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Bernie Sanders says hes proud to be Jewish. Will Jewish voters care? – Forward

Posted By on February 19, 2020

I am very proud of being Jewish and that is an essential part of who I am as a human being, Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders says in a new campaign ad he tweeted this weekend on the subject of his Jewishness. It signaled the latest evidence of a marked change from 2016, when Sanders was reticent to discuss his Jewish identity. But while Sanders is enjoying growth with many ethnic and racial groups, his message has not yet won him many Jewish supporters.

In a way, its surprising, and not just because Sanders would be the first Jewish president of America if he wins. Jews have also historically supported the kind of leftist politics Sanders represents. Theres the old adage of famed Jewish sociographer Milton Himmelfarb that Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans. Its been a maxim of American Jewish politics for several generations, since the children and grandchildren of the first large waves of Jews from Eastern Europe began to move up the economic ladder. The civil rights movement, gay rights, and anti-war movements, which all came to be mainstream views of the Democratic Party, featured heavy participation by American Jews.

Alex Zeldin | artist: Noa...

Alex Zeldin | artist: Noah Lubin

So you might think a Brooklyn-born Jew, Senator Bernie Sanders, who has personally participated in a number of these movements, would have American Jews lining up behind him along with the many other Democratic primary voters who have pledged their support. And yet, what data we have shows that Sanders is not all that popular with Jews. And despite sweeping Iowa and New Hampshire and overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden, there appears to be no discernible shift yet in Jewish support for Bernie Sanders.

So why arent American Jews lining up behind him?

The answer is that Jews vote less like the grandchildren of their grandparents than they do like other well-off, educated liberals. Its class, rather than ethnicity or history, that is increasingly determining their vote.

But its always been circumstance. Over a century ago, as the ancestors of many Ashkenazi American Jews fled Tzarist Russia and the Austro-Hungarian empire, they arrived with little by way of formal education, capital, and English language skills. Its why the Forward began in 1897 as a Yiddish-language socialist publication in New York. Many fled after the failed Russian revolution in 1905 as well, and came to America as committed socialists. Young leaders of the Bund, persecuted by Russian authorities, can be found on the roll calls of many American labor groups of that period.

Its this Jewish political tradition that Sanders hails from, a self-identified socialist who has successfully positioned himself as the candidate of labor. Its a robust Jewish tradition. While American anti-Semitism did not manifest in pogroms or coercive government programs designed to convert or ethnically cleanse Jews, there were significant social barriers to Jewish advancement. Universities such as Columbia, alarmed by the over 1.5 million Jews who by 1920 called New York home, began implementing quotas to ensure that White Anglo-Saxon Protestants would continue to dominate campus life. Many other esteemed universities, with the notable exception of Historically Black Colleges, implemented similar restrictions against Jewish applicants. Restrictions in many places also included employment discrimination as well as housing covenants, which were designed to keep minorities like Blacks, Catholics, and Jews from purchasing homes in white protestant neighborhoods.

For these reasons, Jewish politics were starkly left. And that heritage still informs Jewish voting patterns, with 80% of Jews voting Democratic in the 2018 midterms. The question is less where American Jews stand, but where they sit. Today, American Jews are financially successful and highly educated; nearly one in three American Jews holds a postgraduate degree, compared to fewer than one in 10 Americans. Liberals with that profile have their own voting habits.

We have seen it play out for months in the surveys conducted ahead of the Democratic presidential primary. While both Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren attract voters who self-identify as liberals, Warren has outperformed in national surveys with those who are highly educated high earners, while Sanders, who has the most pro-worker message, trails much of the field with this demographic.

Morning Consult Survey

Morning Consult Survey: Consumer Preferences Illustrate Cultural Divides Within the Democratic Party

American Jews follow this trajectory. Polling as recent as January 2020 shows that American Jews are backing Biden and Warren, with small town mayor and self-positioned moderate Pete Buttigieg beating out Sanders.

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center: Among Democrats, Christians lean toward Biden, while nones prefer Sanders

Jewish reticence for Sanders has a number of sources. Some may worry that any prominent Jew in the race could attract anti-Semitism. Others may feel alienated by Sanders online fans, many of whom have a reputation for harassing his critics. Then there are his surrogates, which include Linda Sarsour, who repeatedly antagonized American Jews, including with attempts to make Jews choose between Zionism and feminism, and by hosting a conference in which Sarsour sought to define and explain anti-Semitism to Jews.

And centrist and right-wing pro-Israel Jewish organizations who more closely watch the inside baseball of party politics were no doubt alarmed by Sanders 2016 Democratic platform fight in which he sent outspoken critic of Israel James Zogby to insert criticism of Israels occupation of Palestinian territory into the party platform. Sanders lost that fight in 2016. Should he become the Democratic nominee in 2020, there is good reason to expect more explicit criticism of Israels present trajectory to make it into the party platform and into American foreign policy.

