Ex-AP Reporter Reveals: Int’l Media Coverage of Israel is a “Bluff”
“The way the Israel is portrayed by the foreign press is not only broken, there are times when a talented but inexperienced reporter who has been assigned to cover Israel will get in front of a TV camera and literally bluff his/her way through a story with a straight face,” Matti Friedman, a renowned former reporter for the Associated Press (AP), revealed to a gathering of Christian journalists from all over the globe, attending this week’s Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem.
Despite the fact that his personal politics run to the left of the spectrum, Friedman admitted that he refused to follow the overwhelmingly liberal international media herd in Israel, which in the aftermath of the Six Day War, collectively decided that the on-going simplistic narrative would be, “If Israel ends the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there would be peace. As a former IDF soldier the gap between what I was writing, as part of the narrative and the reality that I knew as a soldier was too wide for me to accept, so I left AP.”
Friedman added, “Anyone who lives here knows that there’s no on-going Palestinian-Israel conflict. That’s fiction. There is a much broader regional conflict in the region which includes Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria, Lebanon of which Israel’s role in all this is one small part of a bigger dynamic.”
Friedman pointed out that the skewed coverage of the so-called on-going “violence in Israel” is borne out by eye-opening statistics. “Last year, the total number of violent deaths across Israel including terror attacks, domestic disputes etc. was only 18. In Jacksonville, Florida a small American city perceived to be quiet and safe, 119 people were killed in a violent manner. Journalists covering Israel have decided to create a reality that doesn’t always match what is really happening around them.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH
Back in the present day, who better than Manuel Hassassian, the official Palestinian representative to the UK, to make it clear what his campaign against the Balfour Declaration is really about in another story from The Guardian:
There has been a 100-year-long cover-up of Israel’s crimes: its ethnic cleansing of the majority of the Palestinian population in 1948; its unrelenting years of aggression and present brutal occupation.
Given that Israel has only existed for nearly 70 of the 100 years that Hassassian refers to, it appears that the issue is less about a territorial issue that arose in 1947-48 and everything to do with Palestinian rejection of Jewish rights going back way before the actual birth of the State of Israel.
Ultimately, the campaign against the Balfour Declaration and demands for an apology from the British government (which have been categorically rejected) are simply part of the wider delegitimization campaign against Israel. This latest focus on Balfour 100 will undoubtedly increase in the coming weeks.
Must-watch Andrew Neil speech on the dangerous trend of left-wing anti-Semitism at the Holocaust Educational Trust annual dinner last night.
Evelyn Gordon: Israeli Arabs’ Growing Israeli Identity
Over last week’s Sukkot holiday, Israeli Arab couple Khalil and Reem Bakly launched their own personal coexistence venture by building a completely kosher sukkah (aided by an Orthodox Jewish employee of Khalil’s dental practice) and inviting any and all Israeli Jews to come visit. That same week, a delegation comprised entirely of Israeli Arabs—Muslims, Christians, and Druze—made final preparations for a speaking tour defending Israel on American college campuses.
Both could easily be dismissed as unrepresentative of Israel’s Arab community. After all, that very same week, Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi asserted in a speech in Dallas that Jews have no right to self-determination, because “the Jews are not a nationality.” And Zoabi, who is only slightly more inflammatory than her party colleagues, was elected on a joint ticket that receives the overwhelming majority of Israeli Arab votes.
But as a recent poll of Israeli Arabs proves, the community is changing—and not in Zoabi’s favor.
Perhaps most striking was the fact that a decisive majority of respondents identified primarily as Israeli rather than Palestinian, which is something that wasn’t true even a few years ago. In 2012, for instance, just 32.5 percent of Israeli Arabs defined themselves as “Israeli” rather than Palestinian. But the figure has risen fairly steadily, and this year, asked “which term best describes you,” 54 percent of respondents chose some variant of “Israeli” (the most popular choice was “Israeli Arab,” followed by “Arab citizen of Israel,” “Israeli,” and “Israeli Muslim”). That’s more than double the 24 percent who chose some variant of “Palestinian” (15 percent chose simply “Palestinian.” The others chose “Palestinian in Israel,” “Palestinian citizen in Israel,” or “Israeli Palestinian”).
