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YouTube Rules Not to Remove Anti-Hamas, Israeli Song Despite Protests From Pro-Palestinian Activists, Employees

Israeli rap duo Ness Ve Stilla. Photo: YouTube screenshot

Decision-makers at YouTube have decided not to remove from the popular video platform a Hebrew-language rap song that expresses support for Israel’s ongoing military campaign targeting Hamas terrorists controlling the Gaza Strip, despite backlash from pro-Palestinian activists, WIRED magazine reported on Tuesday.

Following the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, the Israeli rap duo Ness Ve Stilla released a song titled “Harbu Darbu,” which is derived from Syrian Arabic and in Hebrew slang refers to unleashing hell on one’s enemies. In the song, the rappers attack Hamas and call out some celebrities who have expressed support for the terrorist group or condemned Israel, including model Bella Hadid, singer Dua Lipa, and former Playboy model Mia Khalifa. All three women have accused Israel of “genocide” since the Oct. 7 attack.

Ness Ve Stilla also call for revenge against Hamas and the fellow Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah. The rappers name Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and top Hamas officials Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, saying, “Every dog’s day will come.”

“Everyone who planned, everyone who supported, everyone who carried out, everyone who murdered, every bad person gets his punishment in the end,” they rap in the song. “We brought the whole army on you and I swear there will be no forgiveness … One, two, shoot.” They also describe Hamas supporters as the “Children of Amalek,” which is a reference to the ancient biblical tribe that tried to destroy the Israelites. “Amalek” has been used throughout history to describe Israel’s enemies.

The music video for “Harbu Darbu” has garnered over 25 million views on YouTube.

Pro-Palestinian activists and supporters, including YouTube employees, have criticized “Harbu Darbu,” claiming it incites “genocide,” violence, and hatred against all Palestinians and should be considered hate speech. They have also argued it could be removed for violating YouTube’s harassment policies. However, YouTube has allowed the song to remain on its website.

Management at the popular video platform concluded that the song’s lyrics target Hamas, not all Palestinians, and that as a US-designed terrorist organization, Hamas can be subject to hate speech on YouTube without violating the website’s policies, sources with knowledge about content moderation at YouTube told WIRED magazine. YouTube executives also reportedly determined that the song’s targeting of Hadid, Lipa, and Khalifa does not constitute harassment.

The publication further reported that YouTube’s trust and safety team consulted with executives and reviewed interpretations by experts of the song’s lyrics, usage of slang, and phrasing before making its decision. In one instance, YouTube’s management determined that one of the song’s opening lines, which describes rats coming out of tunnels, proves that the song is about Hamas terrorists, who regularly use tunnels for their military operations, and therefore does not qualify as hate speech.

YouTube employees told WIRED they believe the platform is biased, inconsistent, and unfair in its moderating of content related to the Israel-Hamas, war but YouTube spokesperson Jack Malon denied those accusations.

“We dispute the characterization that our response to this conflict deviated from our established approach toward major world events,” Malon told the magazine. “The suggestion that we apply our policies differently based on which religion or ethnicity is featured in the content is simply untrue. We have removed tens of thousands of videos since this conflict began. Some of these are tough calls, and we don’t make them lightly, debating to get to the right outcome.”

The post YouTube Rules Not to Remove Anti-Hamas, Israeli Song Despite Protests From Pro-Palestinian Activists, Employees 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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