Nevertheless, there are decades of data to suggest that while the predominately white collar American Jewish community may not fall in love with the Jewish socialist from Vermont, they will fall in their partisan line, and may even find some things about Senator Sanders relatable.

Predictions are hard, especially predictions about the future. What we know for certain should Sanders wins the nomination is that neither his Jewish critics nor his Jewish supporters will be won over by appeals to Jewish pride alone.

Alex Zeldin is a contributing columnist with the Forward.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Bernie Sanders says hes proud to be Jewish. Will Jewish voters care? - Forward

Study: Inconsistency of Rare Disease Definitions Causes Problems That Standardization Could Fix – Managed Markets Network

Posted By on February 19, 2020

Investigators say that inconsistencies in the way rare diseases are defined contribute to misdiagnoses, delayed treatment, and other ills that could be addressed with global standards.

The high incidence of common diseases in certain populations, regions, and contexts helps to corroborate disease definitions and support standard diagnostic capabilities and therapeutic approaches. However, the probability of such corroboration for rare diseases is substantially lower, the authors wrote.

There is not even agreement on how many people are affected by rare diseases. The US Orphan Drug Act of 1983 defines rare diseases as affecting fewer than 200,000 individuals worldwide, but European Union legislation passed in 2000 defines them as affecting fewer than 1 in 2000.

Further complicating the picture is that local incidence may determine whether a disease is rare. Examples of this are Tay-Sachs disease, which has a carrier frequency of 1 in 25 among Ashkenazi Jews; sickle cell disease among those of sub-Saharan African descent; and tuberculosis, which is rare in the United States but is 1 of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

Terms used to define rare diseases can sometimes be inaccurate or imprecise. For example, breast cancer encompasses a variety of tumor subtypes with unique genetic signatures and different treatments, leaving it open to interpretation whether breast cancer should be considered 1 or multiple diseases.

The authors described a collaborative effort to harmonize disease definitions called Monarch Disease Ontology (Mondo), which estimates the number of specific rare diseases (not categories or parent terms) at more than 10,000. However, the authors said, This preliminary analysis suggests that there could be a substantially higher number of rare diseases than typically assumed at present, with obvious implications for diagnostics, drug discovery and treatment.

Regulators, scientists, clinicians, and patient advocacy groups peg the number of rare diseases at between 5000 and 8000. The article estimates about 10% of the worlds population is affected by a rare disease; another source estimates 3.5% to 5.9%. These percentages translate to somewhere between 300 and 700 million people affected by rare diseases.

Rare disease classification systems may exclude chromosomal disorders, structural variations such as inversions, and diseases caused by environmental factors such as toxin exposure. Ultimately, if knowledge on rare diseases is not collected and curated more effectively, many patients with rare diseases will remain underserved or neglected by healthcare systems, the authors wrote.

Most common diseases are associated with numerous small-effect genetic variants, but various types of rare disease have their own characteristics. Providers may attempt to identify these rare diseases based on a patient's phenotypic features, but even with the current limited knowledge of the genetic basis of many rare diseases, it is known that different pathogenic variants in the same gene may have different consequences, which is often not adequately recorded, wrote the authors. Although some diseases involve variants in the same gene, they should be considered distinct diseases with different presentation and treatment, the authors note.

A significant clinical challenge is that most clinicians are unlikely to have experience diagnosing or monitoring rare diseases, which contributes to delayed or wrong diagnoses for patients. The authors stress that consensus on physical, genetic, and environmental characteristics of each condition is critical to solving these problems.

The authors call for funding and regulatory agencies, patient advocacy groups, and other organizations in the rare disease field to join forces globally to collect, consolidate, and curate the most current knowledge on rare diseases. Agencies the authors call upon to develop unified rare disease definitions include the World Health Organization, the FDA, the European Medicines Agency, and the National Academy of Medicine.

They also suggest that a forum is needed to discuss these issues, with dedicated funding mechanisms to address them. The authors hope that globally consistent criteria for rare diseases will provide a foundation for more effective diagnosis and care of patients as well as the development of new therapeutic approaches.


Haendel M, Vasilevsky N, Unni D, et al. How many rare diseases are there? Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2019;19:77-78. doi: 10.1038/d41573-019-00180-y.

