October 20, 2021

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12/01 Links Pt2: Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; Germany: Dead Sea Scrolls do not belong to Israel


From Ian:

Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in Wednesday speech — report
Defying longstanding American policy, US President Donald Trump will give a speech Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to an Axios report on Friday.

A White House spokesman, contacted by The Times of Israel on Friday afternoon, would not confirm the story. “The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if,” the official said. “The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce.”

The Axios report cited two sources with direct knowledge of Trump’s intentions.

Multiple reports surfaced this week that the president would for the second time waive a congressional mandate requiring the US embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but that he would take the dramatic step of formally recognizing the holy city as Israel’s capital.

An Israeli television report on Wednesday, for instance, said that the Israeli government considered it extremely likely that Trump would declare in the next few days that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that he is instructing his officials to prepare to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The White House rejected that report as “premature.”

On Tuesday, US Vice President Mike Pence said Trump “is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Pence spoke at a gathering of UN ambassadors, diplomats and Jewish leaders at an event in New York commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote for partition of Palestine, which led to the creation of the State of Israel.

Dead Sea Scrolls do not belong to Israel, Germany says

Uwe Becker, the deputy mayor of Frankfurt, expressed outrage on Thursday over the German government’s decision not to recognize the Dead Sea Scrolls as Israeli property, prompting the cancellation of a slated 2019 exhibit at the Bible Museum in Frankfurt.

“If Germany is unwilling to clearly express the legal status of the fragments of Qumran as Israeli world cultural heritage goods, it would dramatically change the coordinates in our German-Israeli relations. And it would mean the construction of a wall toward the places of the birth of Christianity in the holy country, because it would be the same for Bethlehem, Jericho, east Jerusalem and many other places of Jesus’ work,” Becker told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Becker said,”I am criticizing both ministries for damaging German-Israeli relations. I have written letters to both ministers, expressing my deep irritation and ask both to change their new position and to support the work of the exhibition.”

Becker sent his letter to Monika Grütters, minister of culture and media, and German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is currently in Washington promoting the preservation of the controversial Iran nuclear deal.

Becker added, “Because of the unwillingness of both ministries to give the necessary declaration, as Qumran lies in today’s West Bank, the Israel Antiques Authority is not letting the material out of the country and the Bible Museum had to cancel its plans.”

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in twelve caves around the site known as Wadi Qumran near the Dead Sea in the disputed West Bank territory between 1946 and 1956.

Michael Lumish: Political Cowards

One cannot stand for democracy or liberalism or social justice or, even, general human fairness if one falters on freedom of speech.

Without freedom of speech, there are none of those things.

This should be Basic Civics.

This should be taught in the seventh grade.

Yet many of the highly educated, well-meaning, sophisticated idiots out there in the universe have yet to figure that out.

Furthermore, of course, the entire university-based movement in opposition to freedom of speech – as we have seen all over the country throughout 2017 – goes against everything that the university system, free inquiry, the empirical method, and liberalism stand for.

Fascists oppose freedom of speech which is why the German National Socialists did so.

Communists oppose freedom of speech which is why the Soviet Union threw those with alternative political viewpoints into “mental institutions.”

Antifa and progressive-left college students oppose freedom of speech which is why they keep shutting down the campuses when they bring in conservative speakers like Milo Yiannapolous or Ben Shapiro or any number of alternative thinkers who were hounded off campus this year.

When I was growing up it was always the political right that endeavored to stifle free-expression of ideas, but times have changed.

Now, sadly, it is the political left that thinks it can intimidate people into ideological conformity.

I think that they are mistaken.

Ami Horowitz on the Power of Film to Shape Debate

Ami Horowitz: So, for those of you that don’t know, I do a series of videos, some shorter form, some little bit longer form, about whatever touches my fancy. Mostly things around international relations, domestic politics, Israel, Islam, a whole bunch of different things. So, we’re going to begin today if you don’t mind, we’ll watch a couple of clips of two videos that I have done. One that you will be pretty much one of the first ones to see and one I did last year. Talk a little bit about them, and then talk a little more about the media in general and how I’m able to use them to promote our ideals. So, with that we’ll start with the first video clip, please.

Ami Horowitz: Thank you very much. What I’m going to talk to you about today briefly instead of talking about the obvious from these clips, which is sort of the intellectual rape happening on our college campuses today; I think that’s obvious to everybody in this room. So, I don’t think it’s important to belabor that point. I’ll just make one quick, two quick observations. One is about the U.S. flag, ISIS flag video that I did. Nobody here should be under the illusion that — for example, I did it because obviously, regarding kneeling during the National Anthem, these people are disrespecting not just our flag, but our nation by taking a knee. Let’s make things very, very clear, and this clip shows it very clearly, people taking a knee when our National Anthem is being sung is not making some kind of larger political point. They’re point is that they do hate America. They hate what America stands for, and I want to make that very clear, and that clip shows it very clearly.

