August 15, 2022

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11/01 Links Pt2: Bret Stephens: Is There a Future for American Jews?; The Guardian Palsplains antisemitism; IAM: Zionist laughs at oxbridge fascist

https://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2021/11/1101-links-pt2-bret-stephens-is-there.html

From Ian:

Bret Stephens: Is There a Future for American Jews?

The antisemitic outbursts during the Gaza War in May 2021 were not, in themselves, murderously violent. Yet the fact that they were expressed in the open, by people who plainly felt no fear in showing their faces, and who were met with weak and equivocating condemnations from so many quarters of the American establishment, gave them the quality of an omen, like the shattering of a single pane of glass. A few months later, House Democrats were briefly forced to capitulate to their most radical members by voting to remove $1 billion in funding for Iron Dome, a system whose sole purpose is to protect Israelis from lethal terrorist rockets.

Any sentient American Jew with an instinct for danger has to know that things won’t simply right themselves on their own. To adapt Isaac Newton, social trends in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force.

What will that force be?

Many of the essays in the current volume of Sapir make the case for Jewish fortification from the inside. Richer and deeper content in Jewish education. More effective management of Jewish organizations. Smarter outreach to potential converts. And so on.

These are necessary and important conditions for Jewish survival and renewal in America. But they aren’t quite sufficient. Jewish Americans live most of their lives outside the gates of their Jewish homes, synagogues, and communities. That is where the battle for the future of Jewish America will have to be waged. A few thoughts on how to fight it.

– The intellectual battle against critical social justice theory (often called “woke” ideology) is one no true Jewish leader can shirk. That isn’t merely because a spirit of liberal-mindedness matters to Jewish well-being. It’s because woke ideology invariably combines three features that ought to terrify Jews: a belief that racial characteristics define individual moral worth, a habit of descending into antisemitism, and a quasi-totalitarian mindset that insists not only on regulating behavior but also on monitoring people’s thoughts and punishing those who think the wrong ones.

– There are a few nonprofit groups that are rising to tackle this challenge, including the newly formed Jewish Institute for Liberal Values (on whose board I sit). But woke ideology needs to be seen as an acute threat and become a key item in the Jewish organizational agenda.

– Prominent Jewish Americans need to use all the political influence, social capital, and institutional muscle they have to defend baseline Jewish interests in ostensibly liberal institutions. That hasn’t happened. Instead, in one institution after another, Jewish leaders — trustees and major donors, university presidents and academic deans, senators and representatives, CEOs and board directors — have, to paraphrase Lenin, sold the rope from which their enemies will hang them.

– Nobody today would imagine, say, a female university president sitting still while a culture of misogyny and sexual harassment prevailed in faculty lounges or student dorms. Yet Jewish leaders and donors will often bite their tongues when the institutions they oversee or support become saturated with anti-Jewish animus. They would do better to stop writing checks; start speaking up boldly at board and faculty meetings; and, if they conclude they cannot rescue an institution, publicly and vocally resign to take their talent and money elsewhere.

– For too long, Jewish Americans have sought the friendship of those who didn’t want us as friends and looked askance at the friendship of those who did. Jewish “allyship” in multiple civil-rights movements usually began early and often proved itself in the darkest hours. Has that allyship been reciprocated at a time of skyrocketing antisemitism?

– Jews will not come out well from this series of unrequited love affairs, just as we didn’t come out well from our unrequited love affairs with German, Austrian, or French culture. There is broad support in the United States for Jewish Americans, demonstrated by the fact that Jews remain the most admired religious group in America and by the widespread support that Israel enjoys outside the progressive bubble (within which so many Jews live). But our non-Jewish friends need to be far more deeply engaged by Jewish communities, not held at arm’s length out of religious differences, political disdain, or simple ignorance.

Yisrael Medad: Islamist Voice: Not Containment but Confronation

I am excerpting from “The Silent Zionist Prayers – Containment Instead of Confrontation” by Ahmed Samir Quneita, published on October 31, 2021 in Arabic. Quenita

is a Master’s student in Diplomacy and International Relations and who specializes in Syrian matters.

I post his writing so that we all are presented with the terminology and the framing of the true conceptualization of the Islamic opposition to Zionism.

