October 22, 2020

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09/18 Links Pt2: Remembering a Jewish Hero and Advocate for Black Americans; How Low Can Universities Go?; One Zoom employee saved High Holidays streaming for 300 US synagogues

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2020/09/0918-links-pt2-remembering-jewish-hero.html

From Ian:


Remembering a Jewish Hero and Advocate for Black Americans
As biographer Naomi Cohen showed, Jacob H. Schiff was the prime example during the era of mass immigration of a new “Americanized” style of Jewish leadership.

Schiff was born in 1847 in Frankfurt am Main into an illustrious rabbinic family. His father was a broker for the Rothschilds. Young Schiff defied his family by immigrating to the United States after the Civil War.

He joined the investment house of Kuhn, Loeb & Company, eventually marrying Solomon Loeb’s daughter. Before 1900, he built his banking house into a power on Wall Street.

Schiff was unique for his philanthropic and political zeal, which equaled his financial drive. A Reform Jew who never became a fan of political Zionism, he nevertheless led New York’s German-Jewish elite in outreach to new Jewish immigrants. His charitable endeavors included Montefiore Hospital, the Hebrew Free Loan Society, and Lillian Wald’s Henry Street Settlement that had offshoots in African-American neighborhoods. He funded Hebrew Union College and the creation of the Jewish Theological Seminary, drawing the line at Jewish religious assimilation. He finessed whether or not Jews were a distinctive “race.”

But after 1900, his influence widened. He helped finance Japan during its 1905 war with Russia, despite official US neutrality. He broke with President Theodore Roosevelt’s successor, William Howard Taft, over a US-Russia commercial treaty. In the 1912 presidential election, he was friendly to both Roosevelt’s breakaway reform party and winning Democrat Woodrow Wilson, whom as president he lobbied to create the Federal Reserve banking system in 1913. But again, he demonstrated independence by criticizing the Wilson administration for segregating the Federal civil service.

Schiff was at his most controversial during World War I. He patriotically supported the US when it entered the war, but only after doing everything he could to undermine the Russian czarist regime. When the czar fell in 1917, he enthusiastically embraced the Kerensky regime. Then when Lenin toppled Kerensky, Schiff only reluctantly did business with the communist regime to protect Jews. Antisemites to this day slander Schiff as “the father of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution.”

Schiff late in life supported the Technion in Haifa without formally endorsing Jewish statehood. The Jewish masses showed their love for him at his 1920 funeral.

Communists for the Jewish State: British Communists and the Daily Worker in 1948

Lessons for Today

The purpose of this brief visit to 1948 is to highlight how left-wing ideological assumptions about Israel and Zionism need to be tempered with what Edward Said called the ‘gravity of history.’[50] Anti-Zionism is not an inevitable characteristic of the left. In the circles around Jeremy Corbyn and indeed the Morning Star, Israel is constructed as a ‘colonial’ project. Zionism is seen as reactionary and racist ideology. These positions are rooted within a political outlook which divides the world into the imperialist and the anti-imperialist camps. Israel is irredeemably in the former. Such a view is often embellished with references to Marxist theory. It is instructive therefore to consider a period when the communist left looked at Israel from quite the opposite perspective.[51]

It is also a cautionary tale as it reminds us that we have to be careful of assuming the right position is always adopted by our ideological soulmates and the wrong one by our ideological foes. The complexity of politics requires us to make the intellectual and moral effort to judge issues outside of pre-determined ideological attachments. As we have seen, a repressive Stalinist regime and its supporters took the right decision to support the creation of Israel. A reformist Labour government, on the other hand, took the wrong decision to oppose its existence.

We know that communist politics dramatically changed its line on the Jewish state, and we saw the rise of a visceral antisemitic anti-Zionism after 1967.[52] This development included the ‘Zionism is racism’[53] resolution at the United Nations. This has had a malign influence on the left,[54] which in Britain led to the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis.

