August 15, 2022

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10/30 Links Pt2: Human rights or racketeering?; Celebrating Israeli-Australian friendship

From Ian:

UN Watch: Human rights or racketeering?
In what one human-rights activist characterizes as blackmail, the United Nations Human Rights Council is reportedly pressuring a major Israeli telecom to cease operations in disputed areas of the Jewish state or face the possibility of being designated a human-rights abuser.

It’s part of a broader effort — referred to as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — to chill businesses serving Israelis in West Bank settlements, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

The CEO of Bezeq received a letter from the Human Rights Council, accusing the company of providing services for Israelis in presumably Palestinian territory. Up to 30 U.S. companies were similarly contacted by the council, according to Anne Bayefsky, senior editor of Human Rights Voices.

The council is threatening to add the companies to a database of presumably human-rights-abusing businesses working with Israel.

“The database is to include companies that ‘directly or indirectly’ are connected to Israeli settlements,” Ms. Bayefsky told The Beacon. “It is nothing short of an assault on the economic welfare of the state of Israel, period.”

UNHRC to discuss Israeli women’s exclusion

Supposed exclusion of women in Israel will be one of the main items on the agenda of the United Nations Human Rights Council—tasked with implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women—when it convenes in Geneva on Tuesday.

A delegate headed by Ministry of Justice Director-General Emi Palmor headed to Geneva to counter the claims, as the ministry is part of implementing the international convention to which it acceded in 1991.

The UN Human Rights Council, which received information about women’s exclusion in Israel, forwarded some preliminary questions to the delegation, which was instructed to obfuscate nothing as to the problem’s breadth.

The delegation will be reporting to the UN on tackling women’s exclusion in public transportation, the issue of “decency” on billboards, attitudes of the religious establishment and Haredi parties towards women and the situation in cemeteries, clinics, hospitals, public libraries, public functions, the Western Wall, the media and academia.

The Human Rights Council, whose members currently include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, will also deal with exclusionary aspects relating to domestic abuse and women’s access to the courts system, an area in which Israel has made significant progress with pending legislation for criminalizing clients of prostitution, providing legal assistance to victims of serious sexual assault and fighting human trafficking.

“Where They Have Burned Books, They Will End Up Burning People”

Heinrich Heine’s chillingly prophetic statement that where books had been burnt people would eventually be too is now engraved on the “Bibliotek” memorial in the Bebelplatz square on the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin. This memorial commemorates the infamous May 10, 1933 book burning of more than 25,000 volumes there, which was presided over by the most intellectual of the Nazi leaders, Dr. Joseph Goebbels. Authors whose books were thrown into the flames by university students included such “enemies of the German spirit” as Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, and, of course, Heine himself. The memorial, designed by the Israeli artist Micha Ullman, derives its considerable power from its mute depiction of library shelves emptied of their books. Heine’s remark is a powerful and oft-quoted warning about the connection between barbarism and human evil, but its literary context has been almost entirely forgotten.

Heine’s aphorism appears in one of his earliest works, Almansor, a play written during 1820–1821 and published in 1823, when he was only 26. It takes place in Granada, after the Andalusian city had been conquered by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. The title character is a young Muslim who fled the city before its occupation by the Christians and has now clandestinely returned to try to rescue his beloved Zuleika, who has been forcibly converted to Catholicism and is now called Donna Clara. He meets with the remnants of the Muslim population in the city, who tell him about the atrocities perpetrated by the conquerors: killings, forced conversions, the introduction of the Inquisition. His friend Hassan laments how many young Muslims converted, some of them even willingly, “as the new heavens beckoned to many sinners.” Finally, Hassan tells Almansor that the Grand Inquisitor Jimenez had also ordered the burning of the Qur’an in the town’s square, to which Almansor responds, “Where they have burned books, they will end up burning people.”

