November 21, 2019

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11/06 Links Pt2: US Jewish umbrella group slams Democratic hopefuls’ calls to leverage Israel aid; Jews lobby non-Jews to browbeat Jews – what do you call that?

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/11/1106-links-pt2-us-jewish-umbrella-group.html

From Ian:


Noah Pollak: Leading Democrats Call for Conditioning Military Aid to Israel
The United States could have responded to Arab antagonism by following the European playbook and squeezed Israel for concessions. But American strategists realized the best way to stop the wars wasn’t to make Israel feel less secure, but rather to make Israel less defeatable.

The U.S. military aid that started in earnest in the form of an emergency arms resupply during the 1973 war has been perhaps the single-most effective U.S. policy toward the Middle East in the past half-century. With America now in Israel’s corner, the Arab states were compelled to abandon the fantasy of wiping the Jewish State off the map. That led to what had previously been unthinkable: Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan followed in 1994.

Other benefits to the United States flowed from military aid to Israel: With the Jewish state now fielding advanced U.S. weaponry against Arab states, which were armed with inferior Soviet weapons, regional skirmishes were turned into devastating morale-killers for Moscow. In one air campaign in June 1982, Israeli-piloted F-15s and F-16s shot down 88 Syrian-piloted Soviet MiGs. Israel lost a single F-16. Battles like this clarified for the world which side was likely to prevail in the Cold War.

Today, Gulf Arab states are drawing closer to an increasingly powerful Israel, seeking protection from Iran—another way in which U.S. military aid, which maintains Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region, is promoting American interests and decreasing the likelihood that the United States will be called upon to directly protect regional allies.

Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg did not acknowledge this history, or these strategic benefits. Since the progressive activists of the Democratic Party view Israel largely through the lens of the Palestinians, it was only a matter of time before they began to demand that all aspects of the U.S.-Israel relationship be subordinated to the politics of that issue.

US Jewish umbrella group slams Democratic hopefuls’ calls to leverage Israel aid

An umbrella group of more than 50 Jewish organizations from across the ideological spectrum condemned calls by Democratic presidential candidates to condition military aid to Israel on its approach to making peace with the Palestinians.

“We are deeply troubled by recent statements that would place conditions, limitations, or restrictions on the US security assistance provided to Israel, so vital for the defense and security of the country, the protection of essential US interests, and stability in the region,” Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman/CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement issued Friday.

“This approach would harm American objectives in the Middle East and would undermine the ability of our key ally to defend itself against the threats it faces on all its borders.”

Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, recently have indicated a willingness to use American aid to force policy changes by Israel regarding the Palestinian conflict, including halting settlement construction.

U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation Is A Win-Win

Not a single American serviceperson needs to be stationed in Israel. Aside from training missions, there have been American soldiers stationed in Israel since 2009, only working with the American/Israeli co-designed X-band radar system — a deployment that helps the U.S. and Israel monitor threats from the east.

Israel’s missile defense capabilities — developed and produced in conjunction with American industry — not only protect Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah missiles, but protect the United States from emerging threats from North Korea and Iran. Various branches of the U.S. military have purchased a variety of Israeli-developed systems and participated in joint development of anti-tunnel defenses, the Arrow Missile Program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Plane, THEL Laser Program, the Advanced Urban Combat Training Facility, as well as Iron Dome.

Israel has been a partner in U.S. and multi-lateral military exercises for years; interestingly, Israel and the United Arab Emirates flew together in one. Combined exercises have taken place on NATO territory, in the U.S., in Israel (where the Luftwaffe flew above Israeli territory, making a few people blink), and the Pacific Ocean. Not a single country has opted out due to Israel having opted in.

The two countries are drawn together by common values and common threats. The bipartisan support of our ally Israel has been a testament to those values, as well as to the practical recognition that the threats require cooperation in intelligence, technology, and security policy.

The volatility of the Middle East is unlikely to be constrained. The United States, desirous of removing its soldiers from the region even as it understands the risk attendant to a resurgent Russia and increasingly desperate Iran, is as much in need of capable allies now as it ever was. It would be a shame if rampant J Street politicization of the relationship were allowed to do damage.

