March 4, 2021

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11/03 Links Pt2: Caroline Glick: The isolated American Jews; Oslo peace accords architect resigns as think tank CEO over Epstein link; Bari Weiss Addresses the UN Watch 2020 Online Gala

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The isolated American Jews

British Jewry abandoned Labour in droves and devoted their communal efforts to calling out and fighting anti-Semitism in the Labour Party after Corbyn first won the leadership race in 2015. Some 90% of British Jews voted for Conservatives in last year’s elections. In contrast, American Jews are among President Trump’s most outspoken and peripatetic demonizers.

What explains the yawning gap between American Jews and other Western Jewish communities, not to mention between American Jews and Israeli Jews?

American Jews are giving the Democratic Party a pass for abandoning them because they don’t want to acknowledge that they are being abandoned. Despite the progressives’ hostility to the Jews, the Jews want to remain progressives.

Among the progressive Jews who have noticed the rise of anti-Semitic forces in their party, they are consoled and given permission to remain in the party from Jewish leaders and public figures who insist that while things are not perfect, or even good in their own camp, they can stay because Trump – while nice to Israel – is a crypto-Nazi.

Repeated, fact-free slanders from the likes of Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and from writer Bari Weiss alleging that Trump praised white supremacists at the Charlottesville riots in 2017 – even when he condemned them, both during and immediately after the riots three times; along with allegations that Trump dog-whistles to white supremacists and thus enables their attacks against Jews, enable progressive Jews who are concerned about what is happening in their party to stay put despite their concerns.

Skyrocketing assimilation rates among American Jews indicate that all things being equal, most Jews on the political Left will cease identifying as Jews within a generation and a half. So, too, the rise of anti-Zionist American Jews who support the annihilation of Israel as a Jewish state indicates that in the coming years, more likely than not, American Jews will take leading roles in the Democratic/progressive campaign against Israel. Notably, two months after he called for Israel to be destroyed in a column in the New York Times, last month the NYT gave leading American Jewish anti-Zionist Peter Beinart a regular column.

As their massive support for Biden indicates, regardless of what the future holds for them, American Jews today are isolated more than ever before. They are isolated within their political camp which doesn’t care about them, and they are isolated within the Jewish world.

Ruthie Blum: This election goes beyond the candidates

On the other hand, the battle goes well beyond the personalities of the incumbent and his rival, which is why many people championing the former are just as put off by his manner as those who would rather die than see him remain at the helm. Indeed, the outcome of this election will determine the very character – and reveal the self-image – of the United States.

At an Independence Day ceremony at Mt. Rushmore on July 3, Trump summed it up as follows: “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children … This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”

Ironically, it is a description with which the “squad” – House Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilan Omar (D-MN.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) – would agree, albeit without the negative adjectives. They make no bones about their dim view of the country that they wish to reshape in their “progressive” image. They do not hide their intention to undo all of Trump’s economic accomplishments at home and foreign-policy successes abroad.

Omar recently said that if and when Biden becomes president, all cabinet positions should and will go to members of her camp. She knew when she uttered those words that it didn’t matter whether the Democratic candidate was listening.

She was right not to care, because it is the radical arm of the already extremely liberal party that is pulling the strings with or without Biden at the helm.

Danny Danon: US Election Day: The issue that should concern us all

The Iranians invented the game of chess. Now they tensely wait for the next move, the most significant one immediately after the election. Trump has led a courageous policy of withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal and imposing significant sanctions. He recently hinted that he will be willing to enter direct negotiations with Iran. Biden has addressed the Iranian issue many times and also expressed his commitment to preventing a nuclear Iran.

His recent interviews have indicated that he is keen to reenter the JCPOA, improve the agreement and correct its shortcomings.

The US Department of Defense is busily preparing strategies and options in the face of the continuation of the Iranian nuclear race. However, before the president-elect enters the briefing on Iran, he must take into account a number of basic assumptions.

First, there is no probationary period. The Iranians do not work according to the US election schedule. While the US’s attention has largely shifted to the fight against COVID-19 and its own presidential election, Iran’s nuclear industry and concealment efforts have advanced at astonishing speed.

Second, any agreement with Iran is doomed to be breached. Prior to the signing of the nuclear agreement, Israel issued warning calls against the deal. Not long after, we witnessed live the full disclosure of Iran’s deception and the revelation of the Iranian nuclear archive, which unveiled the Iranian nuclear machine. We have heard unequivocal rulings by the International Atomic Energy Agency and have noted the numerous UN Security Council resolutions. With these facts at their disposal, it is clear to everyone that Iran has violated the previous agreement, and will unequivocally continue to violate any future agreement.