Thus, in a play aimed at a German, mainly Christian, audience, Heinrich Heine, born to a Jewish family in Düsseldorf, criticizes Christian Spain for the burning of the Qur’an. Modern German poets did occasionally show admiration for Islamic culture, as, for instance, did Goethe in his West-Eastern Divan, but Heine’s lamentation stands out. It is emblematic not only of his empathy and his unusual insight into human affairs, but also, perhaps especially, of his conflicted identity as one of the first German Jewish intellectuals to enter the Republic of Letters.

Anti-Semitic Trolls Are Targeting Ben Shapiro’s Sister and It’s Horrifying

When Abigail Shapiro opened her computer one morning last week, she was shocked to see a flood of anti-Semitic and misogynist messages across her YouTube channel and coming in via a contact form on her website. Abigail isn’t a controversial public figure or a journalist; she’s a 24 year old opera singer. But she has the misfortune of being conservative pundit Ben Shapiro’s sister, and that was enough.

Ben Shapiro is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Wire and the host of the second most popular podcast in the country. He formerly wrote for Breitbart, the home of the “alt-right”, among whom Shapiro is a controversial figure. He was the movement’s number one online target last year, according to an Anti Defamation League (ADL) report. His sins include opposing Breitbart after resigning, plus the fact that he’s Jewish.

For these sins, Shapiro has had to deal with images of himself as an Auschwitz prisoner, or images of an African American baby right after his baby was born (a reference to the “alt-right”’s beloved slur “cuck”, short for “cuckservative”).

And now, it’s bled over to his sister.

In addition to hateful comments on all her YouTube videos and from her website, stories about Abigail Shapiro appeared on “alt-right” websites like the Daily Heathen, with headlines like “Ben Shapiro Now Using His Sister’s Khazar Milkers to Bring All the Goys to the Yard.” The comments on her YouTube channel became so graphic and so vile, she was forced to turn them off.

“The members of the ‘alt-right’ who are doing this have absolutely no shame,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, told me. “The disgusting anti-Semitic attacks and harassment of Ben Shapiro’s sister on her professional YouTube channel is an example of how low these haters will go to attempt to intimidate Jewish journalists and their families.”

Ben Shapiro was similarly disgusted. “My sister doesn’t deserve this,” he told me. “Enough.”

But there’s not much Abigail can do to fight back against these new anonymous attackers. (“We will reach out to our contacts at YouTube to notify them immediately about this abuse of their platform,” Greenblatt promised.)

Isi Leibler: Celebrating Israeli-Australian friendship

Except for two minor aberrations, Australia has constantly maintained a positive bipartisan relationship with Israel.

Both parties also supported broader Jewish concerns. On a personal note, two successive prime ministers intervened to enable me to aid Soviet Jews and instructed the Australian Embassy in Moscow to provide me with maximum assistance.

Australia was directly involved in rescinding the “Zionism is racism” U.N. resolution, and served as a crucial intermediary for Jewish leaders seeking to promote Israeli diplomatic relations in Asia.

The Jewish community can claim much of the credit for this.

Australian community leaders have not hesitated to confront their government on the rare occasions they considered it was applying double standards against Israel. The all-encompassing pro-Israel orientation of the Jewish community is undoubtedly a major factor contributing to the pro-Israel orientation of the mainstream political parties.

However, dark clouds are emanating from sectors of the Australian Labor Party, whose former Foreign Minister Bob Carr has become a spokesman for extremist Arab causes. He is supported by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, once one of Israel’s greatest supporters. The growing electoral power of over 500,000 Muslims strengthens these trends.

Despite growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli activity at universities, the public tends toward Israel. But there are legitimate concerns that if the current government is defeated by Labor in the next elections, the Arab lobby – which powerfully influences the Left – will pressure Australia to reconsider its pro-Israel policies.

But 18 months to the next election is a long time, and meanwhile, the Australia-Israel relationship has exceeded all expectations.

Netanyahu’s visit to Australia earlier this year was a resounding success; Turnbull’s visit will undoubtedly further cement this relationship.

