September 25, 2020

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08/12 Links Pt2: The science of anti-Semitism; What do Jewish voters need to know about Kamala Harris?; Facebook Updating Hate Speech Policies to Include ‘Stereotypes About Jewish People Controlling the World’

From Ian:

In Harris, Biden chooses a traditionally pro-Israel Dem as his veep candidate
Former vice president Joe Biden made history Tuesday by choosing California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. The 55-year-old senator will be a VP candidate of many firsts: the first woman of color, the first daughter of immigrants and the first Indian American to be on a major party’s presidential ticket.

When it comes to US policy on Israel, her positions more or less reflect mainstream Democratic thinking over the last 10 years.

Harris supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and believes in a robust US-Israel relationship, including the continuation of American military aid to the Jewish state.

She backed the Iran nuclear deal and vowed to re-enter the landmark pact as a presidential contender last year, aligning her closely with Biden, who was a champion of the agreement in the Obama administration.

Unlike some of the more liberal members of the caucus, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she has not bucked the party’s traditionally supportive posture toward Israel, or called for fundamental changes to the nature of the alliance.

In November 2017, she visited Israel and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In April 2019, the senator’s then campaign communications director Lily Adams told McClatchy that her “support for Israel is central to who she is.”

Even as insurgent progressives like Ocasio-Cortez have been deeply critical of Israel’s tactics in Gaza during flareups, Adams told McClatchy that Harris was “firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza.”

The Howard University graduate has also maintained a close relationship with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The former prosecutor was very public about her private meetings with AIPAC officials in March 2019, amid the pro-Israel lobby’s annual policy conference.

At the time, there was pressure from liberal groups such as MoveOn to boycott the event. The public announcement of the private meetings was seen as a tactic to dispel the rumors that the campaign had been successful.

What do Jewish voters need to know about Kamala Harris?

The California senator, who made history Tuesday as the first Black woman to join a major party presidential ticket, is still in her first term. But during several years in public office, the 55-year-old lawmaker’s outspoken opinions on a range of issues and her presidential run have given Jewish voters plenty to scrutinize.

She is also married to Jewish lawyer Douglas Emhoff, who would become the country’s first Jewish second husband.

As a senator, Harris has been aligned with Biden on Israel: She is seen as a strong supporter with ties to AIPAC, the country’s largest pro-Israel lobby, and unlike some Democrats has not broached the idea of conditioning aid to Israel to influence its policies. During her presidential run, Harris separated herself somewhat from even the mainstream moderates in the pack, firmly opposing the idea of condemnatory UN votes or even strong public criticism aimed at swaying Israeli policy.

While the more liberal pro-Israel group J Street has endorsed the centrist Biden, who also has committed to keeping spats with Israel private and the idea of not allowing any “daylight” between the US and Israel in diplomatic terms, it has not backed Harris. J Street, which lobbies for a two-state solution, has endorsed more than half of Senate Democrats.

However, Harris has said that she would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement that conservative Jews despise over its aid to Iran, a regime that routinely calls for Israel’s destruction. That keeps her aligned with Biden, who was part of the Obama administration that brokered the 2015 agreement over vehement objections by Israel.

“This nuclear deal is not perfect, but it is certainly the best existing tool we have to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and avoid a disastrous military conflict in the Middle East,” Harris wrote in a statement in 2018 after Trump pulled the US out of the deal. “As the international community and the Administration’s own national security team has confirmed multiple times, Iran remains in compliance with the deal. In the absence of an Iranian violation, it is reckless to break this agreement without presenting any plan on how to move forward.”

5 Jewish things to know about Kamala Harris

1. She smashed a glass at her wedding
She met her Jewish husband, Douglas Emhoff, on a blind date in San Francisco, arranged by friends. They married in 2014 — Harris’ sister Maya officiated — and smashed a glass to honor Emhoff’s upbringing. It was her first marriage and his second — Emhoff has two children from his first marriage.

You thought Jews can be parochial? “Most eligible Indian American bachelorette marries fellow lawyer” is how one Indian American media outlet reported the story.

Emhoff took the Washington, D.C. bar exam in 2017 so he could work in the same city.

Emhoff’s Twitter feed is pretty much “I love my wife” all the time (take that, Kellyanne and George Conway).

2. She did the blue box thing
“So having grown up in the Bay Area, I fondly remember those Jewish national fund boxes that we would use to collect donations to plant trees for Israel,” she said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2017. “Years later when I visited Israel for the first time, I saw the fruits of that effort and the Israeli ingenuity that has truly made a desert bloom.”

3. She’s more AIPAC than J Street
Since being elected in 2016, Harris has spoken twice at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Her 2018 speech, with the California delegation, was off the record (itself not unusual, although critics of Israel were unnerved), but she gave a good picture of where she stands in her 2017 speech.

