Muaythai Championships, only to have the bout cancelled. The Palestinian athlete who declared he would not fight against Mdah — who hails from Sumei, an Arab town in the Galilee — may now face a penalty for refusing to compete, according to the report.
More than 2,000 athletes from around the world competed in the Thai boxing championships.
Iran has dropped midfield duo Haji Safi and Masoud Shojaei from the national team after they played against Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv for their Greek club Panionios last week, the sports ministry said Thursday.
Deputy Sports Minister Mohammad Reza Davarzani said they could no longer wear the national shirt after they played against the club in the Europa League third qualifying round second leg in Greece.
“Shojaei and Haji Safi have no place in Iran’s national football team any more because they crossed the country’s red line,” Davarzani told state television.
“They have a financial contract with a club to be paid and play for that team, but to play with the representative of a loathsome regime… this is not acceptable for Iranian people.”
The two players had refused to play in the away leg in Israel despite facing “pressure” and “financial fines” from their club, the sports ministry said.
But they played in the second leg in Greece on August 4. It did not help Panionios, who lost 0-1 and 0-2 on aggregate.
J Street has hired a former senior Obama administration official to serve as its national political director.
Aaron Davis worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, in its Congressional Affairs Division for five years.
The organization announced the hiring on Tuesday.
Davis will oversee JStreetPAC’s efforts to elect J Street-endorsed candidates to Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.
Prior to joining FEMA, he held several positions on Capitol Hill, including as legislative director for former U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa.
Regular readers will know just what a vile antisemite Free Gaza co-founder Greta Berlin is. Not only that, but she supports terrorism against not only Israelis, but Jews worldwide.
I say all of this as an introduction to this Facebook comment of hers (to a post of Jenny Tonge’s), in which she announces she is coming to “the belly of the beast” – which I assume means Israel.
Yep, I’m pretty sure she means Israel.
If I am correct, one need not imagine the kind of “mischief” she would try and get up to. That is why I hope she is not allowed in to the country.
The deputy mayor of Frankfurt, Uwe Becker, submitted a bill on Wednesday that would ban municipal funds and space being used for activities that aim to boycott Israel.
Becker, a leading German political voice against antisemitism, said, “The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign with its messages uses the same language the National Socialists once used to express: ‘Don’t buy from Jews!’”
The boycott movement targeting Israel is “deeply antisemitic and should have no place in Frankfurt,” he said.
The proposed law would outlaw all public funding and space for the support of “antisemitic BDS activities.” The bill in Frankfurt, which has a population of nearly 733,000, would also urge private companies to refrain from commerce with BDS groups.
The deputy mayor spearheaded his Christian Democratic Union’s adoption of its anti-BDS platform at the party’s congress in 2016.
Becker said on Wednesday, “Frankfurt maintains, with its partnership with Tel Aviv, a special closeness to Israel and has continued to expand over the previous years this special relationship.”
More than 200 rabbis from the liberal movements of American Judaism signed a letter opposing Israel’s travel ban on leaders of the boycott movement against Israel.
The rabbis signing Wednesday’s letter were responding to an incident last month in which Rabbi Alissa Wise of Jewish Voice for Peace, which supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was prevented from boarding an Israel-bound airplane leaving Dulles Airport in Washington, DC.
Four other people traveling to Israel as part of an interfaith delegation, including two other Jews, a Christian and a Muslim, were also prevented from boarding the flight at the request of the Israeli government.
“We hold diverse opinions on BDS. Even though many of us have substantive differences with Rabbi Wise and other rabbinic colleagues who support the BDS movement in some or all of its forms, we believe that the decision to bar Rabbi Wise from visiting Israel is anti-democratic and desecrates our vision of a diverse Jewish community that holds multiple perspectives,” read the letter, which had been signed by 212 rabbis as of late Wednesday morning.
“Boycotts are a legitimate nonviolent tactic that have been used both in our own country and around the world in order to create justice for marginalized and oppressed communities. Whether we support boycott is a controversy for the sake of heaven. It endures because we struggle together and debate how we can create peace, justice, and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the letter said.
Next month, the Young Vic theater will bring a familiar – but hotly contested – play back to the stage.
The London theater house will be staging My Name is Rachel Corrie, the purported tale of a young American activist killed in Gaza in 2003. The play was created by the late actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katharine Viner, who is now the editor-in-chief of The Guardian.
The play premiered in London in 2006 and has been staged more than a dozen times around the globe – even in Israel – but never without controversy.
Corrie, a 23-year-old American university student, traveled to the Gaza Strip as an activist and protester.
The play – and Corrie’s family and fellow activists – contends that the IDF intentionally ran over Corrie with a bulldozer while she was protesting home demolitions in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. But the IDF – and several Israeli courts – said Corrie was killed accidentally when she was crushed by debris during a military operation in a closed military zone. IDF officers testified that activists in the area ignored multiple orders to leave, and the bulldozer operator could not see Corrie from his position.
From the play’s first premiere, it has had Jewish and Israeli groups notably upset. Its return to the stage in London this fall is no exception.
In a new interview with Ruptly TV, rock’n’roll BDS-hole Roger Waters has again criticized artists who perform in Israel.
