December 14, 2018

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11/29 Links Pt2: Whitewash: PBS on Iranian Jews: They’re Good To The Jews; The Holocaust, the Fiction of International Law, and the Necessity of a Self-Reliant Israel

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/11/1129-links-pt2-whitewash-pbs-on-iranian.html

From Ian:


Whitewash: PBS on Iranian Jews
Let’s give PBS Newshour’s Reza Sayah the benefit of the doubt concerning his feature report at the lives of Iran’s Jewish minority, the second largest in the Middle East outside of Israel.

Perhaps he was surprised when he heard from community representatives just how happy their lives are as Jews under the Islamic Republic as he tries to elicit more detailed answers from Siamak Morsadegh.

Sayah states that “Morsadegh is an elected member of Iran’s Parliament, proof, he says, that Jews here are a respected minority with religious rights.”

But then, what could Morsadegh be expected to say to a foreign journalist?

Sayah certainly extenuates the positives for the Iranian Jewish community and this is the overall direction of the report. He narrates:
Today, an estimated 15,000 Jews still live here. Most are in the capital, Tehran. There are five Jewish private schools here, several kosher restaurants. And Tehran’s oldest charity hospital was founded and is still run by Jews.

While this might paint a rosy picture, the reality is quite different. According to the Jewish Virtual Library:
Before the revolution, there were some 20 Jewish schools functioning throughout the country. In recent years, most of these have been closed down. In the remaining schools, Jewish principals have been replaced by Muslims. In Tehran there are still three schools in which Jewish pupils constitute a majority. The curriculum is Islamic, and Persian is forbidden as the language of instruction for Jewish studies.

While the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017 says:
According to the Tehran Jewish Committee, five Jewish schools and two kindergartens continued to operate in Tehran, but authorities required their principals to be Muslim. The government reportedly continued to allow Hebrew language instruction but limited the distribution of Hebrew texts, particularly nonreligious texts, making it difficult to teach the language, according to the Jewish community. The government reportedly required Jewish schools to remain open on Saturdays, in violation of Jewish religious law, to conform to the schedule of other schools.

According to Sayah, “Iran’s Jews say they’re also free to travel to Israel, a trip the government bans for all other citizens.”

Yet, according to the JVL and unmentioned in the PBS report, Jews who apply for a passport to travel abroad must do so in a special bureau and are immediately put under surveillance. The government does not generally allow all members of a family to travel abroad at the same time to prevent Jewish emigration.

CNN Commentator Marc Lamont Hill’s Long History Of Anti-Semitism

CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, whose hatred of Israel was vehemently expressed on Wednesday when he implied to the United Nations that Israel should be destroyed, has a long history of anti-Semitism.

Most recently, in May 2018, Hill implied Israelis were murderers in the Huffington Post, writing of the Palestinians, “This is about the 70-year struggle of a people who have been expelled, murdered, robbed, imprisoned and occupied.” He defended Palestinians’ right to use violence against Israel but claimed Palestinians truly wanted peace, adding, “Occupied people have a legal and moral right to defend themselves. To ask them not to resist is to ask them to die quietly. Palestinians want peace.”

Hill continued by slamming Israel’s very right to exist: “By naturalizing the idea that nation-states have a ‘right to exist,’ we undermine our ability to offer a moral critique of Israel’s (or any settler-colony’s) origin story.” He continued with an outright lie, ignoring the fact that the Jewish state existed three thousand years ago, writing: “… the idea of nations and nationalism is relatively new.”

In May 2017, Hill ripped President Trump for calling on Palestinians to reject hatred and terrorism, tweeting, “Trump’s position on Israel/Palestine is repugnant. His call for Palestine to ‘reject hatred and terrorism’ is offensive & counterproductive.”

CAIR Executive Director Calls for ‘Murderous’ Israeli Leadership to Be ‘Terminated’

The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Los Angeles said in a tweet on Sunday that the “murderous regimes” of both Iran and Israel should be “terminated.”

Hussam Ayloush linked to a story about Iranian President Hassan Rouhani calling Israel a “cancerous tumor” in the Middle East and wrote, “Iran’s regime calling Israel a ‘cancerous tumor’ is like the pot calling the kettle black. All the people of that region will be better off once both murderous regimes are terminated.”

CAIR is a Muslim advocacy group with ties to extremist and terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

While Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism that continues to be monitored for severe human rights violations, Israel is a liberal democracy. Ayloush is a fierce critic of Israel who has compared its treatment of Palestinians to apartheid.

