Moshe Koppel and Eugene Kontorovich: Why All the Outrage over Israel’s Nation-State Law?
VI. A Seminal Moment
Basic Law: Nation-State gives constitutional force to the fundamental principles of Zionism. It does so without imposing duties on or denying rights to any individuals. It is consistent with similar provisions found in other Western nation-states. The need for anchoring these principles in a basic law has grown ever more urgent as Israel’s Supreme Court has slowly but surely endeavored to erode Israel’s Jewish character, an endeavor abetted in part by the absence of just such a basic law.
The need for this law is made further manifest by the continuing opposition to the very idea of a Jewish nation-state. We have in mind not those advocates of national self-determination for everyone on earth—first and foremost the Palestinians—with the single exception of the Jews; bigotry of this order deserves no response. Rather, we have in mind those, in Israel and in the diaspora, who call themselves Zionists, and for whom the content of this law would have been entirely consensual less than a generation ago, but who now find themselves bothered by it for reasons they appear to have trouble articulating—hence the frenetic and sometimes self-contradictory striking out at one thing after another.
Indeed, many of the very same members of the Knesset who co-sponsored a more robust version of this bill in 2011 suddenly claim to be horrified by its weaker version. One such co-sponsor, MK Hamed Amar, is now petitioning the Supreme Court to strike the new law down. One could get the impression that those not engaged in cynical political opportunism have been swept up in the tides of elite anti-nationalist sentiment and now simply find this law “too Jewish” for their taste.
Basic Law: Nation-State was written, promoted, and passed by those who remain firm in their commitment to a Jewish nation-state and to individual freedom. We believe their resolve will not go unrewarded. A decade or two from now, when the political dust has settled, the passage of Basic Law: Nation-State will be regarded as a seminal moment in Israel’s maturation both as the national home of the Jewish people and as a beacon of liberty.
One Democratic House candidate has pledged that she will vote against bills that include aid to Israel, denouncing what she saw as the “injustice” of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Another wrote that “Israel has hypnotized the world” with its “evil doings.”
Still another helped write a scathing book on relations between the United States and Israel, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive political star expected to win a House seat in New York, condemned the “occupation of Palestine.”
A cluster of activist Democrats — most of them young, most of them cruising toward House seats this fall — has dared to breach what has been an almost inviolable orthodoxy in both political parties, strong support for Israel, raising the specter of a crack in the Democratic Party that Republicans could use to attract Jewish supporters.
Surging support for the Palestinian cause has already strained relations between liberal parties and Jewish voters in Europe. In Britain, the Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been accused of anti-Semitism for a pro-Palestinian stand that has veered into statements that many see as outright bigotry. Across the United States, movements to force colleges and universities to boycott, divest investments from and place sanctions on Israel have divided some progressive students from their Jewish peers.
Now some Democrats are testing the boundaries of what has been the politically acceptable position on Israel in the mainstream parties. They include Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American Muslim running for an open House seat in Minneapolis; Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American Muslim running in Detroit; Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, running in a heavily Democratic district in the Bronx and Queens; and Leslie Cockburn, co-author of “Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship,” who is running in a Republican-leaning district in Virginia. None of them would comment for this article.
The New Israel Fund (NIF) openly backs groups that have endorsed the boycott of Israel and it has long engaged in a wide variety of activities which we consider to be most harmful to the State of Israel. But the organization — a US-based non-profit which funds a number of different initiatives — may now have crossed another line by openly supporting political campaigning, which is in clear violation of the US tax code for charitable organizations.
As such, we have recently filed a complaint with the IRS demanding that the NIF’s tax-exempt status be revoked (we have yet to receive a response).
Shatil, the Israel-based “operative arm” of the NIF has embarked on a project it calls “Free Cities.” Local iterations of the project include “Free Ramat Hasharon,” “Free Givatayim,” and “Free Petach Tikvah.”
The goal of “Free Cities” is to unite a number of groups and organizations to fight against “religionization.” The New Israel Fund’s logo is prominently displayed on Shatil’s website and Shatil, in turn, hosts the “Free Cities” website on its domain. The coordinator for the project is listed as a member of staff on Shatil’s website and the administrators of the “Free Cities” Facebook group also both work for Shatil.