We warmly welcome the Australian prime minister and his entourage to Israel and are confident that this will further strengthen the burgeoning economic, technological, defense and investment ties that bind our countries.

Australian PM Turnbull to arrive in Israel amid political crisis at home

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, facing a deep political crisis at home after losing his one-seat working parliamentary majority, will arrive in Israel Monday afternoon for a brief 48-hour visit to take part in Tuesday’s ceremonies marking 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba.

According to Australian media reports, Turnbull is coming in hopes of strengthening Australia’s security and defense ties with Israel. He will be the first Australian prime minister to visit since John Howard in 2000, and his visit is taking place just eight months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first ever sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Australia.

“As a result of this visit, we aim to upgrade the cooperation on defense, national security and the protection of crowded places,” Mr. Turnbull said before leaving. “Our nations can learn a great deal from each other in order to strengthen security and keep our citizens safe.”
Netanyahu and Australian PM Turnbull discuss strengthening Israel, Australia ties on Feb. 23 (credit: REUTERS)

Australia is currently the world’s seventh largest importer of weapons, and is an increasingly significant market for Israeli weaponry. During the visit, the two countries are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding regarding defense cooperation.

The two countries are also expected to initiate an annual strategic dialogue.

For Anzac Day: Missing in action

Celebrations are an ideal opportunity for friends to gather and join in showing solidarity and friendship…writes Michael Kuttner.

We stand poised to commemorate one hundred years since the liberation of Beersheba and Jerusalem from despotic Ottoman occupation and the issuing of the Balfour Declaration by the United Kingdom Government. Both anniversaries are significant milestones on the road to restored Jewish independence in our ancient homeland.

Friends and supporters from “down under” as well as in the UK are gathering to join Israelis in ceremonies and parades. The Anzacs are still fondly remembered by older locals, particularly those who interacted with them during the Second World War. The exploits of the Anzacs in 1917 however are less well known. Apart from those who have visited the war memorials or Commonwealth cemeteries scattered around Israel, the contributions of soldiers from New Zealand and Australia is unknown.

Australia has been particularly active in keeping alive the deeds of their soldiers while serving in occupied Ottoman Palestine and that is why almost all the publicity associated with the forthcoming celebrations has concentrated on them. In fact the absence of any publicity about any New Zealand contingent means that the average Israeli is totally unaware of a Kiwi presence.

The re-enactment of the famous cavalry charge which defeated the Ottomans in Beersheba is being undertaken solely by Australian descendants of the original soldiers. This has garnered much attention and undoubtedly will be the highlight of the commemorations on 31 October. It is a pity that the absence of a visible New Zealand presence will mean that locals are unlikely to obtain a complete and accurate understanding of its contribution to the campaign.

Thousands of Australians are coming for the events. I have no idea how many Kiwis are coming but it seems to be miniscule.

This lack of a meaningful New Zealand presence is also reflected in the official representation being sent from both countries.

In first, top New Zealander makes official visit to Israel

New Zealand’s Governor-General arrived in Israel on Monday, a first for the country’s constitutional head, as part of the commemorations marking 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba.

President Reuven Rivlin welcomed Governor-General of New Zealand Patricia Reddy, and her husband David Gascoigne, to Jerusalem.

Reddy also met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited Yad Vashem, and took part in the signing of trade deals between the two countries.
Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy, during a visit at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum. October 30, 2017. (Noam Revkin Fenton/FLASH90)

Reddy is representing New Zealand at the ANZAC commemorations of 100 years since the World War I battle in which Australia and New Zealand troops, mounted on horseback, defeated German soldiers, in one of history’s last great cavalry battles.

Rivlin spoke of the special friendship between Israel and New Zealand. “It began long before Israel even existed as an independent state,” he said. “One hundred years ago, New Zealand’s soldiers helped free the Land of Israel from the Ottoman Empire… and in that battle, 31 soldiers lost their lives. We remember their loss even now.”