MEMRI: Article On Muslim Brotherhood Website: Election Of A Gay U.S. President Will Lead To Pressure On Arab Countries To Permit Homosexuality; The Prophet Muhammad Ordered The Killing Of Homosexuals

In an October 7, 2019 article on the website of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Egyptian journalist and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) member Amer Shamakh wrote about the growing support for the LGBTQ community and same-sex marriage in the West, and in the U.S. in particular. Calling them “perversion” that is contrary to human nature and the monotheistic religions, he warned that if potential Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg became president, this would lead to a campaign of pressure on Arab countries to accept the LGBTQ community as normal, as it is perceived today in the West. Expressing concern that Arab leaders would capitulate to such pressure, he underlined that Islam views homosexuality as “one of the most loathsome deeds,” that “Islamic law instructs that those who carry it out be killed by burning, being thrown from a high place, or stoning,” and that the Prophet Muhammad himself even ordered that this be done.

Below are excerpts from Shamakh’s article:
“After the world has experienced an extremist U.S. president who alarmed the world, especially the Muslims, with his madness and his strange decisions, it may in the future experience another [kind of] U.S. president: a gay one… The official U.S. candidate [sic] for the 2020 presidential election is 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat, who is currently mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He has been married for a year to his partner Justin, and the two have now declared that they want to start a family!

“This pervert wishes to gain the votes of his fellow [LGBTQ] Americans, whose number has increased many times over in [the past] 25 years. Surveys indicate that during this period the number of Americans who support homosexuality increased fivefold, the number of homosexuals in U.S. society rose from 3% in 1990 to 20% in 2014, and the number of those favoring marriage among these perverts rose from 11% in 1990 to 49% in 2014. This means that 20% of Americans are gay, and that 50% of Americans support the gay 20% and recognize them [as legitimate], in spite of their crime that contravenes human nature… and does not exist even among animals.

Tony Blair says Labour antisemitism is “killing the Party” but stops short of saying he won’t vote for Corbyn

Tony Blair has said that Labour’s antisemitism scandal is “absolutely killing the Party”, but stopped short of declaring that he would not vote for the Party in the coming election.

The former Prime Minister made the remarks at a dinner at the Board of Deputies, and said that he anticipates a “complete battle” in Labour between its moderate and radical wings.

Although Mr Blair expressed confidence that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would not win the election, when asked if he himself would vote tactically he replied: “I can’t”.

Mr Blair insisted that “there are really good Labour MPs that are standing in this election. People I know, people I’ve worked with. People who have stood up very strongly on antisemitism in the Labour Party and I want to see them supported.”

Left-wing antisemitism, Mr Blair explained, is “not limited to a few bad apples” but rather is a “phenomenon”, and complained about those who are “obsessed with a hatred of Israel”, noting that he is “having more reasonable conversations about Israel with some of the Arab states than I am back home with parts of the Left.”

Disgraced MP Chris Williamson barred from standing as a candidate in forthcoming general election

It understood that the disgraced MP, Chris Williamson, will not be permitted to stand as a candidate for the Labour Party in the coming general election in Derby North.

Mr Williamson is best known for baiting Jews by dismissing allegations of antisemitism as “proxy wars and bulls***” whilst supporting Labour activists like Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker who were expelled from the Party over their comments. He has been suspended by Labour three times (although the second suspension was overturned by the High Court).

He has been on suspension while his case is reviewed yet again by the Party, and it has now emerged that the Labour Party has barred him from standing in the general election as a candidate for the Party. Suspended members are usually unable to stand as candidates.

In an interview yesterday on LBC, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, refused to distance himself from Mr Williamson. When asked by host Iain Dale whether he wants Mr Williamson to be a candidate in the general election, Mr McDonnelll said that Mr Williamson’s case is currently under consideration and therefore he would not wish to say anything that might prejudice the case. To this Mr Dale responded: “the right answer to that question was ‘no’.”

Diane Abbott: Not all Jews think Corbyn is an anti-Semite

Boris Johnson’s election campaign has got off to a dismal start but it seems Labour is determined to catch up. Diane Abbott appeared on the Today programme this morning to discuss her party’s anti-Semitism problem. But Mr S isn’t convinced her defence will convince many voters that things are all OK:

Nick Robinson: Do you accept you haven’t done enough (to resolve the problem of anti-Semitism)?

Diane Abbott: ‘…it’s not every element of the Jewish community that believes Jeremy is an anti-Semite.’