She’s for two states — so is AIPAC, although, sometimes less than emphatically — but she doesn’t believe in big-footing either side.

“I believe that a resolution to this conflict cannot be imposed,” she said. “It must be agreed upon by the parties themselves.”

More than half of the Democratic caucus in the Senate gets the endorsement of J Street, the Jewish liberal lobbying group that believes pressure is necessary to start peace talks. J Street did not endorse Harris. Her only association with the group was in November 2017, when she was one of 17 local and federal politicians on the host committee (i.e., “yes you can stick my name on the invitation”) of a party thrown by J Street’s Los Angeles chapter. She also met in 2018 in her office with the group’s director, Jeremy Ben-Ami.
harris on stage speaking at a podium with an AIPAC logo behind her

Harris also co-sponsored a Senate resolution in early 2017 that essentially rebuked the Obama administration for allowing through a U.S. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policies.

She supported the Iran nuclear deal, although she was not a senator in 2015 when Congress voted on it, and is on the record opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

The science of anti-Semitism

The darkest chapter of modern Jewish history involved Germany applying science to anti-Semitic degradation and violence. Seventy-five years later, the German government is still exorcising those demons, and as part of that effort, it’ll now be using scientific logic to stamp out resurgent Jew-hate within its own borders.

It’s been a long road. West Germans began paying financial reparations to the families of Holocaust victims in 1953. In the late 1970s, West Germany’s culture ministers standardized nationwide education about the country’s Nazi past, and along the way, Erinnerungskultur, the culture of remembrance, became widely embraced. In 2018, the German government appointed Felix Klein as the first-ever federal government commissioner for Jewish life in Germany and the fight against anti-Semitism. One testament to Klein’s efficacy and fair-handedness in that role, and also to the challenge he faces from political partisans, is a July 24 letter that “more than 60 German and Israeli academics” felt compelled to send to Chancellor Angela Merkel, complaining about the commissioner opposing left-wing anti-Semitism.

For his part, Klein remains optimistic about the outlook for Jewish life in Germany, telling me, “Jewish life is blossoming. Jews still like to live in Germany. We still have more Jews coming to live in Germany than leaving. We’re opening up new synagogues.” But the commissioner also sounds incredibly busy, because Germany faces its own rising anti-Semitism on multiple fronts.

Historic anti-Semitism reverberates in German churches’ Judensaus, artwork that features Jews and pigs and is intended to defame and humiliate; the movement (and court case) to remove Judensaus from church facades remains a work in progress. Meanwhile, Jewish students continue to face discrimination in German schools. It is not always safe for Jewish men to wear a kippah publicly. Yellow stars of David have appeared at anti-vaccine protests amid the coronavirus pandemic. An elite commando force was recently dissolved because of far-right extremism within its ranks. And Commissioner Klein faced calls for his firing this spring when he opposed inviting a supporter of the movement to boycott Israel to be the featured speaker at a significant, publicly funded cultural festival.

Because a country’s international relations always involve a dance among competing interests, Germany has remained close to Iran, which aspires to finish what Hitler started by wiping Israel’s nearly 7 million Jewish citizens off the map. And it took Germany until April of this year to declare Iranian-linked Hezbollah a terrorist organization — nearly three decades into its existence.

It’s within this context that German leaders continue rethinking and refining their nation’s approach to fighting anti-Semitism. After last fall’s Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in Halle, officials have shown increased urgency. Klein recounted, “Our parliament and government did the right thing and passed a package of measures against anti-Semitism, particularly regarding the fight against anti-Semitism and the internet.” For example, the Bundestag passed a law requiring that internet platforms share users’ information when they make anti-Semitic or other hateful comments, enabling police prosecution. There are also now plans to study anti-Semitism scientifically (by applying social science). Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research is gearing up to launch a four-year, €12 million, interdisciplinary research program known as Current Dynamics and Challenges of Anti-Semitism that will explore the best ways to extinguish the oldest hatred.

Facebook Says It Is Updating Hate Speech Policies to Include ‘Stereotypes About Jewish People Controlling the World’

Facebook announced in an Aug. 11 statement that the social media giant will be updating its hate speech policies to include “stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world.”

The statement promoted Facebook’s latest Community Enforcement Standards report on how its policies were enforced from April to June.

“Our proactive detection rate for hate speech on Facebook increased 6 points from 89% to 95%. In turn, the amount of content we took action on increased from 9.6 million in Q1 to 22.5 million in Q2,” the statement read. “This is because we expanded some of our automation technology in Spanish, Arabic and Indonesian and made improvements to our English detection technology in Q1.”

Facebook has developed new teams and task forces, such as the Facebook Inclusive Product and the Diversity Advisory Council, to ensure that the platform fosters an inclusive environment.