In 1948 it was the Soviet Union and the communist parties that played a critical role politically, diplomatically and militarily to ensure the creation of the Jewish state. British communists played a particularly important part in this given that Britain was the mandatory power in Palestine.[55] In June 1948 the Daily Worker reported, ‘as the British-armed Arab aggressors intensified their attack on the young State of Israel’[56] Willie Gallacher MP asked Prime Minister Attlee for assurance, ‘that the government would take no action and give no support to any action that would prejudice the new Jewish State.’[57] The paper noted that ‘in face of this straightforward question Mr. Attlee maintained a silence that can only be considered as sinister.’[58] This is a reminder that it was not just the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, who played a key role in trying to prevent the creation of Israel but it was also Attlee.

Many of those in the Labour Party who opposed Jeremy Corbyn leadership lionised Attlee. Corbyn has sided with Israel’s military opponents such as Hamas and Hezbollah and oversaw Labour antisemitism that caused Jewish members of the Labour Party great discomfort and discrimination while poisoning political discourse. However, he was never in a position to prevent Holocaust survivors from reaching safety, to arm states waging war against the Jewish state, or to refuse to support Israel’s UN membership. That was the role that Clement Attlee played. The record of the left’s relationship with Israel is a tangled one and remembering that Communists once stood up for the Jewish state is instructive.

One Zoom employee saved High Holidays streaming for 300 US synagogues

When Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday night, some 300 synagogues across North America streaming their High Holidays services via Zoom will be able to set it and forget it thanks largely to one man: Mitch Tarica.

Tarica is the streaming platform’s director of North American sales. He’s also a member of Temple Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and he was critical in getting Zoom to make a small but vital tweak to its software that temporarily stopped it from automatically ending a meeting after 24 hours.

That change was crucial to enabling hundreds of synagogues to stream their services on Zoom without running afoul of Jewish laws barring the use of technology on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. For synagogues that request it, Zoom will temporarily allow meetings to run as long as 72 hours, enabling synagogues to set up their stream prior to the start of Rosh Hashanah on Friday afternoon and have it run uninterrupted through Sunday night.

“Rabbi Heller had reached out to Rabbi [Brian] Schuldenfrei, who is my rabbi, and said, ‘Hey, word on the street is someone from Zoom is part of your congregation. We need some help for the High Holidays,’” Tarica told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview conducted, naturally, via Zoom.

How Low Can Universities Go?

Can you imagine a university inviting one of the 9/11 hijackers (had they lived) or another member of Al-Qaeda to speak to students? Prior to this, it would have been inconceivable.

As in so many cases, however, when Jews are the victims, the perpetrators are given a pass, never mind the fact the hijackers took non-Jewish hostages as well. University principles require that terrorists be free to speak on campus.

University President Lynn Mahoney defended AMED’s decision with the dodge that “an invitation to a public figure to speak to a class should not be construed as an endorsement of point of view.” Now terrorists are apparently public figures like politicians and celebrities.

Mahoney offered the requisite condemnation of bigotry, tossing antisemitism in with all the rest as is now also obligatory, but defended “the right of our faculty to academic freedom and to conducting their teaching and scholarship without censorship … while also condemning the glorification and use of terrorism and violence, particularly against unarmed civilians.”

But what does having Khaled speak have to do with teaching and scholarship? This is yet another example of how universities are dumbing down education by allowing anything a professor says or writes to be regarded as “scholarship.”

And where is the condemnation? Mahoney’s statement does not mention Khaled or criticize her role as a terrorist. By giving Khaled a platform without denouncing her, the university is condoning her actions.

Mahoney boasts her campus is “one of the most diverse campuses in the US,” not mentioning it has historically been one of the most anti-Israel. “But we may also find ourselves seated next to or hearing from someone with completely divergent views and even views we find personally abhorrent,” she says. “These encounters, here and at other universities, have sometimes led to discord, anger, confrontation and fear. We can allow these moments to pull us apart. Or we can use them to launch new conversations, offer alternative viewpoints and affirm our commitments to viewpoint diversity…. There is — and must be — space for all viewpoints at SF State.”

