Evelyn Gordon: ICC’s anti-Israel bias shows America is right to shun it
In a public speech earlier this month, the American national-security adviser John Bolton sharply criticized the International Criminal Court (ICC) and threatened retaliation should it try to prosecute the U.S. or Israel. As Evelyn Gordon notes, multiple complaints against Israel have been submitted to the court, and its judges have twice failed to respect basic principles of impartiality with regard to those complaints. In one instance, the pre-trial chamber—tasked with determining whether charges filed by the prosecutor are sufficient to necessitate a trial—rejected the prosecutor’s own decision that Israel’s actions didn’t justify prosecution. And the court made an even more outrageous move in July:
Without waiting for [the ICC’s prosecutor Fatou] Bensouda to conclude any of her other Israel-related probes (the Palestinian Authority inundates her with complaints), the pre-trial chamber ordered the court’s registry to establish “a system of public information and outreach activities for the benefit of the victims and affected communities in the situation in Palestine,” open an “informative page” on the court’s website exclusively for Palestinians, and report to the chamber on these operations every three months with the goal of creating a “continuous system of interaction between the Court and victims, residing within or outside of Palestine.”
Bensouda has yet to conclude that any crime even occurred, much less that the court has jurisdiction over it (which is far from self-evident). Moreover, the judges have yet to see any evidence in the cases at issue. Yet by declaring the Palestinians to be victims to whom the court must reach out, they have effectively announced that they’re already convinced both that crimes have occurred and that they’re within the court’s jurisdiction. And if the judges have decided all this without even bothering to review any evidence, how could they possibly be trusted to evaluate the evidence fairly should Bensouda actually file charges?
Moreover, by twice sending Bensouda clear signals that they want her to indict Israel, the judges have undermined her credibility as an independent prosecutor. If she ever does file such charges, will it be because she truly considers them justified or only because it’s easier to placate the judges above her than to keep defying them?
Thus the court’s track record on Israel alone provides ample justification for Bolton’s broadside against it. Indeed, it ought to concern many countries since a court that’s biased against one country can’t be trusted to eschew bias against others. . . . And by refusing to overlook that uncomfortable fact—by refusing to grant a travesty of justice the honor due the real thing—America is upholding its highest ideals.
National Security Adviser John Bolton clarified for a reporter on Wednesday that Palestine is “not a state” when asked why he referred to it as a “so-called state.”
“You just addressed Palestine and said it is a so-called state. Is that language productive?” a reporter asked, prompting Bolton to say his comment was “accurate” and that “it is not a state.”
The reporter referenced President Donald Trump’s support for a two-state solution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week and asked whether Bolton’s language is productive in helping him achieve his goals.
“Yeah, sure. Of course. It’s not a state now. It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries. It doesn’t fulfill the normal functions of government. There’s a whole host of reasons why it’s not a state,” Bolton said. “It could become a state as the president said, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others, so calling it the so-called state of Palestine defines exactly what it has been.”
Bolton said the “so-called state of Palestine” description reflects a “position the United States government has pursued uniformly since 1988 when the Palestinian Authority declared itself to be the State of Palestine.”
“We don’t recognize it as the State of Palestine, we have consistently across Democratic and Republican administrations opposed the admission of Palestine to the United Nations as a state because it’s not a state,” Bolton said.
Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who served time in prison after being convicted of attacking an IDF soldier, is now taking a victory lap around Europe and receiving the enthusiastic welcome reserved for cultural heroes.
The honor she is receiving may turn many Israeli stomachs, but there is something to the argument that the conduct of the Israeli government and the army played a big part in turning her into the poster girl of the “struggle against the occupation.” An officer vs. a teenager, an armed military vs. a civilian population – this was a lost cause for Israel from the start.
The Tamimi family, and Ahed in particular, are well-known among those “fighting the occupation” in Israel and abroad, even before she was arrested. Pictures of her as a young child confronting IDF soldiers are a familiar symbol, for obvious reasons.
So I’m going to say it. Among other reasons, it’s because she is fair-skinned and blonde. Her Western appearance makes her stand out. She is not just another dark-skinned Palestinian with a covered head who screams and waves her hands; she is a young, European-looking woman who flashes her white teeth at the camera. Unlike the rest of the Palestinians, who are seen as deserving of Judeo-Christian pity, Europeans can identify with Tamimi. With her jeans and her keffiyeh, she looks like a British or Dutch girl on her way to school.
