December 13, 2019

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11/12 Links Pt2: At Antisemitic Conference In Tehran, Iranian Presidency Official Denies Holocaust; Roger Waters’ anti-Israel message ignites ‘wish you weren’t here’ campaign

From Ian:

Anti-Semitism watchdog Canary Mission exposes Jewish Voice for Peace in new report
As we’ve highlighted in several prior posts, Canary Mission has come under attack and its been controversial from the start with accusations that its website echoes “long-discredited and horrific blacklists of the McCarthy era” and that publicizing the outrageous rhetoric and conduct that BDS-affiliated college students engage in could damage their careers if prospective employers found out about it.

As a result, there have been multiple attempts to deplatform Canary Mission and to discredit those who fund it:
Twitter suspends anti-Semitism watchdog Canary Mission after campaign by anti-Israel activists (UPDATE)
Anti-Israel blacklisters complain they are unfairly being blacklisted

But as we noted, Canary Mission is reviled precisely because it’s so effective:
It shines a bright light on the dirty underbelly of the anti-Israel movement in the most shattering way possible: By quoting what they actually say and showing what they publicly post online.”

Released last week, the group’s new report covering the fringe radical group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is a perfect example of the “huge public service” that Canary Mission provides by pulling the mask off so-called social justice groups and activists who profess to work for peace and human rights but in reality do little to advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution or to improve the lives of Palestinians and just work to “make life hell on campus for Jewish students.”

Below I provide a short overview of Canary Mission’s new report on JVP and its two accompanying videos. I also flag some JVP activities that Canary Mission’s new report missed, but that we’ve covered in earlier LI posts.
Canary Mission’s Report on Jewish Voice for Peace

Canary Mission released its “long-awaited, exhaustive, and biggest campaign yet” covering JVP this past week, posting to its website and social media accounts a new short blog post each day from Monday, November 5th through Friday, November 9th.

Each blog post exposes a different aspect of JVP’s activism with the aim of “proving that they truly are not for ‘Peace’.”

Here’s the five-part series:

  • JVP’s Funders: Promoting an Anti-Israel Narrative
  • JVP and SJP: Supporting BDS, Supporting Each Other
  • JVP and Anti-Semitism
  • The Anti-Birthright Coalition
  • JVP’s Connection & Collaboration with INN

Hebron observer force fails to meet its own code of ethics, official says

The international observer mission in Hebron is tainted with corruption, which its officials are ‎tirelessly working to cover up, a former officer ‎with the organization recently alleged.‎

The Temporary International Presence in Hebron, or ‎‎‎TIPH, is a civilian observer mission that was established ‎‎‎in the wake of the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs ‎‎‎massacre, in which Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein ‎‎‎killed 29 Muslim worshippers and wounded 125 others ‎‎‎as they gathered for a prayer service inside the ‎‎‎holy site. ‎

The TIPH mission, which comprises personnel from ‎‎‎Italy, Norway, ‎Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, was ‎‎‎originally launched at the invitation of the Israeli ‎‎‎government and the Palestinian Authority, with the aim ‎‎‎of monitoring and recording any violation of ‎‎‎international humanitarian law.‎

Recently, however, there has been a growing number ‎‎‎of complaints alleging its members are ‎violently targeting the Jewish ‎‎‎community in Hebron. ‎These allegations have been ‎compounded by accusations made by a former TIPH ‎officer, suggesting that mission officials are embroiled in fraud and perjury, which they spare no ‎effort to cover up, including by smuggling TIPH ‎members out of Israel to evade punishment.‎

Last week, Bennet Nygaard Solum, who served as ‎TIPH’s chief procurement and financial officer twice in the last decade, testified before an Oslo-based notary ‎that “the TIPH fails to meet its own code of ethics. It ‎disregards Israeli and Palestinian law in Hebron and ‎prefers to protect its own members from any ‎allegations of wrongdoing, with all that that ‎entails.”‎

Roger Waters’ anti-Israel message ignites ‘wish you weren’t here’ campaign by Latin American Jews

Jewish institutions in Argentina have launched a campaign against former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters over his support for the boycott Israel movement.

Waters’ “Us +Them” tour has been traveling throughout Latin America for the past month and will continue into December.

