July 21, 2019

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01/01 Links Pt2: Melanie Phillips: The Labour party’s out-of-body antisemitism experience; New York Times Ends Year with Epic Smear; Guardian falsely blames Israel for shortages of medicine in Gaza


From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Labour party’s out-of-body antisemitism experience
When Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry spoke last week at the annual Limmud Jewish cultural festival in Birmingham, she declared in relation to the accusation that the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was an antisemite:
“I don’t believe there is a racist or antisemitic bone in his body”. And she claimed that Corbyn had been unable to deal properly with the issue of Labour antisemitism because he had been so emotionally affected by being accused of it himself.

Cue derision and jeers. Which was only to be expected.

After all, Corbyn has not only personally endorsed numerous enemies of the existence of the State of Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people. He has not only failed adequately to tackle the blizzard of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish utterances by party members under his leadership.

He has himself endorsed unambiguously antisemitic tropes, such as the wall mural depicting grotesquely caricatured Jewish financiers making money literally on the backs of the enslaved poor (which he claims to have supported only on freedom of expression grounds and not to have noticed what the mural actually contained); and he also implied that British Zionist Jews were somehow alien to their own country by being unable to appreciate “English irony”.

So Thornberry’s protestations were ludicrous and clearly untrue and amounted merely to cynical dissembling, no?

Well actually, no. I think she was speaking honestly. And that’s even worse.

For I believe that Corbyn really is upset at the accusations against him – because he really does believe he is simply incapable of antisemitism (which he equates, shallowly, with racism, thus demonstrating he doesn’t even understand that antisemitism is not just a prejudice nor even just a form of bigotry but is a unique and ultimately murderous deformation of rationality and psychology).

And he’s not alone in that belief. Virtually all on the left believe they too are incapable of antisemitism because that is exclusively to be found on the right. Why so?

Melanie Phillips: US Syria pullout, EU antisemitism survey

Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Unwired some major events of the past few days in our crazy world.

We consider the implications of President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, the ramifications of which are more complex than might be imagined from the shallow mainstream media accounts. You can also read my take on what really matters about America’s approach to Syria and Iran here.

We also talk about the recent EU survey of perceptions by Jewish communities in Britain and Europe of the incidence of antisemitism in their countries. The survey found rising alarm, especially in Britain, but once again this needs to be unpicked to discover findings which the mainstream media have not seen fit to explore, including a refusal to face realities by the Jewish communities themselves.

New York Times Ends Year with Epic Smear

The New York Times’ 4700-word story on the death of a young Gazan woman in June 2018 during border riots is a powerful reminder of the depth and breadth of bias at the paper. (“A Day, a Life: When a Medic Was Killed in Gaza, Was It an Accident?”)

The hagiographic December 30th account spans a remarkable three and a half full pages of the paper, tracing Rouzan al-Najjar’s personal life and sad end. Yet it manages, in all the words and images (and online videos), not to report the nature of the violence in which she was entangled nor the murderous and implacable hatred of Israel fueling it.

The rioters hurling fire bombs, rocks, burning tires and flaming kites – some embellished with swastikas – and ripping down the fence wherever they can are not termed “rioters” by the Times — but “protesters.” The rants of “death to Israel” and threats that the “army of Muhammad” is coming delivered by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to chanting mobs are excluded.

The riots are termed instead a “kind of nationalist circus,” which they may be, but genocidal bigotry fuels this circus and its frenzy week after week to overrun the fence and invade Israel.

The Times has a longstanding aversion to reporting straight on demonization of the Jewish people, so there is also no mention of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar vowing last April before the death of the young medic: “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.”

The effort broadly to obscure Palestinian violence against Israel includes also blurring the most serious threat, the chronic rocket and missile fire from Gaza into Israel.

The effort broadly to obscure Palestinian violence against Israel includes also blurring the most serious threat, the chronic rocket and missile fire from Gaza into Israel. The Times’ David Halbfinger and his colleagues relay that the young medic had hoped to study medicine abroad, observing, “But then came the rockets, the blockade, the wars.”

New York Times whitewashes anti-Semitism of incoming House Democrat Ilhan Omar

In a glowing profile of representative-elect Ilhan Omar, the New York Times portrays her critics as merely scared of somebody different, all the while glossing over her misrepresentation of her position on Israel and record of unapologetically peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

The article depicts Omar, who is set to take over the seat previously held by Rep. Keith Ellison, as somebody defiant in the face of prejudice.