He is bothered by “Zionist plans to Judaize Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, through a series of provocative activities against Muslims and Arabs” so as “to impose a new reality that enhances the Zionist presence inside the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque at the expense of the original Palestinian right”. The goal is “temporal and spatial division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque – similar to what is happening in the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron – marking the establishment of the alleged temple on the ruins of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

He is upset with “the official Arab political apostasy and the rush towards normalization with the occupying Zionist entity”:
“What is new this time…is allowing the establishment of ‘silent Talmudic prayers’ inside the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, after these rituals were forbidden to the herds of rapists who stormed Al-Aqsa…this prohibition of ‘silent prayers’ was not related to Zionist judicial rulings or legal regulations, but rather in response to security assessments presented by the occupation police to the official authorities regarding the possibility of confrontations between Al-Mourabitat al-Quds and the Zionist police forces…such rituals provoke the religious feelings of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.”

The Guardian Palsplains antisemitism

For the third time in two years, the Guardian published a letter (“If we endorse the IHRA definition of antisemitism we put at risk Australia’s academic freedom”, Oct. 29) by a Palestinian group complaining that a widely accepted antisemitism definition designed to protect Jews represents a form of oppression against Palestinians.

The letter, authored by “a collective of Palestinians who work and study in Australian universities”, follows the vow by Australia’s Prime Minister that the country will adopt the IHRA working definition, and opens with moral throat-clearing, acknowledging that “antisemitism remains a persistent threat to Jewish people”, noting the “rise of neo-Nazi white supremacist groups in Australia”.

However, whilst neo-Nazi antisemitism is a serious threat in Australia, a study currently being peer reviewed showed that another major trigger for antisemitism in the country anti-Israel protests during conflicts with Hamas. This of course mirrors the situation in the UK, US and other countries, where, during these periods, such as the conflict in May, antisemitic incidents, disproportionately perpetrated by pro-Palestinian Muslims, skyrocket.

The signatories opine that the “Palestinian cause is a fundamentally intersectional struggle” and that their “fight against anti-Palestinian racism…unquestionably includes that against antisemitism”, before making their main argument: that the “endorsement of the IHRA definition on university campuses would pose a dangerous threat to academic freedom“.

However, their commitment to academic freedom is, at best, suspect, as the main pro-Palestinian group in Australia (Australian Students for Justice in Palestine) has expressed support for an academic boycott of Israel. Specifically, they signed a petition calling for an end to academic cooperation with Israeli universities that they claim are linked to or complicit in Israeli “crimes” – language so broad that it could include nearly every Israeli academic institution. The hypocrisy of pro-Palestinian academics who, on one had, denounce the adoption of IHRA as a threat to academic freedom, while simultaneously blacklisting all Israeli academics, is stunning.

Israel Advocacy Movement: Zionist laughs at oxbridge fascist

Cambridge educated, Paul Rimmer, is one of the leading voices of the British far-right. Joseph Cohen of the Israel Advocacy Movement debated him on Israel and a number of crazy ideas he had about Jews.

New Hampshire Lawmaker Condemned After Using Anti-Israel ‘River to the Sea’ Slogan

A New Hampshire state representative has been strongly condemned after she used a Palestinian slogan calling for Israel’s annihilation, and then doubled down on it.

On Oct. 23, Democratic Rep. Maria Perez tweeted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”, according to the local NH Journal outlet.

The slogan is frequently employed by those who advocate the end of Israel as a Jewish state and the establishment of an Arab state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Perez removed the tweet following criticism, but on Friday commented on Twitter, “I shared a slogan that Palestinian human rights activists use to convey that they desire freedom of movement and an end to settler colonization.”

“I believe in a one state solution where Jews, Muslims, Christians and others can live together with equal rights, unlike the current state of Israeli occupation and apartheid,” she added.

Robert Trestan, the New England Director of the Anti-Defamation League, denounced Perez’s comments, saying, “Calling for a one state solution denigrates and denies the existence of a Jewish State of Israel. This is no solution. We hope Representative Perez will reconsider the implications of her choice of language and check the facts.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition also weighed in, saying in a statement, “Maria Perez should be ashamed of herself. The disgusting phrase ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be free’ is a well-known antisemitic, anti-Israel slogan used by terrorist groups like Hamas to delegitimize the State of Israel and incite violence.”