Third, the only language that leads to a real dialogue with Iran is the language of sanctions. It is this and the subsequent economic pressure that effectively motivates the Iranian leadership to recalculate its course. Yet, worryingly, there is not much time before the “sunset clause” kicks into force and the restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program will expire.

Mr. President-elect, the elections are clearly for the position of president of the United States. However, they are also an appointment for the leader of the free world. Tackling the Iranian issue is the most crucial challenge we face in our free and democratic society.

Phyllis Chesler: As Americans vote

I know that synagogue in Vienna and I was a bit taken aback to read how the New York Times described it: as a “temple.” A temple? Perhaps a Greek temple? Or possibly a Hindu or Sikh holy site?

I stood right there long ago and at the time, it was guarded by police, just as the synagogues in Paris and Rome were similarly guarded. Palestinian Muslim terrorists had bombed or tried to bomb them at the same time they were also hijacking airplanes and shooting unarmed civilians in airports.

A nice group. I could not be happier to see them lose their strangle hold on peace between Israel and Sunni Arab states.

We may recall that such terrorists were seen as “victims” and their attacks against civilian populations were viewed, most heartlessly, as somehow justified.

A poster girl for airplane hijackings, Leila Khaled, was recently invited to speak at an American university. Amazingly, the panel’s access to the internet was cut short.

I remember asking Khaled if she would speak with leftist MK and “peace” activist, the late Shulamit Aloni, in Copenhagen. Her answer: “I speak to her only through the barrel of a gun.”

Now, that’s a hero for you. A real peace-nik.

It has just been estimated that Europe will primarily be a Muslim country within one hundred years. The Muslim birthrate far outpaces that of Europe’s indigenous peoples. If Muslim immigrants really wanted to become Westerners, Europeans, they could improve the future of the continent. Apparently, some do but even more do not.

Is this Europe’s long overdue karmic punishment for having destroyed their Jews, over and over again, and finally for having exterminated their friendly, non-violent, and productive Semites: The Jews? Will a less friendly and more violent group of Semites take Europe down? Is this Europe’s punishment for all their past colonial crimes and their trafficking in slavery?

By 70% to 13%, Israeli Jews say Trump is better candidate than Biden for Israel

Some 70 percent of Jewish Israelis believe a victory for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in the US presidential election would be preferable for the Jewish state, an opinion poll indicated on Monday.

The Israel Democracy Institute survey, released a day before the US election day, asked whether Republican incumbent Trump or his Democratic challenger Biden is the preferred candidate, “from the standpoint of Israel’s interests.”

Among Israeli Jews, 70% said Trump is the preferred candidate, 13% said Biden, and 17% don’t know.

Support for Trump was markedly lower among Arab Israelis, with 36% saying he was the preferred candidate, 31% saying Biden, and 33% saying they didn’t know.

Among all Israelis, 63% favor Trump, 17% Biden and 20% don’t know.

Broken down by political camp, 82% of right-wing poll respondents, 62% of centrists, and 40% percent of left-wingers said Trump is the better candidate for Israel.

Prof. Efraim Inbar: Why Israelis Like Trump

Israelis are known for their tendency to be very direct. Thus, Trump’s courage to call a spade a spade is appreciated in Israel, even if some of his statements border on vulgarity. It is refreshing to the Israeli ear to hear an American presidential candidate not beating around the bush, but rather addressing issues without the constraints of liberal political correctness. This quality has earned Trump some popularity in Israel.

We should also remember that since the late 1960s, Israelis generally have preferred Republican presidents. Yitzhak Rabin who served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington (1968-73) openly supported the Republican presidential candidate, Richard Nixon. Similarly, Israeli preferences for Mitt Romney over Obama were abundantly clear. In comparison to Europeans and many current American Democrats, Israelis are nationalist and conservative. The conservative Israeli Likud party has won almost every election since 1977.

Israelis followed the decline of American international fortunes during the Obama years with alarm. It frightened them to see America so weakened. Thus, a president who wants to “make his country great again” by increasing defense spending and standing tall against America’s enemies abroad (especially Iran and China) strikes a responsive chord with Israelis.

