January 19, 2022

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12/27 Links Pt2: Now they call us ‘White Jews’: A new American antisemitism; Daniel Pipes: Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes toward Israel; Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Dunces


From Ian:

Seth Frantzman: Now they call us ‘White Jews’: A new American antisemitism
A recent controversy about anti-Jewish views in the Women’s March has lifted the curtain on a new antisemitism that is percolating in American circles.

“Now Women’s March activists are grappling with how they treat Jews, and whether they should be counted as privileged white Americans or ‘marginalized’ minorities,” The New York Times noted in a recent piece. The labeling of Jews as “white” and debates on how to “treat Jews,” as if Jews are packages in a supermarket is a form of dehumanizing rhetoric designed to force Jewish people into a binary of “white/non-white” that is currently trendy in US discussions.

The new toxic discussion taking place primarily in the United States is designed to label Jews as “white supremacists.” For instance, Tamika Mallory, the Women’s March leader, told the Times that this issue was raised at an early meeting of the marchers.

“Since that conversation, we’ve all learned a lot about how while white Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy, ALL Jews are targeted by it,” she said. Some groups on the far Left have even embraced this concept. Rebecca Vilkomerson tweeted about it on December 24.

“We white Jews especially need to recognize that centering out own status as victims here is a power move, as well as a way to avoid self-reflection on our relative status in a white supremacist world,” Vilkomerson tweeted.

It is particularly interesting, given the history of antisemitism, how Jews are now considered not only recipients of white privilege, due to their often passing as white, but are seen as emblematic of whiteness and a part of white supremacy. The concept of antisemitism was coined by anti-Jewish activist Wilhelm Marr, who objected to the idea that Jews would assimilate into Germany. Antisemitism became entwined with the idea that Jews were a separate “race” from white Europeans, particularly Germans and northern Europeans. Today that has come full circle and Jews are portrayed as not just passing as white, but of being an example of white supremacy.

How can this be, only 70 years after the Holocaust that the people genocided for being non-white and non-European are now called white supremacists? It is part of a carefully managed agenda in the United States to not permit Jews to be part of discussions about “people of color” or racism. The reason for this is that hatred of Jews has always been about creating an all-encompassing other that is dehumanized and then defining that as “the Jews.” Therefore in European history, Jews were hated for not being Christian, accused of blood libels and forced to live in ghettos or enter cities through the gate where the swine and sewage was. Then came the era when Jews were assimilating and becoming less religiously observant so they were labeled not as a religious problem, but an ethnic-racial problem. Oriental “wandering Jews,” who were foreigners. Today in the US where the popular view in some left-leaning circles is that being “white” is a kind of slander, Jews are “white Jews.”

Daniel Pipes: Tectonic Shifts in Attitudes toward Israel

As Arabs and Muslims warm to Israel, the Left grows colder. These shifts imply one great imperative for the Jewish state.

On the first shift: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently pointed out “a great change” in the Arab world which has a growing connection to Israeli companies because it needs Israeli “technology and innovation, … water, electricity, medical care, and high-tech.” Explaining this normalization as a result of Arab states “looking for links with the strong,” Netanyahu was too tactful of American liberals to add another factor: Barack Obama’s policy of appeasing Tehran jolted the Arab states to get serious about the real threats facing them.

It is striking to note that full-scale Arab state warfare versus Israel lasted a mere 25 years (1948-73) and ended 45 long years ago; and that Turkey and Iran have since picked up the anti-Zionist torch.

Nor is it just Israeli companies making inroads into Arab countries. The Israeli minister of sports broke into tears as Hatikvah, Israel’s anthem, was played in Abu Dhabi upon the victory of an Israeli athlete. Rumors are swirling about a handshake to come between Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) and Israel’s prime minister.

That Arab and Muslim enmity has fractured, probably never to be reconstituted, amounts to one tectonic shift in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The second, no less important, involves the global Left’s growing hostility to Israel.

This pattern can be found consistently from South Korea to Thailand to South Africa to Sweden to Brazil. The Durban conference of 2001 initially brought this phenomenon to light. Among many other examples, the Black Lives Matter platform accuses Israel of “apartheid” and “genocide.” A communist labor union in India representing 16 million farmers, apparently joined the boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) movement.