NR: ‘Well every major Jewish newspaper says it, every major Jewish representative body says it.’

DA: ‘Yeah, well, the Hasidic community in Stamford Hill doesn’t say that…’

Hardly a vote-winning pitch to worried Jewish voters…

Gil Troy: Jews lobby non-Jews to browbeat Jews – what do you call that?

Thank you, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Bernie Sanders and J Street’s conventioneers. At J Street’s recent conference, they ended their charade. J Street is not the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” movement it long pretended to be; it’s the anti-occupation lobby, lacking nuance, balance and any ability to criticize Palestinians.

Sanders’ words brought a different clarity: Any Jew who donates to this bash-Israel-firster has no heart; any American who donates to this socialist-for-thee-but-not-for-me has no brain.

I’m responding to Sanders “as a Jew,” because he tried insulating himself from criticism by playing what the British novelist Howard Jacobson calls the “asaJew” card. “It’s going to be very hard for anybody to call me – whose father’s family was wiped out by Hitler, who spent time in Israel – an antisemite,” Sanders said. Don’t call him an antisemite, just a disloyal fool. He thrills antisemites like Ilhan Omar, who endorsed him, while emboldening murderous anti-Zionists leading Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

This American Jewish Corbynite is spearheading J Street’s campaign to browbeat Democratic candidates, demanding they use American aid to Israel as a battering ram, blackmailing Israel into making policy moves most Israelis have learned would harm them, their country and their region.

That follows the policy Ben-Ami championed at the conference: bullying candidates to buy into J Street’s occupation preoccupation of bullying Israel. Reducing the complicated, multidimensional Israel-Palestinian conflict to this simplistic “end the occupation” slogan makes as much sense as Republicans yelling “cut taxes” as an economic and social cure-all. Life is messier.

I know that doubting someone’s loyalty risks discouraging debate, but what else do you call it? Isn’t it disloyal for a Jew to emphasize his Jewishness as he urges non-Jews to blackmail the Jewish state to do things that would embolden Jew-haters and get many Jews killed?

Jewish Orgs Claim ‘Trump Endangers Jews,’ Despite Synagogue Shooters Hating His Jewish Ties

On Wednesday, activists from two left-wing Jewish organizations, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and IfNotNow, interrupted a speech by President Trump in Pittsburgh to blame him for the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue.

In a video posted by IfNotNow, a group primarily known for its boycott of Birthright trips, activists can be heard screaming, “Trump endangers Jews!” According to IfNotNow’s Facebook post, the activists disrupted Trump’s speech “one year after he incited the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.”

Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers actually hated Trump because of his Jewish family and his perceived fondness for Jews. By blaming Trump for the attack on Jews, left-wing Jewish activists are actually—if one uses their logic—blaming the victim.

Social media posts by Bowers reveal that he despised Trump. His social media posts include deeply offensive slurs in reference to Jews, comments about how he has never voted for Trump nor owned “a maga hat,” and posts depicting Trump as being supposedly controlled by Jews:

These social media posts have been referenced by mainstream news outlets, although they have not prevented Jewish activists (and even Linda Sarsour) from blaming Trump for the shooting in their social media commentary. (h/t Comrade FAILexa, Communistan)

Jewish, Pro-Israel Groups Raise Alarm Over Upcoming Anti-Israel Event at University of Massachusetts

Eighty-four Jewish and pro-Israel groups signed an open letter to Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Kumble Subbaswamy raising alarm over an upcoming anti-Israel event that the letter charges will be a purely political and extremist gathering that should not have UMass sponsorship.

The missive addresses an event called “Criminalizing Dissent: The Attack on BDS & American Democracy.” The organizers say it will “address accelerating efforts by US political leaders, pro-Israel lobbying groups, and college and university administrators to silence, smear, and criminalize supporters of BDS, a nonviolent movement that aims to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing human rights abuses and its illegal 50-year occupation of Palestinian land.”

Among the slated speakers are political activist Linda Sarsour, academic Cornel West and BDS movement leader Omar Barghouti, all known for their vehement anti-Israel views.

The letter notes that a previous such petition was sent to Chancellor Subbaswamy regarding a similar event in May called, “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” to which the upcoming event bills itself as a “follow up.”

The May event featured Sarsour, along with other prominent anti-Israel figures Roger Waters and Marc Lamont Hill.