Finally, it is worth noting that Trump’s family enchants Israelis. His daughter converted to Judaism and belongs to an Orthodox community. Trump has Jewish grandchildren that he is proud of. His Jewish son-in-law is an important advisor. Living in New York may have sensitized him to the sensibilities of the Jewish community in terms of supporting Israel, and indeed he has made being pro-Israel a hallmark of his presidency.

In short, most Israelis hope the pollsters in America prove wrong once more.

Top Four Expectations From the Next US Administration Regarding Israel’s Security

There are four crucial issues that must be addressed by any incoming US administration from the point of view of the American commitment to Israel’s security.

Strengthening the US-Israel alliance as a stabilizing factor in the Middle East.

The bond between the US and Israel, especially in the security realm, is remarkable and must remain so. Israel is the closest American ally in the Middle East, and this extraordinary relationship benefits the shared values and interests of both nations. The attributes of this special relationship should be reflected in growing security cooperation and in a regional policy that strengthens the moderate camp in the Middle East that commits to peace with Israel, while maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.

America’s and Israel’s technological advantage should be advanced through this alliance, which contributes to their leadership in innovation in the next generation as it has done in the current one. The main joint programs at present are military, but there is a need for enhanced cooperation in the fields of science and technology.

Dealing firmly with Iran’s aggression and nuclear plans.

Iran, the main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, is utilizing proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen in order to control these countries and spread its extremist ideology. Iran also continues to enrich uranium, and is getting closer every day to being able to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons. If it succeeds, it could pose an existential threat to all of its neighbors in the region, and will create a nuclear arms race that endangers the entire world.

It must be stopped by any means necessary. Lifting the sanctions imposed on the regime and reentering the dangerous Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the JCPOA, more commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal) may again pave a safe path for Tehran to acquire a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and enable it to launch attacks in and destabilize the Middle East.

Mahmoud Abbas Is Waiting for a Biden Administration

The historic Abraham Accords have exposed the profoundly weakened position in which the Palestinian Authority now finds itself.

Mahmoud Abbas is almost certainly hoping for the return of a US Democratic administration — one he believes will turn back the clock on several recent US policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Barely any ties remain between Abbas and the Trump administration. Relations are at their lowest point since the start of the Oslo peace process in the early 1990s.

Spawning that deterioration is a series of US decisions that constitute a major departure from long-held American positions towards the Palestinians.

Attempting to convey the PA’s ability to implement unified, decisive positions in the face of US treatment it views as unfair; Abbas has abandoned any pretense of cordial relations with America and has ramped up his condemnation of what he views as Trump’s unbalanced positions and bias. His audiences are the Palestinian street, the Arab world, and the international community.

It’s worth recalling what led to this breakdown.

Following his election, the American president delayed his response to Abbas’ request for a congratulatory phone call. That conversation, which took place some 10 days after the request was made, was interpreted as a clear attempt by Trump to downgrade Abbas’s status as head of Fatah and the PA.

Michael Lumish: Approach of the Zombie Apocalypse

I didn’t vote in 2016. By that point, I had long been disenchanted with the Democratic Party mainly because I realized that they were betraying their own alleged values, particularly around issues of race. But I could not see myself voting for Donald Trump, either, so I didn’t.

The Democrats, however, are not very friendly toward the Jewish state and, thus, toward the Jewish people. They honestly tend to believe that Israel is a racist, imperialist, militaristic, apartheid, colonialist, very bad, racist state. They even believe, following Barack Obama, that they get to tell Jewish people where we may, or may not, be allowed to live on the very land of Jewish heritage.

{Ho. Ho. Ho. I do not think so.}

In any case, I did not vote in 2016 because the media kept telling us that it was in the bag for Hillary. Besides, I live in California and most of my friends here would rather gnaw their right arm out of its socket and beat themselves silly with it rather than vote for a Republican. I even went on Nothing Left radio out of Melbourne with Michael Burd and Alan Freedman the day before to discuss what a Hillary presidency would look like in terms of Israel.

So, that day I hardly even bothered with the election news because there seemed no point. When Laurie showed up later that evening I asked her about the results and she said something like, “What? You haven’t been watching? Turn on the news, you’re in for a surprise.” I flipped on the channels and, sure enough, newscasters were crying on station after station. Women were wailing in the streets and young men were beating up anyone wearing a red baseball cap.

Never mind Jeremy Corbyn. Is Sir Keir Starmer culpable?