That makes Tamimi not only the successful face of the “fight against the occupation,” but also a much more useful tool with which to demonize Israel. We might even wager that Tamimi’s imprisonment caused at least as much outrage in Europe as the shooting of Muhammad al-Dura. Not because his death was less “despicable,” but because he was less “one of theirs” than she is. When the European conscience embraces young Tamimi, it adopts her as a lost daughter who was saved from the jaws of absolute evil.
A fifth grade Palestinian Authority textbook instructs kids to “tell a story of a martyr from [their] hometown, who rose in defense of his religion and his homeland Palestine,” reported The Algemeiner. ]
It also provides them with some examples. The book shows 5th graders Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who helped kill 38 individuals, a third of whom were children, on a bus. The publisher covers her with a hijab and says:
“Her struggle portrays challenge and heroism, making her memory immortal in our hearts and minds….[She] irrigated the land of Palestine with her pure blood; to create a flourishing revolutionary history that will never calm down.”
Yeah, um, I’m not sure I’d want my ten-year-olds reading about how anyone has irrigated land with pure blood.
The book also insists “the enemies of Islam never stop at any time and place to use all means and methods to fight Islam and the Muslims.”
Hmmmmm. “fight Islam and the Muslims” is a very curious phrase. I mean, you could’ve used “defend against,” or “get blown up by Islamists” or a number of other expressions, but instead you pick something that makes Israel seem like the aggressor. And don’t worry, you can get your dosage of Palestinian agitprop in other grades, as well.
IsraellyCool: Why Anti-Zionists Are Absolutely Antisemites
Contrary to what many people might think, Zionism is not a political movement. It’s a Jewish movement that is entrenched in Jewish life, Jewish culture, Jewish nationality and Jewish thinking. It’s in our songs, our prayers, our books – our everything. Now, it’s true that there are many aspects that some might see as political, but that’s just a manifestation of what exists already and what has existed since the dawn of the Jewish people.
The first Zionist was not Theodore Herzl, but Abraham, son of Terah.
Abraham was the first Jew and it was he that made his home in the land of Canaan, which became the Land of Israel and the Jewish Homeland. The Canaanites are long gone, but the Jews are still here. And whether you believe it was God who sent Abraham or not, doesn’t really matter, because what Abraham did about 3830 years ago is the same thing that Jews are doing today – determining their own future and their own destiny in their own land.
You cannot support Jews and be against Israel, for Israel is part of the Jewish people from Abraham until today. It lives in our culture, it flows in our blood, it soars in our spirit. If you’re against Israel, then you’re against the very first Jew that ever existed.
So the next time someone tells you that not all anti-zionists are antisemites, you can simply respond: You’re wrong.
Many anti-Israel extremists and haters in the UK, who have been defending Jeremy Corbyn and his Labor Party on the recent charges of anti-Semitism leveled by British Jewish activists, have decided to bring lies about a Zionist organization called Herut into their campaign to support Corbyn and combat criticism against him.
The lies about Herut in particular, and parts of Zionist history and Israeli politics in general, are posted on Twitter, but also elsewhere on social media, and have risen to the point where Herut, as an international movement, must respond.
The lies being told about Herut are due in part to the fact that some of the most outspoken Jewish activists against anti-Semitism in the UK have been active with Herut. Herut is proud of them, and indeed, of all our activists in the UK who take a stand for Israel and the Jewish People.
Here are some of the lies Herut feels must be responded to:
It was said that there is a Herut political party and a Zionist political party in the UK.
This is not true and has never been true. Herut is not a UK political party and never has been. Similarly, there has never been a political party in the UK with the name “Zionist” that has run for public office in the UK. Herut is an educational movement and there has not been an active political party in Israel with Herut in its name since before the 2009 Israeli Knesset elections. Herut UK, is a Zionist group and is an affiliate of World Herut, is in no way connected with Israel’s Likud party and never has been.
Claims have been made that Herut is an extremist organization because settlers in Israel are involved with Herut in Israel.
Herut is unabashedly supportive of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and has been since its inception and there is nothing extremist about that. Many members of the Knesset live in these communities and we do not believe there to be anything illegal or immoral about the ‘settlement movement.’ We do not believe that Jews should be denied the right to live anywhere they so choose, whether it is a neighborhood in London or in Hevron.
