July 30, 2021

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11/05 Links Pt2: The NYTimes understands anti-Semites; NBC News Airs Jewish Mourner’s Prayer to Memorialize Pittsburgh Victims; Farrakhan Leads ‘Death to America’ Chant on Solidarity Trip to Iran


From Ian:

Stronger than Hate: Honoring the Pittsburgh Victims.
There have been many small and meaningful gestures in the wake of the horrific violence at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger is wearing custom cleats today to honor the synagogue shooting victims.

Cecil and David Rosenthal, victims of the shooting were brothers of Michele Rosenthal, who worked in the Steelers’ community relations department and assisted in Roethlisberger’s foundation.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have added a Star of David, and the words “Stronger than Hate” to their Jerseys

Limited editions of this patch are available for sale, with proceeds going to the families of the victims.

Throughout the country, Jewish Day schools and synagogues have reported tender messages of solidarity, comfort and compassion from their neighbors.

After the attack, the worse ever on US soil, parents from San Raphael’s Venetia Valley Elementary School meet their neighbors at Marin Brandeis with a sign “You are not Alone”.

Prof. Phyllis Chesler: The NYTimes understands anti-Semites

And still, the New York Times never ceases to amaze me. Frighten me too, because so many thought leaders continue to swear by the Gray Lady.

Just yesterday, they presented two full pages of faces, mid-term candidates all; they are visually categorized in terms of gender, race, and sexual preference, but not in terms of issues. Identity Balkanization at its finest. A new kind of Tribalism.

Also that same day, the Times covered the perpetrator who tried to torch six Jewish schools and who wrote “Die, Jew Rats,” “Hitler,” “End It Now” and “Jew Better Be Ready,” and who also scrawled a swastika on the walls of the Union Temple of Brooklyn.

Dare we feel anger or fear, the headline steers us towards compassion. It reads: “Man Accused of Anti-Semitic Vandalism Faces New Setback in a Life Full of Them.”

In other words, the perpetrator is a victim, a victim of the foster care system and of a bipolar disorder. He is also a man who self-identified as “queer.”

Despite having been eventually fostered by a Jewish couple, given a scholarship to Brandeis, chosen as an intern by former City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn, who met him at a gay pride rally for Obama, and with whom he worked for a decade—despite all this, Polite still struggled with marijuana use and, like so many similarly afflicted others, did not always take his psychiatric medication.

Delicately, reverentially, the article does not put into words the fact that the perpetrator, James Polite, is also an African-American. We only know this from his photo and from the police surveillance image which was published in the New York Post.

NY Times Frets Anti-Semitic Vandal ‘Faces New Setback’ After Arson, Hate Crime Charges

After a man broke into a Jewish temple in Brooklyn and left vandalism reading “Die Jew Rats” and “Jew Better Be Ready” and set fire to five other Jewish institutions, the New York Times knew who the real victim was: “Man Accused of Anti-Semitic Vandalism Faces New Setback in a Life Full of Them.”

Yes, that was the real headline in Sunday’s print edition of the Times. Gosh, don’t your heart bleed for him?

James Polite was arrested late Friday after being caught on camera leaving the synagogue where he left the anti-Semitic messages, including “Hitler” and “End It Now.” He was caught at the scene of nearby Yeshiva Beth Hillel, where he had set fire to the coatroom. It didn’t take long for people to realize he was the same James Polite who once received a sympathetic profile from no less than the Times itself, detailing how he had overcome struggles with mental illness and drugs with the help of prominent Democratic politicians.

“In 2008, at a gay pride rally for Mr. Obama, Mr. Polite met Christine C. Quinn, then the City Council speaker…” the paper wrote at the time. “He interned with Ms. Quinn, a Manhattan Democrat, for several years, working on initiatives to combat hate crime, sexual assault and domestic violence. He also took part in her re-election campaign in 2009 and returned to help with her unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2013.”

A year later, the Times is still quoting the lamentations of those who knew him. “This is a young man I have worked with for over a decade,” Quinn told them. “With all the setbacks, you hoped this would be a good turn. But the opposite happened.”

