BDS Fails, Sept. 2023 (Stories you won’t read in the UK media)

Here’s the latest installment in our ongoing series of posts documenting BDS fails – stories of Israeli success that are rarely covered in the British media.

Political BDS Fails

British FM in Israel: ‘Opportunity to renew partnership in face of Iranian threat’

Paris strips Abbas of top medal: ‘You justified the extermination of Europe’s Jews’

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has stripped Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of the French capital’s highest honor after he made remarks about the Holocaust that repeated antisemitic tropes, her office said Friday.

Abbas could no longer hold the Grand Vermeil medal awarded to him in 2015 after he “justified the extermination of the Jews of Europe” in World War II, Hidalgo’s office told AFP.

“The comments you made are contrary to our universal values and the historical truth of the Shoah,” Hidalgo said in a letter to Abbas sent on Thursday. “You can therefore no longer hold this distinction.”

G20 leaders unveil Israel-Saudi Arabia rail link plan

At the G20 summit in New Delhi today, the US, India, EU and Saudi Arabia announced the promotion of a major railway and sea transport corridor between India and Europe via the Middle East. The project includes a rail link between Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The summit was attended by leaders including US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modri, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and EU President Ursula von der Leyen, which demonstrates the importance that the leaders attach to the plan, which would strengthen economic ties between Riyadh and Jerusalem.

Israel opens embassy in Manama

Bahrain underscored the importance of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it celebrated the opening of the first Israeli embassy in its capital and spoke of the importance of the frozen Negev forum.

The Israeli embassy’s opening is a “historic step” that is a “further important milestone in the relations between the two countries and reflects our support for the embassy’s diplomatic efforts to further develop bilateral relations,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani.

He celebrated the moment by hosting Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who made his first visit to Bahrain since taking office, to mark the moment. Cohen met both with  Zayani and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Dutch Supreme Court confirms immunity of former Israeli officers over a deadly 2014 Gaza airstrike

The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday upheld a ruling that a Palestinian man cannot sue Israel’s former defense minister and another former senior military officer over their roles in a deadly 2014 Gaza airstrike.

The highest Dutch court confirmed findings by judges in two lower courts that Benny Gantz and former Air Force Commander Amir Eshel are protected from civil proceedings in the Netherlands because they have “functional immunity.”

The long-running case was brought by Ismail Ziada, who lost six members of his family in the airstrike that lawyers for the two Israelis argued was part of an Israeli military operation during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

Papua New Guinea opens Israel embassy in West Jerusalem

Papua New Guinea has opened its embassy to Israel in West Jerusalem, becoming only the fifth country with a full diplomatic mission in a city whose status is one of the most sensitive issues in the Middle East.

The Pacific nation’s mission joins embassies from the United States, Kosovo, Guatemala and Honduras in West Jerusalem, while most countries maintain their diplomatic representation in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s main economic hub.

Economic BDS Fails

Elbit Systems awarded $200m European deal

Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE:ESLT) today announced it has been awarded two contracts by a European country worth $200 million to supply a C4I (Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence) solution to artillery battalions and a Hostile Fire Counter Attack (HFCA) solution. The contracts will be performed by 2026, with options for further extensions.

Backed by Google and Nvidia, Israel AI startup nabs $155m, soars to $1.4b valuation

Israel’s AI21 Labs, a natural language processing (NLP) startup, as been valued at $1.4 billion after raising $155 million in its latest funding round backed by tech giants that include Alphabet’s Google and Nvidia.

The Series C financing round was led by the San Francisco-based venture capital firm Walden Catalyst, Israeli VC Pitango, Thailand’s SCB10X, European venture firm b2venture, Samsung Next, and AI21’s co-founder Prof. Amnon Shashua, who is also the co-founder of Mobileye (an Intel company).

The current investment values AI21 at $1.4 billion and makes the Tel Aviv-based startup a new Israeli unicorn — a company valued at $1 billion and over — and comes a year after the creator of AI generative text models raised $64 million at a valuation of $664 million.

US Marines move forward with purchase of Israel’s Iron Dome

The US Marine Corps is reportedly planning to purchase dozens of Iron Dome launchers and thousands of interceptor missiles in a deal that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The prime contractor for the development and production of the Iron Dome is Rafael, who adapted the system to USMC requirements and assisted with testing support.

As part of the deal, the USMC will purchase 44 launchers and 1,840 Tamir interceptors.

Rafael wins naval maintenance and anti-tank missile deals

Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has announced that it has been awarded a new contract with an Asian nation to provide comprehensive maintenance support services for operational systems employed by its navy.

The multi-year agreement is worth an estimated at NIS 100 million ($30 million dollars) and will include maintenance services for the navy’s TYPHOON and MINI-TYPHOON remotely-controlled naval weapon stations, Naval SPIKE ER and NLOS missile systems, EO surveillance systems, as well as EW Integrated Decoy Systems (IDS).

Poland to spend $100M on ‘several hundred’ long-range Spike antitank missiles

Poland says it has agreed to acquire “several hundred” Spike LR (Long Range) antitank guided missiles (ATGM) to be produced in country by Mesko, a weapons supplier belonging to the PGZ state armaments group.

The announcement, made by Poland’s minister of defense Mariusz Blaszczak, in a social media post today, is valued at “around $100 million,” according to manufacturer Rafael.

“Today, we signed another contract with the Polish defense industry for the supply of several hundred Spike LR anti-tank guided missiles in the coming years,” said Blaszczak, according to a translated version of his Twitter post. “A modernized and well-equipped army is a guarantee of our security which is why we are constantly strengthening [the] Polish Army using the possibilities of the Polish arms industry.”

Trade in goods between Israel and the UAE in the first half of 2023 reached  $1.55 billion

Cultural BDS fails

Imagine Dragons performs to sold-out crowd at Yarkon Park

Jewish ‘Stranger Things’ Star Noah Schnapp Prays at Western Wall During Visit to Israel

Where politics fails: An Israeli-Iranian collaboration set to feature at Venice Film Festival

Israeli film director Guy Nattiv continues to establish his presence in the international film realm. Having clinched an Oscar for his short film “Skin” and having made appearances at the Berlin Film Festival, he’s now preparing for the upcoming 80th Venice Film Festival, set to kick off on August 30.

His latest work, “Tatami,” a collaborative project with Iranian actress and defector Zar Amir Ebrahimi (“Holy Spider”), will vie for recognition in the esteemed Horizons category – a significant segment of the festival.

Israeli reporter nominated for Emmy Award for Ukraine war documentary

The documentary film by journalist Itai Anghel, chronicling the war between Russia and Ukraine as part of the “Uvda” news magazine program, has been nominated for the prestigious News and Documentary category of the International Emmy Awards.

In this gripping film, Anghel, alongside the talented cameraman Eddie Gerald, accompanies the brave soldiers and civilians in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Horlivka and Irpin. Anghel and his “Uvda” team face competition from three other films: a British production depicting asylum seekers who were captured attempting to cross from France to Britain on an inflatable boat, a Brazilian film and a Turkish one, all of which, much like the Israeli entry, delve into the conflict in Ukraine.

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