Political leaders in Britain’s Labour Party have been informed by legal counsel that their party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, could be hit with U.S. sanctions for his multiple dealings with the terror group Hamas, according to a copy of a U.K. legal review obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Corbyn, who has long come under fire for his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks, could be slapped with American sanctions for providing material support to Hamas, a designation that could result in the leader’s financial assets being frozen, among other penalties, according to a legal brief commissioned by members of the Labour Party who are said to be concerned about Corbyn’s radical ties.
The legal review, performed by W Legal, paints a compelling case against Corbyn, who has been open about his multiple meetings with Hamas and other prominent anti-Israel forces.
Since rising as Labour’s leader, Corbyn has come under fierce criticism for his radical ties and history of making anti-Semitic remarks. The legal review is likely to provide further grist to Corbyn’s opponents and possibly spark an investigation by U.S. officials overseeing sanctions policies in the Trump administration.
“In circumstances where grounds exist upon which Jeremy Corbyn may become subject to U.S. sanctions, many people may conclude that the Labour Party lacks credibility,” Nigel Kushner, chief executive of W Legal, said in comments accompanying the firm’s review, which has not before been publicly reported. “I anticipate a push in certain quarters on both sides of the pond for Jeremy Corbyn to be made the subject of U.S. sanctions. There is a view that enough is enough.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May assailed opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday over his party’s recent anti-Semitism troubles, saying Labour has suffered a “national tragedy” under his leadership.
In the keynote address at the Conservative Party conference, May lamented the loss of “common values” in Labour that she said once united both parties.
“What has befallen Labour is a national tragedy,” she said.
Turning to the recent anti-Semitism scandals that have rankled Labour, May referenced a poll from last month suggesting nearly 40 percent of British Jews would “seriously consider emigrating” if Corbyn become prime minister.
“What has it come to when Jewish families today seriously discuss where they should go if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister, when a leading Labour MP says his party is ‘institutionally racist?’” May said, referring to comments by Chuka Umunna last month on his party’s handling of anti-Semitism in its ranks.
The British prime minister then referred to Corbyn’s past appearances on Iran’s Press TV, where in a 2011 interview he complained the BBC was “biased” toward saying Israel has a right to exist.
“That is what Jeremy Corbyn has done to the Labour Party,” May said in summary, adding it was the responsibility of the Conservatives to make sure the opposition leader “can never do it to our country.”
A cabinet minister from Britain’s ruling Conservatives on Monday recalled Nazi Germany’s persecution of Europe’s Jews, including his own father, as he highlighted anti-Semitism in the rival Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn.
Dominic Raab, who as secretary of state for exiting the European Union is responsible for overseeing the so-called Brexit process, discussed in an address to the Conservative Party annual conference the need to confront racism. His comments drew a 45-second standing ovation.
Corbyn has faced accusations — including from lawmakers within his own faction — that he has not done enough to confront alleged deep-rooted anti-Semitism in the party. He has also been accused of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments himself.
“I say to Labour: You’d be surprised how many British people take this personally,” Raab said at the conference in Birmingham, according to The Times. “They know things that you choose to forget. Eighty years ago, 1938, Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia. The lucky few fled, some of them to Britain.
“One Jewish family arrived in England with a little boy called Peter,” he continued. “He was six years old and he spoke no English. That little boy grew up knowing that his grandmother, grandfather, most of his relatives, the loved ones left behind, had been systematically murdered for no other reason than that they were Jews.
“He never forgot what had happened to his family. That little boy was my father and I will honor his memory by fighting the scourge of antisemitism and racism until my last breath.
UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove used his Conservative Party conference speech on Monday to describe Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a “Moscow-loving, Hamas-hugging, high-taxing, moderate-bashing, job-destroying, national anthem-avoiding, Nato-hating, class war-provoking one-man museum of economic folly.”
Then he really warmed to his theme.
Mr. Gove has long been regarded as a friend of the UK Jewish community and used his address in Birmingham to reinforce the bonds he sees linking the Conservative Party and Jews.
He said Labour under Corbyn had become “a toxic cocktail of unrepentant Marxism-Leninism and unacceptable antisemitism,” then let loose on Labour’s anti-Semities:
They are giving all the errors of the 20th century another chance to wreck our society. We’ve seen how this story ends before: in misery and shame. When our Jewish friends and neighbours live in fear for their futures, let us stand with them against prejudice, against intimidation, against bigotry and against hate.