Europe’s rule of law and the Jews

A key characteristic of democracy is the rule of law. One cannot easily analyze the problems of such a complex subject in an area as big as the European Union. As a useful shortcut one can however focus on a small community which has many interactions with the majority population and the state. Jews, who represent about 0.3% of the EU’s population and in no country reach even 1% of all citizens are a useful instrument for such an analysis.

A few extreme court cases or lack of them will expose a variety of problems of the rule of law in EU countries, including a court case against Israelis. For a start there is the lawsuit in Belgium in 2001 against former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and two Israeli generals. It was brought by family members of Palestinians murdered in 1982 by Christian Lebanese militia in the camps of Sabra and Shatilla. This became a political process abroad against leading Israelis who had already been investigated in their home country.

The Belgian procurer general did not want to prosecute, yet in a highly unusual decision the appeals court did not accept his position. The process against Sharon and the generals finally came to nothing because the Belgians overplayed their hand and wanted to prosecute under the same universal law US president George Bush Sr. and two others. The American government then threatened to move the NATO headquarters from Brussels. The Belgian Parliament subsequently voted to change its laws of universal jurisdiction.

One scandalous judgment in Germany concerned three Palestinians who attempted to burn a synagogue in the town of Wuppertal in 2014. A German court decided that this was out of protest against Israel and could not be considered an antisemitic act. The perpetrators were given suspended sentences.

In December 2017, three perpetrators threw a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue in Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg. Some 20 youngsters in the building took shelter in its cellar during the attack. A Swedish appeals court overturned a criminal tribunal ruling which had decided that one of the perpetrators, a Gaza-born Palestinian, would be deported at the end of the two-year prison term. The court said that he should not be deported because the antisemitic nature of this attack could put him in danger from Israel. The court apparently preferred the imagined interests of the perpetrator over those of his victims. It seemed to matter less to the court that if he stayed in Sweden he might potentially commit other crimes.

Tzipi Hotovely: ‘Ari Fuld was informational hero; this spirit must continue’

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) met today with family members of Ari Fuld, who was murdered last September in a stabbing attack in Gush Etzion.

The family talked about the great activity that Ari led and that they were exposed to after his death.

During and after the shiva, the family received letters of support from around the world from people who admired Ari for his volunteer work to defend the State of Israel.

Deputy Minister Hotovely promised the family that the Foreign Ministry will assist the activities of the association founded by the Fuld family and help Israel’s informational efforts adopted by Ari during his lifetime.
‘Ari presented the truth’; Fuld family credit: Hotovely Spokesman

“Ari was an heroic advocate, a fighter for the State of Israel, and I’d like to thank him for all the explanation activity he did both in social networks and in groups,” said Hotovely. “Ari presented the truth and the facts, and was full of inner conviction in the justice of the State of Israel.

“This spirit must continue and I and the Foreign Ministry will be at the disposal of the family that continues its activity in the organization in its memory,” said the Deputy Minister.

NBC News Airs Jewish Mourner’s Prayer to Memorialize Pittsburgh Victims

In an unusual move, NBC ended its Nightly News on Friday with the Jewish mourner’s prayer recited by a cantor in honor of the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

The network displayed the names and photos of the victims along with scenes from this past week in Pittsburgh as Cantor Avi Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York said the Kaddish.

The show’s host Lester Holt said the gesture was inspired by the “powerful” cover of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the largest newspaper serving the Pennsylvanian city’s metropolitan area, which ran a front-page headline containing a part of the Jewish mourner’s prayer on Friday, hours after the victims were buried.

The headline translates as “may His great name be exalted and sanctified.”

“On this first Sabbath since the shooting we asked Cantor Avi Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York to help us honor them by reciting the Kaddish,” Holt said.

“May their memories be a blessing,” Holt concluded.

Jewish and non-Jewish supporters show up for Shabbat in large fashion

The three congregations targeted in last week’s deadly attack on their shared synagogue building met separately and behind closed doors on Friday night, while around the Jewish world thousands of Jews and people of all faiths to synagogues on Shabbat in solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community.