Attitudes toward the Jewish state follow an almost linear progression of growing negativity as one goes from right to left. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey of American adults found 75 percent of conservative Republicans sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, followed by 60 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans, 47 percent of Independents, 46 percent of conservative and moderate Democrats, and 33 percent of liberal Democrats. (h/t MtTB)

Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Dunces

Measured by its impact, the BDS campaign to isolate Israel has been about as successful as the Charge of the Light Brigade, say, or the theatrical run of Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, or any other cataclysmic failure that still inspires us, decades later, to ponder the bottomless depths of human ineptitude. And now, not content with their floundering boycotts, the champions of the anti-Israeli left have found a new villain: J.K. Rowling.

Why? Because Rowling is an outspoken critic of the anti-Semitic Jeremy Corbyn and his anti-Semitic Labour Party, a thought crime among those moral and intellectual degenerates who refuse to condemn hatred of Jews when it comes, as it so frequently does these days, from their side of the aisle.

Steven Salaita—the disgraced academic whose muddle-minded attempts at thinking got him jettisoned from a host of universities worldwide and who now spends his days theorizing on why Israeli hummus leads to genocide—entered the anti-Rowling fray, asking if it was possible to hide Harry Potter from his children, because, truly, there’s no better mark of an open and curious mind than attempting to censure your children’s reading list based on your political beliefs.

Not to be outdone, Rafael Shimunov, of the radical group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, accused Rowling of depicting “viciously antisemetic [sic] scenes in Harry Potter that destroyed Jewish kids who loved you and now they’re grown up and you think you can make it up by using right wing Netanyahu talking points about Corbyn. But that’s also antisemetic [sic].”

Just what sort of wicked deeds did the beloved author commit to warrant the accusation of destroying Jewish children, a charge previously limited to, say, the Einsatzgruppen? In a flurry of tweets, the studious Shimunov goes on to explain: In the Harry Potter universe, the banks are controlled by Goblins, and the chief Goblin is called Griphook. Get it? Grip, because he has a tight grip on money, and hook because he has a hooked nose! Which means he’s a Jew! Which makes J.K. Rowling some sort of slightly more feminine Goebbels!

The hatred is revealing. In their well-scrubbed moments, the boycotters insist that singling out the world’s only Jewish state for opprobrium even though—or even because—it’s a pluralistic democracy has nothing to do with Jews. You can, they insist, be an anti-Zionist and not an anti-Semite. L’affaire Rowling proves yet again that you can’t: The author had nothing to say about Israel. Her concern was the hatred of Jews in Britain, a hatred the community itself had unanimously and unequivocally characterized as a clear and present threat. And for that the BDS lowlifes pounced, arguing that anyone who bravely stands with Jews and speaks out against anti-Semitism must be some sort of bigoted emissary of the dark King Bibi himself.

How Mossad misread the Iranian revolution

Within a couple of months of Khomeini’s return, the communal leader and philanthropist, Habib Elchanan, was executed as a spy for Israel and opponent of the revolution. Three days later, a chastened communal delegation travelled to meet Khomeini in Qom. Khomeini recognised that “the Iranian Jews are not Zionists and we work together against Zionists”.

However, such a welcome comment belied Khomeini’s past attitudes. While the official line was to make a distinction between “Jews” and “Zionists”, reality often intervened to prove otherwise.

The Iranian press spoke of “a Talmudic mentality” and “a kosher brotherhood” while Salman Rushdie’s book, Satanic Verses, was part of a Zionist conspiracy to destroy Islam. Jewish suffering as depicted in Schindler’s List was no more than an attempt to deflect attention away from the Palestinians. Cartoons in the Iranian media bore an uncanny resemblance to the antisemitic stereotypes depicted in the Soviet press.

Khomeini’s fundamental opposition was not based on where the borders of Israel should be situated but on its existence. Israel was not “a natural phenomenon”, it was a tumour to be excised from Muslim lands. For Khomeini, Islam was not privatised religious practice, but a political power. There was therefore a sacred duty to liberate Palestine.

During the eight-year long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the Iranian cry was that “the road to Jerusalem goes through Baghdad”. An elite group of several thousand Revolutionary Guards was established to form the Quds (Jerusalem) Force. Yet Ariel Sharon, then Minister of Defence, perceived that Saddam Hussein’s forces were the greater threat to Israel and ordered that arms should be sent to Khomeini in unmarked aircraft via European airports.