How often have we heard similar refrains from university officials whenever anti-Israel or antisemitic speech is involved? Is there really no limit to what would be allowed at SFSU? If defending the use of terror is a valid viewpoint, what about Holocaust denial or eugenics? Does anyone seriously believe Mahoney would allow space for racist or sexist speakers?

Just when you think the limbo bar cannot go any lower on campus, another university finds a way to bring it down another notch.

SFSU President Questioned Over Defense of Upcoming Event Featuring Infamous Palestinian Terrorist

Dozens of organizations expressed outrage on Thursday after the president of San Francisco State University (SFSU) defended an upcoming online event featuring infamous Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled.

Khaled — a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who took part in the hijacking of a Tel Aviv-bound commercial flight in 1969 — will take part in Zoom call titled, “Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: A Conversation with Leila Khaled,” on Sept. 23.

The 76-year-old Khaled remains affiliated with the PFLP, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union.

Khaled compared Israelis to Nazis in a 2017 speech at the European Parliament.

“You can’t compare the actions of the Nazis to the actions of the Zionists in Gaza,” she claimed, later adding, “The Nazis were judged in Nuremberg but not a single one of the Zionists has yet been brought to justice.”

Following criticism of the planned event, SFSU President Lynn Mahoney earlier this week penned an opinion piece for The Jewish News of Northern California, in which she justified it on the grounds of academic freedom and diversity.

“Let me be clear: I condemn the glorification of terrorism and use of violence against unarmed civilians,” she wrote. “I strongly condemn antisemitism and other hateful ideologies that marginalize people based on their identities, origins or beliefs.” “At the same time, I represent a public university, which is committed to academic freedom and the ability of faculty to conduct their teaching and scholarship without censorship,” she added.

Israeli law firm demands California uni. drop PLFP hijacker as speaker

The president of a leading law firm dedicated to opposing terrorism through legal channels has written to the Chancellor of the California State University to demand that an invitation extended to terrorist Leila Khaled to address a study program be withdrawn.

Khaled, who as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked El Al Flight 219 on September 6, 1970, is due to address an event hosted by San Francisco State University’s (SFSU’s) Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) study program, entitled “Who’s Narratives? Gender, Justice and Resistance: a conversation with Leila Khaled” on September 23, 2020.

SFSU has already rejected previous requests to withdraw the invitation, including a request made by Rodney Khazzam, a passenger on Flight 219 who almost lost his life when Khaled attempted to detonate a grenade while the plane was aloft. Now Nitsana Darshan Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin, a Tel Aviv-based law firm which specializes in defending the right of the State of Israel to exist, has written to the university on Khazzam’s behalf to demand the same.

“SFSU President Lynn Mahoney rejected Mr. Khazzam’s request she withdraw the invitation, victimizing him yet again by honoring the terrorist who tried to kill him as a child,” Darshan Leitner wrote, adding: “There is no place in civil society and academic settings for an event or program glorifying or advocating “resistance” or violence under the guise of free speech. I call upon you and the Board of Trustees to correct this grave error and rescind the invitation.”

David Collier: Open letter to Mark McGivern at the Daily Record – the Berlow injustice.

I am a stickler for justice and truth. Seeing an injustice motivates me. In the last week a Jewish lawyer in Scotland, Matthew Berlow, has been badly stitched up in an article written by Scottish journalist Mark McGivern. The headline read “Top pro-Israel lawyer faked vandalism attack at Scots home in plot to frame Palestine group“, but considering there was no vandalism attack, nor a plot to frame a Palestine group’ I believe it fair to call this a rather blatant stitch up.