Tree of Life, Dor Hadash and New Light congregations held private Friday night services in host congregations since their building remains a crime scene after the shooting on the morning of Oct. 27, leaving 11 worshipers from all three congregations dead.

On Shabbat morning, an overflow crowd described as larger than a Yom Kippur service crowded into the Beth Shalom sanctuary in suburban Pittsburgh. Rabbi Jeff Myers of Tree of Life congregation, who survived last Saturday’s attack while taking shelter in a closet, spoke at the service. The survivors of the attack stood on the bima and recited the Gomel blessing, for someone who has lived through a dangerous experience.

At 9:52, the crowd observed a silence of one minute and 11 seconds, marking the time that Myers made the first call to 911 to report the attack.

Hundreds of people also gathered outside the Tree of Life building on Saturday morning for an impromptu prayer service and vigil, under overcast skies and rain. The prayers, songs and poetry were led by former Tree of Life Rabbi Chuck Diamond.

Many of the gatherings throughout the country on Saturday morning were part of the #ShowUpforShabbat solidarity initiative by the American Jewish Committee, and backed by other Jewish groups across the religious spectrum.

Julian Edelman pays tribute to Pittsburgh shooting victims with Israel hat

In a show of support with the Pittsburgh Jewish community, New England Patriots star Julian Edelman appeared at a post-game media scrum sporting a blue baseball cap with a big “I” centered in a Star of David. The symbol is the logo of Israel’s baseball team.

Team Israel wore the hat at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, where its Cinderella run took the team to the second round.

“I just want to let people in Pittsburgh know, that I’m thinking about them,” Edelman said when asked about the hat. “I’m sending good thoughts and [they’re] in our prayers.”

“It was a big hit to the community and it’s uncalled for, so I’m just letting them know, hey, I’m behind you and I’m supporting you,” the wide receiver said.

UK Jewish leader asks: Is the world changing for Diaspora Jewry?

I live in Jerusalem, where 15-18 years ago we endured a strategic onslaught of Palestinian terrorism — suicide bombers blowing up our buses, restaurants, shopping malls. Like many Israelis, we wondered if we were irresponsible, insane: We’d chosen to raise our family in the Jewish state, the supposed refuge for the Jewish nation, and now we were risking our lives simply by stepping out of the front door to take our kids to school or go to work, while our Jewish peers in the US and the UK were safe, unthreatened, and so deeply tolerated they didn’t even stop to ask themselves whether they were tolerated.

Last month, I went to London, my city of birth, for a few days, and interviewed one of the leaders of the Jewish community, Jonathan Goldstein, who has been at the forefront of the outcry against anti-Semitism in the opposition Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. I wanted to understand how troubling the situation has become for Britain’s Jews — how they see their future should Corbyn become prime minister, how they think the wider British public feels about them, whether they believe themselves to be in real danger, what to make of opinion polls suggesting that four in 10 of them might leave the country if Corbyn succeeds Theresa May.

Plainly, as confirmed by Goldstein — the sharp, earnest head of the umbrella Jewish Leadership Council — Anglo-Jewry is worried. So much so that it has begun to change its very character — a small, habitually defensive community is now making its voice heard, issuing demands of political leaders, organizing strident demonstrations outside parliament. I talked with Goldstein at length about grappling with Corbyn, the radical left-winger who refuses to internalize that his habit of cozying up to organizations that kill Jews might just suggest he has a problem.

Before I had published our interview, however, Pittsburgh intervened. While Anglo-Jewry has been worrying about the possibility of anti-Semitism becoming a greater threat, and Israeli and American Jewish leaders have been watching Britain with concern, now, over there across the pond in the Goldene Medina itself, in the great, welcoming home of six million Jews, a gunman had burst into a synagogue and shot dead 11 Jews during their Shabbat morning prayers.

The Palestinian Response to Pittsburgh: a Contrast in Societies

For friends of Israel, the scenes from Pittsburgh were all too familiar. Terrorist attacks on Israeli synagogues, yeshivahs, Passover seders, and other religious sites and events have been a tragically frequent feature of the Arab war against the Jewish state.