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Study: Inconsistency of Rare Disease Definitions Causes Problems That Standardization Could Fix - Managed Markets Network

ESCAPE Bio to Present at the 9th Annual SVB Leerink Global Healthcare Conference – BioSpace

Posted By on February 19, 2020

Feb. 19, 2020 13:00 UTC

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- ESCAPE Bio, Inc., a clinical stage company developing novel, precisely targeted therapeutics for genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that Julie Anne Smith, Chief Executive Officer, will present at the 9th Annual SVB Leerink Global Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

Presentation details Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2020Time: 2:00 p.m. ETLocation: Lotte New York Palace in New York, NY

Ms. Smith will present program and corporate updates. ESCAPE recently initiated a Phase 1 multiple ascending dose study in healthy volunteers with ESB1609 and toxicology studies with their G2019S LRRK2 inhibitor.

About ESCAPE Bio

ESCAPE Bio is a clinical stage, privately held biopharmaceutical company developing novel, precisely targeted therapeutics for genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases. ESB1609 is in a Phase 1, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetic and biomarker study of escalating multiple doses in healthy volunteers. ESCAPEs pipeline includes small molecules targeting known genetic drivers of CNS disorders including ESB1609 for the treatment of CNS lysosomal storage disorders and GBA Parkinsons, a G2019S-selective kinase inhibitor for Parkinsons Disease (PD) patients with that mutation and an Alzheimer's disease program targeting ApoE4. For additional information, please visit

About ESB1609

ESB1609 is a novel, orally-administered, brain-penetrant and selective sphingosine 1-phosphate 5 (S1P5) receptor agonist. S1P5 receptors are one of five receptors within the G-protein-coupled S1P receptor family (S1P1 S1P5). S1P5 couples to Gi and G12 and is predominantly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) and natural killer (NK) cells. The endogenous ligand for S1P5 is sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a sphingolipid that plays a significant role in many aspects of cellular homeostasis and proliferation. Activation of S1P5 upregulates several CNS lipid transporters and has been shown to normalize brain ceramide and sphingosine phosphate levels and promote clearance of aggregation-prone proteins across multiple pre-clinical models of neurodegeneration. Multiple genetic forms of neurodegeneration cause perturbations in the sphingolipid pathway and ultimately, lysosomal dysfunction. ESB1609 is currently in a Phase 1 Multiple-Ascending Dose study in healthy volunteers.

About LRRK2 Parkinsons Disease

Pathogenic LRRK2 mutations co-segregate with familial Parkinsons Disease (PD). Almost all PD patients carrying a G2019S LRRK2 variant have two versions of LRRK2 protein; one mutant variant with excessive kinase activity (up to 10-fold) and one healthy version, critical for regulating intracellular vesicular trafficking throughout the body. G2019S is the most common LRRK2 pathogenic mutation, estimated to account for 1-3% of all PD and 1% of people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. G2019S LRRK2 PD patients experience the same progression of symptoms as idiopathic PD, with onset of tremors and rigidity at rest in their 50s, followed by deterioration of motor and cognitive function and progressive neuropsychiatric symptoms, which culminate in premature death. Pathobiological data suggest that alpha-synuclein, a protein that normally regulates dopamine, forms aggregates which can propagate from one neural cell to another and is specifically harmful to neurons that produce dopamine in the substantia nigra. There are no disease modifying therapies approved.

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ESCAPE Bio to Present at the 9th Annual SVB Leerink Global Healthcare Conference - BioSpace

Levi Strauss: A History Of American Style – Antiques and the Arts Online

Posted By on February 19, 2020

Showing their Levis postcard from the California Rodeo, Salinas (July 1316, 1939), 1939. Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.

By Karla Klein Albertson

SAN FRANCISCO Levi Strauss: A History of American Style, which just opened at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) in San Francisco, displays more than 150 items from the famous firms archives everything from style-setting garments to promotional ephemera and vintage photos. Visitors will see an 1889 advertisement for the Patent Riveted pants, images of cowboys and cowgirls showing off their gear and a 1970s denim suit worn by Lauren Bacall. For work or play, in boom times and down times, Levi Strauss survived to supply the demand for denim clothing.

Antiques and The Arts Weekly asked curator Heidi Rabben about the shows origin and she responded, The idea of an exhibition about Levi Strauss has been a glimmer in the CJMs eye for a long time. As one of the most influential Jews and figures in San Franciscos history, and the man responsible for the most ubiquitous item of clothing in the world today, the context could not make more sense for our institution. The exhibitions story traces both the life and legacy of Strauss, the man, alongside the legacy of his namesake Levis blue jeans both legacies being of core importance to our mission here at the Contemporary Jewish Museum to make the diversity of the Jewish experience relevant to a Twenty-First Century audience by advancing culture, history, art and ideas.