The Argentina Zionist Organization’s online campaign urges residents of the region to reject the British singer’s presence and upcoming concerts. The campaign calls Waters “one of the great anti-Semites of our time” to protest what it called his hate speech.

“We, Latin Americans, say to Roger Waters – we wish you weren’t here!” – echoing the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here,” its campaign says.

Officials at the Simon Wiesenthal Center officials called on the tour’s corporate sponsors, including Entel, Cencosud, Grupo Aval and Bac Credomatic y Citibanamex, to withdraw their financial support. The center also said Waters’ Latin American hosts should denounce his abuse of their hospitality and his message of hate.

On Friday, Waters participated in an event of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel in Buenos Aires, a day before performing there.

“We must insist to our local governments to pressure Israel, in favor of the human rights of the Palestinians,” he said at the program titled “A World Without Walls,” organized by BDS Argentina.

Waters at his shows has displayed a pig with a Star of David.

MEMRI: At Antisemitic Conference In Tehran, Iranian Presidency Official Denies Holocaust: ‘In Fact, We Do Show Antisemitic Behavior, And If We Are Not Doing Something Against The Jews, We Feel Bad – It Is Part Of Our Culture’

An October 16, 2018 conference titled “Antisemitism: Truth or Political Justification,” at the building of the Association for the Defense of Palestine, marked the anniversary of the “assassination of Amir Tavakkol Kambouziya, a pioneer of the struggle against Zionism in Iran.” It was attended by, inter alia, Ali Reza Soltan-Shahi and Shams Al-Din Rahmani; both spoke at the event. Soltan-Shahi, the event’s organizer, is secretary-general of the Organization for Aiding the Islamic Revolution of the Palestinian People in the Office of the Iranian Presidency as well as a member of the Free Palestine team at the NEDA Institute for Scientific Political Research. Shams Al-Din Rahmani is a researcher of Palestine and Zionism and was a pupil of Amir Tavakkol Kambouziya (d. 1975),who was a writer and an opponent of the Shah.

These two speakers reiterated well-known antisemitic tropes, such as the Jews being the source of evil in the world and their control of the global economy which they arrived at by controlling the sources of money and oil. Denying the Holocaust, they claimed that the Jews were exploiting this “tale” to achieve their ends. According to Rahmani, the Jews are assassinating all those who do not cooperate with them, and the murderer of Imam Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin and the Fourth Caliph, was a Jew. He even stated in his speech that Islamic culture was essentially antisemitic and that “no book in the world spreads the spirit of antisemitism like the Quran.”

Recently, the Iranian news agency Fars, which is close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reported on a book titled Antisemitism: Truth or Political Justification, which was published in 2018 by the Institution for Strategic Studies and Research and with the cooperation of the Shahid Kazemi publishing house. The book includes an introduction and six chapters discussing antisemitism and analyzing “this made-in-Europe political myth [i.e. the Holocaust] that has spread across the world.”

According to Soltan-Shahi, Amir Tavakkol Kambouziya was “a very powerful figure in the struggle against the Jews. He fought against the Jews’ thought [focusing on] aspirations of expansion at a time when this issue was not on the agenda [as it is today]. Kambouziya died in 1975 under suspicious circumstances, and I believe that he was killed and martyred… Kambouziya was an enthusiastic supporter of the policy of [the founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini… and besides Farsi had a perfect command of Arabic, French, Russian, English, and Turkish.” Soltan-Shahi added that Kambouziya was a scientist, theosophist, philosopher, Quran commentator, logistician, and historian.

UN nuclear watchdog says Iran remains within 2015 deal limits

The UN nuclear watchdog said Monday that Iran remains within the limitations set by the deal reached in 2015 with major powers, aimed at keeping Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for incentives.

In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states and reviewed by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has been abiding with key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The issue has grown more complicated since the US withdrew unilaterally in May from the deal and then reimposed sanctions. Iran’s economy has been struggling ever since and its currency has plummeted in value.

The other signatories to the deal — Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China — are continuing to try and make it work.

In the report, the Vienna-based IAEA said the agency had access to all sites in Iran that it needed to visit and that inspectors confirmed Iran has kept within limits of heavy water and low-enriched uranium stockpiles.

“Timely and proactive cooperation by Iran in providing such access facilitates implementation of the additional protocol and enhances confidence,” the report stated, referring to the procedure detailing safeguards and tools for verification.