In fresh snub, UAE gives medals to all UNESCO members but Israel

The United Arab Emirates snubbed Israel again on Monday, when its diplomats handed out gifts to all delegations at the UN cultural agency except Israel.

The incident came on the heels of UAE’s refusal last week to allow Israeli athletes to display the Israeli flag and play the national anthem at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi. An Emirati judoka also refused to shake hands after losing to his Israeli competitor, although the country’s top judo official later apologized to his Israeli counterpart for the snub.

At Monday’s opening of UNESCO’s 39th General Conference in Paris, the Emirati delegation placed a box containing a silver medal on the desk of each foreign delegation in honor of the UAE having sponsored the renovation of the conference hall. The medals bear a portrait of Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the deputy ruler of Dubai and finance minister of the UAE, who sponsored the renovations.

No box, however, was placed on the desk of Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen.

“The State of Israel has no need for gifts, but this ugly and uncivilized step, here in the world’s organization for culture and education, which follows the outrageous treatment of our judokas during the tournament in the UAE’s capital, shows how much hatred, incitement and dark mentality surround these people,” Shama-Hacohen said.

IsraellyCool: WhatsApp Founder Jan Koum’s Awesome Reaction to UAE Judo Anti-Israel Shenanigans

You already know the recent judo Grand Slam event in Abu Dhabi was the venue for pathetic anti-Israel shenanigans – including the refusal to raise the Israeli flag or play the Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem.

One of those offended by this was WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, a Russian-born Jew who is clearly also a Zionist. This was his response.

This is not first Koum’s public show of support for Israel. Almost 2 years ago, his “Priceless” comment to an anti-BDS Facebook post made the news.

So Israel haters and BDS-holes, please add WhatsApp to the list of things you are boycotting. I hear the pen and paper are still available to you.

‘Denial’ film shows truth matters but some NZ universities disagree.

As part of a series sponsored by The Department of History and Art History at the University of Otago, Cambridge University’s Regius Professor Emeritus Sir Richard Evans gave a public lecture last week entitled, The Holocaust on Trial: Reflections on the Irving-Lipstadt Trial and the film ‘Denial’.

The movie ‘Denial’, in which Sir Richard is played by John Sessions, is based on a real life high court trial that took place in London in 2000. Notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving, brought a libel action against historian Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin books, alleging that Lipstadt had defamed him by saying he was a Holocaust Denier, thus damaging his career as a writer and impeding his livelihood. By filing his case in an English High Court, the burden of proof lay with the defendant, rather than the plaintiff, in contrast to the US.

With the help of two research assistants over a three year period, Evans produced a detailed 740 page report on the English and German writings of Irving. Although the movie presents part of Evans’ evidence in a dramatic 3 minute segment, the reality was entirely more tedious, lasting 28 hours over 10 days, in which Irving (who represented himself) cross-examined Evans by traversing his report line by line.

Evans was ultimately able to help the defence prove incontrovertibly that Irving had deliberately falsified, distorted and misrepresented historical evidence. The judge found Irving to be a

“Holocaust denier, antisemite and racist who had deliberately manipulated historical evidence”,

and ordered him to pay more than £2m in legal costs. The 330 page judgement has been described as

‘the most savage judgement ever dumped on an English plaintiff in a high court’.

New Zealand media have reported Evans’ appearances and discussed the Irving trial, the continuing Holocaust denial on social media, and the importance of truth. Conspicuously few journalists have mentioned the report that Sir Richard wrote for submission to the Canterbury University enquiry, assessing a Master of Arts thesis written by Canterbury University student, Joel Hayward, in 2000.

Roger Waters looms large in Hollywood panel on cultural BDS

Calling the BDS movement “a minority conspiracy that has no foundation,” veteran recording artist Alan Parsons advised fellow performer Nick Cave to ignore the appeals he’s receiving to cancel his shows in Israel next month. “Please ignore it. It is an appeal for a boycott, not an actual boycott,” said Parsons near the end of panel discussion on BDS held on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Cave is slated to perform in Tel Aviv on November 19 and 20, a few days after Parsons himself gives concerts on November 9 and 11 in Haifa and Tel Aviv respectively.