The story of Levi Strauss (1829-1902) is another fascinating tale of Nineteenth Century immigration and subsequent success in the New World. Strauss was born into an Ashkenazi Jewish family in Bavaria, and when he was only 18, he traveled with family members to New York. There they joined his brothers, who had started a wholesale dry goods company. In 1854, as the Gold Rush drew people to the San Francisco area, Levi moved west, where he sold clothing and supplies shipped from his brothers. Working with Jacob W. Davis, Strauss was able to devise and then patent in 1873 the riveted denim work pants that became the keynote product of the Levi Strauss company. In his private life, he was an important figure of the local Jewish community and an early member of historic Congregation Emanu-El.

As can be seen from the vintage advertisements in the exhibition, the emphasis for product promotion began to shift after the turn of the century from work clothes to western wear. An ad from the 1940s shows a denim-clad couple smooching on horseback. By the time rock and roll arrived in the 1950s, jeans were stylish for both the performers and the audience. Eventually, they became a universal costume in the United States and around the world. Hippies, bikers, Bruce Springsteen and the president on his California ranch could all agree on Levi Strauss jeans. And, of course, on the silver screen, Levis have snugly showed off the stars assets. In a few cases, they become the focus of the drama think of that denim jacket in Brokeback Mountain (2005) and weep.

To bring together such a major exhibition, Rabben was able to turn to company resources: My co-curator, Justin Limoges, and I were generously granted access to the archives to research the contents, and through that, determine what kind of story we could tell. It became clear very quickly how selective we would need to be due to the wealth and diversity of objects in the archives, but a clear story started to emerge through the materials we found. Once we had a framework and some objects in mind, we worked very collaboratively with Tracey Panek and Laura OHara in the archives to find the best items to help illustrate Strauss life, from his Jewish roots in Buttenheim, Bavaria, to his patent with Jacob Davis for the first copper-riveted work pants, to his death in San Francisco; and in parallel, to trace the evolution of the blue jeans, from their origin as durable workwear for miners, lumberjacks and other blue collar workers, to the uniform of the American cowboy, to an enduring symbol of contemporary pop and counter culture. We were also incredibly fortunate to work with curatorial advisor Dani Killam to locate a few key garments from outside the archives to crystallize the pervasive influence Levis continues to have today, particularly with celebrities and cultural icons.

When asked what visitors will experience at the show, the curator explained, Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the most obvious thing: that Levis original 501 jeans have barely changed since the first pair was patented in 1873. For anything to survive nearly 150 years essentially unaltered and still be as relevant as ever is a truly singular feat. As someone who has lived in San Francisco for 12 years, I completely took for granted that the quintessential American garment, worn by at least 50 percent of the global population on any given day, was born here in this city. San Francisco has undergone a lot of rapid change in the past 20-plus years, but this show is an illuminating reminder that San Francisco has always been a place for outcasts and innovators. From the Gold Rush to the earthquake and fires of 1906 to the Summer of Love to the AIDS crisis, to the dotcom boom and bust, so many important political and social events of the Nineteenth, Twentieth and current Century took place here, and people were wearing Levis jeans throughout all of them. It paints a vivid picture of our city as a source and leader of change. Likewise, to be able to tell Strauss story here, where he lived and worked for the vast majority of his life, and to understand how deeply influential he was and continues to be to this place and region perfectly demonstrates that this is the most meaningful place to tell his story.

As this show demonstrates, the collection and study of vintage clothing has made the jump from pop culture to serious scholarship and connoisseurship. Last Decembers issue of the magazine Early American Life ran an article, The Origins of Denim, illustrated with historic examples and written by Dr. Kimberly Alexander of the University of New Hampshire. In case all this talk about denim rings a bell, readers may remember the November 2019 Antiques and The Arts Weekly review of a Daniel Buck auction in Maine, where vintage Levi Strauss clothing scored honors among the top lots, with a buyer from the Far East making the winning bids. Perhaps it may be time to ransack the closet and pull out grandpas jeans and moms classic bell bottoms.

The greatest result of this new emphasis on historic fashion is its appearance in museums, where clothes not only make the man, they make popular exhibitions. In New York, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan always says yes to the dress. Celebrities will walk the galas red carpet this year on May 4 in connection with the new show, About Time: Fashion and Duration, which runs through September 7, 2020.

They All Wear Levis, advertisement for overalls, 1930s. Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.

Winterthur just closed the immensely successful Costuming The Crown, based on the Elizabeth II streaming drama. In London, the Victoria & Albert Museum recently explored vibrant 1960s designs by the legendary Mary Quant.

Back in San Francisco, Heidi Rabben concluded by mentioning her own favorite parts of the exhibition: Of course this is a very difficult question. The exhibition covers over 150 years of history, and has so many beautiful personal and universal stories embedded within it. We have some very iconic and classic garments in the show, worn by celebrities and luminaries that one cant help but feel excited by. But I think my favorite moments in the show are the lesser-known, quieter and personal stories of everyday people who wore or used Levis in some way. Its in the enduring effortlessness and simplicity of Levis jeans that their appeal lies. Almost anyone, from any walk of life, anywhere in the world has access to Levis and can make them their own, and this exhibition celebrates that universality.

