May 20, 2024
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May 20, 2024
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Major U.S. Industrial Union Joins BDS Movement

A major industrial union in the United States has voted in favor of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Citing the Jewish state’s “long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians,” the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America have reportedly become the first nationwide union to join the boycott against Israel.

The UE’s national convention met in Baltimore last week where it voted on several foreign policy issues including the call to boycott Israel as well as support for the Iran nuclear deal.

The resolution, titled “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel,” was put on the union’s slate after a meeting with Palestinian trade unionists at the World Social Forum in Tunisia. In a statement on the EU’s website, the union attacks Israel for its human rights record “starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 that turned most of Palestine into the State of Israel.”

The goal of endorsing BDS, the union said, was “to pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians just as similar tactics helped to end South African apartheid in the 1980s.”

The UE also called on the U.S. to cut off financial aid to Israel as well as issued support for the Palestinian “right to return.”

Dutch Holocaust Survivors Robbed and Beaten

( An elderly Jewish couple spoke publicly this week regarding the robbery and beating they suffered in their home in Amsterdam on August 4, in what is now being referred to as an anti-Semitic attack. Shmuel (87) and Diana (86) Blog, married 56 years, were left traumatized and physically injured by the assault and both are now wheelchair-bound. The two perpetrators reportedly disguised themselves as police officers, and upon entering the Blogs’ apartment, Diana told YNet News that they were called “dirty Jews.” As a result of the attack, Diana, a survivor of Auschwitz, suffered severe bruising while Shmuel lost his vision and had his thigh bone broken. The reported worth of their stolen goods, jewelry and money is $15,000. Their son Emmanuel has offered an $11,000 reward to anyone with information about the robbers. As yet, there have been no arrests. “This is a shocking incident, a brutal robbery that extremely affected the victims,” the Dutch Embassy in Israel said in a statement. “In general, it’s important to emphasize that everyone should feel safe in the Netherlands. We will not tolerate any incident of discrimination and anti-Semitism.”

Google Fixes, Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Algorithm Result

( Google resolved a search problem wherein the query of, “Who runs Hollywood?” would be met with the answer “Jews.” Google, the world’s premier Internet search engine with over 3.5 billion searches every day, relies on an algorithm that provides answers based on citation aggregate. Since many sites had provided links to another repeating the familiar anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, the claim was given “authority” by Google’s page rank algorithm, which cannot identify racist or insensitive content. A company spokesman told The Guardian that “the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.”

Israeli Firm Sells Unmanned Drones to Swiss Government

( On Monday the Swiss parliament approved a deal brokered with Elbit Systems, wherein the Israeli manufacturer will provide six Hermes 900 drones, at a cost of $250 million. Passed by a vote of 30-12, the minority expressed their disapproval by pointing at the model’s use by the IDF in Gaza during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer responded that the drones were purchased from a private company and not the Israeli government, and that they will be used solely for intelligence-gathering.

The debate over the purchase coincided with Tuesday’s AUS&R (Autonomous Unmanned Systems & Robotics) drone expo held in Rishon, Israel. Record numbers of attendees were present, some 3,000 from Israel and around the globe. Forty Israeli companies participated, displaying products that included various unmanned aerial, sea and land drones.

South African Jewish Community Protests Dual Citizenship Ban

( South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) political party is considering a change in the country’s policy on dual citizenship. The South African Jewish community believes the initiative is an effort to prevent Jewish citizens from serving in the Israel Defense Forces. The ANC is set to discuss the measure at a general council meeting next month, according to Obed Bapela, head of the ANC’s national executive committee’s subcommittee on international relations, the Sunday Times reported.

The measure will not only affect many in South Africa’s Jewish community who hold dual citizenship, but also millions of other South Africans.

“Obed Bapela has undermined the very core value of South Africa’s democracy by proposing a change to our law purely to prevent one sector of our society, in this case South African Jews, from having a relationship with Israel,” South African Jewish Board of Deputies and South African Zionist Federation spokeswoman Charisse Zeifert said.

Zeifert noted that Jews comprise only 0.1 percent of South Africa’s population, and accused Bapela of political grandstanding that is motivated “by his own narrow understanding of the Middle East conflict, which is based on religious fundamentalism and the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) lobby within the ANC.”

The Jewish community has sought a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma to clarify the measure.

IDF to Introduce Mortar-Specific Warning System

( On Sunday the Israeli Defense Forces announced a new tactical radar system will be fully operational in October. Designed to supplement Israel’s Color Red alerts, the new system will warn residents of communities along the Israeli-Gaza border of incoming mortar fire. While Color Red has proven effective at warning residents of incoming rocket fire and providing them approximately 15 seconds to reach cover, it has responded less successfully to mortar fire, which travels shorter distances at lower altitudes. As it has already been proven effective under testing about 25 of the new radar system have been deployed.

Israel Releases Census Information in Time for Rosh Hashanah

( Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, in anticipation of the Jewish New Year, has announced that the total population grew to 8,412,000 this past year. The increase numbered about 158,000, a 1.9 percent increase. Information regarding ethnic proportions was also released: Jews comprised 74.9 percent (6.3. million), Arabs 20.7 percent (1.746 million) and other population groups made up the remaining 4.4 percent (366,000).

In addition, 168,000 babies were born, 48,000 people died, and roughly 32,000 migrants were accepted by Israel this year. Of the latter figure, 28,000 were Jewish, a 35 percent increase over the previous year. The immigrants predominantly hailed from the Ukraine (26 percent), France (25 percent), Russia (21 percent) and the US (9 percent). The Bureau estimates that Israel’s population will exceed 10 million between 2025 and 2030.



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