Moreover, 63 percent deemed Israel a “positive” place to live, compared to 34 percent who said the opposite. 60 percent had a favorable view of Israel, compared to 37 percent whose view was unfavorable. These are smaller majorities than either question would receive among Israeli Jews, but they are still decisive. Even among Muslims, the most ambivalent group, the favorable-to-unfavorable ratio was a statistical tie (49:48). Among Christians, it was 61:33, and among Druze, 94:6.
Ben-Dror Yemini: Israeli Arabs are breaking their silence
The views the delegation members are about to present on US campuses are not the views of a small and detached minority. On the contrary. A series of surveys, from polls conducted by Prof. Sammy Smooha to polls commissioned by the Israel Democracy Institute, offer similar findings. For example, 57 percent of Israel’s Arabs define their situation as good or very good and 58 percent feel part of the state and of its problems. The most significant figure is that 51 percent of the Arabs are proud to be Israelis. Proud, no less!
Who are the Arabs who are given center stage in Israel’s public discourse? We know the answer. Ninety-nine percent of the comments in Israel and in the world represent the radical decile which is closer to Zoabi and to Sheikh Raed Salah. These are usually blasphemous and hostile articles which include groundless arguments that have nothing to do with reality.
Israel’s Arabs, for example, are in the midst of an ongoing gap-closing process in terms of income and education. But to hell with the facts. After all, the apartheid libels have an enthusiastic audience in the media, cultural and academic circles around the world. So there’s always someone to deliver the goods.
In practice, Israel’s Arabs are in a much better situation than any Muslim minority in Europe, and definitely in a better situation than Arabs in the neighboring countries. They’re aware of that. Every examination of measurable parameters will prove it. They have much more freedom and equality, and more equality has to be fought for. But those who get center stage, in the world and in Israel, are engaging in endless lying. They need, after all, budgets from George Soros and from Europe. So they must curse. It’s a profitable investment.
The intimidations and threats directed at the delegation members were expected. A radical minority is always dominant on social media. There’s no need to panic. Young Muslims in Europe, who fight anti-Semitism, are also forced to hide sometimes following threats from the extremists. Despite the threats, the delegation members represent in many senses the silenced majority of Israeli Arabs, the majority which has become an integral part of Israel, in almost every area.
The director of Stanford University’s Jewish center stepped in at the last moment to host a group of Israelis from minority backgrounds after the student club that had invited them to speak on campus pulled its support, citing university pressure.
Rabbi Dov Greenberg of Stanford Chabad told the Washington Free Beacon he agreed to host a delegation from a group called Reservists on Duty when Stanford Israel Association posted on Facebook less than a day before the scheduled Monday event that it was nixing the program.
“Due to a combination of procedural issues and concerns raised by the University regarding past behavior by the organization due to speak, we suspended the event,” wrote SIA.
“SIA remains committed to promoting the voices of Israeli minorities and to fostering a positive conversation about Israeli culture, history, and politics on Stanford’s campus; we no longer believe hosting this event is the best way to achieve this,” the group added.
Greenberg said the RoD delegation called him before midnight Sunday and explained they had arrived in northern California for their first stop on a multi-state tour to find out they had nowhere to speak. Greenberg offered a room in his center for the presentation, which features Christian and Muslim reservists from the Druze, Bedouin, and Arab Israeli communities speaking to American university students about their personal experiences in and out of the army.
Last month, New York’s Center for Jewish History was the target of a right-wing campaign seeking to oust its new president, David Myers, over his dovish views on Israel. The campaign drew an appropriately outraged response from leading Jewish scholars, who rallied around Myers, a highly regarded historian who has publicly opposed the anti-Israel BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions — movement.
Now, one of the five independent historical organizations housed at the center, the American Jewish Historical Society, is also coming under attack. This time, however, the most consequential attacks are coming not from the far right but the far left. Anti-Zionist BDS supporters are masquerading as champions of free expression after their hijacking of the august and heretofore largely apolitical AJHS was foiled.