The CJM is located at 736 Mission Street. The museum is a non-collecting institution housed in an adapted historic power substation, originally built in 1907 and expanded in 2008 with a modern structure designed by noted architect Daniel Libeskind. Learn more about the museum and its exhibitions at or 415-655-7800.

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Levi Strauss: A History Of American Style - Antiques and the Arts Online

In Cuba, Jewish foods from kosher meat to challah are hard to come by – Connecticut Jewish Ledger

Posted By on February 19, 2020

By Stephen Silver

HAVANA (JTA) The remaining Jewish community in Cuba has much to contend with a lack of resources and rabbis, a population thats both aging and dwindling, and ongoing uncertainty about how much aid and assistance they can expect from their co-religionists in the United States.

Adding to that long list: Its not easy to find traditional Jewish foods.

There are a variety of reasons why, especially for observant Jews who keep kosher. One of the biggest staples in the Cuban diet is pork a category of meat that is never kosher.

Unlike other Latin American countries, Cuba suffers under a decades-long embargo imposed by the United States that blocks the import of certain foods (and an array of other things).

But seasonal holiday food is a challenge to procure, too. Potatoes are not in season in the winter, necessitating thatlatkeson Chanukah be made with malanga the root vegetable also known as taro. On Purim,hamantaschenare made with a guava filling rather than the typical poppy seed, chocolate or other kind of fruit.

Less surprising, true bagels rare even in some places in the U.S. are nowhere to be found, either. While Cubans are wonderful at making bread, they cant make a hole in the center, said Adela Dworin, the lay leader of this Cuban capitals main Jewish community.

Dworin recalled a recent visit to the United States in which she was looking forward to eating normal bagels, complete with lox and Philadelphia brand cream cheese. But, she said, they thought Id be missing my country so her hosts served her black beans and rice.

Speaking of bread, challah for Shabbat dinner can be scarce at times, too one such meal visited by this reporter at a Havana synagogue was lacking in the traditional bread due to a shortage of the right type of yeast. Matzah was served in its place.

Its very difficult in Cuba to be shomer Shabbat, or to keep kosher, Dworin said.

The main figure who keeps the kosher lifestyle alive is Jacob Berezniak, a butcher who is also the leader of Adath Israel, Old Havanas Orthodox synagogue. Berezniak, a burly and bearded middle-aged man, travels 45 miles to a slaughterhouse, where he performs the ritual slaughter of more than 60 cows at a time and brings back the front of the animal, which is the kosher portion.

Besides Berezniaks synagogue, and Havanas larger one known as the Patronato, there is one other place in the city to get Jewish food Hotel Raquel, a kitschy, Jewish-themed hotel that opened in the citys old Jewish neighborhood in 2003. In addition to the rooms named after biblical matriarchs and the Star of David chandeliers in the lobby, the hotels restaurant is called Jardin del Eden, or Garden of Eden, and serves dishes like borscht and Israeli salads. Its lobby bar is called Lejaim, or Lchaim.

Beyond food, Jewish communities in Cuba are struggling with demographic issues. Berezniak said he would have addedmohelto his list of duties, although there are presently no children in the primarily elderly community. Its a community with 127 families and fewer than 300 members, to whom he serves free Shabbat meals.

While the Patronato has a sizable religious school and non-Orthodox synagogue, several of the islands other communities skew notably older, including the small groups that gather in the central city of Santa Clara and in Cienfuegos, on the southern coast. Theres a lack of rabbis, and some dont have permanent synagogue buildings.

The communities also are worried about the effects of the Trump administrations reversal of thethaw in U.S.-Cuba relationsthat was launched during the Obama years.

The history of Jews in Cuba is complicated. In the early 20th century, many Sephardic Jews came from Turkey and other parts of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I, then an influx of European Jews arrived after fleeing the Nazis. By mid-century, its estimated that there were about 15,000 Jews in Cuba but the vast majority fled following the rise of Fidel Castro in 1959.

Today, the overall Jewish community on the island numbers about a thousand, Dworin said, and there are now many more Cuban Jews inMiami.

For as long as travel is allowed, it has fallen to American visitors to Cuba to present the Jewish community with gifts, supplies and medicine. And when it comes to donating to those communities, such items tend to take precedent over culinary ones, like bagels, yeast and potatoes.

But the community also craves something else.

Not only is your money important, but we need your kindness, your love, Dworin said. Jews always lead with hope, so were hopeful.