“We’re also updating our policies to more specifically account for certain kinds of implicit hate speech, such as content depicting blackface, or stereotypes about Jewish people controlling the world,” the statement read. “We also continued to prioritize the removal of content that violates our policy against hate groups. Since October 2019, we’ve conducted 14 strategic network disruptions to remove 23 different banned organizations, over half of which supported white supremacy.”

The social media giant’s statement added that Facebook’s reports will start being subjected to third-party audits in 2021 to ensure that their statistics are accurate.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we’ll continue adapting our content review process and working to improve our technology and bring more reviewers back online,” the statement concluded.

Arsen Ostrovsky, executive director of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, tweeted, “Bravo @Facebook for announcing this new policy to tackle hate speech on your platform. It is certainly a step in right direction. But insofar as #Antisemitism is concerned, it is imperative that next, Facebook #AdoptIHRA [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance] definition as a base standard.”

StandWithUs Welcomes Facebook Action on Antisemitism; Will Monitor Progress & Advise

The StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department was pleased to receive an encouraging response from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, to a detailed letter we sent the Facebook Board of Directors stating ways for them to toughen their policy against Antisemitism on Facebook.

This week we joined dozens of partner organizations in a campaign initiated by the Gila and Adam Milstein Foundation to ensure that the international standard definition of Antisemitism – known as the IHRA (International Holocaust Memorial Alliance) definition – forms the core of their policy to define and remove antisemitic content from the social media platform.

Sheryl Sandberg assured all the organizations that were part of this campaign, that “the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism has been invaluable – both in informing our own approach and as a point of entry for candid policy discussions with organizations like yours. In some respects, our Community Standards go even further than the IHRA definition – for example, expressions of dismissal.” Facebook also responded to the campaign with a letter from Monika Bickert, Facebook VP Content Policy, which we are making available for you, our supporters to read.

Antisemitism is hate speech and words lead to nefarious deeds. Even in the recent past, we have seen the deadly results of Antisemitism.

We are grateful to the Milstein foundation for launching this campaign. We will continue to monitor this issue and the steps taken. We welcome this initial response from Facebook as a step in the right direction. We will make our executive personnel and the StandWithUs Center for Combatting Antisemitism staff and resources available to work with Facebook and ensure that there is no place for antisemitic or racist hate on their platform.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Facebook adopt IHRA to fight Jew hate

Urban Dictionary’s Twitter bot reveals website’s promotion of antisemitism to the world

The robotic Twitter handle of the online crowd-sourced dictionary of slang words known Urban Dictionary has promoted an antisemitic entry on the website about “anti-Zionism”.

If someone sends the Twitter handle a term that features on the controversial website, it will automatically provide a screenshot of the definition.

A Twitter user asked the handle to provide a definition of “Zionism” but instead got a definition for “anti-Zionism”, which read: “Anti-Zionism is in no way connected to antisemitism. To be antizionist is to be anti-fascist. Zionism is based on the idea that millenia old literary myth is the basis for nationhood and that religion (which is a matter of choice) is genetically predetermined, both of which are clearly shite. Zionists believe that they can turn up in a country and kick out the indigenous population, as did Hitler. Zionists are fascist.”

The definition has received, at time of writing, 2,715 thumbs up compared to 1,433 thumbs down. These ratings determine how prominent the definition is as opposed to alternative definitions for the same term.

According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said “Comparing Zionism to Nazism is textbook antisemitism, which has become all too common on Urban Dictionary. Those behind the website have been slow to act against racism on their platform, but in the past we have successfully pressured them to delete gratuitously antisemitic entries by going after their advertisers. We will not hesitate to do so again if Urban Dictionary does not remove this entry and prove that it is capable of administering a site that doesn’t incite hatred.”

11 new coronavirus deaths take toll to 633; 1,819 cases diagnosed in 24 hours

Health Ministry figures released Wednesday morning showed 11 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the national death toll to 633.

Meanwhile infection numbers showed 1,819 new cases had been confirmed over a 24-hour period since Tuesday morning.

Of the 24,963 active cases, 379 were in serious condition with 109 on ventilators. Among the rest of the patients, 160 had moderate symptoms and the rest light or no symptoms.

Since the beginning of the virus outbreak earlier this year there have been a total of 87,173 cases in Israel, according to ministry figures, while 61,577 people have recovered.

The figures came hours after the government on Tuesday evening approved a framework for permitting shows and performances to be held in outdoor spaces.

The culture and art sectors have been among the hardest hit by restrictions imposed to curb the virus spread. Large gatherings, particularly in closed spaces, are still banned, keeping theaters, concert halls and other venues shuttered and leaving artists, producers and support staff out of work.