The latest controversy erupted into public view last week when AJHS’s board canceled two events that the society had been scheduled to host: a play by the anti-Zionist playwright Dan Fishback on intrafamilial disagreements about Israel and a discussion on the Balfour Declaration that was co-sponsored with the BDS-backing Jewish Voice for Peace. The cancellation came the same day as an article criticizing AJHS for hosting the events appeared in the far-right FrontPage Magazine.
Fishback and JVP immediately cried foul. Fishback, a JVP and BDS supporter, complained of “silencing and censorship.” JVP’s executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, decried what she called AJHS’s “shameful caving to rightwing pressure.” The New York Times picked up on the ensuing “backlash” from various cultural figures angered by what they saw as AJHS embracing censorship. (h/t Jewess)
A Palestinian activist who was scheduled to speak at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC said her talk was cancelled by the local Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter because she and her co-speaker were deemed to be “anti-Semitic.”
Amena El-Ashkar, who describes herself as a third-generation Palestinian refugee, was booked to speak at GWU on October 19 as part of the North America Nakba Tour (NANT). She has made appearances nationwide alongside Khawla Hammad, an 85-year-old “stateless refugee in Lebanon” and daughter of “a Palestinian freedom fighter,” according to NANT.
“We were informed by the SJP group at George Washington University in Washington, DC that our October 19 talk would be cancelled because we were ‘anti-Semitic,’” El-Ashkar wrote in an article published on Saturday by the online newsletter Dissident Voice that was first brought attention to by the Israellycool blog.
“Of course, we expect such talk from our Zionist enemies, and we give it little importance,” she claimed. “But to hear it from a group that claims to be standing for justice in Palestine? Do these groups really expect to have any credibility among Palestinians when they do this?”
El-Ashkar also alluded to her cancelled appearance at Stanford University on April 2016, when she was touring US college campuses as part of her first collaboration with NANT.
El-Ashkar withdrew from her talk at Stanford after the local SJP group objected to the presence of Alison Weir — who the Anti-Defamation League accused of employing “anti-Semitic imagery” in her discussions of Israel — at the event.
IsraellyCool: So You Want To Be A Peace Activist? Part 1
I guess I could be defined as a peace activist. Everybody seems to be calling themselves that nowadays.
I enjoy talking to the Arabs and Palestinians – meaning those who live in the Palestinian-Authority administered territory under the Oslo Agreement – in my classes, on the bus (if I happen to be sitting next to one or have a particularly friendly bus driver), in taxis, stores, shuk stalls, and restaurants. I love exploring our common ground and enjoy the experience of exploring our mutual humanity. Israel is a country where strangers talk to each other, where it’s rare to have a seatmate on an intercity bus who doesn’t become a friend by the time the ride is over. Last but not least, of course, there is nothing to lose by being kind.
However, I am cognizant of the fact that many aspects of peace activism are traps. Here are some main ones to be careful of.
Part One: The Moral Equivalence
Have you ever seen a post after a terror attack that tried to make one side appear equal to the other? Something along the lines of “It’s horrible there is a terror attack and I mourn all those senselessly murdered but look what we are doing to provoke it! Put yourself in the shoes of Ahmed growing up under a brutal occupation….”
I know why these “peace activists” do it. I don’t think they necessarily believe in moral equivalence at all, especially if they have at least half a brain cell, but they legitimately think they are sending out an olive branch, that if we recognize the humanity and narrative of the Palestinians they will recognize ours in return.
These folks feel they are brave agents of peace, doing the work the rest of us aren’t good-hearted enough to do – by building mutual understanding between our peoples. They see this as a situation of “something’s gotta give”. As a result, many may work very hard to put themselves in their shoes in order to relate to them in a way that would make it easier for them to relate to us.
No matter what happened in 1948, you can never put a government that supports and funds terrorists who kill innocent civilians on the same moral plane as those who just want to survive and be left alone. Ever. Doing so is a gross injustice, and contrary to popular belief does not produce ends that justify these means. They just result in you being used as a pawn to bolster their narrative.