Main Photo: The Hotel Raquel in Havana is one of the few places on the islandwhere visitors can find traditional Jewish foods. Its restaurantis called Jardin del Eden, or Garden of Eden.(Credit: Stephen Silver)

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In Cuba, Jewish foods from kosher meat to challah are hard to come by - Connecticut Jewish Ledger

‘Israel’ Will See Resurrection Day When Hezbollah Fires Precision-guided Missiles: Zionist Experts – Al-Manar TV

Posted By on February 19, 2020

A number of Israeli politicians, military commanders, and experts testified that Hezbollah precision-guided missiles can massively destroy the vital and strategic installations in the Zionist entity during any upcoming war.

The former PM Ehud Barak said that Hezbollah precision-guided missiles can hit the infrastructure, energy plants, governmental installations, the defense ministry headquarters, and the premiers office.

The commander of operations division in the Israeli army, Aharon Halifa, added that the military bases, seaports, and the transportation network will be hit during the upcoming war with Hezbollah.

The Zionist analysts went on to say that Hezbollah missiles can even hit the Knesset headquarters, describing the Resistance group as a growing monster that is unprecedentedly threatening Israel.

The analysts also called on the Israeli competent authorities to prepare in a completely different manner for the next war, which will be just as Israels Resurrection Day because of Hezbollah precision-guided missiles.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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'Israel' Will See Resurrection Day When Hezbollah Fires Precision-guided Missiles: Zionist Experts - Al-Manar TV

Khalidi takes on hegemonic narrative of Jewish nationalism in personal new book – Mondoweiss

Posted By on February 19, 2020

There was an urgency about Rashid Khalidi when the dean of Palestinian-American historians addressed a jam-packed crowd at the prestigious Politics & Prose bookstore in DC, Feb. 10. He told us he was taking off the academic gloves in his new book, The Hundred-Years War on Palestine. This book is more personal, he said. It draws on his illustrious familys more than hundred years experience witnessing and directly confronting the colonial invasion of his country, continuing to this day in his own work as an academic truth-teller.

A questioner challenged Khalidi as to whether he was faithful to the historians duty of objectivity. He replied, The fact is there is a hegemonic narrative about Israel and Palestine, which takes the Western, pro-Zionist perspective. Eighty percent of what is said about the issue in the U.S. sticks to the hegemonic narrative. Its not my job to repeat that narrative. Besides, historians, in fact, usually advance an argument or thesis. They dont just say, On the one hand or on the other hand.

Cover of The Hundred Years War on Palestine:A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 19172017

Khalidi said the book deliberately aims at general American readers, who often know next to nothing about Palestine-Israel and, at best, see the conflict as a tragedy of two peoples struggling for their rightful national destiny. But, he argues, the real story is of a colonial conquest by the West of the small land of Palestine and a subsequent endless crushing of Palestinian resistance. The Palestinians are David; Israel is Goliath, with its external supporters. Since 1917, supporters have always included the worlds hegemons: Great Britain, the U.S., the U.S.S.R. (in the run up to statehood), and France (in the 1950s). Just as essential has been the material and political support of vast ethnic and religious networks of Zionists (think Christian Zionist).

People need to understand that Israel is a settler-colonial state, Khalidi said, but a unique one. The European Jewish colonists who literally called themselves colonial before colonialism fell into disrepute after World War II did not come from a mother country and were not part of one other nation, such as Great Britain. Rather, they came from many countries and were members of a totally modern national movement. The history of the Jews began in Palestine in Biblical times, but establishing a national state was not what Jews ever wanted before the late 1800s invention of Zionism.

In 1899, Khalidis great-great-great uncle, Yusuf Diya al-Din Pasha al-Khalidi, understood the motives and aims of the early Zionist settlers. A former mayor of Jerusalem, fluent in Turkish, German, French and English, he knew about European anti-semitism and the writings of Zionisms founder, Theodor Herzl, calling for a Jewish State. He sent a long letter in French to the French chief rabbi to be passed on to Herzl, who had long lived in Paris. He expressed sympathy and understanding for Zionist aspirations. But he warned it would be folly to try to impose a Jewish State on the Palestinians, who fully inhabited Palestine. He beseeched Herzl to abandon any such intentions. He pointed out that such a move would undermine the extensive Jewish communities that long had existed throughout the Middle East. Herzls reply was polite, Khalidi told his audience, but it simply ignored Yusuf Diyas basic point that Palestine was already inhabited by people unwilling to be supplanted.

And so began the continuing pattern of Zionists and their state sponsors dismissing Palestinians as insignificant, if not nonexistent. On that point, Khalidi cited as landmarks the 1917 Balfour Declaration; the League of Nations Mandate for the U.K. to rule Palestine; the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, which was bulldozed through the General Assembly by the U.S. and the U.S.S.R; the U.S. greenlight given to Israel in 1967 to conquer the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights from neighboring Arab states; the UN response to that aggression in Resolution 242; all the way to President Trumps just-released peace plan.