This month marks the fourth anniversary of one of the most notorious attacks in Israel in the past few years. On November 18, 2014, Palestinian terrorists burst into the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood, and shot or axed to death five rabbis (four of them American citizens) at prayer, in addition to an Israeli Druze policeman.

One cannot help but note the striking difference between how American society and its leaders responded to the Pittsburgh massacre, and how Palestinian Arab society and its leaders responded to the Har Nof massacre.

Robert Bowers, the terrorist in Pittsburgh, is regarded with revulsion by virtually all Americans, and prosecutors have already announced that they will seek the death penalty.

By contrast, the terrorists in Jerusalem, Uday Abu Jamal and Ghassan Muhammed Abu Jamal (who were killed in the attack) are regarded as “heroes” and “martyrs” by the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian society at large.

The families of the two Palestinian killers each receive a payment of approximately $1,000 every month from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The moment teens hurled a pole through a synagogue window

Startling video shows a group of teens hurl a metal pole through a Brooklyn synagogue window while congregation members were observing the Sabbath inside.

The footage released by Williamsburg Shomrim on Twitter on Sunday shows half a dozen teens loitering near the synagogue on Franklin Avenue near Myrtle Avenue around 5:45 p.m. Saturday, according to the tweet.

The kids are seen leaning against a wrought-iron fence talking to each other while one of the teens — wearing dark clothes and a white, patterned backpack — is carrying the metal pole, the video shows.

Suddenly, the boy hands the pole to a friend wearing a bright orange top — who launches the metal bar into a ground-level window, leaving a gaping hole.

“People were praying inside at the time,” said a man who was at the temple during the incident.

The building includes a predominantly Hasidic apartment complex above the first-floor synagogue.

Notorious Antisemite Louis Farrakhan Leads ‘Death to America’ Chant on Solidarity Trip to Iran

Nation of Islam leader and prominent antisemite Louis Farrakhan led chants of “Death to America” and claimed that “America has never been a democracy” on Sunday during a solidarity trip to Iran, ahead of the re-implementation of US sanctions on the country this week.

According to Iran’s semi-official state news agency Mehr, Farrakhan said at a meeting with the Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei that America is conspiring against Iran.

“I understand how the enemies have plotted against the Iranian people and I would like to stay alongside you to stop their plots,” he said.

He also blasted American support for Saudi Arabia, Iran’s arch-rival in the region, and added, “Satan seeks to divide Muslims and wants them to kill each other, while God tells us in the Quran to be united.”

Farrakhan has referred to Jews as the “synagogue of Satan.”

In his remarks, he condemned the new American sanctions on Iran that will take effect on Monday. “Today, I warn the American government that sanctioning Iran is a big mistake,” he said.

In addition, he stated that African-Americans are part of Iran’s Islamic revolution.

Louis Farrakhan Refers to the U.S. as “Great Satan” during a Tehran University Speech

Ellison Questioned Journalist’s Motives After He Reported on Jesse Jackson

When he was an undergraduate at Wayne State University in Detroit in the mid-1980s, Keith Ellison authored a news article that questioned the motives of a journalist for breaking the news of Jesse Jackson calling Jews “Hymies,” and saying New York City was “Hymietown.”

The report dates back to 1984 when Ellison covered controversial remarks by then-presidential candidate Jesse Jackson that were originally broken by the Washington Post, and reporter Milton Coleman, who is black.

In the second paragraph, Ellison quoted one sentence of remarks by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan aimed at Coleman, in which Farrakhan said, “One day soon we will punish you with death.”

The article went on to use the reactions of a Wayne State professor to question the motives of the Coleman, and whether the black community would continue to trust him after the Jackson report.

The article represents another connection between Ellison and Farrakhan’s ideas.