In its last quarterly report in August, the agency also concluded Iran had stayed within key limitations set by the JCPOA.

Report: Saudi Arabia sought to assassinate senior Iranian officials

Over a year prior to the murder of exiled Saudi ‎journalist Jamal Khashoggi, senior Saudi ‎intelligence officials met ‎with various businessmen, including an Israeli, to ‎inquire about the possibility of using private ‎intelligence operatives to assassinate top Iranian ‎officials, The New York Times reported ‎Sunday.‎

One of the prime targets of the scheme was Maj. ‎Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian ‎Revolutionary Guard Corps’ black-ops arm, the Quds Force, who is considered a sworn enemy of Saudi ‎Arabia.

Riyadh was willing to spend $2 billion on the ‎scheme, with aim of destabilizing Iran’s economy and its ‎regime, the report said. ‎

The meetings were organized by Lebanese-American ‎businessman George Nader, a representative of the ‎United Arab Emirates. ‎The paper named the Israeli present at the meeting ‎as Joel Zamel, describing him as an intelligence ‎strategist with “deep ties to his country’s ‎intelligence and security agencies.” ‎

The plot to assassinate Soleimani and other Iranian military officials was ‎reportedly discussed in Riyadh in March 2017, in a ‎meeting headed by Maj. Gen. Ahmad Asiri, then a ‎close confidant and adviser to Saudi Crown Prince ‎Mohammed bin Salman.‎

MEMRI: Lebanese Journalist: France Boosts Political And Intelligence Ties With Hizbullah – In Order To Profit From Lebanese Oil

On October 26, 2018, a French parliamentary delegation representing the French National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the French Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Armed Forces Committee met in Beirut with members of Lebanon’s parliament, including MP from Hizbullah Nawaf Al-Moussawi. According to an announcement released later by Al-Moussawi’s office, during the meeting the sides discussed numerous political and security issues, including the issue of offshore oil and gas exploration in Lebanon’s territorial waters. Following the meeting, Al-Moussawi said that both houses of the French parliament “are interested in supporting the French government and the French [oil] company Total [which in February 2018 signed two Exploration and Production Agreements with the Lebanese government[1]] despite pressure [from Israel] to retract its commitment vis-à-vis Lebanon, or to postpone the time when they will conduct the oil and gas exploration.”[2]

Three days after the meeting, on October 29, 2018, Mounir Al-Rabi’, criticized France in his column for the Lebanese Al-Modon daily, which is known for its opposition to Hizbullah. Under the title “France and Hizbullah, Romance Scented with Oil,” he argued that France is boosting its political and intelligence ties with Hizbullah for economic reasons, primarily because of Total’s interests in Lebanon. Al-Rabi’ asserted that this is what is motivating France to sponsor the informal arrangement in Lebanon under which Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Al-Hariri is in charge of domestic affairs while Hizbullah is responsible for foreign policy and military activity in Syria and on the border with Israel. He also noted that France maintains intelligence and security cooperation with both Hizbullah and Iran, and even argued that France-Hizbullah are relations are now on the level of reciprocal “flirtation.” With regard to the situation in Syria, Al-Rabi’ wrote that the more matters in Syria favor Russia and Iran, the more important France’s role in the region will be; he added that France had in the past acted several times to protect the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Left and the Jews: A Tale of Three Countries

First in a series on the American left: Will left-wing anti-Zionists and anti-Semites in America succeed in hollowing out the traditional liberal left in the United States, as they have in Britain and France?