So bad has the reporting been on this, that I have yet to speak to a person who did not believe Berlow’s house was actually vandalised. Not one. This is important. Few read beyond headlines. That article will be used 100,000s of times in the coming years. It will fuel antisemitism and every time there is an attack on Jews it will be held up to suggest we do it to ourselves for political gain. I predict that by 2025, that pointless little story about a stupid Facebook comment will be the Daily Record’s most shared article, *ever*. In a world of rising antisemitism, fake news and click bait, Mark McGivern struck the jackpot.

I will not recount all of the background of the story here, as Jonathan Hoffman laid out much of it in an article he published yesterday. It involved a father and son team, both of whom I believe are under active investigation involving the police and Scottish Law Society. Berlow was harassed by the pair for years and attempted a ‘sting’, not to ‘frame’ the clearly antisemitic Scottish Palestine Solidarity group, but to bring his allegedly antisemitic abuser out into the open. It worked too – not that you would know any of this from the McGivern article.

The four actors – Matthew Berlow – Jewish lawyer and subject of the newspaper article. – Sock – Fake Facebook profile run by pro-Israel activist – Neil McPherson – The father in a father and son team who have allegedly been abusing Berlow for years and the target of the sting. – Mark McGivern – Scottish journalist who ‘mis’reported the story. In private messages exchanged, between a fake Facebook profile and the ‘father’ in the father and son team, it was the father, Neil McPherson who reached out and made contact with the ‘sock’ account. It was McPherson that handed the sock Berlow’s physical address and McPherson who even offered to help out if the attack were to take place. It was McPherson, the abuser, who was clearly the target of the sting.

Dem Senate Candidate Praises Farrakhan Supporter Who Compared Trump Election to 9/11 and Supports Defunding Police

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock commended a Louis Farrakhan-supporting preacher Wednesday after he compared President Donald Trump’s election to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and applauded efforts to defund police departments.

Warnock, who invited Pastor Frederick Haynes III to virtually address his congregation at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he was “grateful” for Haynes’s words and called him his “brother” after he delivered a strongly political sermon.

“[Trump] is COVID-45 who has mismanaged COVID-19,” Haynes said during his address. “In the future, the generations may well say that 11/9 was our spiritual and moral 9/11.”

Mirroring past remarks, he said modern policing is rooted in slavery and praised protests in 2020 that led to sliced police budgets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Normal resulted in white supremacy structuring our institutions,” he said. “Normal resulted in a policing system with its roots in the slave patrols killing unarmed black bodies.”

Warnock invited Haynes to address his church in spite of his past praise of radical Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Haynes tweeted a photo of himself and Farrakhan in 2017 and called Farrakhan a “wonderful and great man.” In 2015, he called him a “prophetic leader for our time.” Farrakhan has made bigoted remarks about Jews, gays, and other groups, but he has continued to receive support from figures on the left such as former Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory.

Haynes is described by peers as a “leader” in the police-defunding movement. He supports reallocating at least 60 percent of the public safety budget to address what he calls a racist system. In response to a Blue Lives Matter rally last month in his Dallas church’s parking lot that included Confederate flags, Haynes said anyone who could not say “Black Lives Matter” was holding a “Klan rally.” He added it was time to “divest” from police departments and reinvest in communities.

Haynes addressed the 2020 Democratic National Convention and said people who supported Trump’s border wall efforts may “go to hell.”

Possible Life on Venus Discovered, Condemned By Linda Sarsour for not Denouncing Trump, Israel. (satire)

Scientists have made a groundbreaking discovery earlier this month saying that there is the potential for possible life on Venus, a planet overlooked for being too hostile for organic matter. While the discovery has been greeted with some enthusiasm, some have said it’s concerning that there is life on other planets and they haven’t said where they stand on Donald Trump or on Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

Linda Sarsour, the Islamist-Feminist ‘Homegirl in a hijab’, demanded that this potential life denounce American and Israeli War crimes or be denounced themselves as racist apartheid supporters. “All this time I haven’t once heard a single word from Venus denouncing Trump or the Israeli occupation of Palestine, or even just Jews,” she was seen shrieking into a microscope for no apparent reason.