It starts off with an anecdote of her getting bullied as a 12 year-old Somali immigrant in Virginia and her father telling her, “They are doing something to you because they feel threatened in some way by your existence.”

That becomes a framing device for the story, which is an attempt to discredit her critics by lumping them all together with racists and conspiracy mongers.

The Times describes Omar as “a vehicle for the hopes of millions of Muslims and others touched by her life story, and for the fears of those who feel threatened by her.”

According to one professor quoted in the article, “She’s the epitome of the so-called American dream, but for much of white Christian America, she’s an American nightmare.”

New York Times Orders Readers to ‘Celebrate’ Election of BDS Supporter

One of the worst features of the contemporary New York Times is that it has gone beyond merely reporting the news and ventured, instead, into the more treacherous territory of instructing readers which emotions they should have about the news.

One danger of that is that not all Times readers may share the emotions the Times newsroom judges appropriate. And another danger, or perhaps an advantage, is that in ordering up the emotions, the Times exposes biases that it would prefer to have kept hidden.

So it is with the election to Congress of a Democrat from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who has emerged after the election as an open supporter of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.

A Times article published in print on January 1 titled “Joyful Headlines About Race and Equality … A few stories about race, from the many we published, that are worth celebrating,” by Adeel Hassan, reported, “2018 also held glimmers of hope — if you search hard enough — with stories about racial equality and justice. Here are a few of that we published and that are worth celebrating.” Among these stories that the Times insists are “joyful” and “worth celebrating” was, the paper says, that “Ilhan Omar in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.”

Islam is a religion, not a “race,” so it’s difficult to see why this development fits into the Times-constructed category of “stories about race.” Maybe it’s just something the Times feels like celebrating. The paper, at least in this article, doesn’t even consider the possibility that choosing to boycott the Jewish state might not be an example of “justice” or “hope,” but rather a grave injustice.

WSJ: Europe’s Right Wing Woos a New Audience: Jewish Voters

Emanuel Bernhard Krauskopf’s trips to his synagogue in the German capital have become an awkward affair.

The reason: Mr. Krauskopf and about 30 others recently founded a Jewish chapter of the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, an anti-immigrant party that is the largest opposition group in parliament—one whose members include people accused of anti-Semitism, right-wing extremists and others on the political fringe.

“I’m 69 and tired of being polite,” said Mr. Krauskopf, a retired engineer and entrepreneur. “I support a party that calls a spade a spade and really stands up for the Jews.”

Across Europe, anti-immigration parties with ties to far-right movements have stepped up efforts to recruit supporters in the continent’s small Jewish community, often drawing on perceptions in that community about anti-Semitism among Muslims.

Such concerns are widespread. A recent European Union survey found that 41% of Jews in Germany who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment blamed Muslim extremists, while 20% saw the perpetrators as having right-wing political views and 16% saw them as having left-wing views.

Muslim leaders in Germany say they work to counter anti-Semitism in their communities. “Our imams are trained and aware of the issue and they work together with schools and other religious communities to combat anti-Semitism,” said Mohamad Hajjaj, chairman of the Berlin chapter of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. He added, “The Middle East conflict is used to spread animosity against the Jews.”

The Swedish parliament includes Jewish legislators who belong to the Sweden Democrats, a party with roots in neo-Nazism that it has since renounced. Austria’s parliament includes Jewish lawmakers who are members of the Freedom Party, which was founded by former members of Adolf Hitler’s SS.

The party of Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician and strident critic of Islam, has a Jewish legislator. And in France, which has Europe’s largest Jewish community, the pollster IFOP estimated that 10% of Jewish voters supported the National Front—whose founder once called the gas chambers a “detail of World War II history”—in the 2017 presidential election. The party has since been renamed National Rally.

Point of No Return: 2018: The Year in Review

Another year has flown past and it’s time to look back over 2018, its highlights and low points. Point of No Return continued to attract a healthy following, with 58,143 page views.

The good news is that the issue of Jews of Arab countries began to penetrate the mainstream press and media – the Boston Globe (Jeff Jacoby), the Daily Telegraph (Allister Heath) and a BBC Radio 4 programme by historian Simon Schama to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The ’30 November’ commemorations took place worldwide, but the exodus of Jews from Arab lands is still not on the global agenda, according to Ashley Perry and Lyn Julius.