On the panel with Parsons was his bassist, Israeli-born Guy Erez; entertainment attorney Ken Hertz; writer, director and producer David Zucker, known for Airplane and Scary Movie, and actor Mark Pellegrino, who plays Lucifer in the TV show Supernatural.

Moderator Lana Melman, who works as a liaison between the entertainment community and Israel as head of Liberate Art Inc., said the elephant in the room was Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters’ support of BDS and the very public debate Waters had with his former producer and engineer Parsons, calling on him to boycott his concerts in Israel four years ago.

“I made it very clear that I was not interested in his views on cultural enterprises within Israel,” Parsons said. “I told him I’m going to go. I like Israel and Israeli people. I’ve grown up my whole life with Jewish and Israeli people. It was a very unpleasant and awkward situation with Roger and we’ve fallen out since.”

Dutch ex-PM compares Israeli arrests of Palestinians to Nazi practices

A leader of Dutch Jews criticized a former prime minister of the Netherlands for using a word that is widely associated with the Holocaust to describe arrests by Israel of Palestinians.

Dries van Agt, a pro-Palestinian activist who in 2012 said Jews should have “gotten a piece of land in Germany” instead of Israel because “World War II had nothing to do with the Middle East,” used the word “razzia” on Twitter to describe the arrests of terror suspects last week.

No one died in the arrests.

Originating in Arabic, the word means invasion or raid. But according to Ronnie Eisenmann, a former leader of the Jewish Community of Amsterdam and current chairman of the pro-Israel Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, “it is mostly used in the Nazi context” in Dutch.

According to the ENSIE Dutch-language encyclopedia, “the word ‘razzia’ in the Netherlands is mostly used in connection with the time of the German occupation.”

Eisenmann called Van Agt’s use of the term “unacceptable and inappropriate,” adding that Dutch Jews “are used to this by now from Van Agt.”

Bart Vink, a representative of the left-leaning D66 party, which is relatively critical of Israel, also condemned Van Agt’s use of the word. “Your language, bias, and one-sidedness are objectionable,” Vink wrote to Van Agt on Twitter. “Again you are harming the Palestinian cause once more. Pity, they too deserve better.”

US Jewish Leaders Call on University of Cape Town to Reject BDS Initiative

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last week called on the University of Cape Town (UCT) to “thoroughly reject” an academic boycott initiative launched by the anti-Israel BDS movement on the South African school’s campus.

In a letter sent to UCT Chancellor Graca Machel, the Conference of Presidents urged Machel to “take a strong and principled stand” against efforts by the school’s Academic Freedom Committee to officially adopt a boycott of the Jewish state.

Conference of Presidents leaders Stephen Greenberg and Malcolm Hoenlein also outlined their concern regarding the “dangerous convergence” of anti-Zionism and antisemitism that is facilitated by the BDS movement.

“When these lines are blurred, it has a dire impact on the lives of Jewish students on campus, marking them as targets for harassment and intimidation and leading to the suppression of their freedom to express who they are as human beings, as fellow students, as South Africans,” they wrote.

Wisconsin Becomes 24th US State to Bar or Condemn Anti-Israel BDS Movement

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued an executive order last Friday to ban state agencies from engaging with businesses with ties to the anti-Israel BDS movement.

“We stand firmly against discrimination in any form and we wholly support our friends in Israel,” said Walker. “I look forward to leading a trade delegation to Israel to foster new trade partnerships between Wisconsin and Israeli businesses.”

With the passing of the order, Wisconsin became the 24th US state to enact official measures condemning BDS or prohibiting government business with entities that boycott Israel.

“Consistent with existing Wisconsin nondiscrimination provisions and regulations governing purchases…agencies may not execute a contract with a business entity if that entity is engaging in a boycott of Israel,” the order stated. “Further, agencies shall reserve the right to terminate any contract with a business entity that engages in a boycott of Israel during the term of the contract.”