Kansas State Rep. Likens COVID-19 Mask Mandates to Persecution of Jews

A Kansas state representative has faced strong criticism after she compared COVID-19 mask mandates to the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

The Kansas City Star reported Saturday that Rep. Brenda Landwehr told a hearing on the issue that mandating masks for unvaccinated individuals was “racism against the modern-day Jew, which is anyone who disagrees.”

She also said a state senator’s use of the phrase “go down a path” reminded her of a documentary she had seen on Nazi Germany.

Her comment about “the modern-day Jew” echoed a phrase used earlier in the hearing by Cornell Beard, the president of the Wichita Machinist and Aerospace Workers union.

Gavi Gellar, executive director of the American Jewish Committee of Greater Kansas City, said it was “incumbent upon all Kansas state leadership to be speaking out forcefully against this type of language.”

“This kind of language is a false and slanderous attack on Jews, on Jewish memory and Jewish identity,” he added.

Anti-Semitic, Anti-Christian Rhetoric Condemned, CRT Proponent Sees Conspiracy

Educational leaders are condemning anti-Christian and anti-Semitic comments made at two different Arizona school district governing board meetings last week. The shocking comments were made during the official Call to the Public portion of meetings of the Chandler Unified School District and Peoria Unified School District meetings.

The anti-Semitic, conspiracy theory-based comment was during the Chandler governing board meeting by a woman who identified herself as Melanie Rettler. During an anti-Covid-19 rant, Rettler accused “the Jews” of promoting the vaccines for financial gain.

“… there is one race that owns all the pharmaceutical companies, and these vaccines aren’t safe, they aren’t effective and they aren’t free. You know that you’re paying for it through the increase in gas prices, the increase in food prices — you’re paying for this, and it’s being taken from your money and being given to these pharmaceutical companies and if you want to bring race into this: It’s the Jews.”

Contrary to other media reports Rettler’s comments did not elicit applause and it drew a rebuke from Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate, and immigrant from Israel, Shiry Sapir.

“This abhorrent rhetoric is the direct result of making race and ethnicity the focal point of every conversation in our country,” said Sapir of the comments she described as “utterly unacceptable.”

George Washington University Jewish frat vandalized

Unknown perpetrators broke into and vandalized the Jewish fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon at George Washington University (GW) in Washington, DC, this weekend, according to a statement posted by the frat on Instagram Sunday. The vandals tore apart a Torah, covered it in detergent and poured hot sauce all over the house.

“Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence,” the statement read. “We are cooperating with university officials and the ADL.”

The news was met with an outpouring of anger and sadness from the Jewish community.

Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai condemned the act in a Facebook post on Monday: “The disturbing images of a desecrated Torah scroll on the ground at George Washington University evoke dark days in our people’s past. Antisemitism has not disappeared, it is rearing its ugly head in places we would least expect.”

“This baseless hate is simply unacceptable in 2021,” he added.

RDI Airs Gaza Documentary Devoid of Context

On October 19th, RDI aired the documentary “Gaza” as part of their Les Grands Reportages series, which provided a myopic portrayal of Palestinians in Gaza as it was devoid of due context.

The original 90-minute documentary was released in 2019 and was directed by Gary Keane and Andrew McConnell. RDI aired a shortened 46-minute version to fit into the usual one-hour time slot allotted to Les Grands Reportages. There is no substantial difference between the version aired by RDI and the original. Although this critique directly addresses the version RDI aired, it is equally applicable to the full documentary (available for streaming in French on Prime Video).

The production company, Filmoption International, describes the documentary as “a cinematic and enriching portrait of a people attempting to lead meaningful lives against the rubble of perennial conflict.” The documentary showcases the lives of Palestinian civilians, focusing on their struggles and their outlook. However, one glaring flaw permeates throughout the documentary, the total lack of background information. The result is a misleading documentary devoid of any historical, political, or social context. There is value in exploring the world of the Gaza Strip from the perspective of those living within, however, the glaring omissions lead to a highly unbalanced view of a conflict that is already fraught with misinformation. Below, we tackle some of the most glaring omissions and add the context required to understand the plight of Palestinians living in Gaza.