It was a good year for:
* Relations between the Gulf States and Israel. Israel’s minister of culture Miri Regev shed tears of joy when she heard Hatikva at an Abu Dhabi sports competition; the Dubai synagogue emerged into the media limelight and a Bahraini prince visited Israel.
*Rene Trabelsi, appointed Tunisian minister of Tourism.
* 25,000 Algerian-Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, who each received $3,100 compensation for their wartime suffering.
*Mordechai Ben-Porat. After decades of accusations that Zionists planted bombs in Iraq to kill Jews, more evidence emerged vindicating the Mossad architect of the mass aliya of Iraqi Jewry in 1950-1. Ben-Porat had always protested his innocence.
*The Iraqi-Jewish archive. This collection of Jewish artefacts and documents remains in the US beyond the deadline for its return in September 2018.
* ‘Uprooted’ by Lyn Julius (Vallentine Mitchell), which grew out of Point of No Return. The book was favourably reviewed in a number of prestige publications and on radio.

It was a bad year for the following :
*French historian Georges Bensoussan (although he was acquitted of charges of anti-Muslim hate speech, he lost his job at the Memorial de la Shoah.)
*Kurdish representative of the ‘Jewish community’ Sherzad Mahmoud Mamsani, who was fired.
*UNRWA, the agency dedicated to the exclusive care of Palestinian refugees: President Trump cut off aid, amid revelations that the US donated funds for the absorption of refugees on both sides in the 1950s.
* The fifty remaining Jews in the war-ravaged Yemen capital Sana’a, short of money and food.
*Jewish moveable property in Arab lands: the US has signed Memoranda of Understanding with several Arab states legitimising theft of Jewish artefacts still in Arab states. Eighteen Jewish organisations have written to the US secretary of state in protest.

Amos Oz We Knew and Didn’t Love At All, Not Even A Tiny Bit

Israeli media have been celebrating the life and mourning the death of prominent author Amos Oz for several days now, and yours truly, who likes washing the dishes while listening to the radio, has been hard pressed to find a talk radio station without eulogies for the great man. On occasion, the Public Broadcasting Corporation, which encompasses several stations, ran the same heartfelt eulogies on more than one station – and you know what soapy hands can do to an iPad, as you hectically looking to change programs.

I don’t particularly like Amos Oz’s work, I shudder when I hear Israeli commentators compare him to Agnon. Seriously? And I get especially angry when I hear them calling him a man of peace. He could write, I’ll grant you that, but a man of peace? With whom?

My Facebook friend Yisrael Medad plugged “Amos Oz” and “Gush Emunim,” the original settler movement, in Google. This is what he discovered:

“At a June 8, 1989 Peace Now rally, Oz decreed that Gush Emunim is a messianic sect, closed-minded and cruel, a band of armed gangsters, perpetrators of crimes against humanity, sadists, pogromists and murderers who crept out of a dark corner of Judaism, from the cellars of bestiality and defilement, in order to impose their bloodthirsty mad ritual.” (Sarah Honig, Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2014)

Lara Kollab: Cleveland’s “Angel of Death”

Lara Kollab’s posts on social media were shocking even by today’s standards. The young medical professional had threatened her Jewish patients, tweeting “hahha ewww.. ill purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds…”

Kollab studied at the Tuoro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York and worked at the Cleveland Clinic as a resident. Over 80,000 Jews make their home in Cleveland.

Lara Kollab likes “Learning about different cultures”

After Kollab’s tweets were exposed by Canary Mission, a controversial database which tracks white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activists, she deactivated her Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

It was too late. They had all been saved. Kollab’s social media accounts were full of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and garden variety Jew-hate. (h/t MtTB)

Medical resident in Cleveland fired for antisemitic social media posts

A medical resident at the Cleveland Clinic was fired after her antisemitic social media posts were discovered.

Dr. Lara Kollab worked at there from July 2018 to September 2018. The clinic fired her after the messages – which were posted over the last seven years – were flagged.

On Monday, the clinic confirmed in a statement Kollab’s firing, after reports over her posts began circulating online.

“This individual was employed as a supervised resident at our hospital from July to September 2018. She is no longer working at Cleveland Clinic. In no way do these beliefs reflect those of our organization. We fully embrace diversity, inclusion and a culture of safety and respect across our entire health system,” the statement said.

Her social media accounts were closed as of late Monday.