The issue of Labour’s anti-Semitism is not just a party affair. The EHRC has uncovered a number of cases of lawbreaking which should now lead to criminal prosecutions and civil actions by the victims, whom law firm Mishcon de Reya has offered to represent. As the 2019 election approached, British Jews became increasingly anxious at the possibility of Corbyn becoming Prime Minister. Yet when a prominent former Labour MP, Louise Ellman, drew attention to this anxiety throughout her own Jewish community, Sir Keir said: “I don’t accept that.” He, too, feared deselection by the far-Left. He, too, was in denial.

The reason why Sir Keir’s response to the EHRC has been so inadequate is that there is no precedent for what has happened. No major British political party has ever given itself over to the oldest hatred before. No words are adequate to describe the disgust and revulsion that Labour’s moral turpitude continues to inspire among Jews and non-Jews alike, in Britain and abroad. There is literally nothing that Starmer can say that would suffice to wipe away the shame. Still, there are things that he can and must do — not merely what the law requires, nor even a thorough cleansing of the Augean stables, but a genuine change of heart. It is not for him to decide when and whether it is enough, but for those whom he and his party have offended.

Last summer Sir Keir was photographed on one knee, in a gesture of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet it has not so far occurred to him to make an act of contrition for the deep hurt his party has caused the Jewish people. Less than a year ago, while Sir Keir was campaigning for a Corbyn-led government, the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, spoke out during the election campaign. This unprecedented intervention by a religious leader was denounced by the Left at the time, but everything Rabbi Mirvis said has now been vindicated by the EHRC. He was right to say that “a new poison — sanctioned from the very top — has taken root” in Labour. Corbyn was indeed “unfit for office” and his claim at the time to have investigated all cases of anti-Semitism was indeed a “mendacious fiction”. And the Chief Rabbi was not exaggerating when he declared that at the prospect of a Labour victory, “the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety”.

Just a year ago, Sir Keir Starmer was still in denial about all these things. Has he now seen the light? Or is he engaged in yet another damage-limitation exercise? Never mind about Jeremy Corbyn — he is yesterday’s man. The anti-Semitism of the far-Left, however, is a problem for today and tomorrow. The EHRC report poses serious questions — existential questions — that have yet to be answered. Is Sir Keir himself fit for office? Is the Labour Party fit to be the official Opposition? Is anti-Semitism now a fixture in British politics? Is this country, which stood alone against Hitler, still a safe place for Jews to live?

BBC reports on Corbyn’s claim of ‘overstated’ antisemitism fail to deliver

Neither the report nor the accompanying analysis from BBC political correspondent Chris Mason made any effort to inform readers whether Corbyn’s claims have any factual basis.

Also on the same day, the BBC News website published a report headlined “Anti-Semitism row: Corbyn allies urge members to stay in the party” which highlighted statements from Corbyn’s supporters but yet again – including in analysis from political correspondent Helen Catt – failed to inform readers whether or not the statements which led to his suspension are accurate.

Moreover, the BBC found it appropriate to unquestioningly amplify the following:“Many have used social media to share their intention to end their membership subscriptions, including Andrew Cassidy, 44, from near Glasgow, who has been a Labour member for 10 years.

“The facts, as far as I see them, are that Jeremy Corbyn has shown a lifelong distaste for racism of any bent,” he told the PA news agency.

“Being pro-Palestinian is conflated as anti-Semitism, both by the mainstream media and now by Labour Party grandees.”

He described Mr Corbyn as “a good man” who had been “hung out to dry in order to distance (Sir Keir) Starmer’s Labour from the progressive, inclusive party that Corbyn aimed for”.”

In short the BBC News website published four items including contributions from experienced political reporters not one of whom (in contrast to their colleagues at Channel 4) was able – or willing – to inform BBC audiences whether or not the claims made by Jeremy Corbyn which led to his suspension from the Labour party have any factual merit. All those BBC correspondents preferred to bring their readers false balance in the form of ‘he said-she said’ statements rather than ‘looking out of the window’.

Now McDonnell faces suspension after claiming antisemitism has been ‘weaponised’

John McDonnell faces suspension by the Labour Party after signing a letter claiming antisemitism has been “weaponised”.

This comes after the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into antisemitism, which found that the party broke equality law when Jeremy Corbyn was in charge.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said after the report’s findings were published, that “there are still those who think there’s no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. That it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack. Then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.”