Scientists tried to explain to Sarsour that the they have not actually confirmed that life exists on Venus, only certain signs that indicates that there could be some form of living matter on the planet.

Sarsour tweeted that “possibly not existing” was no excuse for not denouncing American and Israeli war crimes and called the scientists genocide Apologists. Sarsour wasn’t the only organization that denounced the possible life on Venus for its refusal to proffer their opinions; Oddly, Black Lives Matter chimed in by also issuing a statement demanding to know where, this as-of-yet unconfirmed life on Venus, stood on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and finished with “real life on Venus is racist”.

Watchdog Group Launches New Way to Track Antisemitism in Medical Field

The Canary Mission, an antisemitism watchdog group, has launched a new way to track Jew-hatred in the medical field.

According to Canary Mission, the new database will serve as “a resource dedicated to helping the public become aware of antisemitic and bigoted doctors, nurses, med students and other medical professionals.”

“Canary Mission recognizes that for the sake of patient safety, there is an urgent need for greater scrutiny of medical professionals,” said the organization.

The “Medical List” already contains more than two-dozen individuals who have expressed antisemitism online, including Walid Khass, who was initially removed by New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in 2019 after calling for violence against Jews and support for Hamas, as well as anti-gay posts. Khass later filed a lawsuit for damages and to be reinstated in the pediatric residency program, which he won.

The hospital has appealed the decision and is due to argue the case this month.

The launch also comes just weeks after Lara Kollab, a former Cleveland Clinic medical resident fired for making antisemitic remarks online, had her medical training certificate revoked by the Medical Board of Ohio.

CNN Fact Sheet Whitewashes Palestinian Initifada

Arguably more than any other, the year 2000 is key to understanding the gap between the way a generation of Israelis and their counterparts across the Western world regard the chances of striking peace with the Palestinians.

Two highly significant events happened that year. 2000 was the year in which Israel made an historic peace offer to the Palestinians. Israeli leader Ehud Barak went practically all-in for peace, compromising to such an extent that then-American president Bill Clinton was astounded that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat hesitated and eventually rejected the unprecedented peace proposal.

2000 was also the year in which Palestinians, essentially backed into a corner by their own leaders’ refusal to make history in agreeing to end the conflict with Israel, coordinated and launched a bloody wave of bombings and attacks on Israeli civilian and military targets that came to be known as the Second Palestinian Intifada.

The above is not a one-sided narrative, but a set of unarguable, well-documented facts. But readers of a CNN fact sheet on the Oslo Accords are left woefully misinformed, and told a remarkably passive version of the events of 2000.

Reviewing BBC Middle East educational videos – part one

Ignoring the San Remo Conference and the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine – which of course is the context to and reason for British administration of the Mandate that commenced in 1923 – the video begins in the 1930s.

Narrator: “The rise of Nazism in Hitler’s Germany opened a new horrific chapter of antisemitism. Throughout the 1930s Jews fled from Europe to settle in Palestine. Immigration quadrupled. But the Arabs resented their arrival and the Jews soon came under attack in their new homeland.”

Newsreel archive: “At the Wailing Wall refugees under British protection leave their quarters where terrorists have instituted the rule of force. British police search for arms in a country where in just over a month nearly 40 people have been killed in disturbances.”

Jewish immigration (including from Yemen) and British imposed limitations on it of course began long before the 1930s, as did Arab violence and rioting.

Narrator: “Because they failed to respond to Arab fears, the British came to be seen as hostile to the Arab cause and they too began to come under attack. Arab discontent erupted in a wide scale civil disobedience with a general strike in 1936.”

The Arab Revolt of 1936 of course included violence as well as a “general strike”.

