United Nations Secretary General António Guterres pledged Sunday to be "on the front lines in the fight against anti-Semitism" and said "the modern form of anti-Semitism is the denial of the existence of the State of Israel."
Guterres told delegates at the World Jewish Congress that “Israel needs to be treated like any other UN member state” and that it had an “undeniable right to exist and to live in peace and security with its neighbors.”
Guterres also recalled the history of his native Portugal, where Jews in the Middle Ages suffered from a “systematic policy of discrimination” and were eventually expelled, calling this a “tremendous crime and the most stupid mistake ever made in Portugal.”
"Anti-Semitism never died despite the shock of the Holocaust," Guterres acknowledged, noting the prevalence of hate speech on the internet as well as vandalism against Jewish sites and cemeteries.
Guterres' talk marked the first time that a UN secretary general addressed a gathering of Jewish leaders.
Trump Vows to "Confront Anti-Semitism," Stand by "Our Great Friend" Israel
President Donald Trump pledged to "confront anti-Semitism" and defend the United States' alliance with Israel in a speech Tuesday marking the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Days of Remembrance.
Trump exhorted an audience including Holocaust survivors and lawmakers "to make sure that humanity never, ever forgets" the horrors of the Nazi genocide, reciting the words of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness."
"Denying the Holocaust is only one of many forms of dangerous anti-Semitism that continues all around the world," the president said. "We’ve seen anti-Semitism on university campuses, in the public square, and in threats against Jewish citizens. Even worse, it’s been on display in the most sinister manner when terrorists attack Jewish communities, or when aggressors threaten Israel with total and complete destruction."
"This is my pledge to you: We will confront anti-Semitism," Trump continued. "We will stamp out prejudice. We will condemn hatred. We will bear witness. And we will act. As President of the United States, I will always stand with the Jewish people -- and I will always stand with our great friend and partner, the State of Israel."
U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Syria After Deadly Chemical Attack
The U.S. administration has imposed new sanctions on Syrian regime personnel responsible for stockpiling chemical weapons and ballistic missiles.
The Treasury Department, which is responsible for applying international financial sanctions, named 271 members of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center in one of the largest sanctions lists ever seen.
The U.S. Treasury said the Syrian agency, described as a medical and agricultural study center by the regime, was responsible for developing and producing “non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them”.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the “United States is sending a strong message with this action that we will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons by any actor, and we intend to hold the [Bashar] al-Assad regime accountable for its unacceptable behaviour”.
This is the second time the U.S. Treasury has imposed sanctions on the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons. In January, the Treasury blacklisted 18 Syrians, including six connected to the Scientific Studies and Research Center, after an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that the regime was responsible for three chlorine attacks on civilians.
New Magen David Adom Bikes Help Rescuers Navigate Tight Spaces
“Life Riders,” a new emergency response unit of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s national ambulance organization, is being equipped with 1,000 electric bicycles to more easily and quickly reach patients in areas difficult for larger vehicles to access.
Each member of the voluntary unit is provided with resuscitation equipment and can be summoned to scenes within a radius of 10 kilometers as first-responders, along with standby medics, ambulances and intensive-care vehicles.
“Every bike is equipped with a medical kit, so that once we reach a scene we are able to provide preliminary medical treatment until an MDA ambulance or Medicycle arrive at the scene,” said youth volunteer Yarin Mualem. “We are able to reach the scene quickly, treat the patient and provide an accurate report of the incident to the dispatch center.”
Every MDA Life Rider – age 17 and up, with a minimum of two years of MDA experience — goes through professional training to ride electric bikes within cities and in a variety of conditions while handling shifting weight, halting, accelerating, changing lanes in busy roads, riding at night, and so forth. They have to obey a speed limit of 25 kilometers per hour and must wear a helmet, knee protectors and a neon vest.
“This is an all-volunteer unit, where the goal is to reach very crowded areas, or areas where ambulances and Medicycles can’t drive through, such as boardwalks, markets and alleys,” said Iftah Levi, a senior officer in MDA’s Operational Wing.
Life Riders marks the first time electric bikes have been used for first response anywhere on an organized basis. The idea is that they can maneuver in tight spots better than motorcycles and ambulances.