When Jeremy Corbyn refused to fully accept the EHRC’s findings and said antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”, he was suspended by Labour.

On Saturday John McDonnell co-signed a letter by Progressive International, entitled “we stand with Jeremy Corbyn”, which says Corbyn “not only spoke out about the ills of antisemitism in British society broadly. He also took the issue of antisemitism in his own party seriously, listening to the concerns of Jewish constituents and improving the process for investigating and sanctioning cases of antisemitism.”

“As fierce opponents of antisemitism ….we abhor the weaponization of Jewish pain against the project of socialism and the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in the United Kingdom.”

“The evidence of such efforts to weaponize the issue of antisemitism is clear”, signatories say, claiming most Brits “now believe that a third of Labour Party members .. are the subject of antisemitism allegations. The truth is less than 2,000, less than 0.3 per cent of the party.”

The McDonnell-signed letter also claims the “campaign against the character of Jeremy Corbyn did not begin with the issue of antisemitism, and it will not end here. A principled defence of the Jewish community demands that we distinguish between genuine appreciation of the community’s pain and cynical attempts to ride it toward political reaction.”

Oslo peace accords architect resigns as think tank CEO over Epstein link

Former Norwegian diplomat and politician Terje Rød Larsen, an architect of the Oslo peace accords, has resigned as president and CEO of the International Peace Institute and apologized for his “failed judgment” in securing donations from foundations related to financier Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself while awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors.

The think tank’s board of directors, chaired by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, said in a statement that Rød Larsen also apologized for securing his own personal loan from Epstein in 2013 — “neither of which the board was aware of.” The former UN undersecretary-general and top Mideast envoy has said the $130,000 personal loan was repaid in full from his own funds.

The board said in the October 29 statement that “Epstein’s crimes were hideous. The notion that IPI would be in any way engaged with such an odious character is repugnant to the institution’s core values.”

It said Epstein’s foundations donated more than $30 million to dozens of charitable and teaching institutions before his death in the summer of 2019 and many kept some or all of the money. But the IPI board announced that it would donate a sum equivalent to any donations to programs that support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault.

The board said its financial officers confirmed that IPI never made a payment to Epstein. It said a global accounting firm will be commissioned “to conduct an immediate audit of IPI’s finances to make sure that all Epstein foundation donations have been identified.”

The Norwegian business newspaper DN first reported the close ties between Rød Larsen, IPI and Epstein.

Stand up against hate – All British Universities must adopt IHRA

In 2020, around 80% of British Universities ignored calls from the government and more importantly students themselves to take action and adopt the universally accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

Accepting the IHRA definition is crucial to fighting antisemitism, which continues to flourish on campus. Today more than ever we call on all universities to adopt the IHRA and send a clear message – there is no place for hate at our universities in 2020!

No CP24, Israel’s PM Didn’t Endorse U.S. President Trump

Instead, Netanyahu merely praised Trump’s Middle East policies and touted Israel’s sterling relationship with the U.S. administration.

The Associated Press reported that Netanyahu avoided openly taking sides ahead of the U.S. Presidential elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that U.S. bipartisan support has been “one of the foundations of the American-Israeli alliance.”

Immediately after these reports were broadcast, HonestReporting Canada liaised with senior personnel at CP24, who to their credit, acknowledged their error and cancelled this segment from future broadcasts.

We thank CP24 for its cooperation.

Yale Professor Says Hitler Improved Lives of His Followers, Unlike Trump

A Yale University professor and psychiatrist compared President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler in a series of tweets and said Hitler, unlike Trump, improved the lives of his followers.

“Donald Trump is not an Adolf Hitler,” Bandy X. Lee tweeted Monday. “At least Hitler improved the daily life of his followers, had discipline, and required more of himself to gain the respect of his followers. Even with the same pathology, there are varying degrees of competence.”

She continued: “A refusal to make comparisons has been a problem, when they have such similarities. Donald Trump’s death count is higher than Hitler’s at the same period.”

Lee later deleted the tweet but defended her comparison. “My statement was about how little Donald Trump believes he needs to do to retain his followership, NOT to minimize Adolf Hitler’s atrocities,” she said.

A forensic psychiatrist and assistant clinical psychiatry professor at Yale, Lee is a longtime Trump critic. In 2017, she edited a book of essays from other psychiatrists analyzing the president’s mental state. In another tweet in January, the professor diagnosed Trump supporters with a “shared psychosis.”