Hamas Takeover of the Gaza Strip
In the beginning of the documentary, we’re informed that “In 2005, Israel destroyed its settlements and withdrew from Gaza. In 2007, the Islamic Resistance movement, Hamas, came to power in free elections. Since then, Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, completely sealing its borders.” Someone who is not well versed in the intricacies of the conflict’s history may not perceive three misleading points:

It would be easy to assume from this statement that Israel destroyed their settlements to leave the Palestinians empty-handed when they took over the territory. In truth, this was done at the request of the Palestinians who wanted to replace the “spacious single-family rural dwellings” with the “construction of multi-family apartment buildings, which would be more appropriate for the local population.” The Palestinians also believed that the construction of new apartment buildings would be a source of employment for the local population.

BBC News misrepresents political activism as ‘conscientious objection’

In 2002 Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that while refusal to serve on the grounds of unqualified pacifism is conscientious objection, selective refusal based on political ideology is not grounds for exemption from service.

“The Supreme Court held that exemptions from military service may be granted according to the discretion of the Minister of Defense, pursuant to section 26 of the Defense Service Law (Consolidated Version)-1986. The Court held that the question of granting exemptions to military service based on selective conscientious objections involved a delicate balance between the freedom of conscience and the public interest. Here, the public interest was that it was neither proper nor just to exempt part of the public from a general duty imposed on all others. This was especially true when fulfilling the duty subjected a person to the ultimate trial—sacrificing his life. This is certainly true when granting exemptions may harm national security and lead to administrative unfairness and discrimination in specific cases. As such, and under the circumstances, which included the current situation in Israel, the Court held that it saw no reason to intervene in the decision of the Minister of Defense not to grant exemptions for selective conscientious objectors.”

While the BBC’s film supposedly ticks the ‘impartiality box’ by including a much shorter interview with a young man who is going to meet his legal obligation to serve in the IDF, it is obvious that the actual aim of this report was the context-free promotion of an act of publicity-generating political activism that is misrepresented as ‘conscientious objection’ despite the fact that last month in a different interview Perets stated:
“I decided not to go before the conscientious objectors committee, a medical committee, or the IDF mental health officer,” says Perets, “because it is important for me to stand by my principles and not to create the impression that I am the problem and I should be exempted [from service]. I chose to go to jail and take part in a campaign because I hope it will reach the most people.”

The editorial decision to feature a person who has deliberately broken the law in her own country in material promoted worldwide would appear to be at odds with the BBC editorial guidelines stating “[w]e must ensure that we do not glamorise, condone or encourage criminal behaviour”. Of course had Ms Perets chosen not to comply with any other Israeli law, she would have been of no interest to BBC journalists who bother less and less to hide the political motivations behind their reporting.

Berlin police chief sorry after cops seen doing push-ups at Holocaust memorial

Berlin’s police chief apologized on Monday for an incident in which officers were pictured practicing push-ups on a part of the German capital’s memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Nazi Holocaust.

Pictures published by Berlin’s B.Z. tabloid showed uniformed policemen leaning on one of the slabs that makes up the Holocaust memorial to practice push-ups. The newspaper said they were stills from a video apparently taken by the officers themselves on a cellphone during a holiday weekend in May when they were deployed to the area because of demonstrations.

The memorial, a field of 2,700 gray concrete slabs near the Brandenburg Gate that opened in 2005, is open around the clock and isn’t surrounded by any barriers. Visitors are supposed to refrain from activities such as running and jumping from one slab to another.

Berlin police chief Barbara Slowik said the service would examine the incident internally.

“The colleagues’ behavior disrespects what this memorial stands for and also offends the memory of those who were murdered,” Slowik said.

Moment Australian anti-vaxxer parades through the streets dressed as a Nazi death camp inmate holding a sign comparing Covid vaccine mandates to the Holocaust – until he is attacked by an outraged woman

An anti-vaxxer was attacked by an outraged woman after he dressed like a Nazi concentration camp victim during a bizarre protest.

Shocked witnesses filmed the man standing on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanson Street in the Melbourne CBD about 1.30pm on Saturday holding a sign comparing Covid vaccine mandates to the holocaust.