Hence, there can be no question of the New Israel Fund’s ties to the political activity.
Here are some of the details:
“Successes” listed by the organization’s “Free Ramat Hasharon” group include the passing of legislation to allow businesses to remain open on Shabbat. The group also announced it was running for municipal elections.
The group’s “Free Givatayim” branch similarly announced on its Facebook page that it’s running for the municipal elections.
Their “Free Petach Tikvah” branch openly supports Rami Greenberg for mayor of the city.
For seven years, the Qatari government has been spending $8 million to influence content in classrooms across the United States, including in the heavily Jewish-populated town of Newton, Massachusetts, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Newton public-school students are propagandized with materials that slander Israel and the Jewish people, and that falsify history to promote the Islamic religion in public schools,” according to a statement from the Boston-based organization Americans for Peace and Tolerance. “Just this past May, Newton North High School invited an antisemitic group to screen Palestinian propaganda films to its students. For this, [Newton Public Schools (NPS)] Superintendent David Fleishman earned a rebuke from the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League and Boston’s Jewish Community Relations Council.”
As previously reported by JNS, the school district is facing a lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court from a community group called Education Without Indoctrination (EWI), claiming numerous violations of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law “stemming from the school committee’s handling of a burgeoning scandal over antisemitic lessons and the promotion of Islamic religious beliefs as objective facts in the public school district’s history classes.”
The Massachusetts-based Primary Source organization, which is partly funded by the Qatar Foundation International (QFI), part of the Qatari ruling Al-Thani family’s Qatar Foundation, also organized a training course that was reportedly attended by Newton history teacher David Bedar. According to Ilya Feoktistov, writing in the The Federalist, Bedar has allegedly worked with other teachers through email to “harass, bully, and ‘call out’ conservative students in the classroom, admitting to acting as a ‘liberal propagandist’ in the classroom.”
The Middle East Forum’s Sam Westrop told JNS about the specific course material funded by QFI.
The new school year kicked off in the Palestinian Authority last month, and it was business as usual. The authors of this year’s textbooks have made sure to keep up their long tradition of Israel hatred – without, of course, mentioning the name “Israel” in the textbooks.
Dr. Arnon Gross, a former senior news anchor for Israel Radio in Arabic, researched the question of what has changed in the latest Palestinian textbooks from previous editions. He conducted his research under the sponsorship of the Center for Near East Policy Research, headed by David Bedein.
After examining dozens of Palestinian textbooks for 11th- and 12th-grade students in the PA education system, Gross says there has been a “depressing” change for the worse in the new books.
Although some pundits in Israel say the day is coming when PA President Mahmoud Abbas will leave his post and his life’s work – which includes, among other things, perfecting the rhetoric of incitement – he will have bequeathed a written, dark legacy, embedded in the minds of Palestinian adults. Gross discovered that in each instance in an earlier textbook of even the slightest hint of deviation from the lexicon of hatred toward Israel and Jews, the book’s author later took pains to correct the “mistake” by reverting back to the desired path of hatred.
This is true even in textbooks for the exact sciences. Is there a connection, one may ask, between mathematics and the 1967 borders? But here is the type of question that appears in a mathematics textbook: If a settler shoots at a number of vehicles traveling at a certain speed and hits one vehicle at a certain distance, how many vehicles will the settler hit if he is aiming at 10 vehicles? Trying to answer this question is crucial to understanding the historical incitement and hatred.
You’ve likely already encountered the ubiquitous “Maps of Disappearing Palestine” propaganda card seen at every anti-Israel event.
Meet its great-grandfather.
The subtle change in language is fascinating, and is reflective of the attempts to create a serviceable Palestinian narrative suitable for Western consumption.
The earlier map (circa 1967) refers to Arab land- the Palestinians had not yet become a “people”. It also acknowledges the area was under the British mandate- and was not an independent Palestinian state. Surprisingly the first panel documents the tremendous growth of the Arab population during the years of the mandate, as economic migrants were drawn to the economic opportunities created by the Zionist pioneers.