And in the United States? No one will have failed to notice the accumulation of anti-Zionist energies, toying with the idea of calling for Israel’s exit from the scroll of nations, viz., the many BDS campaigns among university students; and the American Studies Association, whose professors have elevated anti-Zionism into an American Studies priority; and the National Women’s Studies Association; and the philosopher Judith Butler and her adepts; and the Presbyterian BDSers; and the Democratic Socialists of America, who, in becoming popular lately, have been taken over by a younger generation of anti-Zionists (“From the river to the sea/Palestine will be free!” chanted some of the delegates at last year’s DSA convention) and, even so, have begun to attract election-winning young politicians, here and there; and the victorious congressional candidate from Detroit, Rashida Tlaib, a new-style DSAer, who turns out to be a one-state proponent of Israel’s demise; and Angela Davis; and the Dyke March leaders in Chicago; and Leslie Cockburn, the defeated congressional candidate in Virginia with a distinguished career in the anti-Zionist book-writing field; and Keith Ellison, the newly elected attorney general of Minnesota, who has never been able to clarify his relation to Louis Farrakhan. And onward to Farrakhan himself, and to Farrakhan’s followers in the leadership of the Women’s March and among the California Democrats. And thus to the noble immigrants at Times Square several months ago, whose own chant, in Arabic, “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya yahud, jaish Muhammad saya’ud,” pretty much amounts to “From the river to the sea!” except with the military implications openly proclaimed (because Khaybar was the seventh-century battle in which Muhammad’s army definitively crushed the Jews of Arabia, with the rest of the chant going: “O Jews, the army of Muhammad is coming”).

But the question has always been about trans-Atlantic equivalences. Do the many American campaigners, student councils, minor and major politicians, immigrant activists, distinguished intellectuals and vigorous chants add up to the kind of political force that anti-Zionists have amassed within the radical left in Britain and France (and elsewhere in Western Europe)? Is there a possibility that, having assembled a great many supporters, the newly cheerful left-wing anti-Zionists in America will succeed in hollowing out whole portions of the culture of the traditional liberal left in the United States, on the European model? Or is anti-Zionism in our own country mostly an annoyance, perhaps larger and friskier than a university fad, but not vastly so, and easily brushed off? Is America, in short, different?

I do not have an automatic answer to this question. I wonder. A proper answer would require a systematic comparison of political cultures, European and American. Systematic comparisons are difficult to make, however. It would be necessary to come up with a solid and reliable understanding of the American left, its nature, proclivities, and traditions, with special attention to whatever is distinctively American. But does anyone have a solid and reliable understanding of the American left? An insight into the American left-wing heart of hearts, as it beats ever more ardently in 2018? I will return to this question.

Here’s the anti-Semitism the media doesn’t want to mention

The 2018 midterm will bring many new faces to Washington, but few will find as much adoration as Ilhan Omar. One of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, Omar, who will represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, is a Somali refugee with a celebrity aura and an uplifting story.

What went curiously unmentioned in all the flattering post-election coverage, however, was that Omar, who replaces Keith Ellison — a former acolyte of anti-Semitic minister Louis Farrakhan — also has some exotic notions about the Jewish people.

In a 2012 tweet, for instance, the Democrat explained that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.”

Meanwhile, the other Muslim woman headed to Congress is Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants who wants to cut aid to the Jewish state because supporting it “doesn’t fit the values of our country.”

Writer David Steinberg identified 105 news stories written in the immediate aftermath of Omar’s victory, and not a single one mentioned that she believed Jewry possessed mind-control abilities or that Israel was “evil.” No one called on the Democratic Party to distance itself from this rhetoric.

Berkeley’s mayor Jesse Arreguin opposed to appointment of Hatem Bazian to Local Commission

Berkeley’s mayor Jesse Arreguin has publicly expressed his opposition to the appointment of Hatem Bazian to the city’s Peace and Justice Commission, and has expressed his frustration about his inability to prevent it.

From the J Weekly, the Jewish News of Northern California:
Berkeley mayor objects to appointment of Bazian to city commission

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is not pleased with the appointment of controversial UC Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian to the city’s Peace and Justice Commission, saying Bazian is not qualified to serve as a public official because of his “anti-Semitic statements and actions.”

Bazian, a lecturer at UC Berkeley and the co-founder of American Muslims for Palestine has called for an intifada in America, and has spread anti-semitic images and messaging through social media

Mayor Arreguin, speaking to the J Weekly:

“There’s documentation showing things he has said that are very offensive and inappropriate and anti-Semitic. And on that basis, I think it’s a very serious issue about whether this person should be in public office.”

Preacher Who Calls for Israel to be “Relocated to Germany” Speaking at Manchester University This Evening

An Islamic scholar who thinks Israel should be relocated to Germany, that “Zionists” are out to destroy the al Aqsa Mosque, that the CIA and Mossad are behind ISIS and who has called the Queen “disgusting” has been invited to speak at the University of Manchester this evening.

Sheikh Asrar Rashid was invited by the Madinah Society.