The only other point I’ll make about the video with Hamas, it’s hard to hear, but essentially I was raising money for Hamas on campus to blow up schools and to blow up cafes and to kill as many Jews as possible. And, of course, I was able to raise quite a bit of money over the course of the hour that I was raising it. The only point I’ll make about that is the reason why I chose Portland State University to do the video was because Portland State University right before I did the video was about to vote to divest from Israel. BDS, as you all know, is a trend happening all over our campuses across the country. So, I got a call from Hillel saying, “We’ve been working for months to get rid of this vote. We can’t do it. Could you help us?” The video which, was pretty popular, particularly in the State of Oregon and got so much press nationally and locally, that Portland State University did cancel the BDS vote as a direct result of the embarrassment of that video. Thank you.

The Jerusalem Post’s unwavering mission

In the first issue of The Palestine Post, published on December 1, 1932, founder and editor-in-chief Gershon Agron wrote: “The Palestine Post will not seek to promote personal ambitions or party advantage.

Its reports will be as objective as is humanly possible, and its criticisms informed, legitimate and helpful.”

In the 85 years since, through the establishment of the State of Israel, a name change to The Jerusalem Post, wars, terrorism and social upheaval, a sterling array of editors-in-chief who followed Agron – Ted Lurie, Lea Ben Dor, Ari Rath and Erwin Frenkel, N. David Gross, David Bar-Illan, Jeff Barak, David Makovsky, Carl Schrag, Bret Stephens, David Horovitz, Steve Linde and Yaakov Katz – have steadfastly remained committed to his lofty aims.

As Katz wrote last year, “The history of The Jerusalem Post is a story that in many ways reflects the history of the State of Israel, a tale of an ancient people that returned to its homeland, established a state, and not only survived but prospered. The Post has been there to tell this story since the beginning.”

At the paper, we are proud to celebrate our 85th anniversary of excellence in journalism, years during which we have always striven to provide the most updated and factual news that we can, enhanced with perspectives from across the political spectrum. Those perspectives might not always align themselves with what readers may believe, but that is our purpose – to help educate, enlighten and of course to tell stories.

We have flourished – both in print and, in recent decades, digitally – mostly because we stick to our principles and provide balanced reporting, thought-provoking analysis and hard-hitting commentary on Israel and its challenges.

85 years of excellence in journalism

In a country as politicized as Israel, this has not always been easy, but we have succeeded in doing so by maintaining an unapologetic and unwavering editorial line.

The paper has supported territorial compromises in the framework of peace deals, but only if that is being done to achieve genuine and lasting peace with a real and complete end to violence and incitement. We strongly advocate for religious equality in Israel for all Jews, but believe at the same time that the State of Israel needs to take measures to ensure its Jewish character.

Since the days of Agron, the only black and white this newspaper has published has been the color of its older pages. It is a paper that mostly reflects the gray of society, or what I like to refer to as the “conflicted center.” It is conflicted because on the one hand it wants peace, but on the other hand – like many Israelis – it has become disenchanted with the viability of a deal with the current Palestinian leadership. It wants separation of religion and state, but also wants to ensure that the country does not lose its Jewish identity. In short, it is conflicted.

Running a newspaper in 2017 is very different than the way it was 85 years ago. Back then, reporters had days to work on a single story. Nowadays we have minutes. Then, there were barely any photos. Today, we edit videos and embed tweets and Facebook posts in our online stories.

Like every news organization, we are constantly torn between the importance of accuracy and the need for speed. Nevertheless, we have not forsaken the principles that Agron outlined on the front page of the first edition of this paper 85 years ago.

“The Palestine Post,” he wrote, “will not seek to promote personal ambitions or party advantage. Its reports will be as objective as humanly possible and its criticism informed, legitimate and helpful.”

Eighty-five years later, that is what we are still striving to do.

From Ottoman darkness to British light

David Lloyd George, prime minister of Britain during World War I, was well-versed in the Bible. Lloyd George once told David Ben-Gurion that even before he was familiar with the landscapes and kings and queens of his own country, he could recite the names of the Israelite kings and the names of the mountains and rivers in the Holy Land.