‘History repeats,’ the man’s sign read, as he paced back and forth chanting propaganda.

The man was wearing a blue-striped pyjama set, which resembled the uniforms worn by millions of Jews in concentration camps across Europe during World War II.

Two women approached the man to tell him he was an ‘absolute disgrace’ for comparing himself to Holocaust survivors.

A group of young people then berated him for drawing comparisons between his cause and the extermination of millions.

‘I spoke to the witness who filmed this, a Jewish woman in her 50s, who has Holocaust survivors in her family,’ Dvir Abramovich, chairman of Australia’s leading civil rights organisation, said.

‘She and her friend approached the man and told him he is an ‘absolute disgrace’.’

Costume shop owner sees no problem with selling Nazi uniform

The owner of a costume shop in England refuses to stop selling a “Gestapo Officer” outfit, even after pushback from local Jewish leaders, Metro UK reported.

According to the report, Melvin Smedley, owner of Kids Korner in Kent, was contacted by Tim Spurrier, chairman of the Thanet and District Reform Synagogue, asking Smedley to remove the Nazi uniform costume from his store.

But Smedley has remained defiant, saying he cannot afford to discard of any stock after his business was hit by pandemic lockdown and calling the outfit “historical representation.”

Spurrier explained that seeing a Gestapo uniform in public would cause offense to Jews, as well as other minorities also murdered by the Nazis, including gay people and the disabled.

Conservative councillor accused of supporting far-right Patriotic Alternative resigns from Worthing Council

A councillor for the Conservative Party who had been suspended after being accused of supporting the far-right group Patriotic Alternative has now resigned from Worthing Council.

Tim Wills is alleged to have joined a Patriotic Alternative chat room on the social media platform Telegram in June, where he reportedly posted messages of support.

Patriotic Alternative is known for its efforts to recruit youth to its white nationalist ideology. Previously, the far-right group published an online “alternative” home school curriculum condemned as “poison” and “hateful” and attempted to recruit children as young as twelve through livestreaming events on YouTube, according to The Times.

Earlier this year, the far-right group was found to be using Telegram to create neo-Nazi channels dedicated to sharing vile messages, antisemitic conspiracy theories and images glorifying Hitler.

Hope Not Hate describes Patriotic Alliance is “a racist far-right organisation with antisemitism at its very core. They aim to combat the ‘replacement and displacement’ of white Britons by people who ‘have no right to these lands’.” The group reportedly holds that “it is Jewish elites, particularly, who are orchestrating the ‘replacement’ of white Britons.”

The group is led by the former head of the youth wing of the BNP, Mark Collett, who is reported to have dabbled in Holocaust denial, collaborated with the infamous American antisemite David Duke, and espoused antisemitic and racist views.

Police Arrest Boy, 16, for Painting Swastikas Outside London’s Belsize Square Synagogue

London police on Saturday arrested a 16-year-old boy for spray painting swastikas on the side of a wall close to the Belsize Square Synagogue in Camden, The Evening Standard reported. The arrest was made after police had been alerted at 7:30 PM on Saturday by an individual who saw the graffiti.

At 8 PM, thirty minutes after being called, the police found the boy nearby and arrested him on suspicion of “religiously aggravated criminal damage.”

Other nearby walls were also painted with swastikas, but it isn’t clear if the boy is responsible for them, too. If he is, the authorities may be obliged to remove the “religiously-aggravated” part from the criminal damage charge.

The Camden Faith Leaders Forum told the Standard that they were made aware of swastikas graffitied around Belsize Park on Saturday night, and “immediately started working with the local Jewish community and Camden Cabinet Members who saw to a quick response which led to an arrest and rapid clean up operation. We pay tribute to all involved. As faith communities, we stand together against all bigotry in our Borough.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews tweeted Saturday night: “Tonight we’ve worked with local Jewish communities, to coordinate actions by police & Camden in response to this anti-Semitic graffiti. We welcome swift action by all concerned, including an arrest & start of clean up.”

A prolific Jewish writer has collected 4,000 tiny dreidels found by Eastern European treasure hunters

Even when Arthur Kurzweil sits by himself in his study, he doesn’t feel that he’s alone. After all, he has the dreidels — all 4,000 of them.