The translation site MEMRI quote Rashid as having said the following in December last year:

“Israel is a country that should be reestablished in Germany, because Germany was responsible for the killing of those Jews – not the Muslim world, not the Palestinians”

“Al-Qaeda was made by the CIA. To this day we have not seen, we have not witnessed, George Bush apologize for the making of the CIA [sic] to the American public. The planes went in [on 9/11], according to the mainstream narrative, by Al-Qaeda terrorists. Those Al-Qaeda terrorists were made by the CIA, by the Americans themselves.”

“The While House is the direct cause of ISIS today, because they made those orphans recruits for groups like ISIS. So do not destabilize Muslim countries, and then lash the backs of the Muslims, accusing them of terrorism.”

“May Allah have mercy upon Sheikh Yassin. [founder of Hamas]”

Daphne Anson: In London, Israel-Haters Target a Literal Joo (video)

Outside the Jinjuu restaurant in London’s Soho on 9 November, Israel-haters from the Islamic-founded BDS-pushing Inminds group target the head chief, Judy Joo, demanding that she join other chefs invited to take part in a culinary show in Tel Aviv by turning down the invitation.

A hop over the North Sea to Copenhagen. This video shows about 150 to 200 totalitarian Leftists, rabid haters of Israel and champions of Islamofascism that they are, yelling “Nazi Pigs!” at a group of people (with an Israeli flag) mournfully commemorating the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

IsraellyCool: Priceless! Palestinian Information Center Screws Up Badly

The Palestinian Information Center has posted this cartoon

I am guessing they are not very expert at interpreting cartoons because this one is suggesting that behind BDS lurks real antisemitism (a true assertion).

(I have ruled out them being hacked, because since posting this cartoon, they have posted the usual Israel-hating propaganda).

IsraellyCool: Israel-Haters Taunt Gerard Butler After His House Burns Down

Hollywood actor and friend of Israel Gerard Butler was one of the people affected directly by the fires across California, tweeting about how his Malibu house burnt down.

Note how Gerard made it more about the courage of the firefighters and tried to use this as an opportunity to drum up support for them, rather than dwelling on his own loss. Because, class act.

But this mattered little to the anti-Israel trolls, who used this as an opportunity to once again show their evil.

Update: This is spooky.
Gerard Butler: “I’ll Ask Someone to Burn My House Down in LA So…I Won’t Have Any Choice But to Stay in Israel”

Israeli farmers take fight against BDS to consumers

Israeli farmers from Judea and Samaria, the Golan ‎Heights and the Jordan Valley have decided to combat ‎boycott efforts more strongly, by more aggressively ‎appealing to consumers. ‎

Farmers living in these areas have seen their ‎marketing efforts in Europe suffer repeated blows ‎over the boycott, divestment and sanctions ‎movement’s calls for a consumer embargo on their ‎products, which is in line with the anti-Israel ‎organization’s efforts to delegitimize the Jewish ‎state and especially Jewish communities beyond the Green ‎Line.‎

Among other things, sales of such products have ‎suffered over the European Union’s demand to label ‎them as originating from beyond the Green Line. ‎

So far, Israeli authorities and farmers‎ have tried ‎to deal with the problem by bypassing export ‎destinations in Western Europe ‎in favor of Eastern Europe and Russia. ‎

Now, the farmers say it is time to “stop hiding.” ‎They plan to move the EU-required label – until now ‎made as small as possible – to the front of their ‎packaging and enlarge it.‎

They also plan to invite leaders of public opinion ‎from around the world to visit their facilities.‎

Sarah Helm at the Independent: 3700 words of Hamas-friendly propaganda

Sarah Helm is not a journalist.

As we’ve revealed previously, she’s more akin to a pro-Palestinian activist whose visceral contempt for Israel at times bleeds of the page, and has included tweets expressing support for Hamas violence and even justifying antisemitism.

Hamas couldn’t possibly have asked for a Western journalist more sympathetic to their cause.

Yet, her flagrant disregard for any semblance of fairness or objectivity hasn’t seemed to harm her credibility with editors of major British media outlets, as some continue to publish her pieces – the latest of which appeared in The Independent (‘Will he lose his leg?’: Thousands of Gaza protesters facing life-altering injuries from Israeli high velocity bullets, Nov. 11).