So You Still Want To Be A Peace Activist? Part 2
Wait, Really? You STILL Want to Be A Peace Activist? Part 3
So You Still, Absolutely, Want To Be A Peace Activist? Part 4
Doucet closed with a curious take-away message:
Doucet: “It [Hamas] doesn’t…it’s not a movement like Islamic State and the other extremist groups.”
Although BBC reporting on the reconciliation in progress between Hamas and Fatah has to date been superficial and has for the most part failed to provide audiences with the information necessary for proper understanding of the issues behind the story, one might have expected that a journalist holding the title of BBC chief international correspondent would have been able to do better.
However, Doucet’s promotion of inaccurate information concerning the Hamas charter and the terror group’s approach to the peace process, along with her failure to properly explain why a Hamas-Fatah unity government which does not adhere to the Quartet Principles will stall the peace process and her often dubious analysis, failed to meet the BBC’s obligation to accurate and impartial reporting.
Despite the BBC having refrained from reporting the appointment of US Treasury designated Saleh al Arouri to the position of deputy leader of Hamas’ political bureau earlier this month, a photo caption in this article indicates that the corporation is aware of his new position.
“Fatah’s Azam al-Ahmed (right) and Hamas deputy head of the politburo Saleh al-Aruri sign the agreement”
Although the BBC’s report featured comment on the agreement from a variety of sources including Hamas’ Salah Bardawil and Sami Abu Zuhri, readers were not informed of comments made by the man who actually signed it on behalf of Hamas.
“Speaking after the agreement was signed, Arouri, who headed the Hamas delegation that negotiated the deal, said Palestinian unity was vital “so that we can all work together against the Zionist enterprise, which seeks to wipe out and trample the rights of our people.””
In the past BBC audiences have often seen unhelpful reporting on the subject of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip: reporting which has not only failed to provide a clear and factual explanation of the reasons behind that crisis but on occasion has even steered audiences towards the inaccurate impression that it is connected to Israeli counter-terrorism measures along its border with Gaza. This latest BBC report unfortunately continues that policy of promoting inaccurate information:
“Since 2006, the two countries [Egypt and Israel] have maintained a land and sea blockade on Gaza in an attempt to prevent attacks by Gaza-based militants. The measures have also aggravated electricity and fuel shortages.”
Once again we see the BBC making do with superficial presentation of the Hamas-Fatah unity deal story that fails to meet its obligation to provide reporting “of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues”.
One of Poland’s leading anti-racist organizations has successfully prevented the continued sale of antisemitic figurines at a gift shop inside the Polish Parliament building in Warsaw, following several weeks of quiet protest.
Rafal Pankowski — a Warsaw-based scholar and cofounder of the anti-fascist organization “Nigdy Wiecej” (Never Again) — told The Algemeiner on Thursday that his group had raised the issue earlier this year, after he noticed that the figurines — which depicted Jews as wealthy moneylenders and financiers — were on sale at the shop. Among those with whom the issue was raised was Warsaw’s deputy mayor, Michał Olszewski. However, a subsequent visit to the shop by one of Pankowski’s associates revealed that the figurines were still on sale.
Last week, at a meeting at the office of Polish Human Rights Commissioner Adam Bodnar, Pankowski again publicly protested the sale of the figurines, notifying the Polish media and a number of Polish MPs as to their availability at the Parliament shop. According to Pankowski, the dolls were removed from sale following the intervention of the speaker of the Polish Parliament, Marek Kuchcinski.
Pankowski said the figurines “represent a deeply-rooted negative stereotype of the greedy Jew in the Polish culture.”
Growing up in England, Kevin Wilshaw had no friends. As a teenager, he drifted to white supremacist circles, finding a sense of camaraderie among its tightly knit thugs. When he joined the National Front, an extreme far-right British party, he cited his hatred for Jews on his application form. He proceeded to have a storied career of bigotry, smashing a chair on an opponent’s head in Leeds and vandalizing a mosque in Aylesbury. And today, he disavowed his ties to his former neo-Nazi friends and came out as a gay Jew.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Wilshaw admitted that coming to terms with his sexuality opened his eyes to the vileness of his views.