Narrator: “As things got worse, in 1937 Britain set up a royal commission to look at the issue, headed by the Secretary of State, Lord Peel. The Peel Commission recommended that the Mandate for Palestine should be ended. It called for the land to be divided into Jewish and Arab states.”

Viewers were not informed that the British did not have the authority to end the Mandate for Palestine.

Reviewing BBC Middle East educational videos – part two

The BBC’s account makes no mention of the Jews displaced from their homes in the Old City and other Jerusalem suburbs, communities in Gush Etzion or places such as Mishmar HaYarden. Neither does it inform viewers of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees displaced from Arab lands during the same era.

The video closes with the bizarre claim that the topic of Palestinian refugees “was not dealt with as a political issue”.

Sayigh: “At every level, for the Palestinians it…it…there was a material loss that was on a vast scale, that wasn’t rectified or compensated for. Their issue was not dealt with as a political issue. There was no recognition that they had a collective identity as Palestinians and they felt they became marginal people living off the margins of the towns and cities in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and elsewhere that they took refuge in.”

In fact countries such as Lebanon and Syria have used the Palestinians within their borders as political pawns for decades and in 1959 the Arab League ruled that “Arab states will reject the giving of citizenship to applicants of Palestinian origin in order to prevent their integration into the host countries”. The establishment of a UN agency exclusively for Palestinian refugees in 1949 is of course a prime example of the politicisation of the issue, as is the refusal to dismantle refugee camps which have been under Palestinian control for decades.

Clearly this educational video gives British school students a one-sided and incomplete view of the historical origins of issues which are still relevant today and which so often form the basis for the type of political campaigning they are more than likely to encounter at the next stage of their education in British universities.

As CAA turns six and Rosh Hashanah approaches, whatever next year brings, together we will do whatever it takes to defend against antisemitism

With the Jewish New Year upon us, Campaign Against Antisemitism marks the sixth anniversary of our launch and reflects on some key moments and achievements of the past year.

It seems like an age ago that almost half of Anglo-Jewry was considering leaving the country, with considerable fear that the antisemite, Jeremy Corbyn, could become Prime Minister of Britain.

Our campaign to raise awareness of antisemitism in politics included exposing how Mr Corbyn’s allies were placing a cast of Jew-baiters in dozens of constituencies and culminated with the publication of our Antisemitism Barometer 2019, which showed that voters who held antisemitic views were particularly drawn to Mr Corbyn and that far-left antisemitism had overtaken the antisemitism of the far-right. We also began publishing our case files exposing antisemitism in political parties, which showed that Mr Corbyn was personally responsible for 24 incidents of involvement in antisemitic discourse and that Labour Party candidates for Parliament accounted for a frightening 82% of incidents across all parties.

We gave voice to the concerns of the Jewish community at our star-studded #TogetherAgainstAntisemitism rally in Parliament Square in December 2019, featuring Robert Rinder, Tracy Ann Oberman, Tom Holland, the President of the Hindu Forum of Britain and the founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism. It was the largest Anglo-Jewish demonstration against antisemitism since our rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice six years ago.

French rapper who compared himself to Hitler dropped by label

A French rapper who compared himself to Adolf Hitler was dropped by his label Friday after being accused of spreading anti-Semitism.

Fast-rising star Freeze Corleone’s debut album “LMF” was released last week, with one of his songs already amassing more than 1.3 million views on YouTube.

But Universal Music France said despite its success they were cutting all ties with him because “the release of the album has revealed and amplified unacceptable racist statements.”

It follows mounting anger from French politicians about his lyrics, in which he questioned the Holocaust and compared himself to Adolf Hitler.

French justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said art cannot be used as a shield for “hate or Nazi apologists.”

Prosecutor Remy Heitz had earlier said that Corleone was being investigated for “inciting racial hatred.”

But Corleone, 28, whose real name is Issa Lorenzo Diakhate, hit back Friday, taking to Twitter to attack Universal.

“Finally free,” he tweeted.