When she was a medical student in 2012, one tweet got a great deal of attention in the last couple of days on social media, where it was preserved in screenshot form.

“hahha ewww.. ill purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds…,” she tweeted in January 2012.

In an August 2013 post, Kollab wrote in Arabic, “May Allah take back [end the lives] of the Jews so we stop being forced to go to those unclean ones.”

NOW-Baton Rouge Cancels Women’s March in New Orleans

Another one bites the dust. I blogged last week that the National Organization for Women (NOW) decided not to donate to the Women’s March anymore due to the anti-Semitic and racism attitudes of those who lead the organization.

NOW’s Baton Rouge chapter announced on Saturday that it will cancel the planned Women’s March in New Orleans in January.

If you look through the comments, you’ll notice a lady named Leatta Perdue ask about the issues. Another linked to the Tablet magazine expose on leaders Linda Sarsour, Carmen Page, and Tamika Mallory. Like I’ve said before, this is nothing new to us at Legal Insurrection. But the exposure in Tablet finally got it through to everyone that these women are anti-Semitics who love and adore Louis Farrakhan.

As others explained to Perdue, she and others came to the same conclusion: It’s a “gross disaster.”

The NOW-Baton Rouge account even agreed with the feelings of others. Instead, the chapter and others in the thread encouraged everyone to use the day of the march as a Day of Service.

Those in charge in Chicago canceled the January Women’s March. The Washington state chapter closed. The New York Times finally acknowledged the hatred that runs through the veins of those at the top of the Women’s March.

Fuzzy blogged on Sunday that California’s Women’s March will not happen, but not because of anti-Semitism. It’s because their leadership fears it will be “too white.”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Why Have Palestinians Been Ethnically Cleansed From ‘The Flintstones’? By Linda Sarsour, rights activist (satire)

It’s bad enough that Palestinians in real life have suffered displacement, persecution, and Othering, but when those phenomena extend even to the realm of beloved children’s shows, we know our society has a problem. Every reference to Palestinians and Palestinian suffering has been erased from the animated series The Flintstones, leaving not a trace of that ancient and noble civilization in its whimsical depiction of prehistory.

People of conscience everywhere must protest. The erasure of Palestinians from homes and communities is bad enough, but the injury is compounded by the indignity of a Bedrock in which audiences are led to believe no such group ever existed. Our ancestors cry out to be acknowledged, while Hanna-Barbera and their callous storyboard artists dismiss them as figments of someone’s imagination. Enough.

Some may wonder why I focus now on a discontinued cartoon series from the 1960’s instead of on current issues, but they miss the point: all oppression is related, and the series is in perpetual reruns anyway. We do no one a favor by ignoring the plight of our brethren absented from The Flintstones; in fact we do ourselves and all those we claim to support a disservice when we dismiss the Palestinian refugees from Bedrock as somehow less worthy of our attention. We are all allies in this struggle against colonialism, Apartheid, dispossession, and predatory saber-tooth cats.

There is no reason why others struggling against discrimination and cultural genocide in Bedrock cannot join forces to combat these evils. Rampant exploitation of dinosaurs in the stone-age town need not be tolerated simply because some of us prioritize justice for Palestinians. Activists of every stripe can join as one to destabilize and ultimately bring down the structures of oppression that affect us all. Even Bedrock, a metaphor for stability, will be shaken and rebuilt to reflect a just society where Palestinians will regain their rightful place at the head of all social justice causes.

JPost Editorial: Bad Banking

So, if the PSC is correct, HSBC has decided to divest from Elbit because its technology is used in IDF drone surveillance of Palestinian terrorists who launch attacks against Israel and was used in the building of the security fence that prevents terrorists from attacking Israelis.

So how is this justified? HSBC, if this is your final decision, you will go down on the wrong side of history. Do you understand that Israel is using Elbit technology to protect itself against Palestinian terror, and not to undermine the rights of the Palestinian people?

If you are really concerned about human rights, perhaps you might consider using some of your own income to invest in the Palestinian economy, and boost cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian institutions.

It should be noted that Elbit Vice President David Vaaknin said the company had received no official confirmation from HSBC regarding any decision to divest, HSBC has not posted any policy change with regard to Elbit on its website either.

Still, as we enter 2019, we strongly urge HSBC – and others who have fallen for the BDS lie – to reconsider their position. In order to play a constructive role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, countries and companies around the world should not be boycotting either side, but rather encouraging the two sides to engage in a dialogue which is aimed at achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict.