Israel’s Hadassah says it’s involved in development of Russian COVID-19 vaccine

Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center is involved in the development of a Russian vaccine claimed Tuesday by Moscow to be the first in the world that works against COVID-19, the Hadassah organization’s CEO said.

In an interview with Radio 103FM, Prof. Zeev Rotstein said Hadassah’s clinic in Skolkovo, Moscow has been involved in the clinical safety trials of the vaccine.

“I’ll tell you a secret,” Rotstein said. “The Hadassah hospital is involved in the clinical research on the new Russian vaccine. It is being done in Moscow, in Skolkovo at the Hadassah hospital there. We are first of all checking the safety level, it will take time.”

Asked why Russian authorities have said the vaccine works while the trials are far from completion, Rotstein said Phase 3 trials were taking place “as is customary in the Western world,” simultaneously with the finalization of the vaccine.

He said that beyond the trials, the vaccine was also being administered to a limited number of patients via so-called “expanded use,” which normally involves offering patients in serious or life-threatening conditions experimental treatment before trials have been completed. It wasn’t clear how that would be done with a vaccine.

“We are operating in Moscow, under the name Hadassah, but as Russians, not as Israelis,” Rotstein said. “They are doing a good job. They work differently from us, and we are adapting ourselves to them.”

Testing, testing: Indian samples boost Israeli bid for voice-based COVID check

Israeli engineers are working on a system that they say can use voice detection to screen for potential coronavirus carriers, though the technology remains experimental and months away from potentially being rolled out.

Development of the system, which has been in the works for months, recently got a boost thanks to Israeli teams collecting tens of thousands of voice samples from confirmed COVID-19 patients in India, a key piece of teaching artificial intelligence how to detect possible signatures of the disease hidden in otherwise normal-sounding speech.

Ami Moyal said that once deployed, a voice detection system could be set up at school entrances, or any other place currently using more primitive screening methods like temperature checks or affidavits. People would be asked to speak into a microphone, their voice would be analyzed by a cloud-based algorithm, and an instant alert would be generated if anyone is suspected to have the coronavirus.

Like currently prevalent temperature checks, the system would not actually determine if someone has the coronavirus, which will still require swab testing. Rather, Moyal said it would act as a pre-screening, flagging anyone who is potentially sick and keeping them away from others who could be infected if they are in fact a carrier.

“Our technology is intended to give quick results that give a picture of whether someone is likely to have coronavirus,” Moyal, president of the Afeka Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering, told The Times of Israel.

Israeli study finds efficacy in using cannabis terpenes to treat COVID-19

The initial results from an Israeli in vivo study testing the benefits of using cannabis terpenes to treat inflammatory infections, such as COVID-19, have been quite promising.

The fledgling study, being carried out by Israeli cannabis research and development firms Eybna and CannaSoul, is centered around examining the effectiveness of the use of a unique cannabis terpene formulation – NT-VRL – with respect to treating inflammatory conditions such as cytokine storm syndrome, which commonly occurs in serious cases of COVID-19.

Cytokine storms occur when the body overproduces immune cells and their activating compounds (cytokines), causing dangerously high blood pressure, lung damage, respiratory distress syndrome and organ failure. This is a common occurrence in some patients where the immune system’s response to COVID-19 is extreme and goes into overdrive to fight the virus. Accumulating evidence shows that many COVID-19 patients die because of the increase in the production of the inflammatory cytokine molecules, rather than the virus itself.

“The preliminary results were highly positive. Demonstrating significant anti-inflammatory activity of terpenes and breaking the perception that terpenes are just flavorings and fragrances compounds with a placebo effect,” said Eybna Co-founder and CEO Nadav Eyal.

“Utilizing Eybna’s proprietary technology of biological data mining, data processing, and formulation design, allowed us to develop our data-driven NT-VRL formulation effectively targeting specific health conditions,” he added. “This is opening a new world for synergistically-effective natural formulations – holding therapeutic capabilities in which single active pharmaceutical ingredients will have difficulties to match.”

Ilhan Omar’s Soviet Anti-Semitism

Nineteen sixty-eight was not a fun year for the Soviet Union’s leadership. Disenchanted with communism, the people of Czechoslovakia took to the streets and demanded a new direction for their country. If they succeeded, it would only have been a matter of time before such movements sprung up within the Soviet Union itself. First Secretary Brezhnev and party leadership, however, had a plan: blame the Jews.

Fifty years later, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has perfectly mirrored this strategy in fending off attacks on her own legitimacy. In recent campaign literature, Omar went to town on her primary opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux, for being “in the pocket of Wall Street” and “special interests.” When it came to naming individuals to whom Melton-Meaux is allegedly beholden, the only people identified by first and last name are Jewish: Stanley Weinstein, Jonathan Gray and Seth Klarman.