In March, Lee tweeted that Nazi Germany was a “more rational society” than America under the Trump administration. She’s compared Trump and his supporters to Nazis on Twitter before.

Political Graffiti Turns Up on Headstones in Michigan Jewish Cemetery

A 100-year-old Jewish cemetery in Michigan was vandalized with the words “TRUMP” and “MAGA.”

The cemetery in Grand Rapids belongs to Congregation Ahavas Israel, a 125-year-old Conservative congregation. The graffiti was found on Monday and is presumed to have happened over the weekend, according to Rabbi David Krishef.

The police have been contacted about the incident, according to Krishef.

However, both they and the local director of the Anti-Defamation League said it was too soon to deem the vandalism an act of antisemitism.

“It’s Halloween weekend, and there was nothing spray-painted that indicated anything specifically antisemitic,” Krishef told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Monday. “Whoever did this may or may not have known that this was a Jewish cemetery.”

“I don’t want to blow this up into a known and definite incident of antisemitism,” he added. “We don’t know that it was.”

Headstones smashed at Jewish cemeteries in Moldova, Hungary

Headstones were smashed and graves defaced at Jewish cemeteries in Hungary and Moldova.

At least five headstones were destroyed at a cemetery in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on Saturday, the Jewish Community of Moldova said in a statement.

Swastikas, a pentagram and the number 666 were spray-painted on other headstones.

The same cemetery has been targeted for vandalism for three years straight, the statement said.

In a separate incident in Kecel, south of Budapest, three tombstones were smashed and human feces were found on a nearby headstone on Sunday, the Mazsihisz umbrella group of Hungarian Jewish communities reported on its website.

Police are investigating the incident, Mazsihisz said.

Dutch Jewish Family Experience Setback in Attempt to Recover Masterpiece Stolen by Nazis

A Jewish family seeking the return of a $35 million painting stolen during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands that is still on display at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum has accused an official committee of bias after it ruled against them.

Lawyers acting for the heirs to Robert Lewenstein, who fled for France in 1940, told an Amsterdam court there was an “appearance of partiality and a conflict of interest” within the Netherlands’ restitutions committee, which advises on the return of art lost by Jewish families during the World War II, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Three members of the Lewenstein family — Robert Lewenstein, Francesca Davis and Elsa Guidotti — are seeking the return of Bild mit Häusern (“Painting with Houses”), painted by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky in 1909.

It was sold at a cut price to Amsterdam’s City Council, which runs the Stedelijk Museum, on October 9, 1940, at the Frederik Muller auction house — five months after the Nazi occupation commenced. Lewenstein and his wife had already fled to France by the time of the sale.

Simon van der Sluijs, a lawyer for the claimants, told the court in Amsterdam the idea that the sale was voluntary was “bizarre.”

“Immediately after the invasion, the Germans started looting art. Pressure and coercion and the justified fear that lived among the Jews were used,” he said. “That fear did not pass by the Lewenstein family. The Nazis marched past their offices on Dam Square. To label the auction of works of art belonging to the Lewenstein family as voluntary is bizarre.”

Delegation of 200 Israelis to visit UAE to forge business, tech ties

Israel’s Bank Hapoalim Ltd. and the Israel Export Institute will lead a business delegation to the UAE in December, consisting of 200 Israeli entrepreneurs, scientists and businesspeople, for four days of meetings with local investors, financial and government institutions, and tech firms.

The participants will also attend an Israel Day event, which will be part of the GITEX Technology Week event taking place in the Dubai Trade Center on December 6-10, in which the Israeli representatives will hold one-on-one business meetings with counterparts.

At Gitex, some 4,500 businesses are scheduled to exhibit and over 100,000 visitors are expected to attend from 140 countries. The event will be attended by over 750 startups as well, according to the website.

Bank Hapoalim and the Export Institute are calling on companies to join the delegation, which will focus on four main themes that are of interest in the UAE: financial technologies, including payments startups and insurance technologies; high-tech firms, academic research institutes, cybersecurity and investment funds; healthcare and medtech; and food security, which includes food and agriculture, water and energy technologies.

The normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE in September caused a flurry of activity on both sides, with businesses, investors and startups working to pave the way to strong and open ties between the nations.

Israel’s Bank Leumi Le-Israel and Hapoalim, two of Israel’s largest banks, have already led business delegations to the UAE. Hapoalim said in September it had signed an agreement with the biggest bank in Dubai, National Bank of Dubai. Leumi, also in September, signed cooperation memorandums of understanding with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and the Emirates NBD of Dubai.