The upcoming lawsuit against Airbnb: US citizens in Judea and Samaria

To anyone who has eyes to see and ears that hear, it is clear that Airbnb is using the same playbook that the Nazis used when they crafted the Nuremberg laws to discriminate and economically strangle the Jews.

As a person that despises remaining silent in the face of overt and odious bigotry and discrimination, I decided to make a donation to Shurat HaDin, (an Israeli human rights group which has taken up various pro-Israeli causes).

In a phone interview with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, (an Israeli attorney, human rights activist and the founder of Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Center), I was told that a lawsuit has been filed in Jerusalem District Court against Human Rights Watch for its involvement in the Airbnb move. Moreover, Ms. Leitner said that another lawsuit has been filed in Delaware against Airbnb on behalf of 12 plaintiffs (American Jews who own homes in Judea and Samaria and are being discriminated against). She is currently seeking more plaintiffs in the case to strengthen its legal muscle in the courts.

Now, is the time to step forward; if you are a US citizen and homeowner in Judea and Samaria, to add your name to this landmark case that seeks legal restitution for Airbnb’s blatantly anti-Semitic position. Let us not be silent, lest the other corporate haters get the message that banning Jews will not be met with fierce resistance. Let us join together in this historic and monumental battle to combat the most loathsome forms of discrimination and bigotry.

Palestinian Author: MEMRI Monitors Everything; We Should Talk about “Zionists” Instead of “Jews”

During a December 23, 2018 interview on Baladna TV (Gaza), Palestinian author Mushir Al-Farra said that the Palestinians should be more cautious while representing their cause on media outlets in order to avoid speaking in a way that weakens it. He gave the several examples of statements made by Palestinian media figures or Hamas representatives that Israeli officials that played into the hand of Israel. One example is a statement by Salah Bardawil from Hamas in May 2018. Bardawil said that almost all the people killed during the “Return March” clashes were Hamas members. Al-Farra said that “MEMRI monitors everything,” and that Al-Bardawil’s statement was “a big mistake,” which caused “great harm to our public relations.” (see Al-Bardawil’s remarks here: https://www.memri.org/tv/hamas-politb…) Another example Al-Farra provided was statements by Hamas spokesman Abu Ubeida who referred to Israeli Prime Minister Natanyahu as “son of a Jewish woman.” (https://www.memri.org/tv/kids-at-hama…) Al-Farra suggested using “son of Zionists” instead.

French-Algerian Activist: We Must Fight the Love of Jews (“Philo-Semitism”) to Fight Islamophobia

During a December 8 conference held by the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), French-Algerian political activist Houria Bouteldja delivered a talk titled “Fighting Philo-Semitism to Fight Islamophobia and Zionism.” Bouteldja defined philo-Semitism as the love of Jews. She criticized France and Britain for being philo-Semitic, and said that philo-Semitism is a kind of state racism that is combined with Islamophobia to maintain the whiteness of nation-states. She elaborated the philo-Semitic nation-states give Jews a privileged position in society, and that it is part of an effort to organize a competition between Jews, Muslims, and blacks. She said that Muslims do not occupy the same place in the racial hierarchy as Jews, and that France allows its Jews to serve in the Israeli military because they are not viewed as real Frenchmen and because it serves Western interests. She concluded by saying: “The idea here is not to fight Islamophobia and anti-Semitism… [It] is to fight Islamophobia and philo-Semitism… [This will enable us] to be stronger against racism and… Zionism.” The conference was streamed live on IHRC’s YouTube channel. Houria Bouteldja was born in Algeria and is the spokesperson of France’s Party of Indigenous People of the Republic (PIR). IHRC has had consultative status with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs since 2007, and it has recently been participating in the launch of a counter-Islamophobia toolkit in the European Parliament and in the United Kingdom.

IsraellyCool: Roger Waters Accuses Jews..Ehh, “Oligarchs”..Of Planning Invasion of Russia

Anti-semite and rock’n’roll BDS-hole has decided to get some things to get off his (mooby) chest this New Year’s.