The initiative came just before Walker departed on a trip to Israel at the head of a 15-member business delegation. The delegation will be in Israel until Nov. 2.

VOA News Corrects Headline: No Israeli Plans For ‘Thousands’ of East Jerusalem Homes

CAMERA’s Israel office on Thursday prompted correction of a Voice of America News headline which incorrectly asserted: “Israel Approves Thousands of Settlement Homes in East Jerusalem.”

CAMERA pointed out to VOA editors that the accompanying AP article correctly reports that the number of new homes approved in a Jewish neighborhood across the Green Line in Jerusalem is 176, not thousands.

The AP reported:
Israel on Wednesday approved construction of nearly 200 new homes in a Jewish housing development of east Jerusalem, pushing ahead with a recent spike of settlement construction. . . .

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s office said the city’s planning committee had approved 176 new homes in Nof Zion, a Jewish housing development that abuts the Arab neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber.

AP’s own headline for this story did not include the erroneous figure of thousands. It was: “Israel approves settlement homes in East Jerusalem.”

In response to communication from CAMERA, VOA editors quickly amended the headline, removing the erroneous reference to “thousands” of homes. It now states: “Israel Approves More Settlement Homes in East Jerusalem.”

Gaza explosion: BBC News silent, BBC Arabic promotes knee-jerk speculation

So how has the BBC reported that story? While those getting their news from the corporation’s English language services have seen no coverage of the incident whatsoever, visitors to the BBC’s Arabic language website did find one short report on the story.

However, that article – which is headlined “Hamas accuses Israel of being behind the attempted assassination of its security chief” and which again amplifies the same completely unsupported knee-jerk speculation in its opening paragraph – makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that other Hamas officials suspect that the attack was perpetrated by Salafists.

So much for the BBC’s commitment to “accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards” and its director-general’s claim that the BBC World Service (of which BBC Arabic is part) is an antidote to “fake news”.

BBC Radio 4 puff piece on an anti-Zionist

Neither in the programme’s trailer, its synopsis nor in the programme itself are audiences informed of the relevant fact that the narrator and producer Rami Tzabar is a BBC employee.

The programme itself is likewise dogged by omission. At no point are listeners told that Shimon Tzabar – who is described as “playful, profound and …just a little bit annoying” – was a member of the Communist Party of Israel (Maki). Later on, while in conversation with one of two of the featured co-signatories to Shimon Tzabar’s “declaration” – Moshe Machover (who was recently expelled from the UK Labour Party and is still doing the anti-Zionist rounds) – Rami Tzabar describes his father as a “naughty boy” and a “thorn in (the) side” of “the establishment” without bothering to mention his association with the extreme-left anti-Zionist group ‘Matzpen’.

Omission likewise plagues the programme’s portrayal of the event that led to Shimon Tzabar’s “declaration”. Listeners hear nothing of the background and context to the Six Day War or the Jordanian occupation of parts of Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria.

“Jerusalem – always hugely symbolic in the region – was a divided city between 1948 and ’67; the east controlled by Jordan, the west by Israel. But with victory the city was united once more.”

Neither does Rami Tzabar make any mention of the attacks launched upon Israelis before the Six Day War – for example from the Golan Heights – which are crucial to the understanding of his commentary at 14:32.

“What’s so surprising about the greater land of Israel petition is that these are not the people you tend to associate with the settlement movement today: the religious parties. These were poets, philosophers, artists, writers. Zionists, of course, but secular ones, many aligned with the centre left Labour movement. And though the settlement project would later be led by religious groups, then it was rooted in the elites of the political mainstream.”

Lithuanian publisher recalls books by writer who triggered Holocaust debate

One of the oldest publishing houses in independent Lithuania withdrew the books of a best-selling author over her criticism of a nationalist who is accused of complicity in Holocaust-era crimes.