When criticized for his tweet by someone who claimed she was about to join CAIR, Ayloush didn’t back off.

JPost Editorial: Antisemitism in Europe

Responding to the results of the survey, Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog urged European governments to do more to combat antisemitism, particularly by including Holocaust studies as part of their school curriculum. “Antisemitism is one of the oldest diseases – racism being another such disease – for which there is no vaccine,” said Herzog.

Meanwhile, A survey of European Jewish leaders released by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) this week found that while concern about antisemitism is growing, the vast majority of Jews intend to stay where they are – and support for Israel is on the rise. The fourth Survey of European Jewish Community Leaders and Professionals, conducted every three years, polled 893 Jewish communal professionals, from rabbis to organizational directors, in 29 countries. A key finding was that 66% of European Jewish leaders expect a further rise in antisemitism over the next decade and that 68% “fully support Israel, regardless of its government’s behavior.” At the same time, 76% had no plans to personally emigrate from Europe, and just under half of them believed that there would be no significant Jewish exodus from Europe in the coming period.

One interesting trend in the survey was the negative shift from eastern to western Europe on issues from personal safety to media bias against Israel. Eastern European respondents reported higher feelings of safety – 96% – than their co-religionists – 76% – in the western part of the continent. Asked if the media in their countries demonstrated regular bias against Israel, 88% of western European respondents responded in the affirmative, compared to just 36% in eastern Europe. Since the last JDC survey in 2015, it should be noted, Jewish institutions in France, Belgium and Denmark have all experienced attacks by Islamist terrorists.

Israel clearly has a key role in helping European Jewish communities counter antisemitism while boosting security at communal institutions. Jewish communities in the Diaspora are undoubtedly strengthened by a strong Israel, visits by Israeli leaders and trips to Israel. But perhaps more crucially, in the interests of both Diaspora Jewry and Israel, the Israeli government should provide assistance to these communities whenever possible to engage local Jews in Jewish and Zionist organizational life, especially when it comes to education, to ensure Jewish continuity and support for Israel.

As we mark 71 years since that historic day on November 29, 1947, when the United Nations voted in favor of the Partition Plan for Palestine, we call on all decent people around the world to speak out for Israel and act against antisemitism – especially in its most recent incarnations as anti-Zionism and BDS – wherever it rears its ugly head.

The Holocaust, the Fiction of International Law, and the Necessity of a Self-Reliant Israel

A recent article about the Kindertransport—the rescue by Great Britain of some 10,000 Jewish children from Germany and Austria on the eve of World War II—noted that any celebration of British generosity must be tempered by the facts that London did not allow Jewish adults into the country and, at the same time, barred Jewish immigration to Palestine. In other words, writes Haviv Rettig Gur, Britain, despite this singular act of heroism, is also “responsible for the orphaning of the very children it saved, and in no small part for the trap European Jews were placed in as the Nazi grip tightened.” He draws some enduring lessons for the Jewish people and the state of Israel:

[T]his history matters, today, perhaps, more than ever. There is an inevitable corollary to the rule of universal indifference that is Britain’s true legacy from that period: . . . Jews can only rely on themselves when the danger comes. When we relinquish control over our own fate, we fall. . . . No liberal world order, no example of momentary kindness, however central it may be to some other nation’s narrative of itself, will, in the end, save us from the flames.

Israel is powerful. But Israel is also small. It may one day not be quite so powerful. It has too many enemies, and too many of them are ideological radicals and tyrannical brutes, for it to find consolation in its current power. If you want to understand why we [Israelis] seem inexplicably obsessed with our vulnerability even as we continue to advance in capabilities and achievements far beyond those of our enemies, look no farther than the very act of kindness so celebrated in the West as an example of a world that cares for the weak. Look closer. It is in equal measure an example of the self-adulation, paternalism, and indifference of the strong. . . .

In an important sense, the relatively new and equally paternalistic edifice of international law, forged in the ashes of the Holocaust, is a similar fiction, propped up by sanctimonious self-edifying illusions like the Kindertransport narrative. It is a moral code upheld by a narrow transnational elite whose sense of self seems unaffected by half a million dead Syrians, a million dead Rwandans, Bosnians, Yazidis, and so on. It is a law of convenience, a law meant to serve the moral self-esteem of the strong. . . .