The propagandistic nature of the piece begins with the photo, glamourising Palestinian ‘resistance’, and continues in the headline, with the reference to the IDF’s “high-velocity” bullets, falsely imputing Israeli cruelty, when, in fact, “high velocity” bullets are the norm for sniper rifles used by Western armies.

As she wrote on twitter to promote her Indy piece, summing up the central narrative, Israel is “maiming a new generation” of Palestinians.

According to Helm, Israeli snipers are, without legitimate military justification, cruelly firing at and permanently maiming Palestinian civilians, including children, by the thousands.

BBC’s Bateman portrays counter-terrorism as a ‘narrative’

The November 8th edition of the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today‘ programme included an item (from 45:57 here) revisiting a story first reported by the BBC over three and a half years ago. The same report was also aired (from 14:07 here) in an edition of ‘Newshour‘ on BBC World Service radio on November 9th.

In what was described by the BBC’s Tom Bateman as “a story of revival against the odds”, BBC audiences were told about a concert played on a restored grand piano in Gaza City. Listeners also heard the following:

Bateman: “The [piano restoration] work symbolised the challenges of everyday life in Gaza. A UN agency had to coordinate access for skilled people and parts for the piano amid the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the Strip which those countries say is imposed for security reasons.”

While this is by no means the first time that BBC audiences have heard that ‘Israel says’ portrayal of the reasons why it was necessary to introduce a ban on the entry of weapons to the Gaza Strip and controls on the import of dual-use goods, it is obvious that BBC reporters such as Tom Bateman know full well that the context to Israel’s policy is the Palestinian terrorism which increased after Hamas’ violent take-over of the territory in 2007.

UK jury convicts neo-Nazi couple that named son after Hitler

A British couple with neo-Nazi views who named their son after Adolf Hitler has been convicted of membership in an outlawed far-right group.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court in central England on Monday found 22-year-old Adam Thomas and 38-year-old Claudia Patatas guilty of being members of National Action. A third defendant, Daniel Bogunovic, was also convicted.

During the trial, jurors were shown photos of Thomas holding his baby son — who was given the middle name Adolf — while wearing the white robes of the racist Ku Klux Klan and while holding a flag with a swastika.

The UK government banned National Action in 2016 after lawmaker Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist, with prosecutors calling it “extreme and violent.”

In a surprise development, Thomas last month told the court that he spent nearly two years in Israel when he was 18, planned to convert to Judaism, and wished to serve in the country’s armed forces.

Thomas also admitted in court that he was a racist but denied being a member of National Action.

Comedy writer apologizes for past anti-Semitic jokes

Comedian and writer Travon Free apologized for having made anti-Semitic jokes on Twitter.

Free, who has written for the TBS series “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” apologized after tweets he had written in 2010 and 2011 started circulating Wednesday on social media.

“My poor attempts at humor quite understandably have offended and disappointed many people, including some very close to me, and for that I offer my sincerest apologies,” Free wrote in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter.

On Wednesday, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council posted screenshots of tweets by Free in which he made anti-Semitic jokes. In one 2010 tweet, he wrote “Got cut off in traffic by a jew. WWHD? (what would Hitler do?)” In a tweet from the following year, he wished Happy Birthday to the dead Nazi leader.

Free produced four episodes of the new HBO series “Camping,” and in a statement to TheWrap, HBO said it would not work with him in the future.

Begin recording pulled from auction after lawsuit

The Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem has pulled from its upcoming sale a long-lost recording from 1948 of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin – just a day before the auction was slated to take place.

The item was removed from the auction after a lawsuit was filed by the family of the late prime minister to prevent the sale, claiming that the item rightfully belongs to the family. According to Channel 2 News, Begin’s children – Bennie, Leah and Hasia – claimed the sale would constitute copyright infringement, and want the recording to be freely accessible to the public instead of in private hands.

Likud MK Bennie Begin – the son of the late prime minister – declined to comment on the issue to The Jerusalem Post.

The item in question is a 1948 recording of a speech given on the radio by Begin, the leader of the Irgun who went on to become prime minister. The recording closely mirrors a speech Begin gave again in 1952 which was also recorded, though there are certain differences between the versions. Bidding on the item was set to begin at $300,000, and the auction house estimated it would sell for $500,000-$800,000.