“Ultranationalist” terrorist group, the British Hand, is recruiting children on Instagram and Telegram

It has been reported that teenage members of a neo-Nazi group are using Instagram to recruit and promote propaganda.

The group, called the British Hand, uses a skull and crossbones logo combined with rifles over a Union Jack as its logo and launched in July on the popular social media platform, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. The official account has been shut down multiple times, but members continue to use their personal accounts to disseminate the group’s message.

The British Hand is led by an individual believed to be fifteen who lives with his mother in Derby and attends school. He has claimed to be planning a terrorist attack, according to Hope Not Hate. Other members have reportedly pledged to infiltrate the army in order to acquire training in the use of firearms.

The report says that children as young as twelve as being groomed online by neo-Nazis, whose leader describes the group as “ultranationalist” and its goal as “to get rid of Islam and those little BLM [Black Lives Matter] f***ers.”

Once recruited, the members join an encrypted Telegram chat room. It is believed there are fifteen core members in their teenage years or early twenties.

Germany to improve security at Jewish sites after Halle Yom Kippur attack

Germany is providing 22 million euros ($26 million) to improve security at synagogues and other Jewish sites in the country following an anti-Semitic attack last year.

The government pledged to step up security after a right-wing extremist tried to force his way into a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle on Yom Kippur last year, killing two passers-by after he failed to get in.

The botched attempt at a massacre caused alarm in Germany, which has sought to protect its Jewish population in response to the genocide of 6 million Jews perpetrated during the Nazi era.

“The Jewish community can rely on the German government to do everything to ensure their necessary protection,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. “We’re aware of our responsibility.”

Head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, said the new funds would help Jewish communities that are struggling with the financial burden of security measures.

“The attack in Halle drastically [shows] us that Jewish life needs massive protection,” he said.

FDA Approves Visby’s Portable Covid-19 PCR Test Kits for Emergency Use

The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday granted emergency use authorization for a portable Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test kit made by Visby Medical, a company founded by Israeli entrepreneur Adam de la Zerda. The company’s palm-sized kit provides reliable results within 30 minutes.

Zerda, a computer engineering graduate of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – founded the company in 2013 and currently serves as its CEO. The company had been working on developing a personal disposal PCR kit to rapidly test for various infectious diseases but said its first commercial application came about as part of the battle against the spread of COVID-19.

Visby said it is prepared to expedite the production and distribution of its kits and is signing partnership agreements with governments and private companies in order to accelerate their path to market.

PCR is a process of exponentially replicating DNA or RNA. It works by controlled heating or cooling of samples in the presence of specially designed enzymes, creating billions of copies of the desired genetic material. Without the replicating process, samples with a small viral load, such as those collected from an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier, would not be detected. For that reason, PCR is considered a mandatory standard in tests meant to provide a diagnosis. It is extremely specific and sensitive and therefore provides the best chances of detecting the pathogen.

Library of Congress honors Israeli literacy program

The US Library of Congress has announced that Keren Grinspoon Israel (KGI, the Grinspoon Israel Foundation) has been selected as a 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Best Practice Honoree.

This is the first program in Israel to receive an honor from the Library of Congress, which each year recognizes 15 organizations for innovation in promoting literacy worldwide. It was adapted from the popular PJ Library book-gifting program created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

KGI, founded in 2009, distributes some 3.5 million books in Hebrew and Arabic each year to more than 500,000 Israeli children, operating through public preschools and elementary schools in partnership with the Education Ministry. Children are introduced to a book at school, and each one receives a copy to take home and keep. By the time a child enters third grade, he or she will have a home library of at least 32 books as a result.

The foundation was granted the honor based on a recommendation from David Dickinson, the Margaret Cowan chair of Vanderbilt University’s Department of Teaching and Learning. He noted that the initiative, known as Sifriyat Pijama in Hebrew and and Maktabat al-Fanoos in Arabic, “provides exactly the type of supports known to nourish early development,” and that the programs create “sustained support for a child to learn and use the vocabulary and concepts and apply the lessons learned about values.”