It is no accident that Israel is a bigger target of international legal attention than the world’s great powers, that the Palestinian question exercises the moral imagination of the strong more than all the depravations and callousness of China, Russia, or even Britain or America on the world stage. . . . Ironically, the hollowness of this paternalistic fiction is rendered even starker when one looks at it from the Palestinian side. Given the massive attention lavished on the Palestinians and their sufferings, it is remarkable how little headway this attention has won for the Palestinian cause. What can the Palestinians show for all the decades their cause has spent perched at the top of the agenda of the international liberal order? The irony is even more striking when one realizes that the world’s weakness in coming to the Palestinians’ aid is as compelling a piece of evidence as any ever offered for Israelis’ longstanding distrust of the international community as protector, and therefore as moral arbiter of a small nation’s security policies.

We May Never Know the Motivations of the Man Who Shouted Anti-Semitic Slurs Before Trying to Kill Jews

Last Friday evening, Mohamed Mohamed Abdi tried to run over two Jews coming out of a Los Angeles synagogue while yelling anti-Semitic epithets; fortunately, both survived unharmed. Yet the Los Angeles Times reports that “authorities are trying to determine [the attacker’s] motivations.” Other national papers have given the story minimal coverage, notes Armin Rosen:

Despite the increased attention to anti-Semitism in America that followed the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, this attack in LA hasn’t been treated as a national story. Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising: the recent string of arsons against Jewish targets in Brooklyn, and the fairly common harassment of Orthodox Jews throughout the city—which takes the form of actual violence with distressing frequency—haven’t garnered anything beyond local, attention either.

In the former case, it seems mental illness and addiction were to blame for a series of attacks on Jewish targets and only Jewish targets. Maybe that’s because even these fairly threatening yet grindingly routinized manifestations of anti-Semitism don’t fit into an existing media or political narrative: as the New York Times noted last month, none of the anti-Semitic incidents in New York during the previous 22 months was the responsibility of anyone associated with a far right-wing group.

The attack in LA may have been of a kind that just isn’t deemed to be important or notable at the moment. Or maybe, because it can’t be blamed on a neo-fascist extremist, its contours are somehow more difficult for journalists and political leaders to recognize.

News Networks Conveniently Forget to Report LA Anti-Semitic Hate Crime

Amazing how many “lone individuals” display the exact same behavior as other “lone individuals.”

Unlike other attacks, there’s video of this one. And yet, you probably haven’t seen the story on the news.

As Newsbusters points, out, the attack was noticeably absent from network news coverage.

All three networks have failed to report on an alleged attempted hate crime against two men leaving a Jewish synagogue last Friday in Los Angeles. While another anti-semitic hate crime in Pittsburgh October 27 received mass coverage, the alleged suspect’s identity in this recent attack may be one reason why it hasn’t received any coverage on the major networks thus far.

As The New York Post and The Los Angeles Times reported, Mohamed Mohamed Abdi, a 32-year old man born in Somalia, shouted anti-semitic slurs as a group of worshippers, dressed in orthodox attire, were exiting a synagogue before making a U-turn and trying to run over two of them. After a second failed attempt, he eventually crashed into another car in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood.

At the time this post was written, national network news had not covered the story.

Worshipper shot in Pittsburgh synagogue attack released from hospital

A 70-year-old worshipper who was critically injured in the shooting attack last month at the Tree of Life synagogue building was released from a Pittsburgh hospital.

Daniel Leger went from the hospital to its rehabilitation facility, from where he was discharged on Monday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. His discharge came on the day of the shloshim for the victims, marking 30 days since their deaths.

Leger, a retired nurse and chaplain at the hospital that treated him, was shot in the chest. He is a member of Dor Hadash, one of the three Jewish congregations that was holding services in the building at the time of the Oct. 27 attack by a lone gunman, and lives in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood where the complex is located.

Pittsburgh police and SWAT operator Timothy Matson, 40, remains hospitalized, from several gunshot wounds and is listed in stable condition. Three other police officers were injured in the shooting.

The Vulgar Marxism of Middle East Punditry

If economic growth and development can take hold in the Middle East—goes an argument heard often from policymakers, pundits, and even casual observers—the region’s problems will evaporate. To Steven A. Cook, this argument is simply a variation of Karl Marx’s belief that there is “an underlying economic cause for every political phenomenon.” Cook notes that the Egyptian protestors who began the 2011 uprising did not simply demand bread, but “bread, freedom, and social justice”:

Despite mounds of evidence [to the contrary], the U.S. policy community has been generally slow to recognize the shortcomings of [its] half-baked economic determinism. The reasons for this are both obvious (there is a glaring need for economic development in the Middle East) and mundane (foreign-service officers have a fairly good sense of what they need to do to help countries develop their economies). . . . U.S. officials have devoted resources to economic development in friendly countries in the region . . . because they tend to believe in the “fat and happy” theory of politics. If people benefit from the system, they are unlikely to rise up against it. [But] this is not always true. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria are cautionary tales of countries that experienced (uneven) growth and [then] became unstable. . . .