Mr. Gove added the single message of “unshakeable solidarity with the Jewish community” should come “loud and clear” from the Conservative conference.
Remember the Labour Party complaining to the press regulator IPSO about the coverage of Jeremy Corbyn laying a wreath in memory of terrorists at a cemetery in Tunisia? The party claimed The Sun, Times, Telegraph, Mail, Express and Metro had smeared Jezza over the event.
The Guardian reports that this complaint has now been dropped. Could that be because Seumas Milne would have been required by the IPSO investigation to cooperate and disclose supporting evidence, on which the press regulator would then make a public ruling? So much for Corbyn standing up to the ‘billionaire, tax exile’ press owners who ‘smear’ him… with his own words.
Daphne Anson: Corbyn Apologists Write a Letter
A bunch of lefties, mainly media studies academics, have signed this delightful letter to the Grauniad, defending Corbyn against charges of, yeah, you know what.
Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
And how superbly they prove Jonathan Freedland’s point!
On the left, black people are usually allowed to define what’s racism; women can define sexism; Muslims are trusted to define Islamophobia. But when Jews call out something as antisemitic, leftist non-Jews feel curiously entitled to tell Jews they’re wrong, that they are exaggerating or lying or using it as a decoy tactic – and to then treat them to a long lecture on what anti-Jewish racism really is.
The Guardian: Flawed reporting on antisemitism claims against the Labour party
‘We believe that significant parts of the UK media have failed their audiences by producing flawed reports that have contributed to an undeserved witch-hunt against the Labour leader [Jeremy Corbyn] and misdirected public attention away from antisemitism elsewhere.’
We have long had serious concerns about the lack of due impartiality and accuracy in the reporting of allegations of antisemitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. The recent report by the Media Reform Coalition examining coverage of Labour’s revised code of conduct on antisemitism shows that we are right to be concerned.
The research examined over 250 articles and broadcast news segments and found over 90 examples of misleading or inaccurate reporting. In relation to the IHRA definition of antisemitism that was at the heart of the dispute, the research found evidence of “overwhelming source imbalance” in which critics of Labour’s code of conduct dominated coverage, with nearly 50% of Guardian reports, for example, failing to include any quotes from those defending the code or critiquing the IHRA definition. Moreover, key contextual facts about the IHRA definition – for example that it has only been formally adopted by eight countries (and only six of the IHRA member states) – were consistently excluded.
The researchers conclude these were not occasional lapses in judgment but “systematic reporting failures” that served to weaken the Labour leadership and to bolster its opponents within and outside of the party.
Honest Reporting: An Irish Teacher’s Harsh Unreality
According to her Twitter profile, Daire Louise O’Dowd is a geography and English teacher. Sadly, judging by her inaccurate and ill-informed mess of an article on IrishCentral, a US-based news site catering for the global Irish diaspora community, she should certainly not be educating anyone about the Israel-Palestinian conflict or the region.
O’Dowd relates her experience traveling in the Palestinian territories based on what appears to be a severe failure to understand what she is seeing and a superficial background knowledge and history that likely came from anti-Israel hate sites.
Faulty statistics and a false narrative
One can only hope that O’Dowd doesn’t teach mathematics, statistics or history:
Perhaps President Trump is unaware of the 8.1 million Palestinian people displaced and denied the right of return to date, 6.14 million of whom are 1948 refugees during “The Nakba” in which we saw the division of the land and the implementation of “Plan Dalet.” That very clearly stated that “there is no room in the country for both people … the only solution is the land of Israel, at least a Western land of Israel without Arabs.”
“The Nakba” period of 1948, thus becoming the largest and longest displacement of people in the world.
Where did O’Dowd get her figures? Around 700,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1948 rather than the 6.14 million claimed by O’Dowd. There are today some 5.87 million registered refugees according to UNRWA which counts the descendants of those 700,000.
And where did O’Dowd source her history? Plan Dalet as explained by historian Benny Morris was “the master plan of the Haganah – the Jewish military force that became the Israel Defence Forces – to counter the expected pan-Arab assault on the emergent Jewish state.” Morris makes it clear that there “was no Zionist “plan” or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of “ethnic cleansing””
And Plan Dalet did not very clearly state the quote that O’Dowd uses. This quote allegedly came from a 1940 diary entry of Yosef Weitz, a political figure in the pre-state Jewish Yishuv. Even if he personally expressed certain views, these were certainly not quoted in Plan Dalet, which was conceived several years later.