The influx of workers from across the Arab world into pre-state Israel was well documented.
Robert F Kennedy, a cub reporter for the Boston Post stationed in Mandate Palestine wrote in 1948:
The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs, in the 12 years between 1932 and 1944, came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state. This is the only country in the Near and Middle East where an Arab middle class is in existence.
Yisrael Medad: The Jews’ Historic Right to Settle…Crimea
Talk about turning things upside down (H/T=DN):-
JTA December 30, 1926 Vienna (Dec. 29)
Russian Jews have a historic right on which to base their land settling activity in the Crimea. This was the opinion expressed by Dr. Simon Dubnow, well known Russian Jewish historian, in an interview with the representative of the “Menorah.”
If the question of Jewish right to colonize Crimea is raised it must be remembered that the Jews have a right to claim to be autochthons of all the northern coast of the Black Sea. As early as the ancient Bosphorean empire, before the Christian era, colonies of Hellenized Jews have flourished on the Black Sea coast. Inscriptions which have been found there dating back to the first century prove the existence of organized Jewish communities in this region. These Hellenized Jews were followed by the Byzantine Jews in the fifth century of the Christian era. The Khazar empire, the leading classes of which adopted Judaism, existed between the eighth and eleventh centuries. Then, settlements of Jews and Karaites existed in this region between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries. Finally, the Jewish colonies have existed there since the nineteenth century.
The historic rights of the Jews to colonize Crimea and the entire Black Sea coast from Odessa to the Caucasus cannot be doubted and it is certainly desirable in a region where for two thousand years our ancestors have, under the Greeks and the Scythians, engaged in agriculture, that the Jews should again cultivate the land…
When talking about photo bias, we’re usually dealing with breaking news images that are lacking context, misleadingly framed, cynically staged, spuriously cropped, carelessly recycled, or dubiously photoshopped. Sometimes, editors make poor decisions on how to illustrate a story.
We at Honest Reporting have also seen muddled photo essays resulting from computer glitches. We even did a case study on a series of wire photos of a border clash that raised glaring questions of who the photographers were and how they got shots of the action so close-up and quick.
This brings us to Vogue, a monthly magazine best known for glamour shots of beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes in beautiful settings — because its star photographers know how to create beautiful images of their subjects.
Vogue’s Mideast edition, Vogue Arabia, recently published a letter by Ahed Tamimi, who just finished a term in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier in front of cameras. Think about that. Tamimi was trying to provoke a reaction while her mother filmed the incident.
Vogue Arabia sent one of its photographers to shoot a glamorous photo of the 17-year-old. In it, she looks awfully nice for a girl just out of prison. I’m going to talk about how “the sausage” of the photo was made, and then I’ll talk about its effects.
Last month, Intelligence Squared hosted a debate on the topic Jeremy Corbyn is Unfit to be Prime Minister. Renowned novelist and journalist Howard Jacobson was one of those arguing in favor of the motion.
His address was simply brilliant. And while it has already been published online in written form, I thought you’d appreciate listening to it.
He certainly has a way with words – just like Jeremy Corbyn has a way with terrorists and (fellow) Jew haters.
One of Britain’s most senior Muslim figures, Lord Ahmad, believes there has been “a real step change among progressive-thinking imams” in the Islamic community towards those who “peddle hatred against the Jewish community”.
Lord Ahmad, a Conservative peer and the prime minister’s special representative for freedom of religion and belief, was speaking after delivering an address to the United Nations General Assembly last week in which he spelled out a renewed commitment by the British government to stamp out antisemitism.
Lord Ahmad, who formerly worked with Prime Minister Theresa May in the Home Office as communities minister, said: “I’m proud to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to combatting the scourge of antisemitism.”
Britain, he said, was the first government to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.
It led the way in dealing with antisemitism, he said, and added: “All governments can and must do more to tackle antisemitism, and learn from each other. As global leaders we must act responsibly to ensure future generations reflect on the lessons from the Holocaust and recognise our shared humanity.