The letter said that past statements of these activists “draw on classic antisemitic tropes.”

An Open Letter to UMass Professors Who Support BDS

Below is an open letter to the faculty members who signed a pro-BDS letter to University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy:

We do not know whether you signed the letter because you are knowledgeable on the issue, or you are just trusting the colleague who encouraged you to “be one of the good guys” and sign. If you are of the latter, allow us to address you.

This is indeed about freedom of speech, and about both sides speaking. It is just the opposite of what the document you signed claims. It is not the Jews who are trying to shut down criticism of Israel. Only someone who knows nothing about Israel or is a dedicated enemy can say such a thing with a straight face. No country on the planet has so high a level of internal public critical discussion. Everyone criticizes Israel, including Israelis and Jews. What the Jews who support Israel find really offensive is the moral sadism of calling them Nazis or having people from far more prejudiced, if not racist, cultures call this astoundingly tolerant polity “racist.”

It is not the Jews who support Israel who are preventing discussions on what is going on in the Middle East or shutting down criticism of Israel; it is those who support the BDS movement, for whom any exchange with an Israel-supporter is considered unacceptable. It is not pro-Israel Jews who are pushing “cancel culture” with shouting and violence; it is BDS promoters. According to the BDS narrative, Israel is an irredeemable evil — like the Nazis or white supremacists — with whom no compromise can be made. As runs their chant: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Do you really think that Palestinian sovereignty over “every inch of the land” will bring freedom? For anyone? Even Muslims?

Ecstatic Ariel Gold Announces Acceptance into ISIS (satire)

Days after returning from Iran, Code Pink national co-director Ariel Gold announced on Twitter that she has also been accepted into the Islamic State to lead the country’s Jewish outreach program.

“I spoke to ISIS President Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi, and it turns out he has the exact same opinion about Jews and Israel as I do!” Gold tweeted. “And to think that some people call him anti-Semitic.”

Gold promised to “keep an open mind” as she met with ISIS leaders and toured the scattered remains of the once-vast caliphate. She even agreed to participate in the execution of a young Yazidi woman.

“This girl claims that she’s being executed because her burka didn’t cover her ankles, but al-Hashimi told me she’s, like, totally a Zionist,” Gold said.

Along with her excitement at the prospect of meeting ISIS leaders, Gold said that she is hopeful that her trip may lead to new opportunities.

“If ISIS really likes me, maybe I can also be a Bernie Sanders surrogate,” she said.

German journalist to be awarded prize for combating antisemitism

The European Janusz Korczak Academy will present Dr. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Berlin-based media group Axel Springer SE and president of the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers, with a prestigious award on Thursday to recognize his efforts to combat antisemitism and preserve human dignity.

The Korczak Prize for Humanism is awarded biannually to individuals by the academy, founded by the Jewish Agency, for their outstanding contributions to advancing tolerance, human rights and the fight against racism and hatred.

Döpfner, the head of Germany’s largest publishing house, has been hailed for his vocal opposition to antisemitism in Germany and abroad, and his efforts to boost ties between Germany and the State of Israel.

In May, leading German daily newspaper Bild – the largest brand published by Axel Springer – printed a cut-out kippah on its front page. The move followed comments made by Germany’s government commissioner on antisemitism that Jews should sometimes remove their kippah in order to avoid racist attacks.

The ceremony in Berlin will be attended by Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, who is visiting Germany almost one month after an armed attack at a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur and ahead of the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Herzog’s visit also follows the approval earlier this week of a decade-long strategic plan by the Jewish Agency to address rising antisemitism across the globe.

BBC’s UK reporting hindered by its own record on Gaza casualties

That will of course come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the BBC’s own track record on the subject. Over five years after that conflict there is still no evidence of the BBC having ever independently verified the civilian/combatant casualty ratios which it continues to promote.

Instead, as noted here in the past, the BBC quotes figures attributed to “the UN” which are in fact sourced from the controversial report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council more than a month before the conflict ended (originally headed by William Schabas) that was published in June 2015.

A close look at that report’s methodology shows that the Hamas-run “Ministry of Health in Gaza” is one source of the report’s data, together with the UNOCHA “Protection Cluster”. As has been noted here previously, that “Protection Cluster” includes political NGOs, some of which also have a financial relationship with UNOCHA.