Two of the three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry have virtually polar opposite political connections to Israel: One is actively anti-Israel, while the other promotes ties between Israel and the UK.
George Smith from the University of Missouri is a staunch critic of Israel and a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace, a left-wing activist organization that supports boycotting Israel.
The Anti-Defamation League characterizes the JVP as “a radical anti-Israel activist group that… [extends] its boycott agenda to include not just Israel but its American supporters as well” and “has the effect of perpetuating the classic anti-Jewish stereotype of Jews as self-centered elitists.” The ADL also says JVP gives cover to antisemitism.
Smith is not Jewish, but his bio on the Mondoweiss website states: “My wife is Jewish and our sons are bar mitzvahed, and I’m very engaged with Jewish culture and politics.”
Mondoweiss is an anti-Israel site that regularly compares Israel’s behavior to that of the Nazis and actively engages in denying the Jewish people’s historic connection to Israel. Smith wrote five articles for the site in the years 2012 to 2017, all of which are related to Israel.
Sir Gregory Winter, another chemistry Nobel winner, is a member of the UK-Israel Science Council, which brings people from both countries together.
The council is made up of 25 scientists from the UK and Israel, and says that its central goal is “to improve science collaboration between the two countries.” Prof. Ada Yonath, who won a Nobel in chemistry in 2009, is a former member of the council.
An Israeli theater group is facing protests as it tours North America, including a call for its host theaters to cancel shows and demonstrators waiting outside with signs.
The Gesher Theater, based in Tel Aviv, is currently on a tour across North America, staging shows in Toronto, New York and Pittsburgh. Over the weekend it held two performances of its show The Dybbuk in Toronto, and was met outside by a very small group of protesters holding a sign protesting “Israeli apartheid.”
Beginning on Wednesday, Gesher is staging four shows in New York City – two productions of The Dybbuk and two of In the Tunnel, a satire that features two Israelis and two Palestinians trapped inside a tunnel. Next week the theater will head to Pittsburgh, where it will hold four performances of In the Tunnel.
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel sent a letter last week to the organizations hosting Gesher in all three cities asking them to cancel the shows.
The letter noted that the theater – and the international productions – are sponsored in part by the Israeli government.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev will likely travel with the national judo team later this month to the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam tournament in the United Arab Emirates, a country that has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
Regev’s attendance at the event is contingent upon the necessary security arrangements being made by the Shin Bet security agency and the UAE, according to the Kan public broadcaster, which reported that she will be joined by Yossi Sharabi, the director-general of her ministry.
In a letter dated October 2 and published by the Ynet news site, the president of the International Judo Federation (IJF) invited Regev to the Abu Dhabi tournament in order to sign an agreement to host the Tel Aviv Grand Prix.
“The International Judo Federation will make all the necessary arrangements for your visit,” Marius Vizer wrote in the letter.
There was no immediate confirmation from Regev on whether she would attend the tournament in Abu Dhabi, which will take place on October 27-29.
Garabedian, however, failed to provide audiences with the information which would help them understand why “Israel and Egypt say” such a thing. Moreover, audiences repeatedly heard various interviewees use Hamas-preferred terminology as they referred to a non-existent “siege” of the Gaza Strip.
Viewers were also told that the film was made “between the 30th March and 15th May 2018 during the ‘Great March of Return’ protests” but Garabedian failed to provide any background to inform audiences who organised that violent rioting and why.
Moreover, despite viewers being told that “protesters were demanding the right to return to what is now Israel and calling for an end to the blockade”, they were not informed that the aim of the so-called ‘right of return’ is to eliminate the Jewish state.
And so what BBC audiences saw in this film is twenty-three minutes of unverifiable, completely context-free stories told by inadequately identified interviewees and accompanied by ominous music and carefully selected imagery such as shots of birdcages.
Amazingly, that exercise in blatantly one-sided politicised messaging which contributes nothing to audience understanding of what lies behind the picture Garabedian chose to paint is classified by the BBC as a ‘documentary‘.
First, Netanyahu specifically asserted that the sites were underground, rendering the media tour of the stadium’s field meaningless. Further, as the photo in the IDF tweets embedded in the Telegraph report shows, the claim is that the underground sites are near the field, not on top of or directly underneath it. (note the red arrow)
Moreover, how would journalists participating in the tour know with any degree of certainty that their hosts showed them every (underground) facility in the area?