The Iran-Iraq war was one of trench warfare and gas attacks, but it also spawned the rise of the suicide bomber — first used by the precursor of Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 1980s and later by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in attacks on Israeli citizens.

In the UK, the brutality of Khomeini’s tenure did not deter Jeremy Corbyn or Ken Livingstone from regular appearances on Iran’s state controlled Press TV. Mr Corbyn sat silently when anti-Jewish remarks were made, his regular presence was a betrayal of the thousands of Iranian socialists killed by Khomeini’s men. Mr Corbyn’s comment during the “English irony” episode was that his detractors “don’t want to study history”. His role as a fellow traveller here is yet another example of his superficial grasp of the complexity of the past.

President Obama was astute enough to remove the nuclear issue from relations with Tehran. However, the determination to attack Israel via Hezbollah and from its bases in Syria remains. Its attitude towards basic human rights and to freedom of expression continues to be a stumbling block to any genuine improvement of relations. Iran today remains marooned in Khomeini’s vision of 40 years ago.

As the great Persian poet and mystic, Rumi, wrote: “Yesterday is gone and its tale told. Today new seeds are growing.”

Palestinian source: Arab ministers to visit Brazil to prevent embassy move

An Arab ministerial delegation plans to travel to Brazil in January to convince the incoming Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, not to relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an official Palestinian source said on Thursday.

Bolsonaro announced in November that he intends to relocate the Brazilian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter on November 1. “Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that.”

However, less than a week after the Twitter announcement, Bolsonaro appeared to backtrack, telling reporters in Brasilia the matter “hasn’t yet been decided.”

In late November, Eduardo Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president-elect’s son, said the embassy would be relocated, but said a time-frame for the move had not been set.

“An Arab ministerial delegation intends to travel to Brazil in January to meet the new president” and convince him not to move its embassy in Israel, the official Palestinian source told The Times of Israel.

Farrakhan awash in federal dollars, anti-Semitic hate notwithstanding

What does an anti-Semite have to do to get ostracized around here?

Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, 84, is America’s highest-profile Jew-hater. Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke might covet that distinction, but he is far less in the spotlight today than yesterday. More importantly, Farrakhan can boast that his loathing for Jews has not stopped him from raking in federal tax dollars.

That’s right. The Washington Examiner reported last week that Farrakhan has received $364,500 in taxpayer money for preaching to prisoners.

Farrakhan’s many public anti-Semitic comments are almost too numerous to count. And ironically, he even managed to insult Jews on Oct. 16 while claiming not to be their foe. “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite,” Farrakhan said – never mind that he equates Jews with home-destroying pests that routinely are exterminated with gas.

How charming.

The Washington Examiner reported that since fiscal year 2008, the Nation of Islam has received $354,500 in Justice Department grants to offer federal inmates “Nation of Islam religious services,” “Nation of Islam spiritual guide services,” “Nation of Islam study services,” and similar programs arranged by Nation of Islam’s leaders.

The fact that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center have labeled Nation of Islam a hate group evidently was insufficient to stop these taxpayer checks.

Farrakhan’s record is beyond dispute. He has spewed anti-Semitic and anti-gay hate for decades:

Why the emergence of US politicians supporting BDS is troubling

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has three calls: “1) Ending the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall. 2) Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality. 3) Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

Recently, several congresswomen, including Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omer have come out in support of BDS. I find this support for BDS very troubling. First off, the great majority of the international community, including the US (at least pending Trump’s peace plan) supports a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders (1949 Green Line). Thus, if a two-state solution is the goal, the first call of BDS can be interpreted as advancing that goal.

The second call for equality of Arab citizens in Israel doesn’t directly advance a two-state solution necessarily, although not many would argue against equality of citizens within any country. However, under law, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are equal. Whether they experience equality is a different story, but applying BDS tactics to a country for having inequalities and discrimination would result in the immediate collapse of the global economy as every country would be boycotted, divested from, and sanctioned.