Andrew Gillum’s ties to anti-Israel, terrorist-glorifying Dream Defenders should be a disqualifier

While the anti-Israel nature of Dream Defenders has been mentioned, only recently has there been extensive exposure of the issue. Fox News reported on Dream Defenders support for the boycott of Israel:

Andrew Gillum may be ahead in the polls as he bids to become Florida’s next governor, but the Tallahassee mayor’s association with a radical far-left group associated with Palestinian terrorism has left his campaign mired in allegations of anti-Semitism and could yet prove costly with the state’s 600,000 Jewish voters.

Republican opponent Ron DeSantis has repeatedly brought up Gillum’s relationship with Dream Defenders, a Florida-based group that claims to build “powerful, deep, local” organization for “freedom and liberation” in the state, pointing to the anti-Israel activism, including the promotion of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state….

Dream Defenders’ co-founder Phillip Agnew said in an August interview in August that Gillum is considered to be “part of the movement.”

“In 2012 when we started this organization, it is really with a model of what Andrew [Gillum] has led for many, many years in the state. We like to say Andrew Gillum isn’t a friend of the movement, he is a part of the movement,” Agnew said….

But Dream Defenders has extensive ties to convicted Palestinian terrorists and once cheered the destruction of Israel during one of their events in 2016

Another co-founder of the group is Ahmad Abuznaid, an anti-Israel activist who is the son of Nabil Abuznaid, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) ambassador and former Yasser Arafat advisor.

Don’t join this year’s Women’s March unless you’re good with anti-Semitism

With the Pittsburgh shooting so fresh and anti-Semitism (alas) so necessary a topic, it’s time for a reckoning with the Women’s March. This January, women who say they stand with Jews need to boycott the Women’s March.

The first year of the march, it made sense that many otherwise normal people would attend. It was just two months after Donald Trump’s shocking victory. Many were dazed and upset. The march was quickly organized by people whose names were not yet known to everyone.

Linda Sarsour is one of the leaders. Articles soon sprang up about terrible comments she made: She supported the radical Muslim Brotherhood. She praised Sharia law, which, among other things, includes second-class status for women. She was open about her fandom of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam.

In 2012, she tweeted: “When we write the history of Islam in America, the Nation of #Islam is an integral part of that history.”

Perhaps she didn’t know Farrakhan said “Hitler was a very great man” in a 1984 speech or that in 1985 he warned Jews: “And don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” (h/t Dave4321)

GOP candidate: No peace in Israel until Jews, Muslims convert to Christianity

A North Carolina pastor turned Republican candidate for Congress once said there would be no peace in Israel until Jews and Muslims converted to Christianity.

The remark made by Mark Harris in a 2011 sermon was among a number of other controversial comments he made about Islam while pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church that were revealed by CNN on Friday, days before the US midterm elections.

In his teaching, Harris recounted his trip to the Holy Land earlier that year, noting the strained relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

“You cannot be in that land, as powerful and as moving as it is, without realizing the incredible tension that is constantly in that land between the Palestinians and the Jews,” Harris told his congregation. “There will never be peace in Jerusalem until the day comes that every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Jewish California lawmakers condemn anti-Semitic campaign literature

Nine Jewish and Democratic members of the California legislature in a letter condemned the campaign of Republican Tyler Diep for campaign literature depicting his Jewish challenger Josh Lowenthal in an anti-Semitic manner.

Diep and Lowenthal will face each other Tuesday for the open seat in the Orange County-based 72nd Assembly District.

“At best, this attack ad reflects an extreme lack of sensitivity. At worst, it’s bigoted and anti-Semitic. Either way, the mailer is offensive and raises serious questions about Tyler Diep’s fitness to serve in the Legislature,” the letter said.

The campaign literature shows Lowenthal clutching dollar bills and accuses him of cutting corners and putting customers and employees at risk “Just so he could make a quick buck.”

Why Did 101 Lawmakers Send Letters of Support to Israel-Bashing CAIR?

If the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stuck to its stated mission statement and only did civil rights work protecting Muslim Americans from discrimination and bigotry, you likely would never see it mentioned on this site.

But CAIR has a second, perhaps more paramount objective that it never directly acknowledges: To oppose Israel and promote Palestinian nationalism.