“On one or two occasions in the recent past I’ve actually been the recipient of the very hatred of the people I want to belong to,” he said. “If you’re gay it is acceptable in society but with these group of people it’s not acceptable, and I found on one or two occasions when I was suspected of being gay I was subjected to abuse. It’s a terribly selfish thing to say but it’s true, I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street–it’s not until it’s directed at you that you suddenly realize that what you’re doing is wrong.”
Embarking on a journey of personal discovery, Wilshaw made further startling discoveries: His mother’s maiden name was Benjamin, and she was at least part-Jewish.
“That term ‘the Jews’ is the global faceless mass of people you can’t personalize it, not individuals,” he said, reflecting on his past anti-Semitism. “That’s the generalization that leads to six million people being deliberately murdered.”
With his mind and his heart both opened, Wilshaw reached out to a group that specializes in helping members of hate groups start anew. He did so, he said, because he wanted to take the fight to his former comrades and “do some damage to the people who are propagating this kind of rubbish—want to hurt them, show what it’s like for those who are living a lie and be on the receiving end of this type of propaganda, I want to hurt them.”
Police are hunting two men who put up Nazi propaganda next to Britain’s oldest synagogue, in the latest offence revealed during National Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The suspects were captured on CCTV approaching a public notice board outside the Bevis Marks Synagogue, a Grade I listed building dating back to 1701.
City of London Police said they approached the board and “affixed a poster that contained a quote relating to Nazi antisemitic propaganda”.
“Further to this, they also affixed a yellow-coloured Star of David,” a spokesperson added, referring to the symbol used to identify Jews during the Holocaust.
“The two men then ran away from the scene of the crime in the direction of Bishopsgate.”
Investigators are urging anyone who recognises the men, who remain at large following the incident on 16 August to come forward.
Anthony Scaramucci, the financier who briefly helmed President Donald Trump’s communications department, pledged $25,000 to the Simon Wiesenthal Center after an account in his name posted a survey asking people how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
“On behalf of the @ScaramucciPost we will be making a $25,000 donation to The Simon Wiesenthal Center,” Scaramucci said Tuesday afternoon on his personal Twitter account. “Hopefully I spelled that right,” the tweet said, ending with a grinning emoji.
Earlier Tuesday, the Scaramucci Post account had posted a tweet asking: “How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust?” and offering multiple choices: “Less than one million, between 1-2 million, between 2-3 million, more than 5 million.” The historical figure, 6 million, was not offered.
The tweet was up for an hour and was then removed by Lance Laifer, who apologized for it and whom Scaramucci later said was his partner.
In another tweet on his personal account, Scaramucci apologized and said the offending tweet’s intent was to raise awareness about ignorance of the Holocaust, in the wake of news that a company was marketing Halloween costumes meant to represent Holocaust diarist Anne Frank. The company withdrew the costume after complaints.
If you watched the video I posted of the 1939 pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square in New York, you saw the footage of a young Jewish man who charged the stage being beaten by the Nazis and hauled off by the police.
The Washington Post tells his story. He went on to serve as a chief petty officer in the Navy during World War II and later moved to southern California, where he was remembered fondly on his death in 1998.
Israeli lawmakers and campaigners want to tighten a ban on the employment of underweight models and on the undeclared digital slimming-down of fashion images, amid concerns that the measures are being routinely flouted even as they are adopted abroad.
The fashion industry’s use of ultra-thin models has long been the subject of heated debate worldwide. Critics say the practice promotes an unhealthy body image among women, which can trigger anorexia and other eating disorders and a preoccupation with unrealistic standards of perfection.
In 2012, Israel became the first country to pass a law requiring advertisers explicitly to identify digitally doctored images of people and prohibiting the use of models below a certain body mass index, which expresses a ratio of weight to height.
Other countries including France, a hub of the fashion industry, have since followed Israel’s lead. But unlike Israel’s so-called “anti-Photoshop” law, French legislation that takes effect this month imposes fines and jail sentences on those who fail to comply.
“The problem with the Israeli law is that there’s no punishment. So you continue using skinny girls and nothing happens,” said Israeli photographer Adi Barkan, who was consulted on both the Israeli and the French legislation.