And so, with the BBC having spent over five years amplifying casualty figures and debatable civilian/combatant casualty ratios supplied by Hamas and NGOs involved in ‘lawfare’ campaigning against Israel that were funnelled through a UN agency and subsequently promoted in a controversial and biased UNHRC report, it is hardly surprising that the corporation’s journalists are incapable of informing their domestic audiences that according to studies, a significant proportion of the Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge were terrorist operatives.

Also notable is the fact that although this BBC report is based on an article published by the Jewish Chronicle which notes Ms Sultana’s prior connections to the controversial advocacy group MEND (see p21 – 30 here), the BBC apparently did not consider it necessary to communicate that information to its ‘Coventry & Warwickshire’ audiences.

Haaretz Vs. Haaretz Are Reasons for Khalida Jarrar’s 2017 Arrest Classified

In recent articles, Haaretz has alleged that the reasons for the 2017 arrest of Khalida Jarrar, a former Palestinian lawmaker who was arrested again last week, are “still classified” despite the fact that Haaretz itself reported those very reasons at the time of the arrest. Most recently, a Nov. 4 page 2 print edition story by Jack Khoury entitled “Israel arrests PA J’lem Affairs minister for third time,” erred:

In February, Jarrar was released after 20 months of administrative detention without trial. The reasons for her previous arrest are still classified.

The identical error appeared in the Oct. 31 digital article entitled “Israel Arrests Ex-Palestinian Lawmaker, Only Eight Months After Her Release From Prison“.

In fact, the reasons for her previous 20 months of administrative detention, which lasted from July 2017 until February 2019, are not classified, and Haaretz itself has reported them.

Reuters Errs on Administrative Detention For ‘Anti-Israel Activity’

A Reuters article today egregiously misrepresents administrative detention, erroneously asserting that it is mainly applied to “Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities,” when in fact the Israeli practice applies in cases of suspected security offenses. The Nov 4. article (“Jordan says two citizens held in Israel to return ‘before the end of the week'”) errs:
Israel mainly uses “administrative detention”, or imprisonment without trial, against Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities.

The identical error also appears in this earlier Oct. 29 article.

Israel does not mainly use administrative detention against Palestinians suspected of “anti-Israeli activities” generally. Rather, the measure may only be applied in cases of suspicion regarding security-related offenses.

Thus, B’Tselem, an NGO highly critical of Israeli government policies and activity in the West Bank, explains:
In the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem), administrative detention is carried out under the Order regarding Security Provisions. The order empowers the military commander of the West Bank, or another commander to whom the power has been delegated, to place individuals in administrative detention for up to six months at a time, if the commander has “reasonable grounds to believe that reasons of regional security or public security require that a certain person be held in detention”.

Latest Antisemitic Attacks in Borough Park Underline Grim Challenges Facing Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn

As the New York City Police Department announced on Tuesday that its hate crimes unit was investigating a series of attacks last Friday night against Orthodox Jews in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, a prominent leader of the community warned that the ongoing threat of antisemitic violence meant that “people in some neighborhoods are scared to leave their houses.”

Speaking to The Algemeiner on Tuesday, Rabbi Yaacov Behrman — the founder of the Brooklyn-based Jewish Future Alliance — said that the spate of attacks over the last two years against Orthodox Jews in the Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park neighborhoods were overwhelmingly perceived within the community as being spurred by antisemitic malice.

“People’s feelings are important, and the community sees this as antisemitic,” Berhman said. “There are these constant attacks on Jewish individuals in which no money is stolen, and where there seems to be no motivation other than to attack Jews.”

The latest incidents were registered last Friday night, with three separate attacks in Borough Park that involved the same passenger car over a five-block radius. Security cameras captured each incident, in which several men jumped out of the car to chase Jewish men and boys. In one incident, a Jewish man was punched and beaten after the group pinned him against another vehicle with their car.

More than half of the hate crimes reported in New York City this year have been antisemitic in nature, with over 150 incidents targeting Jews — a rise of 63 percent in the previous year, according to figures released by the NYPD in September.

Synagogue President: Gun-Free Zones Are ‘Asinine’

German Far-Right Leader Stirs Controversy With Antisemitic ‘Judas’ Tweet Aimed at Popular Musician

A leading parliamentarian with the far-right “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) party faced heavy criticism on Monday after he deployed a notorious antisemitic trope in a social media attack on one of Germany’s top recording artists.