Take, for example, the case of Turkey under the Justice and Development Party (AKP). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been successful for so long because he . . . has a vision that encompasses a broader spectrum of issues in addition to prosperity. And, of course, it helped that Turkey clocked high economic growth for a good portion of the 2000s. But the other components of AKP’s transformative agenda—allowing people to live their religious identities more freely, the establishment of Turkey as a regional power with broader ambitions, and an uncompromising nationalism, to name a few—were also critical to the party’s longstanding success. . . .

The counterexample to Turkey is Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. . . . From the perspective of U.S. policymakers at the time, the fact that Mubarak appointed an economic policy team of self-declared reformers who were empowered to pursue neoliberal policies was a positive development that would finally put Egypt on track for sustained growth and stability. [But] Mubarak’s failure to articulate a positive, moral, uplifting future that Egyptians could believe in meant it was hard to rally anyone to his defense at the first sign of trouble. The folks who tell you that the economy is paramount would have predicted a different outcome.

Trump Admin, Congress Slam Airbnb Boycott of Israel as ‘Anti-Semitic’

The recent decision by Airbnb to stop its services for Jews living in the West Bank of Israel is being met with criticism by the Trump administration and pro-Israel leaders on Capitol Hill, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the company’s choice to join the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which aims to wage economic warfare on the Jewish state.

Airbnb, a growing tech company that allows travelers to rent lodging across the globe, announced that it removed some 200 Jewish-owned rental homes in the West Bank, sparking fury in pro-Israel circles.

The deepening controversy over Airbnb’s decision to join the BDS movement is beginning to be discussed within the Trump administration and its allies on Capitol Hill, who could potentially penalize company. Already, there is discussion that Airbnb’s move could trigger state and federal laws barring discrimination based on religion and ethnicity.

A State Department official, speaking to the Free Beacon about the matter, categorically rejected Airbnb’s boycott.

“The administration’s strong opposition to boycotts, divestitures, and sanctions is well-known,” the official said.

Airbnb’s hope for a 2019 public offering could be endangered by its boycott of Jews in the ‘West Bank’

The IPO is on a fast track, as Bloomberg reports:

With a private valuation of about $31 billion, Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky has promised he will hold an IPO for the 10-year-old company before 2020 when some employee stock grants expire.

Brian Chesky’s story of founding and building Airbnb is one of the great success stories.

But he’s put it at risk needlessly. He either made a poor decision, or received bad advice, or both.

Airbnb’s decision to delist approximately 200 homes in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) might seem like an odd fight to pick, but at one level it makes strategic sense for a company whose growth comes internationally.

The UN Human Rights Council, a disgraceful group of dictatorships and human rights abusers, is obsessed with Israel, The UNHRC, assisted by groups like the anti-Israel Human Rights Watch, is compiling a list of companies to blacklist for doing business in the West Bank. Human Rights Watch has bragged of its involvement in convincing Airbnb to boycott Jewish settlements, which announcement conveniently came the day before HRW was to release a report on Airbnb’s activities in the West Bank.

Airbnb may have thought it was a wise move numerically — delist 200 homes while protecting your international growth by avoiding the UNHRC blacklist. Airbnb also made itself a hero to vocal anti-Israel far-left groups, so it no longer will have its meetings disrupted.

But Airbnb didn’t just pull out of the West Bank, it singled out Jews and only Jews for boycott.

By delisting Jewish settlements, Airbnb has delisted Jews.

Is Airbnb Violating the Fair Housing Act?

Unfortunately, as yet, few have taken note of the Airbnb’s probable violation of Title XIII of the United States’ Civil Rights Act of 1968, better known as the “Fair Housing Act” (FHA).

If Airbnb carries through on its announced ban, it will bar the listing of every single Jewish-owned and operated property in the West Bank. At the same time, its new policy will not bar the listing of any non-Jewish owned and operated property. This is an almost perfect example of a “discriminatory housing practice” forbidden by the Fair Housing Act.

While this is rarely remarked upon, the international campaign against Israeli settlements in the West Bank aims to enforce housing restrictions on Jews and only on Jews. Airbnb has not offered its own definition of the term “Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” but it is plain that, like other critics of the “settlements,” Airbnb means the term to refer to Jewish communities and Jewish-owned residences in the West Bank.