The third call is what is most troubling. My feelings are similar to those expressed by Noam Chomsky when he stated, “Should the refugees and descendants have the right to return? Yes. Should the Wampanoag Indians have a right to return? Yes. Is it going to happen? No. If you dangle before the eyes of the Wampanoag Indians the statement that I’m going to support your right to return to Boston and kick out the population, so therefore you stay in rotten conditions and don’t do anything, it is a deeply, deeply immoral act. There are refugees who are not going to return to Israel – that’s a fact. There is absolutely no international support for it.”

On its face, supporting the full right of return for the Palestinian refugees to their original homes seems like a perfectly just cause. However, the return of the refugees, now numbering in the millions (because UNRWA has uniquely assigned refugee status to descendants of refugees), would mean an end to the Jewish majority, and thus Jewish self-determination in Israel, assuming democratic principles are implemented.

Israel turned away a record 19,000 visitors in 2018

Israel turned away visitors at a record pace in 2018.

Of the about 4 million visitors to Israel in 2018, nearly 19,000 were turned away by immigration staff when they reached an entry point over concerns that they would commit criminal or security crimes in the country, the business daily Globes reported Wednesday, citing statistics from the Population and Immigration Authority.

Some 16,534 people were turned away in 2016, compared to 1,870 who were refused entry in 2011, according to the report.

Staff from the Population and Immigration Authority are stationed at Israel’s airports and other entry points and are empowered to refuse to allow a foreign visitor to enter.

They use information on the potential visitor’s background and, now, information from social media to help determine whether someone can enter the country.

The report said that tourists from eastern European countries often are scrutinized more because they are more likely coming to work illegally in the country and sometimes to immigrate. Tourists are also turned away if they are likely to immigrate unlawfully.

The thought of Jeremy Corbyn as PM has Jewish investors running for the hills

At the peak of the financial crisis a decade ago, I found myself on Yom Kippur security duty at my local synagogue in Richmond.

The conversation among arrivals was invariably the same. “What should I do with my cash to keep it safe?” was the question. As a City journalist I am forbidden from providing individual financial advice by the Financial Services Act, but I did my best — even though one should not discuss business on such a solemn day — to allay concerns.

Once again, as 2018 turns into 2019, many of the same concerns are haunting the Jewish community. People of financial means are invariably concerned with protecting what they have earned or businesses they have created for themselves and future generations.

A high degree of uncertainty has unsettled their lives. The impact of Brexit on business interests is obviously a factor. But even though it could reshape the way we are governed and live for generations, it does not cause the same amount of consternation as the potential sight of Jeremy Corbyn and his Marxist Shadow Chancellor, the deceptively bank manager-like John McDonnell, marching up Downing Street.

Mr McDonnell’s lengthy Who’s Who entry declares “generally fomenting the overthrow of capitalism” as one of his recreations. Nice.

Women’s March Loses Donor, More Affiliates Over Antisemitism Scandal

First, two high-profile liberal actors broke from the national Women’s March because of a pattern of antisemitism involving its leaders. Then a number of local Women’s March organizers either broke with the group or made it clear that they will operate independently after a Tablet investigation provided detailed accounts of the antisemitism repeatedly exhibited among March leaders Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez. The story also uncovered some questionable financial structures established after the leadership pushed other founders aside.

The National Organization for Women (NOW), perhaps the most prominent feminist organization in the country, announced on Friday that it would no longer provide financial support to the Women’s March “until the current questions regarding leadership are resolved.” A petition urging March leaders to step down has also gathered more than 8,000 signatures.

NOW is not fully severing ties. It “will participate and organize members to attend the March” on January 19 of next year, the statement said. But the announcement remains significant as the first major sponsor to cut financial support.

The controversy took off last spring when Mallory and Sarsour would not condemn an antisemitic sermon by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom both have praised in the past. Sarsour followed that up by giving a speech saying the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, was responsible for police shootings of unarmed black people in America.

The Tablet investigation described an “organizational structure … [involving] complicated financial arrangements, confusing even to experts.”

Chicago Women’s March Canceled Amid Anti-Semitism, Nation of Islam Controversy

However, the Chicago’s Women’s March had to speak out against Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan last February. Reports came out that Mallory attended one of his events where he claimed “powerful Jews are my enemy” and he “pulled the cover off the eyes of the Satanic Jew.” He also blamed Jews of controlling the economy and government in an effort to keep down the black man.