A note from Roger: New Year 2019

I’m sitting here surrounded by my beautiful family, well fed, and watered, and not at ease. I am consumed with feelings of loss and pain. My brothers and sisters all over the world are being slaughtered and sacrificed on the altar of the greed of all the Oligarchs in all the developed and under-developed countries all over the world. The Oligarchs are the enemy. They are the ones who order perpetual war, not for ideological reasons but for profit. None of them, during these days of celebration and reflection, will have any idea what I’m talking about. They are not like us, the Oligarchs who are destroying our world. The cancer of greed that seeks after wealth and power has reduced their capacity for empathy to zero. They have become sociopaths. When they see children dying, whether it’s on the US/Mexican border or in Iraq or Syria or Palestine or Rohingya, or Ferguson, or Chicago or Chile or Mexico or Brazil or China or…or….or……they don’t give a fuck, because they cannot empathize, they don’t feel anything. “It’s a dead kid, whatever, who cares?”

Let me be clear: When Waters speaks of “Oligarchs”, we know who he means.

Because saying “Zionists” is already so 2018.

Roger, it is clearly too hard to keep all that Jew hatred bottled up inside when you have too much to drink on New Year’s.

Guardian falsely blames Israel for shortages of medicine in Gaza

As the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported earlier in the year, “the escalation in internal Palestinian divisions in March 2017 led to a decline in deliveries from the West Bank and the gradual rise in the percentage of essential medicines at zero stock”. Even the pro-Palestinian NGO Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) blamed the PA for the shortage of medicine and medical supplies.

In fact, even before Fatah’s sanctions against Hamas, the Islamist group was complaining that Ramallah was sending only a small fraction of the medicine to Gaza it was required to send under existing agreements.

The article also errs in writing that only “small numbers of [Gaza] patients do transfer to other hospitals in Palestine and Israel”, when, in the first six months of 2018, according to the World Health Organization, over 52% of all Gaza applicants were approved for such medical travel.

Finally, the article also fails to note another important factor contributing to Gaza’s woes – the fact that Hamas uses precious resources (including millions in international aid) for rockets, attack tunnels and other military projects, instead of on drugs and other medical related equipment its citizens desperately need. The “health system has been worn down”, not “by years of blockade”, as the caption under the article’s featured photo claims, but by years of Hamas rule.

Tellingly, the word “Hamas” isn’t used once in the entire article.

Indeed, once again, we see how the Guardian seems to be institutionally incapable of holding Palestinian leadership even partly responsible for the misery in Gaza. It’s a pattern of coverage informed by an ideologically driven propensity to deny Palestinians agency. This ‘liberal’ racism of low expectations results in contributors’ implicit assumption that Palestinians, as individuals, lack the capacity to act independently of Israel and make choices of their own free will.

No, Israel is not to blame for shortage of medicine in Gaza. But, the narrative requires a tale of malevolent Israelis oppressing helpless Gazans, so that’s what Guardian readers will receive almost every time.

San Diego Union-Tribune’s ‘Christmyth’ Jesus’ Relatives Were Palestinian

In a Christmas Day article featuring a New Testament professor who debunks myths surrounding the Christmas Nativity scene, The San Diego Union-Tribune introduces a myth of its own, falsely casting Jesus’ relatives as Palestinian (“Is first Noel a merry Christmyth?“) Peter Rowe’s article opens by setting the myth-busting scene:

Later, the article continues:
In St. Luke’s Gospel, Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem during her pregnancy. Bethlehem was a tiny village, Strauss said, too small to support an inn. The couple probably stopped at the house of a relative, or a relative’s friend.

Palestinian homes commonly had sleeping quarters upstairs, with ground floor space for domesticated creatures.

The homes of Mary and Joseph’s relatives, or relatives’ friends, were not “Palestinian.” They were Judean. During the time of Joseph and Mary, the region in which Bethlehem is located was known, including by its inhabitants, as Judaea (per the Latin spelling) and not Palestine.

As The New York Times noted in a June 20, 2008 correction, Romans renamed the region “Palaestina” some 100 years after Jesus died:

Two swastikas drawn on apartment of elderly Jewish woman in Brooklyn

An unknown vandal drew two foot-long swastikas outside the apartment door of an elderly Jewish woman in Brooklyn.

Miryam Marc, 77, said her late husband was a Holocaust survivor, and she escaped from Europe to Israel during the Holocaust.

The large swastikas were drawn in red marker on either side of Marc’s door on Saturday afternoon, CBS2 reported.

The apartment building installed security cameras after the incident.

“Now I am very, very, very depressed and I am scared even in the night. I cannot sleep,” Marc told CBS2.