Approximately 15% of the West Bank’s population is Jewish. However, the Palestinian Authority has adopted a variety of measures to ensure that Jews cannot live in areas under Palestinian control. These measures include laws criminalizing the sale of land to Jews and using death squads to kidnap and murder those who sell land to Jews. Just last month, the Palestinian Authority jailed Issam Akel, an American citizen living in Jerusalem, based on the allegation that he sold a house he owns in the Old City of Jerusalem to Jews. Two days after Airbnb’s announcement, a PA court sentenced two Palestinian Arab men to 15 years of hard labor for land sales to Jews.

Guardian report on Airbnb ban against West Bank Jews is riddled with distortions

Last week, The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes published an article about Airbnb’s decision to remove from its website all properties owned by Israeli Jews in the West Bank (Airbnb to take rentals in Israeli West Bank settlements off website, Nov. 19).

The article begins thusly:
Airbnb has said it will remove from its website all properties in Israeli settlements built on the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, after years of accusations that the company was benefitting from rentals in the illegal outposts.

Here Holmes appears to conflate major settlements in the West Bank with illegal outposts. Whilst the former are considered illegal by many within the international community, the US represents a major exception, and has, since the early 1980s, intentionally not used the word “illegal” when describing the settlements – going with the non-legal word “illegitimate” instead.

However, “illegal outposts”, the term Holmes uses, refers only to small settlements (sometimes a few caravans) built without authorization, and deemed “illegal” by the Israeli government. These “illegal outposts” represent a tiny proportion of the overall number of settlements, and are inhabited by no more than a few thousand Israelis. Whilst even the Palestinians – during previous negotiations – have acknowledged that most of the major settlement blocks would remain part of Israel in any final agreement, that’s not the case with such illegal outposts.

Ireland advances bill criminalizing sale of goods made in settlements

The upper house of Ireland’s parliament on Wednesday advanced legislation that would criminalize importing or selling goods produced in West Bank settlements.

After a debate over some of its wording, the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 moved from the third stage, known as the Committee Stage, to the fourth stage, the so-called report stage.

The bill, however, still faces several hurdles before it becomes law. After completing the fifth stage in the Irish Senate, it will then move to the lower house, known as the Dáil Éireann, where it will have to pass an additional five rounds of debates before the president would sign it into law.

The next debate on the bill was scheduled for Tuesday.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday evening declined to comment. But in private conversations, Israeli officials appeared unperturbed, estimating that the government in Dublin will ultimately prevent the legislation from coming into force, even, if need be, blocking it technically from advancing.

On Wednesday, the sponsor of the bill, Independent Senator Frances Black, defended her legislation against critics who argued that it was improper for a law to target only Israel.

Swastikas graffitied in office of Columbia Jewish professor

A Jewish professor at Columbia University in New York arrived at her office Wednesday to find two red swastikas, along with the derogatory term “Yid,” spray-painted on the walls.

The NYPD opened an investigation into the apparent hate crime targeting Elizabeth Midlarsky, 77, who has served as a professor at the Columbia Teachers College for nearly three decades.

“I opened the outer door and almost passed out,” she told CNN. “I was so shaky, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.”

The professor, who is not in good health, said she provided police with a statement before being taken home.

The president of the Teachers College, Thomas Bailey, released a statement “unequivocally” condemning the apparent hate crime. “We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.”

SJP’s Campaign of Lies Will Only Damage Swarthmore

Earlier this year, amid a flurry of slanderous statements, Swarthmore’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter announced their Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. But the narrative that SJP uses to justify its campaign is false, and will create a toxic atmosphere antithetical to the mission of the college.

At SJP’s BDS announcement rally, several students made public claims that cruelly and falsely painted Israelis as murderers, Hamas terrorists as innocent victims, and wholly erased any Jewish connection to the land of Israel.

First, the opening speaker began her remarks by claiming that Israel has “colonized Palestine.” This is an absurd statement. Jewish people have inhabited the territory of modern-day Israel for centuries, and have had a continuous presence there. The word “Jew” itself derives from “Judea,” the kingdom of the Jews that was destroyed 2,000 years ago. The name “Palestine” actually comes from the Biblical enemies of the Jews — the Philistines. The claim that Jews “colonized” their own homeland is a malicious and antisemitic claim that wages war on Jewish identity itself.