This makes me think the real reason is because of the anti-Semitic and racist views of Sarsour and Mallory. Kurensky even admitted that “the opportunity to further distance the Chicago organization from national Women’s March leaders was a ‘side benefit.’”

Washington state’s chapter of the Women’s March closed a few weeks ago because of the ant-Semitism.

The Chicago Tribune spoke to sociology professor Dana Fisher about the anti-Semitic controversy. Fisher believes it will affect the marches in January and the groups won’t see a lot of participation:

She added that the recent conflict over national leadership doesn’t help.

“I think it would be a heavy lift without the controversy, and with the controversy, it just gives another reason not to march,” said Fisher, author of the forthcoming book “American Resistance,” which will be coming out in mid-2019. “I think in general the numbers should be down, but I do think there will be commemorations across the country. And I think a lot of people will want to support the new Congress and the blue wave that brought them into office.”

IsraellyCool: Priceless! Israel Hater Richard Silverstein Boycotts His Brain Cells

Anti-Israel DouchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein is livid over news that fundraising platform DonorBox has frozen funds to a BDS organization. So much so that he is calling his readers to boycott…..and entire different company!

The stupid is strong with this one!

Dropbox is an entire different company. I look forward to them suing Silverstein’s pasty white ass!

NGO Monitor Ep6: NGO Monitor Podcast: “Human Rights & Hot Coffee”

On NGO Monitor’s “Human Rights and Hot Coffee” podcast, we discuss Israeli current events through the lens of human rights, international law, humanitarian aid, and international relations.

Episode 6: The year 2018 brought a number of important developments both in European NGO funding policies and in exposing the efforts of NGOs linked to terror groups. How have NGOs responded to NGO Monitor’s widespread impact? What issues do we expect to encounter in the coming year?

The Tower’s Top 10 Posts for 2018

Here are the ten most-read posts that were published in The Tower during 2018. This selection gives a picture of the stories that were most important to supporters of Israel over the course of the year.
1) Advocates for Terror: Why Ahed Tamimi and Her Family are No Heroes
2) Israeli Intelligence Minister: Hamas Restored Calm to Gaza after Warnings from Egypt
3) Governor Signs Order Barring Kentucky from Doing Business with Entities That Boycott Israel
4) Actress Alyssa Milano Won’t Speak at Women’s March Until Leaders Repudiate Farrakhan
5) Sarsour Blasted for Using Anti-Semitic Slur on Facebook
6) Hamas Intent to Set Thousands of Tires on Fire Poses Risk of “Ecological Catastrophe”
7) The Dark Side of Roger Waters: A Review of Wish You Weren’t Here
8) Is Anti-Semitism No Longer Disqualifying in This Country?
9) After Firing 460 Rockets and Mortars, Hamas Leader Says Gaza Ceasefire Possible if Israel Halts Attacks
10) Ben & Jerry’s Israel Not to Carry Flavor Promoted by Linda Sarsour

Top 5 Guardian anti-Israel smears, distortions and lies in 2018

Narrowing down an entire year of Guardian anti-Israel reporting to the five most egregious examples is not an easy task, but, as a public service to our loyal readers, here are a few smears and errors by their contributors in 2018 that especially stood out:

1. A Guardian contributor literally suggested that those who would defend the IDF’s actions on the Gaza border are morally sub-human
2. Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell ties Zionism to apartheid and white supremacy
3. Guardian cartoon by ‘First Dog on the Moon’ smears Australian Jews who support Israel as “apartheid enthusiasts”
4. The Guardian refused to correct an op-ed by Labour Party official Jon Lansman that included a smear (debunked five years ago) that Ethiopian Israelis were – for racist reasons – given contraception against their will.
5. Guardian editorial rejects full IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism out of fear that it would “stifle the Palestinian narrative of dispossession and expulsion”.

BBC Radio 4’s inaccurate claim about Israel’s Christian community

Let’s take a closer look at Dymond’s claim that “in Israel….the Christian population has shrunk”.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, at the year’s end in 1949 there were 34,000 Christians living in Israel. A year later that number had risen to 36,000. By year’s end 1960 Israel’s Christian population numbered 49,600, by 1970 -75,500, by 1980 – 89,900, by 1990 – 114,700 and by year’s end 2000 there were 153,400 Christians living permanently in Israel (the bureau’s figures do not include foreign residents). By the end of 2017 the Christian population of Israel had grown to 171,900 people, just under 80% of whom are Arab Christians mostly living in the north of the country.