“Seven decades after the Holocaust, society still cannot say that antisemitism has been eradicated; nor can it claim that genocide is a thing of the past. As recently as last month the United Nations concluded that the Burmese military had inflicted genocide against the Rohingya. (h/t Zvi)
As followers of BBC Watch no doubt recall, on Aug. 15th, BBC Two presenter Victoria Derbyshire interviewed two British Jews, Mark Lewis and his partner Mandy Blumenthal, to discuss their view that antisemitism in the UK has become so bad that they no longer felt safe living there, and had decided to emigrate to Israel.
As we noted at the time, the interview was so biased – and at times hostile – that the BBC presenter could have been mistaken for a Jeremy Corbyn spokesperson, as she spouted off meaningless Labour talking points, used misleading statistics attempting to downplay antisemitism and seemed convinced that the couple was grossly exaggerating their concerns – despite death threats and other forms of abuse they’ve experienced.
Derbyshire even at one point – in an attempt to discredit their claims – accused Lewis and Blumenthal of belonging to a non-existent Zionist political party in the UK.
Yesterday, @GasherJew, a twitter account that’s been doing extremely important work exposing antisemitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, tweeted the following thread containing an A-Z of examples of Labour antisemitism.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of articles have been published about antisemitism within the UK Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn was appointed party leader in 2015. But Labour could still win the next parliamentary elections, thanks in large part to the poor performance of the Conservative government in the Brexit negotiations. During the second half of September, polls showed more or less alternating results as to which party would win power in a new election.
A Corbyn-led government should worry the Western world even more than it should British Jewry for many reasons, including the issue of Corbyn and his allies receiving access to British intelligence sources. If Corbyn were elected, how safe would it then be for other Western countries to share high level intelligence with the British secret services?
Corbyn has called genocidal terrorists “brothers” and “friends.” And as party leader, he surrounds himself with people that are also sympathizers with terrorist movements or have hard-left positions.
Sitting UK prime ministers sometimes share important intelligence with the opposition leader. Yet, in March of this year, The London Times reported that Theresa May offered Corbyn limited access to highly classified information regarding the nerve poison attack in the UK on two Russians. This was in contrast to her predecessor, David Cameron, who shared more detailed intelligence with then Labour leader Ed Miliband and his chief of staff regarding Syria in 2013. Corbyn’s chief of staff was not even given any confidential information by May.
May’s decision was wise — and a limited examination of people close to Corbyn shows why Western intelligence agencies would likely be reluctant to give their confidential information to a Corbyn-led government.
An anti-Israel Palestinian activist, who was suspended by the Labour Party over anti-Semitism allegations, was chosen to represent the UK on an official government trade mission to SE Asia.
The Department for International Trade told the Mail on Sunday a review into its vetting process is going ahead after the newspaper discovered that Sameh Habeeb, a former editor of the Palestine Telegraph, travelled to Indonesia and Malaysia in July to represent UK trade interests.
Department sources conceded Mr. Habeeb had slipped through the net and should not have been allowed on the mission, which promoted education.
In April, Mr Habeeb was suspended by Labour following remarks in an interview with a student newspaper that allegedly suggested the mainstream media was owned by Jews. The investigation is ongoing.
Sameh Habeeb founded and edited the Palestine Telegraph, a journal criticised for publishing conspiracy theories and elaborate tropes about Jews.
The paper also drew criticism for publishing an article which claimed the First and Second World Wars were planned “for the sake of a group following the dictates of Zionism.”
Jewish Labour Movement, Labour’s only affiliated Jewish group, has launched a new ‘Antisemitism Monitoring Centre’ today.
In an email sent to all its members this afternoon, JLM revealed it had set up a centre to process complaints relating to antisemitism within the Labour Party.
The request to hear experiences of antisemitism within Labour is directed at either “victim or third party observer” according to the email and JLM website.
Throughout the past three years, the Jewish Labour Movement has engaged, in good faith, with the Labour Party to try and solve the severe and ongoing crisis of Labour antisemitism. This has included meetings at every level of the Party, including the Leader’s Office, the General Secretary and many more. We are grateful to our allies in the Labour Party and across the Jewish community who have supported us throughout this time.