Overcoming opposition from Palestinian diplomats and several Arab states, an Israeli representative was elected by the UN General Assembly Tuesday to sit on the international body’s “Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space” (COPUOS).
Keren Shahar, the director of the Treaties Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will serve as Israel’s representative on the bureau, making the Jewish State one of the six countries to head up the 84-member organization.
In addition to Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, South Africa and Indonesia were also elected Tuesday to the COPUOS bureau. Israel first joined the space organization in 2015.
COPUOS is charged by the UN with “governing the exploration and use of space for the benefit of all humanity, reviewing international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space, encouraging space research, and studying legal problems arising from the exploration of outer space,” according the organization’s charter.
According to Israel’s mission to the UN, “adversaries led efforts to thwart the representative’s election despite the fact that she had been selected by the Western European and Others (WEOG) regional group as their candidate for the position.”
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed the decision.
Adding to Israel’s existing reputation as the “start-up nation” and a major hub of innovation, the Jewish state is now seen as a rising star in space and satellite technology.
Several key developments in recent years have highlighted Israel’s growing contributions to tis field, including the successful launch of the Venus satellite on August 2.
Venus, a micro-satellite weighing 550 pounds, was jointly designed by Israeli and French aerospace firms for the purpose of monitoring climate change. The cutting-edge satellite observes 110 sites on five continents every two days, and closely monitors the impact of human activity on vegetation, water and carbon levels.
The micro-satellite was built as part of a collaboration between Israel Aerospace Industries and France’s space agency, CNES. Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems provided the micro-satellite’s electric propulsion system, and Elbit Systems manufactured its high-resolution camera.
Israel is the smallest country in the world to launch its own satellites, and is also one of only 11 nations with the ability to independently launch unmanned missions into space. Currently, Israel has 17 civilian satellites orbiting the Earth, two-thirds of which are communication devices.
“Israel is one of the few countries that has the entire chain of satellite capabilities, which means launch, design, construction and operation,” Avi Blasberger, director general of the Israel Space Agencytold JNS.org. “It’s an entirely self-sustained program. Israel is one of the few countries in the world that can be proud of this.”
Mobileye’s CEO and founder Amnon Shashua has set out a mathematical model to ensure the safety of self-driving cars and also proposes a software design for autonomous cars which he believes enables them to be both safe and cheap enough for mass production.
Shashua presented his solution at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, based on an academic paper he wrote together with professors Shai Shalev-Shwartz and Shaked Shammah.
“There is little argument that machines will be better drivers than humans. Yet there is very real risk that self-driving vehicles will never realize their life-saving potential if we can’t agree on standards for safety,” Shashua and Shalev-Shwartz said on an open ad published with the paper. “We believe self-driving vehicles can and should be held to a standard of operational safety that is inordinately better than what we humans exhibit today. And the time to develop those standards is now.”
With a lack of safety standards and a lack of scalability — the option of mass-producing self driving cars — development of autonomous vehicles (AV) is “dangerously” moving along a path that might end in “great disappointment, after which further progress will come to a halt for many years to come,” the professors said in the paper.
Alon Day was having a very good day. The 26-year-old race car driver entered Israeli motorsport history last weekend when he clinched the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championship in Zolder, Belgium.
Day is in the midst of a sensational racing season. He won four races in total this year. The Whelen race on Saturday was his third straight victory in the playoffs and the 10th in his career with CAAL Racing, the Italian racing team Day has been with for three years. He came in second place overall with the team in 2015 and came in third last year.
This year, Day finished in the top 5 eleven times and in the top 10 ten times.
“Finishing the season like this is the sweetest thing I can ask,” Day said. “I am so happy for the CAAL Racing team, they did a great job all season long. We finally made it. I have no words right now.”
Day has racked up a series of other racing accomplishments in his brief career. Earlier this year, he became the first Israeli to race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. And he came in 32nd place in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Sonoma Raceway in California.
More than 70 years after Romans stepped aside and let the Nazis deport the city’s Jews, Rome once again made the declaration that the only way to defeat the antisemitism of the present is by remembering the antisemitism of the past.