In other words, in contrast to Dymond’s claim that the Christian population of Israel has “shrunk”, throughout the first 70 years of Israel’s existence it steadily grew from 34,000 to 171,900. At the end of 2018 Israel has around 175,000 Christian citizens who make up around 2% of the total population.

Had Dymond confined himself to saying that in the Palestinian territories – the parts of Judea & Samaria governed for decades by the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip now under Hamas control for over a decade – the Christian population has shrunk, he would have been correct. However, his inclusion of Israel in that claim is inaccurate and, particularly in an item about persecution of Christian communities, materially misleading to BBC audiences.

BBC’s ECU acknowledges ‘international law’ inaccuracy

Mr Stephen Franklin submitted a complaint concerning that highlighted claim (and other aspects of the report), pointing out that it is inaccurate to claim that it is against international law to try or imprison children under the age of 18.

Having received an unsatisfactory response to his first complaint, Mr Franklin filed a second and in the subsequent response BBC Complaints acknowledged that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) does not prohibit the trial or imprisonment of under-18s.

“We agree, however, that we should not have implied that children are protected from imprisonment itself by international law. We should have made it clear that the Convention says children should be arrested, detained or imprisoned only as a last resort and for the shortest time possible.”

Mr Franklin submitted a Stage 2 complaint to the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU). In its reply the ECU acknowledged that there is a “question” regarding “the extent to which this [the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child] can be described as “international law”” and ruled that:

“…the reference to the CRC (what we understood was meant by “international law”) did not accurately describe its terms, in that the convention does not proscribe the trial or imprisonment of children. We are therefore upholding this part of your complaint.”

Ukraine celebrates Nazi collaborator, bans book critical of pogroms leader

Ukraine designated as a national holiday the birthday of a Nazi collaborator and banned a book on the anti-Semitic actions of another national leader.

The Ukrainian parliament last week declared January 1 a national day of commemoration for Stepan Bandera, who briefly joined forces with the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. A nationalist, Bandera hoped the Germans would allow his country independence from the Soviet Union, though the Nazis later arrested him.

Some of his supporters at the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which he headed, committed countless war crimes against Jews.

The region of Lviv, Bandera’s native city, this month declared 2019 “Stepan Bandera Year,” sparking protests by Israel. Tarik Youssef Cyril Amar, the former academic director of Lviv’s Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, this week returned an award conferred on him by the city.

Separately, Ukraine’s State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting banned the “Book of Thieves” by Swedish historian Anders Rydell, the Regnum news agency reported Wednesday.

The December 10 decree cited the book’s “inciting ethnic, racial and religious hatred.” The ban is due to Rydell’s critical analysis of the actions of Symon Petliura, another nationalist whose troops murdered countless Jews in pogroms. A Russia-born Jew killed Petliura in Paris in 1929 as revenge for the pogrom.

Memorial to Greek Jews sent to death camps by Nazis vandalized

A memorial to the Jews of a Greek town who were sent to Auschwitz by the Nazis was vandalized.

The Memorial to the Jewish Martyrs of Kastoria, in the northern region of West Macedonia, was covered with black spray-paint on Tuesday, the state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported.

“In this place, on March 24 1944, the Nazis gathered the 1,000 Jews of Kastoria and transported them to death camps in Auschwitz. Only 35 survived,” the inscribed marble slab reads.

Local volunteers reportedly helped to clean the memorial.

The World Jewish Congress called for authorities to crack down on vandalism of Holocaust memorials.

Earlier this month, a Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki was daubed with a swastika, the fourth time this year the object was vandalized.

Charges Filed Against Three Penn State Students for Stealing, Damaging Hanukkah Menorah

Police filed charges against three Pennsylvania State University students for removing and damaging a Hanukkah menorah on campus, in the first of two such recent incidents.