But even Lloyd George, the learned Christian, couldn’t imagine how little he knew about the Holy Land in his own time. During Hanukkah of 1917, exactly 100 years ago, British army officers showed him how wide the gap was between the picturesque biblical descriptions and the difficult reality in the land that the British had just subjugated.

Only a few days earlier, the British had put an end to 400 years of Ottoman rule over Jerusalem, beaten the Turks, and conquered the city without firing a single shot. The civil tasks facing the British turned out to be much more difficult and complicated than the military challenges. The distress, the pestilence, the poverty, and mainly the starvation that affected everyone were being documented in real time: “Hunger has broken out in the land and there is no aid,” journalist S. Tchernowitz half-related, half-cried in the newspaper Hatzfira. Hemda Ben-Yehuda, wife of Hebrew language revivalist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and a journalist in her own right, described how brutally the Turks had treated the Jews of Jerusalem in the last few months they ruled the city.

“Tens of thousands of Jews left Jerusalem,” Ben-Yehuda wrote. “Most of the houses were closed up because the residents had died, been forced out, sent into exile, or imprisoned. The streets were glum. … The women maintained an underground. They forgot what a loaf of bread looked like, and babies died for a lack of milk.”

The writer Moshe Smilanski, a prominent figure in the first wave of aliyah from eastern Europe in the late 19th century, wrote that “poverty was on the rise in Jerusalem: hunger, simply hunger, wreaked havoc among the humble, and hunger was followed by disease. Typhus fever claimed many lives … in [the neighborhood] Mea Shearim, elderly men and women are bloated from hunger. Children with the expression of the terrible disaster – that of hunger – on their faces, all of them barely clothed, are covered in rags.”

Michael Curtis: Rutgers University Must Deal with Anti-Semitism

Other academics outside Rutgers have joined in similar lunacy. Rutgers officials should note the case of Joy Karega, assistant professor of rhetoric at Oberlin College, who asserted that ISIS is really an arm of Israel, and U.S. intelligence agencies, and that Israel was behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January 2015 committed by gunmen from the al-Qaeda branch in Yemen. Oberlin authorities decided, as Rutgers should do, that academic freedom does not cover inaccurate or false facts, and dismissed Karega because of failure to demonstrate intellectual honesty.

Rutgers must consider a similar approach towards Chikindas, who among other insights has held that American Jews and Israel were behind 9/11. For no apparent reason he also touches on the fact that Israel has one of the highest percentage of gays in the world; according to him 25% of Tel Aviv inhabitants are gay or lesbians. Rutgers officials should heed the argument of Karl Popper in The Open Society and its Enemies that conspiracy theories draw on imaginary plots stemming from paranoid scenarios based on tribalism, chauvinism, or racism.

Chikindas has denied he is anti-Semitic and said his Facebook account was hacked, but the images on the graphics he published are telling. They show the Jews, portrayed with large, hooked noses, controlling the Federal Reserve, Hollywood, and sex trafficking, and an Israeli flag over the White House. As expected, he supports the BDS movement, as well as making uncomplimentary remarks about a variety of figures, Ayelet Shaked, Israeli justice minister, Israeli culture minister Miri Regev, and Melania and Ivanka Trump.

The views of a second individual, Mazen Adi, are also pertinent to this inquiry. Ali, appointed at Rutgers in 2015, was previously a legal adviser to Syria and part time charge d’affaires for the Syrian Foreign ministry for 16 years, including a stint as a Syrian diplomat at the UN between 2007and 2014.

In that role at the UN, it was natural for Ali to defend the atrocities and killings committed by the Assad regime, and to argue that Syria was restoring security and stability. But it was not appropriate for him on April 25, 2012 to argue that international gangs led by some Israeli religious figures were trafficking in children’s organs. Israel, he argued, is committing crimes against humanity, adopting a slow kill policy against 1.5 million Palestinians, and responsible for ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and genocide. He did not realize this was a new, if indirect, reference to the old blood libel against Jews.

Anti-Israel Activists at University of Massachusetts Hold ‘Provocative’ Panel on ‘Exploitation’ of Antisemitism Amid Nationwide Campaign

Anti-Israel activists held a panel on the “exploitation of antisemitism” at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass) on Wednesday — the latest effort in a campaign to promote a book on the topic by a fringe Jewish group.

The event — sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and Students for Justice in Palestine, along with multiple departments — featured UMass philosophy professor Joseph Levine and communications professor Sut Jhally, as well as Vijay Prashad, who teaches South Asian history and international studies at Trinity College.

Levine is an active member of JVP, which promotes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. BDS — described as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence” by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — has also been praised by Jhally, who served as the executive producer of the film “The Occupation of the American Mind.” The film is promoted as an “analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people.”