Kurzweil, 70, is a prolific author and editor who has written books about Judaism and magic and his car rides with Talmud scholar Adin Steinsaltz, as well as the Kabbalah and Torah installments in the “… for Dummies” series.

His most significant contribution to Jewish publishing, however, may be his books and teaching about Jewish genealogy: He has exhaustively chronicled his efforts to trace his own family’s lineage, including along the many branches that were broken when family members were murdered in the Holocaust.

The dreidels, pulled from the earth across Eastern Europe, represent an extension of that work, Kurzweil told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from amid the collection in his Long Island home.

“I look at them … and I think, what’s the history of this? And when’s the last time somebody played that game?” he said, adding, “I wonder what this person’s fate ultimately was.”

It’s not just dreidels that surround Kurzweil. Quietly and in collaboration with Eastern Europe’s sizable community of treasure hunters, he has amassed a sweeping collection of Jewish objects unearthed from throughout Eastern Europe. While Holocaust museums and concentration camps bring visitors face to face with the piles of shoes and eyeglasses worn by Jews who were about to be killed, Kurzweil lives with reminders of the lives they lived.

First Jewish dating website debuts in Gulf

The Association of Gulf Jewish Communities announced over the weekend that it has launched the first Jewish dating website in the region, with the aim of pairing up local Jewish singles living in Gulf states.

JSG – “Jewish Singles in the Gulf” – debuted with a website where participants are encouraged to fill out a questionnaire and then a group of matchmakers recommend matches.

“As our communities throughout the GCC experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years, we have seen more and more singles move here with an interest in establishing more permanent roots in the region,” said AGJC President Ebrahim Dawood Nonoo.

“By helping these singles find their spouses in the GCC, they are more likely to get married here and establish their families here, which in turn grows Jewish communal life and the need for more Jewish institutions like schools, kosher food, etc.”

AGJC Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie noted that “the buzz around JSG has reverberated around the world and in the weeks leading up to the launch of the platform, we received interest from dozens of singles in the region.

The Jew who became a priest and will be buried as a Jew

Later this week, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who became a Catholic priest in Poland, moved to Israel and served the Christian community here for nearly four decades, will be buried in Poland as a Jew alongside his mother and sister who were murdered by the Nazis.

Having grown up in a religious Jewish household, Father Gregor Pawlowski, born Jacob Zvi Griner, was saved during the Holocaust by dint of papers he obtained stating he was Catholic, and he eventually was baptized and ordained as a priest.

He eventually moved to Israel stating that he was part of the Polish people but that he was part of another nation first, the Jewish people, with whom he felt an ongoing attachment and among whom he wished to live.

Many years later, Rabbi Shalom Malul, dean of the Amit Ashdod Yeshiva in Israel was on a trip to Poland with his students, and noticed a headstone Pawlowski had made for himself at the mass grave where his mother and sisters had been murdered by the Nazis, and made contact with the priest upon his return to Israel and formed a friendship.

Malul will this week fly out to Poland with several of his students, give Pawlowski a Jewish burial at that site and recite kaddish, the mourners’ prayer, in accordance with the priest’s wishes that he be buried as a Jew.

The Orchestra (ELO) returns to Israel

The Orchestra, featuring former members of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), is returning to Israel for three shows in January – the 16th at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the 18th at Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem and the 19th at the Congress Center in Haifa. With original member Mik Kaminski in the lineup on violin, the band performs all of ELO’s hits, including “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.” The band has performed here in 2009 and 2015.

Bennett at COP26: ‘Start-Up Nation can save the world’

Israeli technology can help save the planet from the adverse impact of climate change, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on Monday.

“As the country with the most start-ups per capita in the world, we must channel our efforts [in]to saving our world,” Bennett declared. Bennett was one of over 100 world leaders participating in the conference, known as COP26, which is meant to strengthen past decisions on climate change.

The meetings between leaders were particularly focused on getting developed countries to fulfil their pledges to help poorer nations meet their goals to reduce emissions, but other aims of the conference include mitigation of climate change via slashing greenhouse gases – with many countries, like Israel, committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and finding ways to adapt to the challenges of rising temperatures. While Israel made commitments in line with Western states, the delegation was especially focused on its strengths in the last point, adaptation.

