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Jewish Groups Lambast Wikipedia for Its ‘Attack on ADL’s Credibility’ About Antisemitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt speaks during the organization’s “Never Is Now” summit at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan in New York City, US, Nov. 10, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

A total of 43 Jewish organizations signed a letter sent to the Wikimedia Foundation on Monday night that criticized Wikipedia’s conclusion last week that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is not a credible source for information about antisemitism and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The Jewish groups — which include B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Committee, and American Jewish Congress —  expressed concerns regarding Wikipedia’s “attack on ADL’s credibility” and accused the free online encyclopedia of “stripping the Jewish community of the right to defend itself from the hatred that targets our community.”

“We urge you to immediately launch an investigation into this decision and the motivations behind it, and to start the process for administrative reconsideration” stated the letter, which was spearheaded by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and sent to the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees. “We hope that you will simultaneously speak out clearly and unequivocally in support of the Jewish community’s right to defend against antisemitism.”

Wikipedia’s editors, who are a group of volunteer moderators, voted last week in support of labeling the ADL as a “generally unreliable” source on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Other “generally unreliable” sources, according to Wikipedia’s editors, include Amazon reviews, Russian state media, the National Inquirer, and Newsmax.

The editors also overwhelmingly agreed that the ADL is unreliable on the topic of antisemitism, but a formal declaration on that matter has not been made as of yet. The Wikipedia editors said in an online forum that the ADL’s role as both a pro-Israel advocacy and research organization prevents it from being able to provide unbiased information about Israel or antisemitism.

In their letter to the Wikimedia Foundation, the Jewish organizations — including the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) and Hillel International — said antisemitism is not only “one of the oldest and most pernicious forms of hate,” but also “in many ways, one of the most often misunderstood.” They said they are worried that Wikipedia’s decision about the ADL “will enable others to undermine our community’s claims or charges of antisemitism and simultaneously use Wikipedia’s decision as cover to perpetuate antisemitism.”

“At a time when antisemitic attitudes are increasing, and antisemitic incidents are skyrocketing, this is simply unacceptable, and it puts our entire community at risk,” they added.

The Jewish groups additionally noted that they, as well as the ADL, rely on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism — which is the world’s most widely accepted definition of antisemitism. It has been adopted or endorsed by more than half of the United States and the District of Columbia, and is also used by over 1,000 global entities, including governments, universities, institutions, and other organizations.

“We are firmly united in the belief that an attack on ADL’s reliability over its use of the IHRA definition and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish people weakens us all,” the letter stated in conclusion. “Again, we urge the reconsideration of these actions and encourage Wikipedia to join us in combating antisemitism, rather than acting as a cover for those who seek to perpetuate the scourge of Jew hatred.”

The signatories included the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Sephardi Federation, Hadassah, Maccabi USA, Rabbinical Council of America, Iranian American Jewish Federation, and JCC Association of North America, among others.

The ADL criticized Wikipedia’s decision regarding its credibility when it was first announced last week. The civil rights organization called the decision “a sad development for research and education” and “devastating for the Jewish community and society.”

“It is deeply disturbing that the many editors who flagged the severe flaws and inaccuracies in both the reasoning and sources being used in this campaign to delegitimize ADL are being ignored,” an ADL spokesman said in a statement. “They have provided point by point refutations, grounded in factual citations, to every claim made, but apparently facts no longer matter.”

“Who made Wikipedia the arbiters of truth?” asked ADL Director Emeritus Abraham Foxman. “For over 110 years the ADL has jealously guarded its credibility — gaining the respect of the public, media, and government. Who evaluates Wikipedias’ credibility?”

Wikipedia “only discredits its own site when it tries to bar ADL from pages on Israel or antisemitism,” said B’nai B’rith International, which founded the ADL in 1913, in a post on X/Twitter. B’nai B’rith added that it “proudly stands” with the ADL “against all attempts to stifle Jewish perspectives on issues affecting the Jewish people first and foremost.”

The post Jewish Groups Lambast Wikipedia for Its ‘Attack on ADL’s Credibility’ About Antisemitism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Operations in Gaza Have Led to Conditions for Hostage Deal, Israel’s Defense Chief Says

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin receives Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon in Washington, US, June 25, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The ongoing military operations of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza have created the necessary conditions for a ceasefire and hostage deal to be reached, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told his US counterpart.

Gallant’s office on Wednesday released a statement outlining his overnight call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the Israel-Hamas war.

“IDF operations in Gaza have led to the conditions necessary to achieve an agreement for the return of hostages, which is the highest moral imperative at this time,” Gallant said, according to the statement.

Israeli officials have argued that applying significant military pressure is necessary to push Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules Gaza, to agree to a ceasefire that involves the release of Israeli hostages.

During their call, Gallant provided Austin with a “situation assessment” of Israel’s military operations in Gaza, especially the IDF’s efforts to target senior Hamas leadership.

They also discussed the humanitarian situation in Hamas-ruled Gaza. According to the statement, Gallant informed Austin of his most recent order to build a temporary field hospital along the Gaza border in order to treat sick children.

The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists invaded southern Israel, murdering 1,200 people and kidnapping about 250 hostages. Israel responded with an ongoing military campaign in neighboring Gaza to free the hostages and dismantle Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

Qatar, Egypt, and the US have been brokering talks between the two warring sides aimed at reaching a ceasefire that would include the release of Israeli hostages still in captivity in Gaza. Negotiations are ongoing.

Beyond Gaza, Gallant and Austin discussed the situation in northern Israel, where Lebanese Hezbollah has been striking daily with rockets, missiles, and drones.