This form of anti-Semitic dog-whistling should look very familiar to students of history and those who were behind the Iron Curtain during the Prague Spring. The Soviet Union primarily identified four individuals as responsible for the counter-revolution: Eduard Goldstuecker, Frantisek Kriegel, Ota Sik and Bohumir Lomsky. All were considered Jewish (although some, like Sik, disclaimed such identity).

The Soviet formula was simple. First identify a problem and then identify a group—consisting of mostly Jews—as being responsible for the problem. This two-step process was conducted with a backdrop of virulently anti-Semitic rhetoric thinly veiled as attacks on Zionism. Wash, rinse and repeat. Years before Omar was born, the blueprint for her anti-Semitism was completed.

Framing the Prague Spring as a Jewish conspiracy fit a greater pattern of Soviet anti-Semitism that became state policy with the rise of Stalin—embodied by sagas such as the 1953 Doctor’s Plot. As discussed by Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism, the “objective enemy” is a key feature of such regimes. For the Soviet Union, Jews were an ideal candidate given the widespread preexisting anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, especially among the peasantry—the class targeted by the communists for mass mobilization against international capitalism.

Ilhan Omar, in her pursuit of woke revolutionary struggle, also appeals to a constituency that she and fellow travelers may deem ripe for mobilization through anti-Semitism. In Omar’s world, society is not primarily divided between the bourgeoisie and proletariat, but rather between white people (Zionist Jews included) and communities of color. Just as the Soviet Union utilized endogenous anti-Semitism on the part of the peasantry, Omar appeals to anti-Semitism in Black, Latino and Muslim communities.

When TV Interviews of Ilhan Omar Constitute Journalistic Malpractice

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) documented animosity toward Jews and Israel was ignored in recent interviews by MSNBC and C-SPAN.

MSNBC’s The Beat for July 23, 2020 included host Ari Melber’s 10-minute conversation at 6:16 pm EST with Omar (screenshot above left).

MSNBC’s The Reidout with Joy Reid for July 24, 2020 provided a 15-minute conversation at 7:18 pm EST with Omar (screenshot above right).

C-SPAN’s BookTV program aired on July 26, 2020 a 35-minute conversation between host Peter Slen and Omar about her book, “This Is What America Looks Like” dealing with “her journey from Somalia as a refugee to becoming one of the first Muslim women elected to the U.S. Congress.”

These interviews provided Omar with valuable public exposure during an election season, but they failed to note her history of antisemitism.

British Vogue Features Tamika Mallory, Angela Davis on Its Cover

Finally, in December of 2018, Tablet magazine reported that Mallory’s antisemitism had apparently infected the Women’s March from its earliest days, alienating other leaders. At the March’s very first leadership meeting, Mallory asserted, according to Tablet, “that Jews were proven to have been leaders of the American slave trade,” – an antisemitic falsehood promoted by Farrakhan. After this and other problems were brought to light, the movement broke apart, with dueling, competing marches in January 2019. Mallory, along with co-leaders Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland, resigned from the March Board shortly afterwards.

Why would British Vogue now seek to rehabilitate and promote Mallory and her activism by putting her on the cover of the year’s largest issue?

Moreover, British Vogue also made the choice to include Angela Davis on its cover. Davis, according to the ADL, “has a long record of anti-Israel activism.”

Davis has supported Rasmea Odeh, a member of the terrorist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Odeh was convicted in Israel for the killing of two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. Odeh confessed to the crime shortly after her arrest, and her trial was observed and deemed fair by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Davis has also called for Marwan Barghouti to be released from Israeli prison. As CAMERA has noted previously, Barghouti “was convicted in an Israeli civilian court of five counts of murder and one attempted murder, and was implicated in four other terror attacks.”

The September cover is the third time this year that British Vogue has prominently featured Davis. Is support of convicted killers the kind of “activism” that British Vogue is trying to promote?

Marjorie Taylor Greene wins GOP primary in Georgia, despite racist videos

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a businesswoman who has expressed support for the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and been criticized for a series of racist comments, has won the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.

Greene beat neurosurgeon John Cowan in a primary runoff for the open seat on Tuesday in the deep-red district in northwest Georgia, despite several GOP officials denouncing her campaign after videos surfaced in which she expresses racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views.

“WE WON! Thank you for your support! Save America. Stop Socialism,” Greene tweeted late Tuesday. A video posted to her Twitter account of her victory party showed a room full of supporters gathered closely together. Few, if any, wore face masks to protect against the coronavirus.

In a victory speech posted to social media, Greene said she decided to enter politics because the country is heading in the wrong direction.

“So the Republican establishment was against me. The DC swamp has been against me. And the lying fake news media hates my guts,” she said. “Yep, it’s a badge of honor.”