In closing, Khalidi asserted that all nationalisms fabricate a history to justify themselves. But the particular and peculiar thing in the case of Israel is that the trauma and ideas that generated Jewish settler-colonialism all happened in Europe, but were moved to Palestine. In other words, for more than 100 years the Palestinian people have had a Jewish nationalist dream working itself out in their land, taking their property and destroying their rights and dignity and their very lives.

In the beginning, there was Palestine. Transforming it into the The Land of Israel has meant looking past the Palestinians who live there, disappearing them physically when possible, and all the while delegitimizing their story. Khalidi, the scion of an ancient and honored family, breaks the spell of the nationalist dream by exposing us to the existence of the Palestinian people, then and now, and telling their bittersweet story.

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Pro-Israel Activists Urge Durham Jewish Federation to Drop Mayor With BDS Ties From Event – Algemeiner

Posted By on February 19, 2020

A view of the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill building. Photo: Screenshot via Google. A group of pro-Israel activists in North Carolina is calling on the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill to rescind an invitation to Durham Mayor Steve Schewel to speak at a Feb. 20 event, citing the mayors role in a 2018 city council resolution banning police training with Israel.

We believe the Federations promotion of Schewel is part of a systemic problem plaguing Jewish institutions todaythat is, the normalization of pro-BDS rhetoric that is jeopardizing the Jewish people and silencing strong Zionist voices, according to a letter obtained by JNS from the North Carolina Coalition for Israel and Fight Back Now.

We therefore implore the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill to rescind its invitation to Schewel to introduce this event. Moreover, we urge Jewish Federations in the United States to implement policies prohibiting BDS activists from being given a platform by the organizations, the group said.

Schewel is scheduled to offer a special introduction for aneventtitled Ignited Talks: The State of Black Durham at the Levin Jewish Community Center at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 20.

February 18, 2020 1:18 pm

Its long overdue that our Jewish leaders and institutions actively defend us from the toxic BDS advocates and sympathizers who are making this country so hostile to Zionists, said Kathryn Wolf, a Durham resident and executive director of Fight Back Now, a non-profit advocacy group battling the Deadly Exchangecampaign nationally.

We live in a region in North Carolina that is rife with anti-Zionism, she continued. Its a daily struggle to confront the constant barrage of pro-BDS speakers, seminars and events here. When our leaders undermine us by elevating BDS proponents, its hurtful, of course, but more important, its harmful.

The Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill told JNS in a statement that Schewel is not hosting the event, but that he and Durham City Council Member Mark Anthony Middleton are introducing two important speakers and advocatesHenry McKoy, former North Carolina Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and Camryn Smith, co-director of Neighborhood Allies of Durhamabout their research on the state of African-American-owned businesses and barriers to the success of those businesses in Durham today.

The focus of this event is specifically on the growth of commerce by folks of color in Durham and how the citys growth and gentrification affect those folks (which is why the Mayor and City Council Member are there). Many Durham business owners of color will be in attendance: a partnership that is unprecedented in our community. To focus on Mayor Schewel is to detract from an important, impactful issue in Durham.

The Durham City Council voted in April 2018 toapprovea policy banning its police from engaging in international exchanges where officers could receive military-style training in foreign countries.

The resolution was adopted after a coalition of groups, dubbed Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine Coalition, which includes the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace that supports the BDS movement, in addition to other Muslim, pro-Palestinian and civil-rights groups, urged its passage in order to prevent any partnership the citys law-enforcement might enter into with Israels military or police.

Pro-Israel groups say the Deadly Exchange campaign by JVP incorrectlyconflatesIsrael with issues of racial bias or police mistreatment of minority communities in the United States.

Last year, a federal lawsuit wasfiled by the North Caroline Coalition for Israel and Rabbi Jerome Fox against the City of Durham that accuses the city of promoting antisemitic rhetoric and violating open-meetings laws.

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Pro-Israel Activists Urge Durham Jewish Federation to Drop Mayor With BDS Ties From Event - Algemeiner

Smotrich Fights Back Against UTJ Attack Campaign Regarding "Woman Of The Wall" – Yeshiva World News

Posted By on February 19, 2020

On Monday, the pro-Zionist faction of UTJ began a campaign attacking the Yamina party and specifically the Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich. The attack came partly following the rumor that Smotrich allowed the Women of the Wall to set up a Tefillin Booth at the Savidor Train Station in Tel Aviv, a rumor which was refuted by Smotrichs office.

The UTJ campaign wrote: The Yamina party has lost its direction, and the values of Torah and Halacha have simply disappeared.