On October 16, 1943, more than 1,000 Jewish residents of Rome were torn from their homes, marching from the Jewish ghetto to the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, where they eventually were deported to Auschwitz. They arrived to the death camps on October 22, and only 16 people returned to their homes. The remembrance march, held this week on the roundup’s 74th anniversary, went in the opposite direction, from the church to the ghetto, as a symbol of repentance.
It was a “great movement of sensibility and culture, a real revolt against the evil and absurdity of racism and antisemitism that today we see dangerously re-emerging,” Monsignor Marco Gnavi, pastor of Santa Maria in Trastevere, said at the march. “To be here means you are showing you love the Jewish community, our brothers.”
Every year, the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Jewish community of Rome recall together that tragic day, with a march from Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere to Largo. The organizers call it a “pilgrimage of memory,” because all, especially younger generations, tend to forget the tragedy of deportation during the Nazi occupation, according to the organization’s website.
This year, thousands of Romans, other Italians and foreigners, along with civilian and military authorities, marched through the streets with the procession being opened by children with their message printed on a banner: “Peace is the future.” At the back of the silent procession, participants held up the names of concentration camps.
Several years ago, CEO of the Christian network CBN Gordon Robertson came to the same realization as many others before him: Israel has a PR problem.
“When Americans would think of Israel it was always in terms of terror attacks or anti-Israel resolutions at the UN,” Robertson told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, talking over the phone from Jerusalem where he was participating in the four-day annual Christian Media Summit.
In 2013, Robertson decided to do something about it, launching the first in a series of films to educate the public about Israel. The first one, ‘Made in Israel’, showcases Israeli technology and innovation.
“The great technology made in Israel and the amazing innovation, in agriculture for instance, was an untold story,” he said.
A meeting with the Israeli consul general in the US at the time reinforced his belief that such action was needed to try to salvage Israel’s image.
Next came ‘The Hope: The Rebirth of Israel,’ which journeys through the 50 years preceding the founding of the state of Israel, featuring Zionist visionaries and founders of the Jewish state including Theodor Herzl, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben-Gurion, and Golda Meir.
Tuesday saw the launch of the TOD Innovation Lab, hosted by the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem and sponsored by the Jerusalem Development authority.
The project intends to be an ongoing addition to the museum experience, functioning as exhibition space, work center and beta-testing site for startups developing virtual reality and augmented reality technology designed to transform and enhance the cultural learning experience inside the museum and on the web. More than 20 startups are currently participating, and more will join as the project continues.
At first glance the new project is a portrait of contrasts. The Tower of David citadel’s sprawling courtyard is a maze of pathways, steps and stone walls, with trees and grassy areas offering a space to cool down in the hot early afternoon of October in Jerusalem. Spread out in the nooks and crannies of this 2000-year-old edifice are the startups exhibiting with the TOD Innovation Lab, complete with big screens, VR goggles, and robotic prototypes. While the technologies displayed vary somewhat, all are VR and AR-driven, and are seen by the event organizers as potential game-changers for museums and cultural sites, in Israel and around the world.
“The museum itself is an innovative space,” said Innovation Lab director Devora Mason.
The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces organization will hold its annual fundraising event for Israeli soldiers in New York’s Hilton Midtown Hotel next Monday. Some 1,200 guests are expected to attend the prestigious event, including some of the most influential philanthropists and business people in the U.S. as well as guests from Israel, including senior representatives of Israel’s defense establishment.
Guests at the “A Night of Heroes” event will include outgoing Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, who will head a delegation of some 25 soldiers and officers currently serving in the military, as well as former soldiers who fought in Israel’s wars over the years. Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon will also attend, along with Israeli Consul General in New York Dani Dayan, CEO of the FIDF in the U.S. Maj. Gen. (res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, FIDF Chairman Emeritus Arthur Stark and FIDF National President Peter Weintraub.
This annual event in New York is the FIDF’s main fundraising event in the U.S., traditionally raising tens of millions of dollars for Israeli soldiers.
FIDF was founded in 1981 by Holocaust survivors who immigrated to America. The purpose of the organization is to care for the welfare of the soldiers serving in the military, their families and families of fallen soldiers.
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