She has amassed tens of thousands of followers on social media, where she often posts videos of herself speaking directly to the camera. Those videos have helped propel her popularity with her base, while also drawing strong condemnation from some future would-be colleagues in Congress.

In a series of videos unearthed just after Greene placed first in the initial June 9 Republican primary, she complains of an “Islamic invasion” into government offices, claims Black and Hispanic men are held back by “gangs and dealing drugs,” and pushes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, collaborated with the Nazis.

Harrased For Being a Zionist: The Resignation of USC’s Rose Ritch

The code of ethics at the University of Southern California states: “We nurture an environment of mutual respect and tolerance. As members of the USC community, we treat everyone with respect and dignity, even when the values, beliefs, behavior, or background of a person or group is repugnant to us.”

USC should consider amending that statement and add: “with the exception of Zionists who believe that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state.”

That is because it has become clear that USC does not nurture an environment in which Zionists are treated with respect, dignity, mutual respect and tolerance.

Jewish + Zionist = Cancelled
Last February, Rose Ritch, a proudly Jewish and Zionist student ran for the position of Vice President of USC’s Student Government. During the campaign it became clear that there was significant opposition to her candidacy. Her campaign signs were taken down numerous times, she was labeled a “pro-Israel white supremacist” online, and during the debate a student openly asked her how she could represent all USC students given the fact that she supports Israel. Despite this antagonism, Rose was elected.

The opposition to Rose holding this position quickly turned into a campaign to impeach her. Rose was accused of being a racist because of her pro-Israel stance and a process of shaming, invalidation, and even dehumanization gained steam on campus online forums. People opposing Rose went so far as to claim that they felt “unsafe” on campus with a Zionist in such a prominent position. At no point did anyone ask Rose to engage in conversation or even a debate about her pro-Israel stance. No one asked to learn more about Israel and the very complex, nuanced Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

They simply chose to “cancel” her out, in complete violation of the USC Code of Ethics.

BDS is failing – the never ending story (Aug. 2020)

Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails.
Political BDS Fails

60 Secs: Why is BDS Unhelpful to Mid-East Peace?

Spain adopts the IHRA antisemitism definition

Israel’s Xsight to Deploy Runway Protection System at Qatar’s Hamad Airport
Israeli Xsight Systems, a global provider of advanced runway safety solutions, announced last week that it will deliver an intelligent Runway Debris Monitoring System to Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) as part of the airport’s plan to upgrade its safety measures and acquire the latest and most advanced runway technologies.

The RunWize system will be deployed on the airport’s two parallel runways, including a 4,850 meter runway that is one of the longest in the world. The installation is to be carried out by local company Bayanat Engineering Qatar (BEQ), a leading airport systems integrator in the Gulf and North Africa.

Neveen Ayesh testifies in front of the Missouri House of Representatives in support of BDS and gets caught in her lies:

CAMERA Op-Ed: The Washington Post’s Opinion Page Slanders Israel, Again

“Facts,” Mark Twain once observed, “are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” When it comes to the Israel-Islamist conflict, the Washington Post’s global opinion page ignores the facts. And the newspaper consistently treats its own standards and ethics as pliable.

A July 31, 2020 op-ed entitled “The 2020 Democratic platform betrays Palestinians and again gives Israel a pass” offers a case in point. Writers Huwaida Arraf, Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison, and Sam Hindi, all delegates for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), use the Post to slander the Jewish state. They write that “as Palestinian-Americans and delegates to the Democratic National Convention, we are deeply dismayed that the language on Israel-Palestine once again ignores reality and basic Palestinian rights.” Yet, their argument rests on lies and omissions, all of which the Post could have—and should have—fact checked.

The delegates claim that “Israeli settlements are Jewish-only colonies built on stolen Palestinian land” in the “West Bank.” This is false. In fact, no sovereign Palestinian Arab state has ever existed. Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal noted in a May 16, 2020 correction that was prompted by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA): “Under the Oslo accords, sovereignty over the West Bank is disputed, pending a final peace settlement.”

And the Jewish claim to the land is based on both history and international law.

Arabs are from Arabia and Jews are from their “historic homeland,” Judea and Samaria — or, as it has sometimes been called for the last half century, the “West Bank.” The term “Palestine” comes from the word “Palaestina” which the Roman conquerors coined after expelling many, but not all, Jews from Judea in the second century AD. Arabs, including the forebears of today’s Palestinians, didn’t arrive in the land until the Islamic conquests of the seventh century. By contrast, Jews are indigenous to the land and have maintained a continual presence that goes back thousands of years.

‘Dirty Jew, We’ll Kill You!’: Latest Victim of Antisemitic Violence in France Describes Harrowing Ordeal

The Jewish man who was brutally assaulted in Paris last week by two men yelling antisemitic abuse described the ordeal in a graphic account carried by a French newspaper on Tuesday.