Several politicians are demanding the resignation of AfD representative Stephan Brandner from his role as chair of the Legal Committee of the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, following a tweet last Thursday in which he invoked the Biblical figure of Judas Iscariot — according to Christian tradition, the disciple who betrayed Jesus to the Roman authorities in exchange for financial gain, while remaining a devout Jew. The representation of Judas as emblematic of inherent Jewish deceitfulness became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Brandner’s tweet was aimed at one of Germany’s most popular musicians, Udo Lindenberg, who was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Oct. 2 by the German government. Known for his opposition to the former Soviet satellite regime in East Germany, Lindenberg has more recently voiced concerns about the growing appeal of the far right.

In a Facebook post commenting on the surge in support for the AfD in regional elections last month, Lindenberg wrote, “Do you not see the same old-new slogans on the walls of the houses?” In the same post, he described Björn Höcke — one of the AfD’s most influential regional leaders — as “a real fascist, resurrected from the ruins and facing towards the Nazis.”

In his condemnation of Lindenberg, Brandner asserted that the medal presented to the singer was reminiscent of Judas’s financial gains from his betrayal of Jesus.

Antisemitic hate crimes in Sweden rise by 53% to all-time record high

The number of anti-Semitic hate crimes recorded in Sweden rose to a record high last year, jumping 53 percent over the 2016 figures, government statistics show.

The 2018 report, which the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention published Thursday, listed 280 anti-Semitic hate crimes that year compared to 182 in 2016. The latest numbers are the highest on record since at least 2006, when the Council began collecting aggregated data.

Overall, the number of hate crimes with a racist or xenophobic motive rose by 69 percent over 2016 in Sweden to 4,865 cases last year, the report stated.

The council decided not to publish hate crime figures for 2017 without explaining the decision. In one attack from 2017, the Jewish assembly synagogue in Gothenburg was firebombed by approximately 10 men protesting Israel’s policies.

Anti-Semitic motives represented the largest increase from 2016 in hate crimes and was the largest hike in anti-Semitic crimes on record, the report said.

Anti-Semitic attacks accounted for 4 percent of all hate crimes in 2018. The Jewish population of 20,000 comprises approximately 0.2 percent of Sweden’s population.

Anti-fraud unicorn: Israel’s Riskified raises $165m. in funding round

Tel Aviv-based fraud prevention start-up Riskified became the latest Israeli “unicorn” on Tuesday, raising $165 million in funding at a valuation exceeding $1 billion.

A “unicorn” refers to start-ups reaching or exceeding a $1b. market valuation.

Led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic, Riskified says the Series E funding round will enable the company to scale business domestically and internationally, in addition to expanding its range of products.

Other investors included Fidelity Management & Research Company, Winslow Capital Management and previous backers of the company.

Founded by Eido Gal and Assaf Feldman in 2012, Riskified is described as the pioneer of chargeback-guarantee fraud prevention – a solution in which every transaction approved by Riskified carries a full, money-back guarantee for the merchant in case of a fraud-related charge-back.

By precisely distinguishing legitimate purchases from fraud based on machine-learning from 500,000 daily transactions, Riskified protects merchants and ensures that customers do not see their payments incorrectly rejected at the online checkout.

UAE said readying to open doors to Israeli tourists, starting with 2020 Expo

The United Arab Emirates intends to allow Israeli tourists to freely visit the country and is engaged in high-level talks with Israeli authorities to put the policy into practice, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper reported Wednesday.

Israelis will initially be allowed to enter the UAE so that they can attend the Expo 2020 world fair in Dubai, which will include an Israeli pavilion. However, Expo and UAE sources confirmed to the paper that the intention is to leave the door open to Israeli visitors even after the exhibition closes.

Israel has no diplomatic ties with the UAE, though relations between the countries have quietly warmed over shared concerns about Iranian aggression in the region. Senior Israeli ministers have openly visited the country and in 2018, Israel’s national anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi when its team member won a gold medal.

Mohamed Khater, assistant director for tourism development in Ras Al Khaimah, a UAE emirate, confirmed that Israelis will be allowed to visit the Expo.

“I believe, God willing, they will come to visit also after the exhibition,” he said. “Already now hundreds of Israelis trickle into the country and we will be glad to host all of them.”