Hamas and Hezbollah are both backed by Iran, which provides the Islamist terrorist groups with funding, weapons, and training.

The post IDF Operations in Gaza Have Led to Conditions for Hostage Deal, Israel’s Defense Chief Says first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Google Acquisition Target Wiz Another Fruit of Israel’s Military Intelligence

Technologists with the Israeli military’s Matzpen operational data and applications unit work at their stations, at an IDF base in Ramat Gan, Israel, June 11, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias

An elite Israeli military intelligence unit may once again be about to prove its value to the nation’s tech economy as Google‘s parent eyes cybertech company Wiz for an eye-watering $23 billion.

Alphabet Inc , a person familiar has said, is in advanced talks to buy Wiz from founder Assaf Rappaport, a former officer from the famed 8200 military unit, which has built a track record in turning out tech entrepreneurs.

As the war in Gaza squeezes Israel’s economy, the deal underscores the resilience of the tech industry, which accounts for some 20 percent of the country’s output and around 15 percent of jobs. It also highlights the military‘s role in developing one of Israel’s most successful sectors.

Along with universities, Israel’s military intelligence and technology units, such as 8200, have provided the leaders for hundreds of tech start ups, helping to turn Israel into what is widely considered the No. 2 tech center globally after Silicon Valley.

Check Point Software Technologies, Nice, Palo Alto Networks, CyberArk, Wix and Waze — bought by Google for $1 billion — are a handful of companies whose founders have military roots.

Rappaport credits the Israeli military for his success, once calling the 8200 unit “the best school of entrepreneurship.”

He served there with his “army buddies” Yinon Costica, Roy Reznik, and Ami Luttwak, with whom he co-founded his previous cloud security company Adallom in 2012, which they sold to Microsoft three years later for $320 million.

In 2020, at the outset of the COVID pandemic, the four started cloud cyber security company Wiz, rapidly building it into a company that was given a $12 billion valuation after a $1 billion funding round in May this year.

“In a way it’s like raising tigers and then releasing them to the wild,” Gili Raanan, founder of Venture capital firm Cyberstarts and general partner at Sequoia Capital, said of the intelligence units.

8200 GRADUATES DOMINATE

He said being from an elite intelligence unit is not a requirement for him when investing; however, “90 percent to 95 percent of the teams I see are made up made up of 8200 graduates.”

“So whether I look into that or not, that’s the talent pool I am looking at.”

Part of the reason is the free wheeling, meritocratic nature of the units, which allow their graduates to move smoothly into the startup world after their service ends, said Raanan, who was an initial investor in both Adallom and Wiz — now headquartered in New York with R&D in Tel Aviv.

Rappaport did not initially want to accept money from Sequoia for Adallom in 2012 and declined a number of meeting requests from Raanan.

Raanan insisted and he eventually agreed to meet at a gas station about 40 minutes north of Tel Aviv. “Essentially we signed the terms on a napkin in a gas station.”

While Israel has mandatory post-high school military service, the intelligence units have the right of first refusal so they “can screen for the best people,” said Dror Bin, chief executive of the Israel Innovation Authority.

8200 is the army’s main information gathering unit, where 18-21-year old soldiers develop and use tools to gather information, which they pass on to senior officials. It’s Israel’s version of the US National Security Agency.

Less known is 81, the Intelligence Corp’s Technological Unit that supplies cutting-edge technologies to Israeli combat soldiers.

Rappaport also served in this unit, which has been the launchpad for many cyber, AI, and fintech firms once soldiers return to civilian life.

START-UP STRENGTH

Despite the cloud cast over the economy by the Gaza war, Israeli companies have been among the major beneficiaries of the boom in demand for cloud security and have benefited from a number of strong financing rounds.

Industry group Startup Nation Central on Wednesday said in a report that private funding in Israeli startups rose 31 percent to $5.1 billion in the first half of 2024 from the second half of 2023, with cybersecurity contributing 52 percent of the funding.

“One might expect the ‘Israeli factor’ to have a stronger impact on the Israeli tech activity, but the data suggests otherwise,” Avi Hasson, Startup Nation Central chief executive, said.

If the Wiz acquisition goes ahead, it would eclipse a $15.3 billion purchase of Mobileye by Intel in 2017 and provide at least $1 billion of tax income into Israeli coffers.

“Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s a sign of confidence in the Israeli tech sector,” said Bin.

“Deciding to make such a big investment in an Israeli based company during time of war means that it’s really a good deal,” he said adding he expected to see more.

“There are many good targets in Israel today for such acquisitions. And maybe even this potential decision of Google will accelerate investment decisions of others.”

Amiram Shachar, CEO and co-founder of Israeli cloud security firm Upwind Security, said Google potentially buying Wiz is the “best thing” that could have happened for both the cybersecurity and cloud industries and Israel’s ecosystem will benefit.

“It confirms that the cloud is the future,” he said, “and underscores the need to build comprehensive platforms, not just feature-specific companies, to protect it.”

The post Google Acquisition Target Wiz Another Fruit of Israel’s Military Intelligence first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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University of Windsor offers separate agreement to Jewish students after making a far-reaching deal with pro-Palestinian protesters

The University of Windsor issued an olive branch on July 16 to its Jewish students—and to Canada’s Jewish community and its allies—pledging to take “tangible” steps to make all students feel included, safe and welcome on the campus. The unexpected statement was released just days after Jewish groups reacted with outrage to the school’s July […]

The post University of Windsor offers separate agreement to Jewish students after making a far-reaching deal with pro-Palestinian protesters appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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