Speaking to Le Parisien, the victim — named only as David S. — recalled last Thursday’s attack, during which he was strangled, beaten and left for dead by his assailants. The attack occurred in the apartment building where his parents reside in the 19th arrondissement of the French capital.

“The images keep coming back to me, again and again,” David said. “They used me as a punching bag. I asked myself, is it possible, in 2020, to be beaten up like that simply because you are Jewish?”

29-year-old David, who was wearing his kippah when he was attacked, explained that he had arrived at his parents building on Rue Archereau last Thursday to collect his 7-month-old daughter. While he was tapping the door code to enter the building, the assailants — described as two well-dressed black males in their 20s — hurried in behind him as the door opened. They then rode with David in the elevator, launching their attack when they arrived at his parents’ floor.

Screaming epithets and threats that included “Dirty Jew!”, “Dirty son of a whore!”, “Dirty race!” and “You’re a dead man, we’ll kill you!”, the two men leapt on top of David.

“One was strangling me while the other was punching me,” David recounted. “Then they opened the fire escape door and threw me down the stairs. I was lying at the bottom, on the ground. They followed to beat me up and to rip my watch off my wrist and strangle me again.”

Dozens of Jewish headstones discovered under Polish town’s market square

Dozens of Jewish headstones were discovered under the asphalt of a local market in Poland.

The headstones had been placed in the heart of Leżajsk, a town located about 120 miles south of Warsaw, at least 80 years ago, according to a report Friday in the Gazeta Wyborca daily.

The headstones, which were uncovered during construction work that began in June, have been removed and stored by the municipality, which will consult Jewish community officials on what to do with the find.

Between 1918 and 1939, Leżajsk’s population of about 5,000 was 90 percent Jewish, according to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum. Many of them were saved thanks to the town’s proximity to the partition line that separated the German and Soviet occupation zones in Poland following the invasion of those armies into Poland in 1939.

The Germans sent many Leżajsk Jews to the Soviet occupation zone, where some were exiled into the heartland of Russia — a turn of events that meant they were safe from the Nazis when they opened the eastern front with the former Soviet Union in 1941. But the Jews of Leżajsk never re-established a community there after the Holocaust, ending a centuries-old Jewish presence in the town.

Both the Nazi occupation forces and communist regimes used Jewish headstones as building material throughout Eastern and Central Europe.

About 90% of Poland’s Jewish minority of 3.3 million people perished in the Holocaust.

Nazis who killed children ran German children’s homes after the war, report finds

One was a former SS officer who helped murder 220 Lithuanian Jews. Another was a doctor who sent at least seven children to their deaths on Nazi orders.

After World War II, both Werner Scheu and Albert Viethen were among a group of former Nazi officials who ran children’s homes in West Germany where torture, abuse and malnourishment were commonplace, according to an investigative report broadcast this week on the German TV network ARD. Public heath insurance funded the homes.

According to an organization founded by survivors of the homes, from the 1950s to the 1980s, some 8 million to 12 million children were sent to the homes for spa treatment based on the advice of doctors, schools or welfare officials, according to the magazine Deutsche Welle. The survivors’ organization has more than 3,000 members.

At the homes, children would be beaten, put in solitary confinement, separated from their siblings, force-fed and subjected to other forms of mistreatment, according to the ARD report. The system of children’s homes was created in the 1930s.

“The children came back sicker than when they left, they were malnourished, had to be hospitalized,” said Anja Röhl, who founded the survivors’ organization. “Sometimes they were so disturbed they didn’t recognize their parents.”

Website selling Holocaust-themed masks shuts down amid backlash

A website dedicated to selling face masks featuring images of the Holocaust has stopped selling the masks and said it would shut down on August 11., which had sold fewer than 10 masks as of July 29, had marketed masks emblazoned with famous pictures of the Holocaust. One showed a child with his hands raised at gunpoint and an image of crematoria at a concentration camp.

The site stopped selling the items apparently because of the backlash it received.

“We have removed items with the most complaints, and our other items will remain available until we close the website August 11,” its homepage said.

The message defends the intention behind the site and appears to implicitly criticize Jews who objected to it. The site’s founder said in July that he believes requiring face masks could lead to something like the Holocaust “or even more sinister.”

Anti-Semitism watchdogs have called such comparisons an unacceptable trivialization of the Holocaust.

Israel’s griffon vulture population reaches eight-year high

Griffon vulture numbers in Israel are at an eight-year high, although the population is still endangered, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority reported Tuesday.

Rangers counted 206 birds in June, up from 146 in the summer of 2012, a figure that was then dangerously low.

The vultures are counted in winter and spring at nesting and feeding sites, as part of a special project called “Spreading Wings.” In winter 2012, the numbers were even worse at 110 — compared to 184 in February this year.