Prashad is similarly an advisory board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, a leading driver behind the call for BDS. During Wednesday’s panel he claimed that “the real anti-Semites, namely the fascists, who go by the name alt-right, get a free pass while those who are against anti-Semitism and who are critics of Israeli state policy are labeled anti-Semites,” according to a report in the Daily Collegian student newspaper.

Jhally likewise called antisemitism “a very, very effective silencing mechanism,” which is used to distract “from what the state of Israel, not Jews, what the state of Israel is doing to the Palestinians.”

BDS Advocate Headed on College Book Tour Next Year

A major advocate of levying boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel who has a history of publishing anti-Semitic comments on social media, is headed on a book tour next year, with expected stops at multiple universities.

Miko Peled, an Israeli anti-Zionist who recently said “Zionists should be treated like Nazis,” did not confirm dates or locations for his upcoming tour, but told the Washington Free Beacon he would be appearing “at many campuses.”

Peled will be promoting his forthcoming book, Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five, in which he purports to reveal the true story behind the 2004 terror financing trial that found leaders of what was then the largest Islamic charity in the United States guilty of funneling millions to the Hamas terror organization.

Blurbs for the book include one from former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges, who is quoted as saying, “Peled shines a light on one of the most egregious cases of injustice committed to date against Muslim leaders in the United States.”

Plaudits also come from University of California-Berkeley lecturer Hatem Bazian—pressured to apologize last week for retweeting anti-Semitic memes—who applauded Peled for writing the book as “a part of a long journey toward doing acts of justice that in a small way can contribute to putting Palestine back on the map,” according to the book’s publisher.

After the Holy Land Foundation folded, many of its top supporters migrated to Bazian’s organization, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). Peled participated at the AMP national conference last week, themed, “100 Years Since Balfour: The Movement Continues.”

IsraellyCool: George Galloway Continues To Fly The Flag of Evil Dumbassery

No-one can ever accuse rabid Israel hater George Galloway of being intelligent. Except perhaps other rabid Israel haters.

In his latest example of unbridled genius, he tweeted the following regarding Dr. Sahdman Zaman, the first Bangladeshi national to ever visit Israel, who has come back after being exiled from his home country.

For starters, not a word of condemnation by George against Bangladesh – who are the ones who actually exiled him! No, the country who needs to be condemned here is Israel – who took him in. One can surmise why this may be the case, but be careful!

But the real comedy gold here is Genius George suggesting we should deport him to Rwanda. Memo to George: If you want to call someone an idiot (a doctor, nonetheless), you might not want to get your geography correct. Bangladesh is in South Asia, not Africa. I guess we can call this georgegraphy.

P.S Sahdman loves Israel and is even converting to Orthodox Judaism. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

Naz Shah Now Against Promoting Extremist Content on Twitter

Naz Shah is getting very angry in the Commons about Trump promoting “extremist content” on Twitter. That’s the same Naz Shah who posted that Jews should be kicked out of the Middle East, warned “the Jews are rallying” and shared pro-Hamas tweets. Stunning lack of self-awareness.

UPDATE: Tory MP Andrew Percy comments:
“Everyone agrees Britain First are a disgusting set of hate peddlers, though the Labour Party are in no position to lecture on this matter. Not only have scores of their members shared extremist content or peddled racist conspiracy theories, they are led by a man who openly describes a terrorist organisations that wish to wipe out an entire race of people as his ‘friends’. Of course President Trump should be called out on his tweets, though Labour might do well to spend as much time on their own problem with extremism.”

Huge loss for BDS after Ozzy Osbourne blacks out halfway through angry phone call from Roger Waters (satire)

In a serious loss for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, famed rocker Ozzy Osbourne lost consciousness halfway through a phone call from an angry Roger Waters. The Prince of Darkness has a July 2018 concert planned for Tel Aviv, and noted singer/songwriter/activist/dick Roger Waters was none too happy. As fellow veterans of the late 60’s scene, Roger felt a need to reach out to Ozzy and dissuade him from playing in Israel, and thus called the Blizzard of Ozz himself. Unfortunately, about 7 minutes into Roger’s rant, Ozzy was no longer responding to stimuli on our current plane of existence and entered a deep sleep. But with his eyes still open. Mr. Osbourne explained the situation to the Daily Freier from his Los Angeles home.

“Roger rang me up all hot and bothered and I had Zero Idea what the F— he was F—– talking about. After a few minutes it felt as if Sharon was yelling at me again. Something about my concert in Tel Aviv next year I reckon. And then I blacked out, and woke up an hour later on the couch with the f—– dog f—- licking my face. But Israel sounds great. By the way, just asking…. but are bats kosher?”