But it is one part that particularly sticks out for me, because it shows how he is constantly changing his story.
Allow the below video I created to demonstrate what I am getting at.
It is almost as if he is making it up as he goes along.
An artist tired of seeing hateful tweets ignored by Twitter has managed to get the social network to remove or hide some of them — by spray-painting the offending posts in front of the company’s German headquarters.
Shahak Shapira said he reported some 300 tweets containing possible illegal content to Twitter over a period of about six months but the social networking site ignored him. This occurred at a time when Twitter was arguing against tough new legislation in Germany, insisting it was already taking sufficient measures against hate speech.
Shapira said he painted almost 30 of the offending tweets on the street in front of Twitter’s Hamburg offices Friday because “flagging things clearly wasn’t enough.”
“I had to spray it on the ground,” he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.
The Israeli-born artist said he never got any kind of direct response from Twitter, either before or after the stunt.
But a video of it received over 100,000 views in 48 hours and clearly got the company’s attention. By Wednesday, Twitter had deleted three tweets, suspended four accounts and withheld another seven accounts in Germany.
The Facebook group Palestine Will Be Free certainly loves their anti-Israel memes, and here is one they published last week (which has been shared almost 350 times on Facebook alone).
They clearly cut out the caption when creating it.
And here’s the thing. They had to have known the true context of the photo, so they are deliberately lying. As their fellow Israel-haters do again and again.
The Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has been forced to apologize for its coverage of the anti-Israel violence in Jerusalem at the start of the recent Temple Mount crisis.
The taxpayer-funded broadcaster was forced into the backdown after a TV news report on June 17 covered the terror stabbing of 23-year-old Israeli police officer Hadas Malka.
The SBS item began by stating “Israeli security forces have shot dead three Palestinians accused of carrying out shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem.” The voice-over only subsequently noted the “stabbing [of] a border police officer” without mentioning Staff Sgt. Malka had died.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) executive director Peter Wertheim noted the omission of Malka’s death from the report, despite other media reporting it, in his written complaint to the SBS ombudsman.
“This was an appalling omission … Nor does it appear that the omission was inadvertent, as it is entirely in keeping with the whole tenor of the report, which is to highlight only the deaths of those who instigated the attack,” Wertheim wrote. “This is not only sloppy reporting, but also biased reporting.”
In her response, SBS ombudsman Sally Begbie stated “the report was found to have breached the [SBS] code for accuracy and impartiality”.
News.com.au (a part of News Corp Australia) bills itself as “Australia’s #1 News Site” with over 60 million monthly unique visitors.
In an article on the Paris attack, the site included other examples of vehicle attacks around the world, saying that the Paris attack was “…the latest in a disturbing trend of terrorists or otherwise disturbed people driving their cars into crowds with the express purpose of killing innocent people.”
News.com.au then goes on to describe the following incidents:
June 3 – London Bridge
April 8 – Stockholm
March 22 – Westminster
January 20 – Melbourne
December, 2016 – Berlin
July, 2016 – “Bastille Day” attack (Nice)
December, 2014 – France
April, 2009 – Dutch Royal Family
But which country is conspicuous by its absence?
As documented by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Israel has suffered 60 vehicular terror (ramming) attacks since the beginning of the wave of terror in September 2015. Not one like Melbourne or Berlin, not two like the UK, not even four like France, but 60.
Nostalgia for Jews is a well-documented phenomenon in Eastern Europe, with cultural and even substantial commercial aspects.
In Ukraine, so-called Jewish-themed restaurants with pork-heavy menus compete for tourists, while figurines of Jews are sold at markets as good luck charms. In Poland, graffiti reading “I miss you, Jew” has become a common sight.
Beyond the kitsch, Jewish cultural festivals draw large non-Jewish audiences in Krakow, Warsaw and Budapest.
Some credit this trend to a feeling of loss over the near annihilation of once-vibrant Jewish communities. Others trace it a desire to reconnect with the pre-Soviet past.
But even against this backdrop, the fake Jewish wedding that was held Saturday in the village of Radzanów, 80 miles northeast of Warsaw, stands out as a remarkable affair.
Make-believe Jewish weddings — a regular educational event in Spain and Portugal, where nostalgia for nearly-extinct Jewish communities is also prevalent — are rare in Poland (locals in the village of Bobowa organized one in 2013). Even rarer are enactments as well-produced as the one in Radzanow.
Organized by the Radzanovia Association, a cultural group promoting Polish heritage, the event featured a few dozen non-Jewish volunteers, men and women, dressed in traditional haredi costumes. Some men wore fake beards and side curls – including ones that didn’t match their natural hair color.
The dog days of summer have arrived, and by now we all know the drill: Cover up, slather on the sunscreen or go back inside.
With all the public awareness about the dangers of sun exposure, you’d think that skin cancer rates would be falling.
In fact, the number of people being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has skyrocketed over the past three decades. And Jews are at higher risk than most.
It seems we just can’t kick our sun worshipping. Maybe that’s because, as studies have shown, sun exposure can trigger the release of those pleasant-feeling endorphins, and tanning can be addictive.