Second, many speakers repeatedly slandered Israel as an “apartheid state.” This claim was made dozens of times, and its total lack of veracity becomes apparent with the most cursory attempt to investigate it. Israeli Arabs, the supposed victims of “apartheid,” have a political party called the Joint List that is the third-largest in the Knesset. They also have full and equal legal rights — the same rights as all Jews. Furthermore, an Arab judge sits on the Israeli Supreme Court, and Arabs and Jews interact with each other every day, side by side, as equals. The attempt to compare Israel to the racist South African regime, where exactly the opposite happened, would be laughable if it wasn’t so profoundly disturbing.

Reuters’ Picture Falsehood of the Year

In its Pictures of the Year 2018 collection of 100 photographs published yesterday, Reuters includes an image with a caption which blames Israel for the death of infant Laila al-Ghandour, despite the fact that months ago Hamas removed her name from the list of fatalities for which it holds Israel responsible.
The erroneous caption (photograph 74 out of 100 in the Pictures of the Year) states:
A relative mourns as she carries the body of 8-month-old Palestinian infant Laila al-Ghandour, who died after inhaling tear gas during a protest against the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem at the Israel-Gaza border, during her funeral in Gaza City, May 15.

But, as was first reported by the Associated Press last May, the baby girl had a preexisting heart condition which a Gaza doctor identified as the cause of death, and not even Hamas now blames Israel for her death. On May 30, AP reported (“Death from tear gas or bad heart? No ruling yet on Gaza baby“):

‘Overt’ Antisemitism Is ‘Complicated,’ New York Times Claims

Read The New York Times enough, and certain problematic patterns emerge. One of them is the excess adjective or adverb — an extra word that makes an article worse by being there. An editor might have improved an article that suffers from this affliction simply by deleting the offending word.

Two recent New York Times articles on Jewish topics suffer from this problem.

One, in the arts section, is about an announcement by Netflix that it had acquired the rights to produce animated programs based on the works of the British author Roald Dahl, of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory fame. The Times reports, “While Dahl’s stories have proved durable, his legacy is complicated, marred by his overt anti-Semitism.”

Actually, it’s not “complicated.” Antisemitism is bad regardless of whether it is “overt” or hidden. At least the overt antisemites aren’t deceptive or in denial about it. The Times might have simply written, “While Dahl’s stories have proven durable, his legacy is marred by his anti-Semitism.”

Another Times article, a book review of children’s books about Hanukkah, refers to “the inescapable dominance of Christmas.” This one would have been better if some editor had simply deleted the word “inescapable.” It certainly is possible to escape the dominance of Christmas by, say, moving to Kiryas Joel or Bnei Brak.

A source quoted and promoted by the BBC gets corrected

As regular readers will be aware, the BBC often uncritically quotes and promotes information and statistics – particularly Gaza casualty figures – provided by the UN agency OCHA.

On November 21st another political NGO that has appeared in BBC content – MAP – promoted UNOCHA supplied figures in a tweet.

However (unsurprisingly to those familiar with UNOCHA’s methodology) it turned out that those statistics were not all that they were made out to be when the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) later replied to that tweet.

Orthodox Jewish boy attacked on Brooklyn street

A 9-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy was randomly attacked by a stranger in Brooklyn in what police are investigating as a possible hate crime — the first of two similar incidents that occurred within an hour of each other, authorities said Thursday.

The boy was walking home with his mother around 6 p.m. Sunday near Throop Avenue and Walton Street in Williamsburg.

Without saying a word, the passerby approached and punched him repeatedly in the face before rushing off, police said.

The child suffered swelling and pain but did not need to be transported to the hospital.

Police on Thursday provided a photo and video of his attacker, whom they described as being approximately 14 to 18 years old and 5-foot-6 inches tall, with a medium build.

Just 30 minutes later, a second Orthodox boy, age 12, was walking home when he was approached by four or five strangers near Walton Street and Union Avenue — just over a block away from the previous attack, police and law enforcement sources said.

The group of men shoved the boy to the pavement and punched him before fleeing, law enforcement sources added.

A Holocaust denier who ran for Congress is still active on YouTube and Twitter

Last week, social media network Gab banned Patrick Little — a white supremacist, Holocaust denier and former Congressional candidate — from its site. But Little’s accounts on YouTube and Twitter are still active.

Gab, a site popular among many on the far right, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, said last week that it had permanently suspended Little because he had encouraged harassment of private citizens. It emphasized that though his account also contained hate speech, the site did not ban him based on that.

On Gab, Little advocated for mass torture of Jews and praised Robert Bowers, a fellow Gab user who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last month, according to HuffPost, which first reported on the state of his YouTube and Twitter accounts on Tuesday.