CAIR’s mission statement makes no mention of Palestine. Instead, it says it aims to “enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.” It describes its lobbying arm as focusing “on issues related to Islam and Muslims. The department monitors legislation and government activities and responds on behalf of the American Muslim community.”

But a review of CAIR’s activities shows a significant amount of time is spent on pushing Palestinian narratives, while never addressing Hamas’s obsession with pursuing terrorism at the expense of Palestinian civilians, or the Palestinian Authority’s ceaseless rhetoric fomenting hatred.

That’s especially true in times of conflict. CAIR also routinely teams with groups devoted to opposing Israel’s very existence. It should not be surprising to those familiar with CAIR’s origin story. It was created by a Muslim Brotherhood-run Hamas support network in the United States. Witnesses told the FBI that supporting Hamas was its mission from the start.

NYU student senate divestment issue will be voted on by secret ballot

A resolution calling on New York University to divest from companies that it says are associated with mistreating Palestinians was presented to the student government.

The resolution was presented on Thursday by three student senators who are affiliated with anti-Zionist campus groups Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. The resolution calls on the university to require General Electric, Caterpillar, and Lockheed Martin to cease their involvement “in the violation of Palestinian human rights and human rights globally,” and divestment from the companies if they do not comply.

The “Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians” will be voted on by the student senate next month using a secret ballot, the independent student newspaper Washington Square News reported. The secret ballot is being called a “security precaution,” but opponents of the resolution say it will prevent accountability by the student legislators.

Six students for and against the resolution will be allowed to speak at the meeting scheduled for Dec. 6, which is open to all NYU students. Following the public comment, a vote will be taken.

Meanwhile, late last month more than 30 student groups cosigned an open letter to NYU President Andrew Hamilton saying they would not cooperate with the NYU Tel Aviv program. The letter said that “Our participation would render us complicit in the state of Israel’s targeted discrimination against activists and Palestinian and Muslim students.” The letter noted that Israel is denying entry to anti-Israel activists who support BDS. Among the signatories to the letter are African Students Union, International Socialist Organization, Muslim Students Association, Pakistani Students Association, and NYU Against Fascism.

Guardian quotes activist suggesting Israel is to blame for Palestinian domestic violence

A Guardian article written by reporter Rebecca Ratcliffe focused on a UN speech by Randa Siniora, director of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling, and reportedly “the first female Palestinian campaigner to address the UN security council” (Women in Palestine face violence and political exclusion, campaigner tells UN, Oct. 26).

Whilst briefly acknowledging “existing gender inequalities” in the West Bank and Gaza, the Guardian then quotes Siniora blaming Israel for discrimination against Palestinian women.

“The Israeli occupation and the resulting humanitarian crisis are deeply gendered and exacerbate existing gender inequalities. Women disproportionately endure the violence of occupation borne by all Palestinians, and often with gender-specific consequences,”

Palestinian women face attacks and discrimination by the Israeli military on a daily basis, she explained, adding that spikes in political violence lead to increased violence in the home.

The Guardian doesn’t attempt to explain how Israel, where, per Freedom House, “women generally enjoy full political rights in law and in practice” can “exacerbate existing gender inequalities” in Hamas-run Gaza or Palestinian controlled cities in the West Bank. Nor do they offer a clue as to how the IDF can be blamed for Palestinian domestic violence – a bizarre charge leveled by the Guardian on at least two previous occasions. Further, the full transcript of Siniora’s UN speech doesn’t provide much insight into the basis of her argument, and includes further source-free jargon-ridden accusations, such as “the occupation reinforces the patriarchal structures of Palestinian society”.

BBC WS radio continues to promote a non-story

Listeners to BBC World Service radio had already heard the news and current affairs programme ‘Newshour‘ promoting the notion that Israel had not responded appropriately to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi on October 26th.

A week later, on November 2nd, they heard an entire four-minute item on the same non-story on the same programme.

At the start of the programme presenter James Menendez told listeners:

“…and we’ll hear from Israel as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns the murder of Jamal Khashoggi a month after his disappearance.