For his part, Roger Waters insisted that the conversation was going well until it began to cut out for poor sound quality “because I must have been passing through a tunnel at the time.”

Mr. Osbourne, who insists that he’s “Quit the Drinking and Quit the Drugging“, says he looks forward to his visit to Israel next year, and really wants to learn more about the Kapparot Ritual.

Could everything the Guardian tells you about Israel’s “most right wing government ever” be wrong?

It has become a political orthodoxy to refer to Israel’s current government as “the most right wing in Israel’s history.” The Guardian uses this description of the government, not only in its opinion pages, but even in its news pages.

Firstly, as even a Guardian journalist once wrote, calling a party or government “right wing” is really just a code word for describing it as “bad”.

But there is also another, subtler message in describing the government as the most right wing “ever”– it implies that Israel is becoming more and more extreme, making the situation for Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in progressively worse. In the Guardian’s recent editorial on the Balfour declaration, it described how Israeli Arabs “are poorer than their Jewish neighbours, and endure terrible discrimination.” There is a clear picture being presented, whereby the Israeli government is becoming more and more extreme, making life for Israel Arabs a misery with no prospects for improvement.

But is this really true?

An examination of the record of this government reveals a very different picture – this much maligned government has actually done a very significant amount to improve the lives of Israeli Arabs.

To begin with, it bears repeating the basic facts about Israel – Israel is a democracy, in which Arabs and members of other minorities enjoy the right to vote, freedoms of assembly, press, speech and receive equal protection under law in local and national courts. In the current Knesset, 17 out of 120 MKs are Arab. (For the sake of comparison, in the French parliament, 9 out of 577 members are members of an ethnic minority.)

But beyond Israel’s political setup, the specific policies of this government have done much to improve the lives of Israeli-Arabs. A report released in August 2017 showed that the gap in educational achievement between Jewish and Arab schools in Israel has “almost completely closed.” It is worth noting that the highest performing school in Israel is in fact Druze. Another important development in the field of education is the significant rise in the number of Arab teachers in Jewish schools, seen in Israel as an important step in breaking down cultural barriers and stereotypes. The Israeli government introduced a programme in 2013 to integrate more Arab teachers in Jewish schools – by 2016, the number had risen by 40%. The Education Minister, under whose auspices this programme runs, is Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, frequently branded as a fanatic and an extremist in the UK media.

No Partition Plan anniversary coverage from the BBC

Moreover, the BBC has for years based its ongoing refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel on an inaccurate understanding of UN GA resolution 181.

“The [BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards] Committee noted that while there is no expectation that in a two-state solution West Jerusalem would become Palestinian territory, a UN resolution passed in 1947 has not been rescinded. It calls for the whole of Jerusalem to be an international city, a corpus separatum (similar to the Vatican City), and in that context, technically, West Jerusalem is not Israeli sovereign territory. “

Yes, you read that correctly: the highest BBC body charged with ensuring the corporation’s adherence to editorial standards (including those of accuracy and impartiality) claims that the 1947 UN Partition Plan – aka UN GA resolution 181– has some sort of relevance or validity and based upon that gross misinterpretation, presumes to dictate that a city in which there has been a Jewish majority since the nineteenth century “is not Israeli sovereign territory”.

Despite what the members of the BBC Trust’s ESC may choose to believe, like most UN General Assembly resolutions, 181 was non-binding and in fact it was no more than a recommendation – the implementation of which depended upon the agreement of the parties concerned. As is well known (although apparently not in the higher corridors of the BBC) the Arab nations rejected the Partition Plan en masse and even threatened to use force to oppose it. The recommendation hence became a non-starter and its various clauses – including the corpus separatum proposal – irrelevant.”

While the BBC consistently and frequently tells its audiences that the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is jeopardised by the existence of certain neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and Israeli towns and villages in Judea & Samaria, the fact that just such a solution was unilaterally rejected by the Arabs seventy years ago – long before most of the communities the BBC terms ‘settlements’ existed – obviously does not fit in with the corporation’s chosen narrative.

It therefore does not come as much of a surprise to see that while earlier this year the BBC devoted extensive coverage to the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and more recently to the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th anniversary of the Partition Plan has gone completely unmarked.

BBC’s Newshour Extra listeners get a partisan ‘explanation’ of Hizballah

Towards the end of the discussion (from 48:25) listeners heard Saad misrepresent the origins of Hizballah once more, together with an airbrushed presentation of the relationship between the terror group and Iran.