This year, 48 nesting sites have been counted, compared to just 33 eight years ago.

The vulture population is still relatively small and endangered, partly because it is concentrated in just two areas — the Negev Mountains in southern Israel and the Carmel Mountains in the north. Only a few specimens have been spotted in the Golan Heights.

Reproduction is slow. Females only reach sexual maturity at five years and rear just one chick each year.

The INPA works with various organizations to minimize disturbance to vultures. For example, the Israel Airports Authority has been asked to ensure that airplanes do not fly too low over predatory birds’ nesting areas.

Top Canadian cyclist to join Israeli Tour de France team

The Israel Start-Up Nation cycle team announced on Wednesday that Canadian cyclist Michael Woods will join the outfit next season to support four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

Woods, 33, who won a bronze medal at the world championships in 2018, has signed a three-year deal, the team said.

“World-class climber, Michael Woods, will join Team Israel Start-Up Nation next season to be Chris Froome’s super-domestique,” Start-Up Nation said.

“The Canadian will also lead the team in some of the biggest classics and monument races,” they added.

Tour stage winners Daryl Impey and Patrick Bevan as well as Norwegian rider Carl Fredrik Hagen have also been signed by the side which has been promoted to the top-tier World Tour.

‘Operation Home’ Lands New Olim From Mexico, as Well as Israelis Stranded Elsewhere

A first-of-its-kind charter flight from Mexico carried 230 new immigrants to Israel on Tuesday. Dubbed “Operation Home,” the flight was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel and Hanoar Hatzioni, with support from Keren Hayesod.

Taking off from Mexico City, the special flight carried 50 new olim and 150 Hanoar Hatzioni graduates who will take part in Masa, a project co-founded by the Jewish Agency and Israeli government that connects young adults with immersive, long-term experiences throughout the Jewish state.

“Operation Home” also brought back dozens of Israelis who have been stranded due to the limited availability of flights during the coronavirus pandemic.

After visiting Israel last year, Carlos and Miriam Mercado, and their four children, knew they wanted to make aliyah.

“Here, I feel truly at home,” said Miriam Mercado. “In Mexico, we are always viewed as ‘those Jews’ and never felt safe to go out with a kipah. We knew we would always be a minority.”

While they hesitated to take the final step, she said, moving far from family and barely speaking Hebrew, the COVID-19 crisis prompted their decision. They are now headed to their new home in Ra’anana. “Being at home alone for three-and-a-half months under lockdown in Mexico City taught us that we’re a strong family, and a family capable of making this change,” said Mercado.

From Palestine to jail in Mauritius: When Britain deported 1,580 Shoah refugees

On December 5, 1940, 1,580 Jewish men, women and children were taken from the Atlit detention center near Haifa, transferred on to two ships, and deported to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

On their arrival in the small British colony 17 days later, the refugees — who had fled Nazi-occupied Europe three months prior — were taken to the Beau Bassin central prison where they were held behind bars for nearly five years.

The deportation was the first and only occasion during the war on which Jewish refugees who had reached the coastline of Palestine were forcibly removed from the country. The decision of the British Mandate authorities reflected both a determination to deter illegal immigration to Palestine and a fear that Nazi spies might lurk among the ranks of the refugees. At the same, however, the Haganah — the paramilitary organization representing the Jews in Mandatory Palestine — was equally resolved to prevent the deportation — a desire which was to have tragic and bloody consequences.

As the 75th anniversary of their release is marked in a virtual commemoration event on August 12, the refugees’ largely forgotten story is being pieced together by Israeli academic Dr. Roni Mikel-Arieli from both colonial records and the memoirs, letters and oral histories of the detainees, as well as the testimonies of local Mauritians.

“It’s very much a marginalized story in Israel,” Mikel-Arieli told The Times of Israel from Washington, DC, where she has been conducting her research on the refugees. “Not a lot of people know about it. When I talked to friends, my mother and father, and grandmother, they had never heard about it. I was born and raised in Israel, I’ve always been very much interested in the history of my country, and I am a Holocaust researcher, but I didn’t hear about this until I went to South Africa for my PhD research in 2014.”

The refugees who were deported to Mauritius were part of a larger group of 3,500 Jews who left Bratislava, the capital of the pro-Nazi Slovak Republic, on September 5, 1940, aboard two ships: the Uranus and Helios. A week later, the refugees arrived at Tulcea, Romania, where they were transferred onto three ships: the Pacific, Milos and Atlantic. The group — which included Jews from Vienna, Prague, Brno, Berlin, Munich and Danzig — was highly diverse. Most of the Viennese men had been rounded-up and sent to Dachau after Kristallnacht; their release had been conditional on their leaving Europe immediately.

But escape from the Nazis came at a high price.

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