Following the publication of the campaign, Smotrich rebuked the leader of the UTJ party Moshe Gafne and threatened that he would take out of the archive the news where Gafne capitulated to the Christian Caucus at the Knesset Finance Committee and begin spreading it through the media. He also threatened to spread around Gafnes comments where he sided with left-wing politicians, most notably, MK Ahmed Tibi.

UTJ wised up and rebuked those responsible for the campaign and those in charge of the Zionist faction of the party. They even went so far as to promise Smotrich an apology on behalf of the faction.

Kikar HaShabbat News site stated that there is tension within UTJ with regard to how to properly approach the Zionist camp and sway them to vote for UTJ. While some believe the party should campaign with full force within the Zionist camp, Gafne believes that a more subtle approach would benefit the party more so as to avoid direct conflict with Zionist parties such as Yamina.

(YWN Israel Desk Jerusalem)

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Smotrich Fights Back Against UTJ Attack Campaign Regarding "Woman Of The Wall" - Yeshiva World News

Bennett fights against voter defection in appeal to Anglo voters – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on February 19, 2020

The critical electoral challenge facing the Yamina party in the upcoming elections was laid clear Tuesday night by a pertinent question posed to Yamina leader and defense minister Naftali Bennett by a troubled voter who above all wants to preserve the governance of the Israeli right-wing. If I want to stop Benny Gantz becoming prime minister wouldnt it be better for me to vote for Likud than Yamina? asked Chaya, an attendee at a Yamina party event for Anglo-Israelis in Beit Shemesh. Bennett described the query as the most important question of the night and took pains to argue that what was crucial was the overall size of the right-wing camp, not which is the biggest party. He pledged that Yamina would back Netanyahu to form the next government, so that voting for Yamina meant a vote for the prime minister anyway, adding his mantra that Yamina will keep Netanyahu true to right-wing values.Bennett highlighted this question because he knows why Yamina, and all the iterations of the religious, right-wing political map over the last year have foundered so badly in the polls and remain stuck on a mere seven or eight seats. The consolidation of the majority of voters around the two biggest parties has meant that the smaller parties, such as Yamina, have lost significant numbers of the electorate to the broad, national parties. So in the last two elections, right-wing, religious-Zionist voters concerned that the right-wing will lose power have voted Likud instead of for the religious-Zionist parties, which in the first election in April helped eject Bennett from the Knesset and in the second election put Yamina at just seven seats. On Tuesday night, Bennett argued forcefully to reject this trend and, as he has done over the last two weeks, highlighted what he described as Likuds lack of right-wing consistency, as well as bemoaning the efforts of other Likud, Blue and White, and others, to claw voters away from Yamina. In particular, he attacked the Likud, without directly mentioning Netanyahus name, as not being sufficiently right-wing. Fifteen years ago when a Likud government handed over parts of the Land of Israel to Arabs we tried but couldnt stop it because we were helpless, weak, and feeble, lamented Bennett in reference to the disengagement from Gaza and the evacuation of the Gaza settlements in 2005. When we came in eight years ago, Israel was racing towards a Palestinian state, and we stopped it, he boasted.No one even dared to talk about applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria until I came out with my sovereignty plan.Bennett also trumpeted the changes senior Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked wrought as former justice minister in appointing more conservative judges to the courts and argued that Likud had done nothing to change the make up of the judicial system with which the right-wing has fought bitterly over the settlements, asylum seekers, and other issues. If you pull us out, you get the old Likud that evicted people from Gush Katif [Gaza settlements in Gaza], you get the Likud that appointed all those [left-wing] judges, you get the Likud that released a thousand murderers, Bennett said in reference to Palestinian prisoner releases conducted by Netanyahu-led governments. In the same vein, Bennett warned that without a strong Yamina a Palestinian state would be established as stipulated under the Trump peace plan. And, as he has done of late, Bennett completed his switch from espousing a broad, national vision as he did when his New Right party ran alone, to his return to a sectoral appeal for the loyalty of the religious-Zionist community. Everyones on us. Blue and White, the haredim, Liberman day in and out is attacking us, the Likud, everywhere I go Bibi comes, said Bennett. The religious-Zionist community was always beloved, but over the last five years everyone was attacking us. Why are there so many campaigns against us? Because were the battery, were the source of energy.The Yamina leader has repeated this message on several occasions over the last two weeks, including at a major campaign event and during a speech at the podium of the Knesset plenum, and the reason for his shift is clear.Having united with the religious hardliners of Bayit Yehudi and National Union, Yamina no longer has any chance of attracting the liberal, right-wing voters he was trying to attract while running under the New Right banner.At Tuesday nights event, he was instead appealing to the sense of identity, community, and religious values of the audience to halt any further erosion of the partys base towards Likud.

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Bennett fights against voter defection in appeal to Anglo voters - The Jerusalem Post

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