Saad: “Another thing is I think we’ve got to stop looking at…you used this term yourself, Owen – you said proxy. […] Hizballah is not a proxy. None of Iran’s allies are actually proxies. And we have to look…try to be a bit more academic here in terms of defining what do we mean by proxy warfare. What does a proxy…you know, what’s the definition? You know Hizballah was born as a result of the Israeli invasion. That doesn’t make it a proxy at all. In fact it’s the exact opposite. Iran does not control it. Proxies are controlled by their benefactors. This is not happening. There is an alignment of interests, an ideology and there is financial support but then that happens with the US’s allies. They receive funding and arms from the US. No-one calls them proxies. So there’s a difference between a proxy and a junior partner. I would say Hizballah is a junior partner of Iran.”

If, as one must assume, the purpose of this programme was to enhance audience understanding of the complex story of Hariri’s resignation, his subsequent backtrack and the wider regional background, then clearly an accurate and impartial portrayal of Hizballah’s history, ideology and activities should have been one of its essential components.

While Amal Saad was on occasion challenged by some of the additional contributors on various other points, the fact that Owen Bennett Jones assigned the task of ‘explaining’ Hizballah to an obviously partisan contributor, intent only on repeating the terror group’s own propaganda and messaging, actively hindered audience comprehension of this story.

Polish interior minister orders investigation into naked video at gas chamber

Poland’s interior minister on Friday instructed his country’s prosecutors to follow up on an investigation by groups representing Holocaust survivors into how a video featuring a naked game of tag came to be filmed at a former Nazi death camp in the country.

Mariusz Błaszczak transferred to prosecutors the dossier on the video that was filmed inside the gas chamber at Stutthof, he said Friday on Twitter. Two days earlier several groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, had sent a letter to Polish President Andrjez Duda noting the video was traced back to Stutthof and demanding to know who gave permission for the filming.

The video shows several naked men and women playing a game of tag inside what its creators said was a gas chamber without divulging further details. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow displayed the video in 2015, causing controversy.

Following protests by Jewish groups and community leaders, the Krakow museum pulled the exhibition but then reinstated it, defending it as falling under freedom of artistic expression. The installation, called “Game of Tag,” also was displayed at an art museum in Estonia before being pulled following protests.

Research that identified the location as Stutthof led the organizations that co-signed the letter to demand to know whether the artists did “obtain permission from the Stutthof administrators to make this video, what rules exist for proper conduct at the site, how these are enforced” and whether an investigation of the circumstances of the making of the video had been carried out, the Simon Wiesenthal Center wrote in a statement about the letter.

Five arrested in France over alleged anti-Semitic home invasion

French police arrested five people in connection with a home invasion near Paris that prosecutors and representatives of French Jewry said was an anti-Semitic attack.

The suspects – a career criminal in his 50s, three younger men and a 19-year-old woman – were apprehended Tuesday on suspicion that they planned and executed the crime in September at the home of a Sephardic Jewish leader, Le Figaro reported.

The younger men are believed to have broken into the home of Roger Pinto, the president of Siona, a group that represents Sephardic Jews, allegedly as part of a plan devised by the older suspect and the woman, who were not named in the report.

The attackers beat Pinto’s son and wife in the home in the northeastern suburb of Livry-Gargan, the Dreuz news website reported. One of the attackers said “You Jews have money,” according to the family members.

Prosecutors told Le Figaro that the suspects would be charged with a home invasion with aggravated elements of a hate crime. The report did not indicate whether the suspects denied or admitted committing the crimes.

Argentine TV host fired over ‘Jews control the media’ tweet

An Argentine model and TV celebrity was fired as the host of a national television show after she posted anti-Semitic comments on her Twitter account.

Ursula Vargues was fired recently from “Us In The Morning” a day after tweeting that Jews control the media. She called herself a “shitty atheist” and said “religion is not an excuse to victimize.” That tweet and others deemed offensive were deleted from her account.

Vargues met this week in Buenos Aires with representatives of the Jewish political umbrella DAIA to talk about her tweets.

At the meeting Monday, when asked if she was sorry for her tweets, Vargues reportedly replied, “I regret having hurt the people of the community. I cannot apologize for something I did not intend. I did not want to hurt anybody.”

DAIA leaders said they used the opportunity to educate Vargues about anti-Semitism, the history of discrimination against the Jews and about how far-reaching such tweets are. They said they would continue to meet with her to teach her about anti-Semitism and about the Jewish people.

Vargues has more than 128,000 followers on Twitter.