The recall of Rūta Vanagaite’s books came one day after she revealed that she is in a relationship with Efraim Zuroff, an Israeli hunter of Nazis whom many Lithuanian nationalists despise.

The Alma Littera publishing house on Friday said it began recalling from bookstores all the books it published by Vanagaite, whose 2016 book “Our People” about the Holocaust is credited with breaking some taboos in Lithuanian society about collaboration during World War II.

Occurring amid an acrimonious debate in Lithuania about the subject and growing nationalism boosted by Russian aggression, the literary scandal illustrates the borders of what is acceptable criticism of national heroes in Lithuania. It also has pitted advocates of Vanagaite, who complained of Soviet-like censorship against her, and her critics who insisted she provocatively insulted the memory of a great patriot.

The publisher cited in a statement a remark that Vanagaite, 62, made to a journalist about Adolfas Ramanauskas, an anti-Soviet combatant during the war, who admitted to commanding troops that witnesses said butchered Jews in the ghetto of Druskininkai, 75 miles southwest of Vilnius.

Joint Israeli-US research distinguishes cancerous cells from healthy ones

A protein “switch” that activates the immune system to attack cancer cells when it detects signs of the disease has been developed by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The switch stimulates an immune response only when it detects the cancer cells, without harming other healthy tissues, the researchers said.

The important discovery has just been published in the journal Cell.

Immunotherapy is now seen as having great potential in the research effort to develop drugs against a wide variety of cancers. Despite this success, the use of immunotherapy remains limited due to the lack of antibodies specific to the tumor of substances that can cause an immune response to a particular type of cancer.

The toxicity of certain treatments, such as systemic therapy for the whole body, for example, is another obstacle. In addition, the treatments do not work in all cases; only about 30% to 40% of patients will respond positively to treatment, even with the most advanced drugs.

As a result, oncology researchers have been trying to develop integrated therapies of various kinds that serve to increase the immune response to damage the cancer cells accurately and specifically by directing the immune system to attack only cancer cells. But to activate the immune system against the tumor, but not against the healthy tissue, a sophisticated mechanism was needed to distinguish between them.

In a research collaboration between MIT and HU and headed by Dr. Yuval Tabach in Jerusalem, the researchers developed a method for finding short sequences of DNA that differentiate cancer cells from healthy tissue. The research itself was conducted by Dr. Lior Nissim, MIT researchers, and Doron Stop, a HU doctoral student who is also a medical student in the Jerusalem faculty.

New compound kills cancer cells’ energy-generating system

An enzyme normally found only in sperm cells is the same one that enables cancer cells to metastasize throughout the body, according to an Israeli researcher who has devised a synthetic compound to disable the enzyme.

When they metastasize (leave the primary tumor and spread to other organs), cancer cells must improvise to survive and flourish under harsh conditions such as a shortage of basic nutrients like glucose. One way they do this is by reprogramming their energy-generation system, said Prof. Uri Nir of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan.

Nir and his team identified an enzyme called FerT in the energy-generating mitochondria of metastatic cancer cells. When they targeted FerT in lab mice, the malignant cells were sapped of energy and soon died.

When the scientists searched for a similar enzyme in the mitochondria of other body cells, they found it only in sperm cells.

Nir reasons that this may be because sperm cells — the only cells that must function outside the body they came from – are similar to metastatic cells in their need to generate energy under difficult conditions.

Germany’s Continental reportedly in talks to buy Israel’s Argus for $400 million

Gemany’s Continental AG, an automotive manufacturing firm, is reportedly in advanced talks to buy Israel’s Argus Cyber Security, one of the first companies in the world to provide anti-hacking solutions for connected cars, for $400 million, Israeli media reported on Monday.

Nearly all models offered today by companies like GM, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota offer come equipped with WiFi, using 3G and 4G data connections, allowing drivers and passengers to use the internet in their vehicles to get directions, tune into cloud-based music services, and more. But connected cars aren’t just convenient for drivers: many cyber-experts believe they will provide the next big challenge for hackers. And Argus has set out to foil those efforts.