“The Kedem Auction House operates as always according to the law,” it said in a statement Monday. “In addition, our aim is for historic items that pass through the auction house to reach national or cultural institutions for the public good, even if it is against the auction house’s financial interests.”

Israeli team makes implants using patient’s own stomach cells, biomaterials

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they have invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, made up of a patient’s own materials and cells, paving the way to engineering a variety of implants from just one small fatty tissue biopsy and making the risk of an immune response to an organ implant “virtually disappear.”

In their study, the researchers took fatty tissue from patients’ stomachs and separated the cells from other, acellular material. The researchers then manipulated the cells to transform them into pluripotent stem cells — cells that can develop into any kind of cells, from neurons to cardiac cells to spinal cord cells.

“This procedure to create stem cells from adult cells in the body is a well-established procedure that has been done,” said Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s Department of Biotechnology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and the Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology, who led the research for the study.

Then they took the acellular material and transformed it into a personalized hydrogel, a biomaterial that supports cells and allows them to form a functioning tissue. Combining the hydrogel with the newly created stem cells, the scientists then created personalized tissue implants of many types (spinal cord, dopaminergic, cardiac and fatty tissues). The materials could then be implanted in animals, showing minimal immune response.

The researchers have also shown that these patient-specific biomaterials do not induce an immune response in humans. In both animals and human blood, Dvir said, there was no immune response to the personalized materials, “making the risk of an immune response to an organ implant virtually disappear.”

Israeli-Palestinian orchestra brings message of peace to divided America

Israeli, Palestinian and other Middle Eastern musicians brought a message of peace this week to an America torn by caustic political discourse.

For nearly 20 years, youths from sworn enemy countries have performed classical music together at the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the brainchild of conductor Daniel Barenboim and late Palestinian American scholar Edward Said.

“We are looking for something almost impossible, but still we try,” said Kian Soltani, 26, a rising Austrian Iranian cellist who gave a fiery performance Wednesday at Washington’s John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The orchestra opened its program with Richard Strauss’s symphonic poem “Don Quixote,” inspired by the early 17th century novel about the romantic knight-errant who combats imaginary tyrants.

In many ways, the piece is a metaphor for the orchestra itself.

“If somebody would tell us that peace in the Middle East was impossible, we wouldn’t stop fighting. We would still continue like this because we believe it’s possible,” Soltani, who played the title role, told AFP.

J.K. Rowling’s ‘Lethal White’

Bookworm: Britain’s most prominent defender of the Jews is also a pretty good male mystery writer

The flaws of male characters are also more credible in Lethal White than they are elsewhere. In many thrillers, the flaws of male protagonists all ultimately boil down to the idea that they are too charming. They have short tempers, which inexplicably makes women feel safer. They use impressive, obscure martial arts maneuvers to disarm an enemy in public. But in Lethal White Strike is not exceedingly charming in the traditional sense. He is a battered man who eats too many chips and has a missing leg. In Lethal White, men pick fights with other men in public and end up embarrassing the women they’re with rather than impressing them.

And while many thrillers are still preoccupied with international espionage ploys against the West, Rowling’s political thriller is, at heart, a domestic thriller. It’s the story of business partners and relatives trying to kill one another. There’s no safe house in Bern, no mole in the Lubyanka, no rifle scopes hazed over by an incoming sandstorm in some remote desert. Even the politics of Lethal White come with a degree of nuance and relevance that is rarely, if ever, seen in recent thrillers from the last few decades. In Lethal White, one of the socialist leaders is a known anti-Semite, and Rowling suggests that when people say they’re anti-Zionist, it’s often just thinly veiled anti-Semitism, which is something most people seem too scared to say. Rowling, who spoke out against the Israeli cultural boycott understands that this lesson is a particularly important one for her readers in the U.K., where many people lean very heavily on this distinction in order to obscure acts of anti-Semitism.

In that way, Lethal White serves almost as a treatise on the thriller genre as a whole. By wearing all the trappings of a traditional detective novel, it is able to mask how strangely revolutionary it is. Rowling covertly shows us each of the changes that this genre so desperately needs. If something about Robert Galbraith seemed to jump off the page when he first came on the scene five years ago, it may have been the fact that readers were unknowingly watching as Rowling dragged the genre into modernity in ways that were as unexpected as the sudden appearance of Galbraith himself.

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