Little, 33, ran for Senate in California earlier this year as a Republican as a challenger to Jewish Democrat Dianne Feinstein. He only received 1.3 percent of the vote in the state’s primary and did not advance to the general election.

He told HuffPost that he was surprised YouTube and Twitter had not taken down his accounts.

Randolph Braham, Pioneering Scholar of the Holocaust in Hungary, Dies at 95

Randolph L. Braham, the preeminent historian of the Hungarian Holocaust, died on Sunday. He was 95.

A Holocaust survivor who lost his parents at Auschwitz, Braham found his calling early in his adult life, documenting the tragedy that had befallen the Jews of his native land.

Braham, whose name was originally Adolf Ábrahám, was born in Bucharest to a family of modest means and raised in the Transylvanian town of Dés. He was drafted into the Hungarian Labor Service in 1944 and detained briefly in a Soviet POW camp. Immediately after the war, he worked as a translator for the U.S. Army in Berlin.

In 1948, Braham emigrated to the U.S., landing in New York, where he earned a doctorate in political science at the New School for Social Research in 1952. He spent the bulk of his career teaching at New York’s City College and at the CUNY Graduate Center, whose Rosenthal Institute for Jewish Studies he founded in 1979.

For the distinguished UNC-Chapel Hill Holocaust historian Christopher Browning, Braham was “the authority on the Holocaust in Hungary, single-handedly creating a body of scholarship on the tragic events in that country that was not equaled for most other countries in Europe until many years later.”

Braham is perhaps best known for his meticulous two-volume study The Politics of Genocide: The Holocaust in Hungary, which was first published in 1981 and was revised and reissued twice in the decades that followed. “It remains impossible to think about the topic without consulting his monumental work,” said Rutgers historian Paul Hanebrink.

US software firm Red Hat to buy Israeli cloud, data storage startup NooBaa

US software company Red Hat, Inc., which IBM acquired last month for $34 billion, said it has bought Tel Aviv based startup NooBaa, which develops software to manage data storage services across hybrid and multicloud environments. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Adding NooBaa’s data management technology increases Red Hat’s existing portfolio of hybrid cloud offerings and will help boost Red Hat’s position “as a leading provider of open hybrid cloud technologies,” the US firm said in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Cloud technology is evolving toward hybrid clouds and multiclouds, according to a report by Gartner, an industry analyst, which forecasts that by 2020, 75% of organizations will have deployed a multicloud or hybrid cloud model. Hybrid cloud is a mix of public cloud, which is generally a cloud service offered over the internet, and private cloud, which is built specifically for one client.

NooBaa was founded in 2013 by Yuval Dimnik, its CEO, and Guy Margalit, Eran Tamir and Nimrod Becker. The startup’s main investors and VC backers are Akamai Technologies Inc., a US cloud service provider, and Israeli venture capital funds OurCrowd and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), according to the company’s website.

2 Israeli baby items make TIME’s 2018 Best Inventions list

Israel is renowned as a child-centered society, so it’s no surprise that the two Israeli items named to TIME magazine’s 2018 Best Inventions list are both geared to baby care.

Nanit Plus smart baby monitor is described by TIME as a “sleep coach” for babies because it serves double duty as a live app-based video monitor and a tracking device that collects environmental info and makes relevant suggestions – such as adjusting the temperature or darkening the room to help baby fall asleep. The company has locations in Tel Aviv and New York.

Nanobébé breast-milk bottle is said to be the first baby bottle designed to preserve essential breastmilk nutrients by enabling rapid heating and cooling through an innovative geometric shape that resembles an actual breast and is topple-proof.

Homefront Command joins elite UN international rescue force

The Homefront Command’s Search and Rescue Unit on Wednesday ‎joined an elite group of military units operating in disaster-stricken ‎areas on behalf of the United Nations.‎

A special delegation of the International Search and Rescue ‎Advisory Group, or INSARAG, arrived in Israel last week to oversee ‎a weeklong series of tests, in which the Homefront Command had to ‎prove its capabilities in a wide range of recovery operations, such ‎as disaster management, field triage and searching for victims ‎trapped under debris. ‎

INSARAG is a global network of some 80 countries whose teams ‎deal with urban search and rescue missions with the aim of ‎establishing minimum international standards for dealing with ‎urban disasters. The organization also strives to develop ‎a methodology for international coordination for earthquake ‎response.‎

The seven-day certification process, which took place at the ‎Homefront Command’s headquarters in central Israel, demanded the ‎Israeli troops successfully meet ‎INSARAG’s 230 criteria, including search and rescue missions, ‎command and control of international events, completing operations ‎within a specified period of time, field conditions analysis, urban ‎engineering analysis, providing medical assistance, using advanced ‎logistical measures and technological equipment, and ‎simultaneously managing two active disaster sites, to name a few. ‎

Two Israeli startups named among 36 in new international ‘game changers’ report

Two Israeli startups have been named, together with 34 other international fast- growing firms, as companies that are changing the world, in a new 2019 Game Changers report by New York-based data company CB Insights.