That’s why, today, the Jewish Labour Movement launches our Antisemitism Monitoring Centre. For too long, complaints of antisemitism have been dismissed when reported, obfuscated when they entered the national press, and dragged on because that was politically easier.
We want to hear your experiences of antisemitism within the Labour Party, victim or third party observer. (h/t Zvi)
At a time when politics and policy are front and center, a time when we as citizens of the world are seeing shifts in government and tactics, my naive hope that the growing divide we see each time we turn on the news will somehow shake up the Jewish community and bridge the gap between us remains unfulfilled.
Non-Israeli, left-leaning groups often identify as Jewish in order to give credence to their views in the eyes of the international com- munity regarding a country in which most have never lived, served or voted. Their demand that the democrati- cally elected Israeli government consider their positions on Israel while they sit comfortably in their Brooklyn, LA or Miami homes is asinine.
But this divide within the Jewish community existed long before we returned home in 1948. Being forced into the Diaspora saw the Jewish people and their views assimilate into those of their host countries, which many sociologists would argue is a natural and expected occurrence.
Yet, amazingly, the Jewish people have always kept their close-knit sense of community and family, especially during tumultu- ous times.
As the world sees politics shift to more extremist views, Jews seem to have fallen victim to the polarizing effects of this new normal – which is anything but.
It only takes a little investigating into some of these groups that claim to support Israel and actively advocate for solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to find that many do not support Israel at all.
This is a fairly new, albeit ridiculous idea of “self-identifying” as Jews, even if one is not ethnically or religiously Jewish by any accepted standard. This somehow affords individuals the accreditation to speak about Israel from “a Jewish perspective.”
None of this, of course, is news.
So, why the urgency to write this piece? Because of a comment by Women’s March organizer Sophie Ellman-Golan.
When Islamists and other anti-Israel groups gather, they’ve learned to use euphemisms to take the edges off some of their more extreme views. They don’t call for Israel’s annihilation like Iran’s leaders do, they just lock on to a “right of return” demand that demographically would wipe out the Jewish state.
And they use slogans such as, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free,” which geographically leaves no room for Israel.
The usual demonization of Israel was present last weekend in St. Paul when the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), an umbrella group leading the BDS push to isolate and weaken Israel through boycotts and divestment drives, held a major conference. It is common for Islamists and pro-Palestinian activists to sanitize terrorist attacks as “legitimate resistance” at such events, but three USCPR speakers came right out and made a case for violence, going much further than “boycotts and divestment.”
Two are university professors, including one who is a frequent CNN pundit. One made a point of praising a terrorist murderer. The other diminished non-violent protest as a path for Palestinians to follow by saying “this nonviolent thing” can be too limiting, and raising a question “what legitimate resistance looks like.”
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has refused to allow Israel’s national broadcaster, Kan, to broadcast the World Cup and Euro 2020 soccer games to Israeli television sets in Judea, Samaria or eastern Jerusalem, saying it will not agree to Israel broadcasting its games in the “Palestinian territories.”
As a result, Kan may refuse to enter into an agreement, making the games unavailable in Israel except to cable-TV and satellite-TV subscribers.
According to a report in Yediot Achronot, Kan bid NIS 21 million ($5.8 million) for the rights to show Israel’s games in the early rounds of the popular soccer competitions.
But the contract UEFA wants to sign with Kan through an American bidding company specifies that matches can only be broadcast inside the so-called Green Line, the area that constituted the State of Israel prior to the 1967 Six-Day War.
Sources in Kan told Yediot that a Qatari company bought rights to broadcast matches in the “Palestinian territories, among other locations in the Middle East and North Africa.”
The broadcast authority that had planned to provide the matches with Hebrew commentary on Channel 11 and Arabic commentary on Channel 33, and only to Israeli residents, has been attempting to negotiate with UEFA for almost a year. Last year, Israel was able to secure the rights it requested, but UEFA had worked with a different, European company.
As a general rule Five Minutes for Israel ignores the Independent. Criticising any newspaper featuring both Robert Fisk and Ben White would be like criticising al Jazeera or Soviet-era Pravda. But the graphics in Israel reduces Palestinians’ permitted fishing zone by a third post (Saturday 6 October), especially as linked on their Facebook page drew my attention by their hypocrisy.