Florida woman sets up Auschwitz-themed yard display, infuriates neighbors

A Florida woman who says she is Jewish has angered neighbors and received death threats over a holiday display in her yard that calls to mind Auschwitz.

The display, erected last week ahead of Halloween, is full of skeletons, some saluting Hitler and others with concentration camp numbers on their arms and yellow Stars of David on their chests. Behind the skeletons is a sign reading,”Arbeit Macht Frei,” or Work Sets You Free, the statement found on the entrance to the Auschwitz Nazi camp.

Susan Lamerton, who owns the home in New Port Richey, near the west coast of Florida, told WFLA News Channel 8 in Tampa that she is Jewish and she put up the display after fighting with the Home Owners Association over landscaping. But she told the Huffington Post that the display was in response to harassment from the Home Owners Association over a sign with a Star of David that she had put in her yard.

“It sickens me that we can have this, you know, with what happened in Pittsburgh,” neighbor Bonnie Katz told WFLA.

Brandeis Center Launches Initiative to Train Law Students to Fight Antisemitism

In the aftermath of the Oct. 27 shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a new initiative was launched on Friday for law students to fight antisemitism.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, alongside Hasbara Fellowships, created the JIGSAW Initiative, “an unprecedented pilot program to train law students to combat and prevent resurgent antisemitism,” according to a statement from LDB.

JIGSAW stands for Justice Initiative Guiding Student Activists Worldwide.

As part of the program, Brandeis Center attorneys will train a specialized group of law students to “utilize legal tools and expertise to combat both classic/white supremacist and anti-Israel antisemitism. The law students will focus on combating antisemitic incidents on campus by using university policies, and state and federal law,” according to LDB.

“As the tragic and horrific events in Pittsburgh made abundantly clear, antisemitism is escalating at a frightening rate in the US,” said Alyza Lewin, Brandeis Center president and general counsel.

“We must reverse this rising tide of antisemitism and ethnic racism, and there is no substitute for legal action,” she added. “By properly training a select team of law students to work with undergraduates and utilize specific legal tools and strategy, we can begin to take the offensive in this battle.”

3D bioprinted lungs to be available for global transplants

CollPlant, an Israeli regenerative medicine company focused on 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs, signed a license, development and commercialization agreement with United Therapeutics Corporation of Maryland for 3D bioprinted lung transplants.

The agreement combines CollPlant’s proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) derived from engineered tobacco plants, and its BioInk technology, with the regenerative medicine and organ manufacturing capabilities of United Therapeutics subsidiary Lung Biotechnology PBC.

One of many companies founded by Hebrew University nanotechnology pioneer Prof. Oded Shoseyov, CollPlant will manufacture and supply BioInk for a few years to meet development process demand, and will provide technical support to United Therapeutics as it establishes a US facility for the manufacture of CollPlant’s rhCollagen and BioInk.

The BioInk product line also includes a soft-tissue repair matrix for treating tendinopathy and a wound repair matrix to promote a rapid optimal healing of acute and chronic wounds.

Transportation Minister Eyes Railway Linking Israel, Gulf States

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz departed Sunday evening for Oman, nine days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Gulf emirate.

Katz, who also holds the Intelligence Services portfolio, was expected to attend an international transportation conference in Oman and hold other meetings with senior officials.

During his visit, Katz will present the Tracks for Regional Peace initiative, which he developed together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The initiative outlines plans for a railway that would link Israel to Persian Gulf counterparts states.

“This will be a historic visit,” Katz said before his departure. “It will strengthen ties. My intention is to present and promote our joint Tracks for Regional Peace initiative to connect the Gulf States and Israel and the Mediterranean Sea – via a route bypassing Iran. Normalization through strength – that’s important, it’s right and it’s possible.”

In late October, Netanyahu met with Omani ‎leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The prime minister and his wife, Sara, were invited by the sultan after prolonged, behind-the-scenes talks between representatives of both countries.

Netanyahu’s visit to Oman was the ‎first official meeting between the two countries’ leaders since 1996.

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