The Israeli startups are Autotalks, a Kfar Netter, Israel-based maker of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems for use in autonomous driving cars, which in July got an investment by South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company. And Tel Aviv-based AdVerif.ai, an artificial intelligence company that allows advertisers, publishers, and ad networks moderate content and battle fake news.

“Our selected startups are high momentum companies pioneering technology, with the potential to transform society and economies for the better,” the CB Insights report said.

The data firm assessed startups in 12 categories, including Vehicle-to-Everything Tech (V2X), disinformation defense, AI on the edge, Quantum AI, smart policing, superbug killers, non-Opioid pain management, and longevity boosters — startups that are using AI to combat aging and age-related diseases.

2,000-year-old ring engraved with ‘Pilate’ may have belonged to notorious ruler

An intriguing 2,000-year-old copper alloy ring bearing the inscription “of Pilatus” may be only the second artifact testifying to the historicity of the infamous Pontius Pilate. Unearthed 50 years ago, the ring was overlooked until recently, when it got a good scrub, and a second look.

Pilate, a Roman prefect who ruled the Roman province of Judaea from circa 26–36 CE, is mentioned in several accounts in the New Testament, as having ordered the trial and crucifixion of Yeshua, a Second Temple-period radical preacher from the Galilee, more commonly known as Jesus.

The ring was first found among hundreds of other artifacts in 1968–1969 excavations directed by archaeologist Gideon Foerster, at a section of Herod’s burial tomb and palace at Herodium that was used during the First Jewish Revolt (66–73 CE). Recently, current dig director Roi Porat asked that the engraved copper sealing ring be given a thorough laboratory cleaning and scholarly examination.

The scientific analysis of the ring was published in the stalwart biannual Israel Exploration Journal last week, by the 104-year-old Israel Exploration Society. It was also popularly publicized — with slightly differing conclusions — on Thursday in Haaretz, under the headline “Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank.”

NFL player pays tribute to Israel with his cleats

Baltimore Ravens player Michael Pierce was deeply affected by his trip to Israel earlier this year. So much so, that he’s chosen to honor the country – and the organization Israel Collective – in the upcoming “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign ran by the NFL.

As part of the campaign, more than 800 NFL players will don cleats on the field this week that highlight charities of their choosing.

Pierce, a native of Alabama, unveiled his blue-and-white cleats in a video posted online by the Israel Collective nonprofit.

“Israel Collective has been a life-changing thing for me,” says Pierce in the video, showing off his new cleats. “Having the Israel flag in front and center was paramount for me – I needed that to be right where it is.”

IsraellyCool: MUST WATCH: Highlights From Frank Grillo’s FIGHTWORLD in Israel

A month ago I posted a clip of Hollywood actor Frank Grillo speaking about his admiration of the toughness of Israelis he witnessed while shooting his new Netflix show FIGHTWORLD.

I have now seen the episode, and it is a definite must watch. Seriously. Frank did not come here to praise Israel, but watching this, you cannot help but be in awe.

I have distilled some highlights for you to whet your appetite.

This show might just be the most pro Israel thing you will see in your lifetime. And it wasn’t even intended that way.

Israeli artist beats Gaza rockets into Hanukkah candelabra

The clang of hammer on metal and the roar of a blowtorch can be heard long before you walk into Israeli metal sculptor Yaron Bob’s workshop.

Featured prominently in his workshop is a quotation from the Book of Isaiah: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares” (Isaiah 2:4).

Bob is doing something close to that in his studio in Yated, an agricultural community near the border where Israel, Gaza and Egypt meet.

His raw material is rockets and mortar shells fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists from Gaza, just 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away.

The twisted shrapnel is dropped off at his smithy by police and Bob, 47, crafts artwork and religious symbols from the metal, selling his creations in Israel and abroad.

In the run-up to the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, he was busy crafting a monumental hanukkiyah, or Hanukkah menorah, a candlestick with nine branches that is used during the eight-day festival that starts this year at sundown, Sunday.



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