The three suspects — Charles Carden, 19, James Delaney, 20, and Frank Rao, 19 — had allegedly taken the nine-foot menorah from the front yard of the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) house overnight between November 29th and 30th, and returned it with damages before any fraternity members noticed that it was missing, State College reported.

They face charges of criminal mischief over the incident, which took place shortly before the same menorah was vandalized in a separate incident during the early morning hours of December 2nd.

Police filed misdemeanor charges last week against four other people — three of them students — who were allegedly involved in the second incident.

Those suspects had taken the menorah to their own fraternity house before later returning it, and had also damaged other ZBT property, including a window, basketball hoop and grill.

A ZBT member who witnessed the theft told officers that he was punched in the face while trying to intervene. He did not pursue assault charges.

Police have said that they do not believe ethnic intimidation was a factor in either case.

France to build Holocaust museum at train station used in transports

France’s national rail company has allocated $2.3 million toward building a Holocaust museum at one of its abandoned stations.

The museum being built with funding from rail company SNCF is scheduled to open in 2020 at the former Pithiviers station in eastern France. The announcement was made earlier this month.

Separately, Amsterdam’s GVB transportation company this week announced it “would look into ways to come to terms” with the role of its employees in transporting thousands of Jews to be murdered during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Last month, the Dutch national rail company NS said it would offer compensation to victims.

CRIF, the umbrella group of French Jewish communities, will be a partner in designing the museum, the France Info news website reported last week.

The first concentration camp in Nazi-occupied France, Pithiviers station predated the most infamous deportations of French Jews and the murder of Jews en masse in Auschwitz.

Israeli startup develops device to jumpstart digestive system

Israeli medical devices startup E-Motion Medical Ltd. has developed a way to restore digestive movement in patients who, due to trauma, neurological dysfunction or old age, have lost the ability to swallow.

The company’s patented technology — a tube that can be inserted into patients like a feeding tube — delivers unique patterns of electrical stimulation to the esophagus, creating contractions of the muscle in a variety of locations along the esophageal body that mimic the natural lower esophageal swallowing motions in a healthy person.

The system restores the natural motor function of the digestive system for patients with acute gastrointestinal dysmotility (GID).

Acute GID is common in neurological, trauma, surgical, geriatric and severely diabetic patients. It manifests itself as reduction in, or lack of, motility in the digestive system, and leads to increased risk of complications and longer recovery time.

“There is currently no adequate solution available for the widespread problem of acute digestive dysmotility. Our technology provides a new therapy to promote the physical function of the digestive system, speeds up recovery and consequently lowers the financial burden on the healthcare system,” said Amichay Gross, co-founder and CEO of E-Motion Medical, in a phone interview.

Israeli groom with paralysis stands tall at wedding with help of robotic device

Last month, Adir Simantov, an IDF soldier paralyzed in a car accident six years ago, fulfilled his dream of marrying his sweetheart Liat. Instead of using his regular wheelchair, he surprised his bride and his wedding guests by standing tall while rolling to the huppah, a big smile on his face, accompanied by his parents. He lowered the veil over his bride’s face and took his place beside her, looking into her eyes, under the wedding canopy.

What enabled Simantov to be upright under the huppah was a special vehicle developed by Israeli startup UPnRIDE Robotics Ltd that helps people paralyzed from their necks down to stand up and be mobile on wheels.

The UPnRIDE device developed by Dr. Amit Goffer — the mastermind behind the bionic walking assistance system ReWalk, which enables paraplegics to stand up straight, walk and climb stairs — is now ready to be sold, with an initial focus on the European market, where the firm has received the necessary regulatory approvals to market its product. The firm is still awaiting a green light for sales from the US Food and Drug Administration and Israeli regulators, said Oren Tamari, the CEO and co-founder of UPnRIDE.

Indeed, Simantov did not pay for the vehicle he used, said Tamari, as the firm has not yet received clearance for sales in Israel. His use of the vehicle “was part of our usability study,” Tamari said.

“We hope to see a push in sales” both in Europe and in the US within the next six months, Tamari said in a phone interview. “The product is ready to go and we are working on marketing it now.”

UPnRIDE’s patented solution is a mobility device — as opposed to ReWalk’s walking device — and it is actually a wheelchair that takes quadriplegics from a sitting position to an upright position, then wheels them around while they are vertical.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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