Israelis can currently visit the UAE if they have a foreign passport or with Israeli travel papers after getting a special entry permit.

US gives large grant to Jerusalem soccer program for Israeli, Palestinian kids

More than a year after the US administration announced drastic funding cuts to programs benefiting Palestinians, the US Embassy in Jerusalem gave a handsome grant for a project bringing Jewish and Arab children living in the capital together to play soccer.

The Hapoel Katamon Neighborhood League, in which kids from both the western and eastern part of the city participate, is “in harmony” with Washington’s vision for peace, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told The Times of Israel.

It will receive a one-time payment of $200,000, according to embassy officials.

“This year, 51 teams from 25 different schools will take part in the project, involving more than 750 boys and girls and 26 coaches from all sectors of society — religious and secular Jews, Muslims and Christians, representing the diversity of Jerusalem,” the US embassy said in a statement.

“The US Embassy views sports and educational activities as vital tools for building bridges between different communities and promoting a just, equal and shared society.”

Israeli tourism rises 10% compared to 2018

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 447,100 tourist entries were recorded in October 2019, (the month when most of Jewish holidays fell in 2019) 7.9% less than October 2018 and 4.9% more than October 2017.

In the period of January – October 2019, 3.7 million tourist entries were recorded, compared to 3.4 million recorded in the same period last year, an increase of 10%.

In September, there was an increase of 44% in tourist entries on September 2018 (when most of the Jewish holidays fell in 2018). Therefore, in order to take into account, the period of the Jewish holidays, the two-month period should be calculated together.

In September-October 2019, 852,100 tourist entries were recorded, as opposed to 767,200 in the same period last year, an increase of 11%.

Revenue from incoming tourism in October stood at $643 million (about NIS 2.3 billion) and, since the beginning of the year, at $5.371 billion (about NIS 19.3 billion).

According to the Israeli Tourism Ministry, there has been a 10% increase in tourist entries to Israel since the start of the year compared to the same period last year.

George Clooney Set to Narrate New Documentary on the Late Israeli President Shimon Peres

Los Angeles film director Richard Trank has released a new film that chronicles the life and legacy of Israel’s former president and prime minister Shimon Peres. Trank’s film “Never Stop Dreaming”, narrated by George Clooney, tells the life story of Shimon Peres from his childhood in Poland to becoming a key figure in Israel’s establishment. The film focuses on his milestone achievements that include helping build up Israel’s military and nuclear program, his entry into parliament, and his leadership role in the Labor Party through his election as prime minister in 1984.

Yad Vashem receives Torah scroll saved during Kristallnacht

A family Torah scroll that was saved from destruction in Ansbach, Germany during Kristallnacht was handed over to the Yad Vashem memorial and museum by the granddaughter of its owner.

The Torah scroll belonged to Dr. Ludwig Dietenhofer, “an industrialist who was active in Ansbach community life,” according to Yad Vashem. Dietenhofer, who lived alone at the time because his children had all moved out of Germany, “held several public positions in the city, including as a member of the city council and head of the Jewish Community Committee.”

Dietenhofer, a Zionist, planned to move to British-held Palestine and help build an independent Jewish state, and ultimately made it there shortly after Kristallnacht, or “Night of Broken Glass,” when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.
Ludwig Dietenhofer and his wife / Credit: Yad Vashem Archives

During the fateful night on Nov. 9-10, 1938, Nazis killed at least 91 people, burned down hundreds of synagogues, vandalized and looted 7,500 Jewish businesses and arrested up to 30,000 Jewish men, many of whom were taken away to concentration camps.

Dietenhofer, who realized even before that night that Nazi persecution of the Jews was escalating, made sure that the Torah scroll would be spared and taken to a safe place several days in advance.

“On 27 October 1938, a tear gas bomb was thrown into the synagogue in Ansbach during prayer time, and the congregants were forced to stop praying,” Yad Vashem noted on its website. “In November 1938, shortly before Kristallnacht, Ludwig was summoned to an urgent meeting with the Ansbach Chief of Police. The police chief, a friend of Ludwig’s, warned him about the approaching riots, the anticipated synagogue conflagrations and physical violence, and urged him to leave the country as soon as possible.”

Dietenhofer accepted that advice and took the Torah scroll, which had been donated to the synagogue by his family and used for multiple generations.



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