‘I feel great’: Israel’s 1st vaccine volunteer heads home from the hospital

The first volunteer in trials for Israel’s new coronavirus vaccine has been released from the hospital, saying he feels “great.”

Segev Harel, a 26-year-old undergraduate student, was injected at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan on Sunday, and was kept in the hospital for 24 hours of observation.

In his first English-language comments, he said: “Hello everybody, good morning, thank you all for your support.

“I’m here after spending the night in Sheba Medical, and now I’m going home and I feel great, and I hope we will bring the vaccine to Israel and to the whole world.”

The vaccine, named Brilife, was developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research. Some 15 million shots are already being produced, in the hope that the trial goes smoothly.

Eytan Ben-Ami, a Sheba doctor who is part of the team directing the trial, told The Times of Israel: “The first patient was kept in hospital for 24 hours to observe him in case of any adverse effects and there were none.

“Everything has been really smooth. It’s very early in the process, but until now, everything is going according to plan.”

Israel to Send Delegation to Czech Republic to Assist in Battling Pandemic

Israel’s Health Minister Yuli Edelstein decided to send a delegation to Czech Republic in order to assist with a COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Brno, Hebrew media reported Tuesday.

The decision was made after a request was handed by Czech Republic and the World Health Organization (WHO), and following consultations with Israel’s Director-General of the Health Ministry Prof. Hezi Levi, outlet Israel National News reported.

The delegation will be headed by Colonel (Res.) Dr. Ram Sagi, deputy director of Beilinson Hospital, consisting of eight people in total.

Prague has been facing one of the largest surges of coronavirus cases in the world in recent weeks, having gone through a relatively small “first wave” back in March and April.

As of Tuesday, the European country’s death toll rose to 3,654 after it had stood at roughly 300 deaths all spring — serving a model for its neighbors in dealing with the pandemic.

According to the Daily Beast, at the beginning of October virus cases began to surge, recording more than 10,000 daily infections and 100 deaths per day.

In response, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced a nightly curfew that went into effect last week, and is weighing a second nationwide lockdown.

Israel Unlocked: Powerful online journeys that support Israeli tourism

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Bari Weiss Addresses the UN Watch 2020 Online Gala

Journalist Bari Weiss, who made international news when she resigned her position at the New York Times, received the Per Ahlmark Award, in recognition of her moral courage and eloquence in defending the principles of democracy and in combating antisemitism. In her keynote speech, Weiss exposes the truth behind the New York Times’s capitulation to the new ideology that threatens to replace the liberalism underpinning our democracy, and inspires us with her principled exit from the pinnacle of her profession.

How a nascent Israel was a key issue in Truman’s stunning 1948 election upset

This year’s American presidential election may contain plenty of twists and turns, but it’s still hard to top the campaign of 1948.

That year, the Democratic incumbent, president Harry S. Truman, faced three rivals — none more formidable than the Republican candidate, Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York. It took place at a time of momentous developments in United States and world history, from the Cold War to the civil rights movement to the creation of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. Believing Dewey better equipped for the times, the pollsters and media overwhelmingly predicted his victory. A Chicago newspaper ran “Dewey Defeats Truman” as its front-page headline the day after election day. Yet virtually all got it wrong: Truman won in an upset.

In America’s first presidential election after World War II, Truman won the presidency in his own right after assuming the office after the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The campaign is chronicled in a new book by Jewish-American author A.J. Baime, “Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America’s Soul.”

When not writing a column about cars for The Wall Street Journal, Baime pens historical nonfiction books with subjects including the auto industry during WWII and the Ford-Ferrari racetrack rivalry in the 1960s. His new book is his second in a row about Truman. Its title mirrors the fateful newspaper headline, and its cover shows a photo of Truman brandishing a copy.

“In my two books on Truman I wanted to focus on very specific narratives with a beginning, middle, and a climactic end,” Baime told The Times of Israel.

The hot-button issue of Israel threads through the book, including a dramatic moment when the new nation, fighting a war for independence, became an “October Surprise” in the campaign.

Seventy-two years ago on October 28, 1948, Truman learned that without his approval, Secretary of State George Marshall was about to publicly support a UN peace plan named after its mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte. The plan would recognize both Arab and Jewish statehoods in the former British Mandate of Palestine, but it lacked the support of Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s administration.

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