The company was founded in 2013 by alumni of the IDF’s elite Unit 8200, CEO Ofer Ben-Noon, Oron Lavi and Yaron Galula, with Zohar Zisapel, a co-founder of the RAD Group who is also an investor in the firm.

The company has raised some $30 million to date by investors including Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures, Allianz SE, Magna International, the co-founder of the RAD Group Zohar Zisapel and SBI Group, according to Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the industry.

New York’s power plants now protected, using Israel’s Iron Dome technology

Working with mPrest, the Israeli company that developed the Iron Dome missile defense technology, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) will now be able to stop power outages before they start.

From navigation aids to imaging technology to cyber security, mPrest’s collaboration with NYPA is one more example of how Israel’s hi-tech industry has adapted military technology for the civilian market.

“If you prevent an unplanned outage, then there is no outage to speak of,” said Doron Gover, a retired Israel Air Force pilot now in charge of corporate development for mPrest.

“In my personal history as a pilot, I am proud of all the cases where I prevented hazardous events long before they might occur and risk life or damage expensive equipment,” he said.

NYPA and mPrest got together after the failure of two of NYPA’s largest transformers. The first to fail was the Blenheim-Gilboa Power Project in 2012. That was followed by the failure of the Niagara Power Project in 2014. Neither was a catastrophic failure à la Hollywood, but they cost upwards of $5 million to repair. NYPA decided there had to be a better way. So it reached out to the Israeli Smart Energy Association (ISEA), which at the time wanted to find a partner in the US.

Auschwitz survivor Ron Jones is still selling poppies at the age of 100

A former soldier who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp is selling poppies for The Royal British Legion, aged 100.

Ron Jones, who marked his centenary on April 30, volunteers for up to six hours a day at his local supermarket in Newport, South Wales.

Grandfather-of-two Mr Jones, from Bassaleg, Newport, has been collecting for the Poppy Appeal since 1981.

He was called up to fight in 1940 and served as a lance corporal in 1st Battalion Welch Regiment in the Middle East.

Mr Jones was captured in Benghazi in 1942 and, after nine months in Italy, was transferred to forced labour camp E715, part of Auschwitz.

After two years of being held at the camp, he was forced to join the ‘death march’ of prisoners across Europe in 1945.

Little-known WWII hero tells his story on 60 Minutes

To this day, 92-year-old Adolfo Kaminsky feels guilty he survived the Holocaust. This despite the fact that his remarkable work as a forger during World War II saved the lives of thousands of Jews. On 60 Minutes, Kaminsky recounts how he skillfully created fake identity documents that helped thousands of Jews escape certain death. Anderson Cooper reports on this little known-WWII hero on the next edition of 60 Minutes Sunday, Oct. 29 at 7:00 p.m., on CBS.

Adolfo Kaminsky was just a teenager when his family was rounded up and sent to Drancy, a concentration camp outside of Paris. There he witnessed the horror of the Holocaust first-hand, watching as thousands of Jews were loaded onto trains and sent to Auschwitz. “Every week, I saw a thousand people be deported. It was horrible suffering…there was just a huge, unimaginable quantity of people murdered,” says Kaminsky.
“If I couldn’t have saved so many people, I would not have survived myself.”

Miraculously, Kaminsky and his family were released from Drancy after 3 months. Though they were Jewish, they were citizens of Argentina, which at the time was neutral in the war. After their release, Kaminsky’s father decided the family should split up and adopt false identities. He sent young Adolfo to pick up their false papers from a member of the French resistance. When the resistance fighter learned Kaminsky had worked in a dry cleaners and knew how to remove ink stains, he recruited the teenager to become the chief forger of the Paris lab. Kaminsky’s forgery skills proved invaluable in removing the permanent blue ink used in official documents. “It was very important because that enabled us to use…papers that were real and you could erase things from them without leaving any trace,” he tells Cooper.

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