In March she tweeted about the atrocities committed by the last military dictatorship, which ruled the country between 1976 and 1983, and compared them with the Nazis under Hitler, specifically Nazi experiments on children, but concluded that the Argentine military was worse.

With ‘GoyFundMe,’ white supremacists raise money for NY Times neo-Nazi

Feel like The New York Times was too soft on Tony Hovater, the Nazi sympathizer with good manners and arched eyebrows?

If so, you might be pleased to learn that in the aftermath of The Times article, Hovater and his wife were fired from their restaurant jobs this week. The newlyweds will also be moving out of their house in New Carlisle, Ohio, for safety and financial reasons.

“It’s not for the best to stay in a place that is now public information,” Hovater told the Washington Post on Thursday.

The Horvaters’ extreme views may have cost them their income — but they are hardly broke. The couple’s white supremacist friends have launched a fundraising campaign on a crowdfunding site called GoyFundMe, which riffs off the popular fundraising website GoFundMe.

The online campaign aimed to raise $1,000. As of Thursday afternoon, it was over $8,600.

Following uproar, Russian priest denies blaming Jews for killing tsar

The head of a Russian Orthodox Church panel looking into the 1918 killing of Russia’s last tsar and his family said his statement that the church is investigating whether it was a ritual murder had no anti-Semitic connotations.

Father Tikhon Shevkunov said Thursday that he was only talking about the “ritual revenge of atheist Bolsheviks” and never implicated the Jews.

At an event in Moscow earlier this week, Shevkunov said that according to “the most rigorous approach to the version of ritual murder, a significant part of the church commission [on Nicholas II’s killing during the Russian revolution of 1917] has no doubt that this murder was ritual.”

That drew an angry response from Russia’s largest Jewish group, which denounced the words as a revival of anti-Semitic myths.

Also at the conference, Marina Molodtsova, a senior investigator for a special ministerial committee on the 1917 slaying of Nicholas II of Russia, said her committee will conduct “a psycho-historical examination” to find out whether the execution of the royal family was a ritual murder, Ria Novosti reported.

Claims that Nicholas was killed by Jews for ritual purposes had been limited before the conference to a fringe of zealous anti-Semites and promoters of unsophisticated conspiracy theories.

How the PMO got Israel into the multi-billion-dollar Power Africa program

Dozens of Israeli clean-energy firms and utilities will be able to access multi-million-dollar contracts facilitated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for its Power Africa program, set to provide electricity to some 60 million Africans by 2030.

Behind the scenes, the Prime Minister’s Office was working diligently — with a few hiccups — to get a memorandum of understanding signed with USAID, one of the largest aid agencies in the world.

“These things, in hindsight, always look easier than they are,” Eli Groner, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, told The Jerusalem Post. Groner played the key role in negotiating between Israel and USAID.

What helped kickstart the process was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia in June 2016, the first time in years that an Israeli leader traveled at length to sub-Saharan Africa.

“Finding the right opportunity for a signing ceremony took almost as long as negotiating the deal,” Groner chuckled.

“That’s more a commentary on how quickly we were able to negotiate than anything else.”

Given that President Trump proposed slashing billions of dollars from USAID earlier this year, it’s unclear if Power Africa will be affected. In Trump’s earlier budget, Israel was the only country to escape proposed cuts to foreign aid, a sign that Jerusalem may possess lobbying clout to reverse any future cuts. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the US budget.

Sodastream launches sparkling wine

Israeli sparkling water manufacturer Sodastream International Ltd. (TASE: SODA; Nasdaq: SODA) has launched ‘Sparkling Gold,’ a fine alcoholic concentrate to be added to sparkling water. The new alcoholic beverage resembles the taste of a fruity Riesling wine.

Sodasteam says that an independent market research test conducted in Germany in October 2017, found that 76% of those surveyed enjoyed the taste of SodaStream ‘Sparkling Gold’ as much as, or more than French champagne brands ‘Moet & Chardon’ and ‘Veuve Clicquot’.

Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said, “SodaStream is changing the way people drink. Millions of people around the globe enjoy using SodaStream to transform their ordinary tap water into fresh sparkling water at the touch of a button. Fun and exciting concentrates give more users the opportunity to enjoy and even indulge in festive beverages this holiday season… Cheers!”

Launched ahead of the holiday season, SodaStream ‘Sparkling Gold’ contains 10% alcohol by volume when prepared using the recommended mixing ratio of one part ‘Sparkling Gold’ concentrate to five parts sparkling water. ‘Sparkling Gold’ comes in a 200ml gold-tinted glass bottle that creates 12 glasses.