But, especially peculiar is the report’s skepticism that Hezbollah – whose forces control the area where the stadium and airport are located, and recently boasted of having acquired “highly accurate weapons” – could have cleaned evidence of the sites in the three days between Netanyahu’s speech and the media tour. The reporters don’t even try to explain why it’s “improbable” that the Shiite militia group, which has a history of moving weaponry to built-up areas in southern Lebanon to hide them from UN forces, would have covered up such a missile facility.
The Telegraph’s promotion of the Lebanese PR event in defence of Hezbollah is another example of the media’s frequent failure to subject the accusations of Israel’s enemies to the same degree of journalistic skepticism and critical scrutiny that Israeli claims are almost always subjected to.
Last week, CAMERA prompted corrections of an article in Haaretz‘s English edition which overstated Gaza’s unemployment rate as cited in a World Bank report. (The article originally erroneously referred to 70 percent, but the higher figure referred to unemployment among youth. The total unemployment figure, according to the World Bank, is 53 percent.)
Days later, Haaretz twice understated the unemployment figure cited in a report published by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Two Haaretz articles erroneously put that figure at 35 percent, but according to the report by the U.N.’s Nickolay Mladenov, the figure is 53 percent (same as the World Bank).
A Sept. 28 article by Noa Landau (“Last-minute Efforts Underway in N.Y. to Present a Multi-million-dollar Gaza Aid Package“) erred: “Mladenov’s report states that Gaza’s unemployment rate stands at 35 percent.” The error had likewise appeared in Haaretz‘s Hebrew edition.
A state court approved the revocation of Canadian citizenship of Helmut Oberlander, a 94-year-old Nazi war criminal and who participated in the extermination of Jews during World War II.
The Canadian government decided a few years ago to revoke the citizenship, but Oberlander did not accept the sentence and appealed the decision three times.
“I wrote about that Nazi in 2016. He participated with his murder battalion in the destruction of the Jews of Russia and Ukraine. He always tries to say, ‘I was only an interpreter in this battalion,'” Shimon Briman, a historian of Ukrainian origin said. “In fact, the Canadian court ruled against citizenship be granted to him in 1960, despite his defense that he was a young man during the war and was forced to murder Jews during the war.
The Canadian citizen has been on the Wiesenthal Center’s list of Nazi collaborators for a long time. The battalion to which Oberlander belonged was responsible for the extermination of some 100,000 Jews during the war.
Oberlander was born in the German Colony in the city of Molochansk in southern Ukraine.
The city of Oberlander’s birth was a pro-Nazi center during the war, and even Himmler came to visit. The local youth organized a special parade in his honor. Many interpreters at the time were involved in the murder of Jews. ” Overlander has become a successful businessman and real estate agent in Canada. As noted, the Jewish community in Canada registered a small but substantial victory.
When German air force pilots took aerial photographs of western Ukraine in 1941, they did it to help Nazi Germany defeat the Soviet Union in a war that saw the genocide of 6 million Jews.
But in a twist of fate, the German government has recently started funding an effort that uses the photographs to identify and preserve Jewish cemeteries.
The effort, in which the Luftwaffe archives are only one of several ingenious tools, began in 2015 with the establishment of an organization called the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, or ESJF. The largest-ever international project of its kind, ESJF has since fenced more than 100 Jewish cemeteries in seven countries on a modest annual budget of approximately $1 million.
And in Eastern Europe, fencing Jewish cemeteries is “not as straightforward as it may sound,” according to Philip Carmel, a British former journalist, the organization’s CEO since its creation.
Even determining the location of such graveyards can be challenging in towns with entire Jewish populations that were murdered and cemeteries plundered for construction material and then stolen for development.
That’s where the Luftwaffe aerial photographs enter the picture, Carmel said.
“Obviously they were taken to help the German war effort,” Carmel said of the prints and negatives that he pulled from German state archives. “But they were accurate enough to help us identify some Jewish cemeteries right before the destruction.”
Exports from the UK to Israel skyrocketed in the first six months of this year to £2.6 billion, an eyebrow-raising 75 percent increase on the eve of Brexit.
Diplomats were quick to trumpet the six-monthly gain after the release of figures from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, noting that UK exports to Israel in the first half of last year by comparison were considerably less at £1.5 billion.
“The new figures reflect what we see on the ground,” said Barry Grossman, director of international trade at the British Embassy in Israel.