The statistics about skin cancer should be sobering. Most melanomas (and some 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers) are associated with exposure to the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than all the new diagnoses of breast, lung and colon cancer combined. One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
The news is worse for Jews. Those who have a mutation in the BRCA2 gene — raising the risk of developing breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers — also are at increased risk of skin cancer.
Israel’s SpaceIL, one of only five teams remaining in the multi-million-dollar Google Lunar XPrize race to the moon, is starting to assemble the craft to be launched in 2018, according to SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman.
“We are thrilled to share with you that the various parts and components of the spacecraft are in advanced stages of manufacture in Israel and abroad,” he announced this week.
The competition began 10 years ago with 33 teams vying to be the first to soft-land a privately funded, unmanned robot on the moon, move it 500 meters across the moon’s surface and transmit high-definition video and photos back to Earth. The top prize is $20 million.
The nonprofit SpaceIL was the last to register, at the end of 2010, but was the first to secure the required launch contract.
“Six years of intensive activity, successful trials, development, manufacture and testing of all the complex systems that will be installed in the spacecraft … will allow us to realize our national mission and join the exclusive and prestigious group of superpowers that have landed on the moon to date: The USA, the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China,” said Privman.
The SpaceIL craft will bring a lunar magnetometer from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot to study the magnetic fields on the surface of the moon.
Silicon Valley giant Intel on Wednesday announced plans for a fleet of self-driving cars following its completion of the purchase of Israeli autonomous technology firm Mobileye.
A day after closing the $15 billion deal to buy Mobileye, which specializes in driver-assistance systems, Intel said it will begin rolling out fully autonomous vehicles later this year for testing in Europe, Israel, and the US.
The fleet will eventually have more than 100 vehicles, according to Intel.
“Building cars and testing them in real-world conditions provides immediate feedback and will accelerate delivery of technologies and solutions for highly and fully autonomous vehicles,” said Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua, who is to run the unit for Intel.
“Our goal is to develop autonomous vehicle technology that can be deployed anywhere.”
The Intel test fleet with include various types and makes of vehicles, and capitalize on Mobileye expertise in computer vision, mapping and sensing.
Australian gaming company Aristocrat Leisure announced Thursday that is has acquired Israeli social-gaming developer Plarium for $500 million. The deal, to be finalized by December 2017, was pursued as part of Aristocrat’s move to increase its exposure to the rapidly-growing digital market.
According to The Australian, the deal will increase Aristocrat’s digital footprint from 14% to 22% of revenue. In a similar effort, the Sydney-based company purchased social-casino operator Product Madness in 2012.
“Plarium provides a unique opportunity to continue and accelerate this growth by diversifying into attractive new mobile gaming segments, including strategy, RPG and casual,” Aristocrat CEO Trevor Croker said in a statement.
“The acquisition of Plarium allows Aristocrat to expand our addressable market into logical adjacent segments in the fast growing mobile social gaming market. It also provides us a stronger platform to target the overall mobile and web games market as growth segments.”
The Herzliya-based Plarium employs 1,200 people and has offices in Israel, Europe, and the United States.
Founded in 2009, Plarium has nine key titles and a strong game pipeline. Plarium’s most popular game to date, Vikings: War of Clans, has repeatedly ranked in the top 10 grossing strategy games since its launch, financial daily Globes said. (h/t Yoel)
Hundreds of new North American immigrants are set to arrive in Israel next week aboard an El Al Airlines flight chartered by the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah agency.
Among the 233 new immigrants, 68 will join the IDF after receiving their Israeli citizenship. The future IDF members will be known as “lone soldiers” — those without family members living in Israel. Significant media attention has focused on Israeli lone soldiers in recent years, particularly after two American-born soldiers, Max Steinberg of California and Sean Carmeli of Texas, were killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
Other newcomers aboard next week’s aliyah flight include immigrants from 19 US states and two Canadian provinces, 75 children, six sets of twins, and 26 medical professionals.
The aliyah flight will arrive at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport shortly after sunrise on Tuesday. The new immigrants will be greeted with a ceremony attended by Israeli government officials as well as representatives from the Jewish Agency for Israel, JNF-USA and the Tzofim Garin Tzabar lone soldiers program, among others.
A rare 2,000-year-old workshop for the production of chalkstone vessels, dating to the Roman period, was recently unearthed by archeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority during excavations at Reina, in the Lower Galilee.
The excavations took place in a small cave in which researchers found thousands of chalkstone cores and other types of production waste, including fragments of stone mugs and bowls in various stages of production, the Authority said Thursday.
The ancient site is the fourth workshop of its kind to ever have been discovered in Israel. It was uncovered during the course of construction work at a municipal sports center conducted by the Reina Local Council.
According to Dr. Yonatan Adler, senior lecturer at Ariel University and director of the excavation on behalf of the IAA, during the first century of the Common Era, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone.
“The reason for this curious choice of material seems to have been religious, as according to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken,” explained Adler on Thursday.
“Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure, and as a result, ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone.”
Although chalkstone vessels have been unearthed at many Jewish sites throughout the country, Adler said it is extremely unusual to uncover a site where such vessels were actually produced.
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