This is not Sodastream’s first foray into the alcohol market. Last year the company launched its home-made beer product.

Drone survey reveals ancient temple at Israeli military grounds

When drones buzzed at the heart of a Lachish region military training area this Sukkot, they came up with an unusual find. The camera-equipped aircraft discovered what appeared to be a rare 2,200-year-old Idumean palace or temple — one of only a handful in the country.

In a survey of an area from Beit Guvrin and Maresha in the north to Moshav Amatzia in the south, the drones’ aerial images indicated the possibility of remains of the Hellenistic period structure, which turned up an altar decorated with an image of a bull in relief.

“This technology helped us choose where to focus our excavation probes, and, indeed, it very quickly emerged that this was in fact a unique discovery,” said the Horvat ‘Amuda excavation directors, Dr. Oren Gutfeld of the Hebrew University, and Pablo Betzer and Michal Haber of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in an IAA release.

Much like the ancient Israelites, the Edomite people settled and resettled in the Holy Land during various periods of history. Their kingdom was destroyed by the Babylonians around the 6th century BCE. By the Persian era they resettled in the southern hills of Judea. By the Hellenistic period they were called Idumeans by the Greeks following the conquest of Alexander the Great. They eventually assimilated and became Jews.

Dalhousie University is working with Israeli researchers to study brain injuries and disease.

Researchers in Halifax and Israel are putting their heads together to study brain injury and disease.

The recently announced Canada-Israel Trans-Atlantic Collaboration for Brain Studies will see the Brain Repair Centre at Dalhousie University team up with Ben-Gurion University in the desert city of Beer-Sheva in southern Israel.

The research will focus on traumatic brain injury, motor control and rehabilitation, and neurodevelopment and autism. Each university will examine similar topics using their respective areas of expertise and create a talented new pool of brain researchers, said Dr. Alon Friedman of the Brain Repair Centre.

“Brain disease is something we have to invest more money in — it’s going to be the real major disaster of the (future),” Friedman said in a recent interview in his office at the centre.

“Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s. Traumatic brain injury, it’s the major cause for disability in young people. People underestimate the scope of the problem.”

The collaboration began this year when officials from Dalhousie and Ben-Gurion exchanged visits for preliminary talks.

‘I love Israel’ – in Times Square

The World Zionist Organization earlier this week held a Times Square event commemorating 70 years since the UN Partition Plan was signed on November 29, 1947, paving the way for the creation of a Jewish State.

In the video, former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion can be heard announcing the creation of the State of Israel.

World Zionist Organization US Representative Dr. Esther Serok said, “Binyamin Ze’ev (Theodore – ed.) Herzl’s vision was of a national home for the Jewish people. This vision was a source of inspiration for me, as a representative of Herzl’s organization…inspiring me to dare to dream about a mega-event in Times Square, in the heart of New York.”

The World Zionist Organization was founded at the initiative of Theodore Herzl at the First Zionist Congress which took place in August 1897 in Basel, Switzerland.

World Zionist Organization Vice Chairman Yaakov Hagoel said, “November 29 is a date with immense historical significance, with the United Nations’ General Assembly recognizing the Jewish people’s right to a national home in the land of Israel. We’re proud to screen the moment of the result’s declaration, in the city where the vote was held, exactly seventy years ago today.”

After Nazis killed her family, this woman joined the partisans to fight back

Holm is among a shrinking group of living partisans.

“Each year there are fewer Jewish partisans who are able to share their experiences,” Sheri Pearl Rosenblum, director of development and outreach for the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, told JTA in an email.

On its website, the group features the testimonies of Jewish partisans, including Holm and her late husband, Joe. It collected testimonies from 51 Jewish partisans from 2002 to 2015; only 16 are still alive.

Holm was one of just five women in her unit, which started with 25 people but grew to around 250 by the end of World War II. Partisan fighter units were reluctant to have women and children as members, but the friend who recruited her — her future husband — told the other fighters that the two were a package deal.

As part of the unit, Holm and the other women carried supplies and helped detonate hand grenades. The group focused on destroying bridges and roads that Nazis were using.

“A train used to come, so we used to throw the hand grenades,” she recounted. “The hand grenades were very scary because if you pulled the ring [incorrectly], it could kill you.”

Partisans would sleep in the forest with little to no protection from the elements.

“The first winter was a very, very bad winter. We used to sleep in the woods under the snow,” Holm said.

They would make do with whatever food they got from non-Jewish Poles, who had been threatened that they would be killed if they did not aid the fighters.

“For survival you do everything, you don’t think you’re a human being,” she said.

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