PA premier calls ‘Israeli occupation’ biggest threat to Palestinian environment

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said “Israeli occupation” was the greatest threat to the Palestinian environment, in remarks at Monday’s international climate conference in Glasgow.

“We’re here today to tell the world that the Israeli occupation is the most critical long-term threat to the Palestinian environment,” Shtayyeh said in a tweet.

The Palestinian premier further claimed that Israeli policies were “systematically destroying” the traditional Palestinian environment.

“If one looks at the map of modern Palestine, one sees how the environment is being systematically destroyed. Since 1967, Israel has uprooted about 2.5 million trees, including about 800,000 olive trees,” Shtayyeh alleged.

Ramallah signed the Paris Climate Accord when it was launched in 2016. In his speech, Shtayyeh hailed the PA’s efforts to increase the use of solar energy in the West Bank over the past decade.

Archbishop of Canterbury apologizes for comparing climate change to Holocaust

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby apologized on Monday for suggesting that the impact of climate change would be worse than Nazi genocide.

Welby, the most senior cleric in the Church of England and leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, made the comments in an interview with the BBC at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

He said that national leaders will be “cursed” if they do not achieve the goal of the United Nations summit to urgently find concrete ways to stabilize global heating.

Politicians who fail at this task will be spoken of by future generations “in far stronger terms than we speak today of the politicians of the (19)30s, of the politicians who ignored what was happening in Nazi Germany,” he said.

He added that this was because climate change “will kill people all around the world for generations” and “allow a genocide on an infinitely greater scale” that will “come back to us or to our children and grandchildren.”

Study finds nature contributes billions to Israel’s economy

A new study estimates that Israel’s rich tapestry of nature and the benefits it provides to society could be worth tens of billions of shekels annually to the economy.

The government report, released last week after eight years of research involving more than 200 scientists, aims to give decision-makers a different view of natural resources, beyond just being something to exploit.

Initiated by the Environmental Protection Ministry and HaMaarag–Israel’s National Ecosystem Assessment Program, the study is the first of its kind in the country to try to quantify the contribution to human welfare of the nation’s different ecosystems.

Critical to the proper functioning of the planet’s life support system, ecosystems are webs of living organisms and inanimate elements such as rock and water, which interact together in a myriad of complex ways, providing oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, purifying water, regulating temperature, and more.

An ecosystem service is a positive benefit that an ecosystem provides to people.

The problem, worldwide — and Israel is no exception — is that ecosystems are seen more as resources to be exploited for profit rather than things or processes with value whose financial worth should be calculated and taken into account to ensure that they are protected.

How, for example, does one price an acacia tree that feeds several species of wildlife, helps to bind sandy soil, interacts with subterranean fungi and bacteria, absorbs carbon dioxide and emits oxygen during photosynthesis?

Suez Crisis: 65 years since Israel, UK, France fought Egypt

The period of October 29-November 7 marks the 65th anniversary of the 1956 Suez Crisis, a conflict between Egypt, the United Kingdom, Israel and France over the vital waterway that had significant geopolitical ramifications in the region and in the Western world. The Suez Canal is one of the most vital shipping lanes in the world, connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and bypassing the long trip around Africa.

Up until 1956, the canal was controlled by the Suez Canal Company, itself controlled mostly by the UK and France. However, this changed when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized it.

Tensions between Nasser-led Egypt and the UK were high, due to the UK having backed the monarchy overthrown by Nasser as well as close ties between Britain and Iraq, which Nasser believed threatened his ambitions to bring Egypt to the head of the Arab world.

Also at play were Cold War tensions, as Egypt was a non-aligned company, and attempted to maintain good ties with both the US and Soviet Union. Further at play was Egyptian support for Algerian rebels fighting against French colonial rule, as well as cross-border raids between Israel and Egypt.

But another contributing role was money, as the funds generated from traffic through the Suez Canal could be used by Nasser for other purposes. Ultimately, Nasser went ahead with the nationalization in late July 1956, sending Egyptian troops to seize control of the canal, freezing assets of the Suez Canal Company and – most crucially – barring Israeli shipping through the canal, as well as through the Straits of Tiran.




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