“More British companies are interested in the Israeli market, and many Israeli companies realise that the next year presents a huge opportunity to create new business contacts in the world’s fifth largest economy and its biggest financial hub.”
The export boom, which excludes diamonds, was led by a surge in demand for minerals, machinery, electrical equipment and chemical products, as the UK government now looks beyond the European Union for new trading relationships.
Over the last two years there have been strong signs of mutual Israeli interest in the Britain, with a third more Israeli firms setting up in the UK since the Brexit referendum result two years ago.
Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems Ltd. said Tuesday its UK subsidiary has won a contract of a value of up to £40 million (some $52 million) to provide the UK Ministry of Defence with command and control systems for ground forces.
Elbit Systems UK Ltd. was awarded an initial contract of about £10 million with a potential maximum value of £40 million, the company said in a statement. The deal is to provide its Morpheus Battlefield Management Application system over a three-year period.
The systems will be supplied for application in headquarters and tactical units, the statement said.
Elbit is a tech firm that develops a wide range of defense, homeland security and commercial systems that are sold globally. The firm, whose shares are listed in Tel Aviv and on the Nasdaq, operates in the fields of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance systems, among others.
The Israeli humanitarian NGO, IsraAID, is sending volunteers to assist in the wake of the latest round of devastating natural disasters, in North Carolina, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
On September 30, IsraAID: The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid sent a six-member emergency response team to North Carolina, where Hurricane Florence caused large-scale damage.
A second team of about six will fly out this week to help the local community in home recovery and debris removal, and assessing long-term needs as the area recovers.
According to IsraAID Co-Chief Executive Officer Yotam Polizer, IsraAID volunteers are working in collaboration with California-based Team Rubicon, which forms emergency response teams of military veterans paired with first-responders.
IsraAID also plans to coordinate additional volunteers from the Jewish communities across North America.
“We are focused on helping people go back to their homes ASAP through professional debris removal and minor resconstructions,” Polizer tells ISRAEL21c. “We will stay there as long as we’re needed during the relief phase. My estimation is three months but it could be more.”
At the same time, IsraAID has sent a team to the Philippines to aid victims of the typhoon and is planning to deploy to Indonesia in the next couple of days following the tsunami that has so far claimed 1,200 lives.
More than 70 years after soldiers from the British Army’s Jewish Brigade fought against Nazi forces in Italy, the Israel Defense Forces’ 7th Armored Brigade was awarded a medal of valor from the Italian government on their behalf.
The Jewish Brigade was formed in 1944 at the height of World War II, with the view that Jews had a right to fight the Nazis in light of the horrors being inflicted upon their coreligionists. The unit was made up mostly of Jews from British Mandate-era Palestine, along with a few Jewish and non-Jewish senior officers from the United Kingdom.
Last year, the Italian parliament voted unanimously to award the country’s Gold Medal for Military Valor — one of the country’s highest honors — to the Israel Defense Forces as a stand-in for the now defunct Jewish Brigade.
The ceremony was held Wednesday in Moshav Avihail, near Netanya, in a museum dedicated to the antecedent of the Jewish Brigade, the Jewish Legion, which fought against the Ottomans in World War I.
The 7th Armored Brigade was chosen to receive the award on behalf of the IDF as it has historical ties to the Jewish Brigade, many of whose members joined the armored brigade after World War II. Indeed, the first commander of the 7th Brigade, Shlomo Shamir, was a veteran of the Jewish Brigade.
Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow survived three years in a Nazi concentration camp, he deployed twice to the jungles of Vietnam and he was the top U.S. Army officer in Berlin at the end of the Cold War.
Along the way, the general became a legendary Special Forces officer, revered by many in the close-knit community of Green Berets.
Maj. Gen. Shachnow, 83, who lived in Southern Pines with his wife, Arlene, died Friday. But his legacy, officials said, will live on.
Born in Lithuania in 1934, Maj. Gen. Shachnow faced oppression in his homeland and found his calling in the U.S. Army after immigrating to America in 1950.
He enlisted in the military in 1955 and served for more than 39 years, including 32 in the Special Forces community.
His top posts included leadership of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg and U.S. Army-Berlin in Germany.
“Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow truly lived the American dream,” said officials at the Special Warfare Center and School, which the general commanded from 1991 until his retirement in 1994. “He came up through the ranks from private to major general through hard work and selfless service to this nation and the men and women under his command.”
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