In case this is an ‘oops’ moment and they remove one or the other I have screen-grabbed them.
How many underage in this photograph?
The original caption was Palestinians take cover at protest on the Gaza-Israel border on 5 October ( Getty Images ). In what is clearly a posed scene the Palestinians are clearly not too concerned by any threat. Some smile, others make victory signs.
How many underage children can you count in the photograph that the Independent chose to illustrate both the article and the Facebook link?
Learn to LIVEThen glance upwards to the Independent LEARN to LIVE WAR child campaign photograph.
The report notes that a funeral was held on Saturday for Faris Hafez al-Sarasawi, a 12-year-old boy killed during the protests. It also notes that 33 of those killed since March have been under the age of 18 years.
Clearly it is very difficult to be a child in a war zone, although in Gaza the war zone is essentially only in the immediate vicinity of the border with Israel. It is even more difficult if the local authorities encourage them to join the invasion euphemistically labelled Great March of Return.
Mosquitoes kill more humans than any other single organism, by far. The insects transmit malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, the Zika virus and other diseases to millions of people every year. Malaria alone kills over 400,000 people per year, mostly children, and as climate change provides the insects with hospitable new habitats, including in the US and Western Europe, the death toll will continue to rise.
Now an Israeli startup, Senecio Robotics, has unveiled a plan to combat the menace by efficiently mass producing and dispersing sterile mosquitoes by the planeload, potentially saving millions.
The “sterile insect technique” for pest control dates back to the 1950s. Artificially sterilized insects, usually males, are released into the wild population in overwhelming numbers. When these sterile males mate with wild fertile females, the females do not produce offspring, disrupting their reproductive cycle. The technique has been successfully deployed against various species of moths and flies, reducing disease and damage to humans and agriculture.
Mosquitoes are another story. They are more fragile than moths or flies, making them difficult to store and transport in large numbers, and are difficult to sort by gender. Senecio’s technology aims to solve these problems by automating the sorting process, and allowing for the storage and dispersal of massive numbers of the insects.
Jerusalem has come a long way since the bloodshed of the Second Intifada when tourists sensitive to security concerns avoided the Israeli capital.
Last year, 78% of the record-breaking 3.6 million tourists who visited Israel toured Jerusalem, attracted by the holy city’s millennia-old religious history and diversity together with its thriving contemporary urban culture.
The city’s rapidly-growing hotel and accommodation scene has witnessed a 43% increase in bookings since 2013 alone.
Simply put, Jerusalem’s tourism industry is booming.
As tourism has continued to increase year after year, the city has also amassed undesirable experience in ensuring the well-being of its visitors despite threats of violence, transforming the city into a leading world exporter of tourism security and expertise.
This week, an international crowd of tourism and security officials will gather in Israel’s capital at the three-day International Tourism Security Summit to learn how to effectively secure their cities and their tourists.
For Ilanit Melchior, director of tourism at the Jerusalem Development Authority, the first step in ensuring security for tourists is not denying or downplaying the security issue.
“I’m very honest about what I say, or the message coming through. It’s irresponsible to guarantee that Jerusalem is completely safe as something could happen,” Melchior told The Jerusalem Post ahead of the summit. “But I can say that we have the means to deal with it, a whole platform of security services and police.”
Israel Aerospace Industries has completed the development of an autonomous system that can identify, locate and destroy improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines before troops reach them, the company announced on Sunday.
The system is installed on a robotic platform made by IAI and integrates a combination of multiple sensors that detect IEDs which may be hidden in “complex areas.”
The robotic engineering scout can be maneuvered autonomously without danger to troops, and can detect, engage and remove the IEDs by using a blade installed on the vehicle.
“The completion of the development of the autonomous IED detection system… and its delivery to operational trails is another significant quantum leap in the field of unmanned vehicles,” said IAI Robotic Systems Division general manager Meir Shabtai
“The system provides a full end-to-end, effective, threatened-routes clearing solution, operations which have been done heretofore by troops, with significant danger to their lives,” he added.
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