Israel’s Aidoc raises added $20 million for software that helps radiologists

Aidoc, a maker of AI-based software that helps radiologists in their work, said Wednesday it has raised an additional $20 million as part of its Series B round, which brings the total amount of funding raised by the company to date to $60 million.

Radiology practices globally have started using the software as one of their core solutions, and the startup’s revenues have tripled since the start of 2020, even during the coronavirus pandemic, Aidoc said in a statement.

The funding will help the startup expand its reach to additional practices around the world, said Aidoc co-founder and CEO Elad Walach in a statement.

Aidoc’s artificial intelligence-based software analyzes medical images after patients are scanned and notifies radiologists of unusual findings, to assist with prioritization of time-sensitive and potentially life-threatening cases. Its suite of solutions includes six FDA-cleared products for flagging acute abnormalities, including the detection of acute brain bleeds in CT scans. In May the FDA gave the startup a green light to start alerting radiologists if they have scanned somebody who, unknowingly, has coronavirus.

“The value AI brings in supporting radiologists is so obvious to us and Aidoc has stamped itself as a clear leader in the space,” said Dan Krasnostein, partner at Square Peg Capital. “Since our first investment, the company has continued to make giant steps forward with new products brought to market and a significant increase in the number of customers they serve.”

Israel tech company OrCam wins German innovation prize

A week after the announcement that soccer star Lionel Messi would become the face of the Israeli tech company OrCam, which makes devices that help the visually impaired identify their surroundings, the company won Germany’s NRW.INVEST AWARD, becoming the first Israeli company to do so.

The award is given annually to four exemplary companies that contribute to the local economy, strengthen innovation impetus and bring new products, services and processes, to both Germany and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous province in Germany and one of the most important economic centers in the country.

As a part of OrCam’s growth trend in Europe, the company is deepening its collaborations with government officials and public bodies in Germany, and in particular the NRW district in the west of the country which is associated with innovation and technology.

The award was presented to OrCam this week at a ceremony attended by Prof. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economic Affairs.

OrCam is currently a leader in the development of computer vision and artificial intelligence-based wearable technologies, designed to provide independence to the blind, visually impaired, people with reading and learning difficulties, the hard-of-hearing and other groups.

Wharton School to provide full tuition MBA fellowship for Israeli students

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will be providing a full tuition MBA fellowship for Israeli students, after the university received a $10 million donation by alumnus Yuri Milner and his wife Julia to set up the program.

The Friends of Israel MBA Fund will provide full tuition over the course of the two-year Wharton MBA program for a cohort of over sixty students over the next decade, the university said in a statement. The fellowship is dedicated to Israeli students – including those who have completed Israeli military service, attended an Israeli undergraduate institution, or worked at an Israeli company. The funding will enable the school to support exceptional international students by offering them financial aid packages, the statement said.

“Israel has become a global center of innovation and Wharton has long helped train the top entrepreneurs and business leaders across the world. This is a perfect match,” said Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in the statement. “As a Wharton alumnus, I’m delighted that other Israelis will benefit from this unique experience.”

Yuri Milner is an Israeli science and technology investor and philanthropist. He attended Wharton in the 1990s and went on to found DST Global, a technology investor.

Yuri and his wife Julia partnered with Sergey Brin, Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, and Anne Wojcicki to launch the Breakthrough Prizes scientific awards, honoring achievements in fundamental physics, life sciences and mathematics.

The world’s 50 most influential Jews of 2020 The Jerusalem Post reveals its annual list.

The Jerusalem Post is proud to present its 2020 list of the 50 Most Influential Jews. Many people influence the world we live in and impact our daily lives.

This year, we strived to create a list showcasing the diversity of the Jewish nation

while highlighting people from all walks of life – government, art, medicine, literature and science.



We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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