Israel’s Ramon Airport Near Red Sea Resort of Eilat to Open This Month

Israel’s long-awaited second international airport near the southern Red Sea resort of Eilat is expected to open on Jan. 22, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) said on Tuesday.

The $500 million Ramon Airport in the Negev desert will start operations gradually, initially with domestic flights and then likely allowing international flights beginning in March, Liza Dvir, an IAA spokeswoman, said.

She noted that the opening of the airstrip took a bit longer than planned in order to double the amount of parking spaces to 60 planes and to lengthen the runway to 3.6 kilometers to accommodate large aircraft.

“Israel didn’t have a second international airport,” she said, referring to the 2014 conflict with Hamas militants in Gaza where missiles targeted Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport, leading some carriers to cancel flights for a few days.

Israel is hoping the new airport will help boost tourism to Eilat. A number of foreign carriers have already launched winter flights to the Ovda military airfield 60 kilometers from Eilat for Europeans seeking a warmer climate.

Initially, Ramon will accommodate more than 2 million passengers a year with plans for an expansion to 4.5 million.

Israeli tech firms raised $6.47 billion in 623 deals in 2018 – report

Israeli tech firms raised a total of $6.47 billion in 623 deals, the highest dollar amount since 2013, a new report shows, summarizing capital raising data for the past six years (2013-2018).

Out of the companies that raised funds, 100 firms raised over $20 million each this year, for a total of $4.1 billion, four times more compared to 2013, a report by IVC Research Center, which tracks the industry, and attorneys Zag-S&W shows. However, just 538 firms raised funds below $5 million each, the lowest number since 2014.

In 2017 Israeli tech firms raised $5.52 billion in 661 deals, while in 2016 the firms raised $5.1 billion in 655 deals. In 2013, Israeli tech firms raised $2.95 billion in 571 deals.

Israeli wheelchair dancers go viral

Like its counterparts across the globe, the reality show Israel’s Got Talent showcases the weird, the wacky and the wonderful from around the country.

On a recent episode of the Reshet TV series, two dancers moved the judges – and much of the audience – to tears.
Zahava, 63, and Oren, 39, at first appear did not appear to be stereotypical dancers. Zahava, who was afflicted with polio as a toddler, and Oren, who is the physically able child of two disabled parents, rolled onto the stage in wheelchairs.

Zahava told the judges that she uses a wheelchair, but she is not bound by it. Oren said he does not use one, except as “an incredible accessory for dance.”

Zahava said she has accomplished many things in her life, but always dreamed of dancing.

“I always said, if I wasn’t disabled I would be a dancer,” she said. “I believed that a dancer needs to have a perfect body – and my body is far from that.”

But in their moving number, the pair moved between wheelchairs and on the floor with grace and Zahava proved that she is very much a dancer. The duo easily sailed through to the next round of the competition, and left several judges and hosts in tears.

The clip of their dance has been viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube since the show aired last week. And many Israelis will be tuning in to see what Zahava and Oren do next.

Mazal Tov! MK Glick to remarry, gets standing ovations from Knesset

MK Yehuda Glick [Likud] surprised the Knesset on Tuesday by announcing that he intends to remarry. Glick had been a widower for the past year after his wife, Yaffa, passed away on January 1 2018.

“I am glad to tell you that Hadas [Disin] and I decided to get married,” Glick told the Knesset to standing ovations, “while everybody will be busy with the party elections and the upcoming national elections, Hadas and I will be busy building a new home.”

Glick said he met his new wife while working on a project that helps orphans and widows headed by Miss. Didin. The foundation is called Amitizm, which translates to “brave.”

Disin lost her husband 17 years ago and has four children from her previous marriage. In an interview with Channel 7 she said that “in general, there is no [attempt to] answer [the pain of being an orphan or a widower] in our community [religious Zionists] or in the general population.”

“People think that if we marry again then everything will work out,” she said, “but there’s no connection between a marriage and opening a second chapter and losing your spouse at a young age.”

Glick, who was born in the US, survived an assassination attempt in 2014. The suspected shooter, Mutaz Hijazi, allegedly shot him and said that he was defending the Al-Aqsa mosque. Glick is famous for visiting the Temple Mount and insisting of its importance to Jews and Judaism.

In Brazil, Netanyahu Meets With Israel Allies Ahead of Presidential Inauguration

Ahead of Tuesday’s inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s 38th president, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, met on Sunday with Christian friends of Israel and the Jewish community in the South American country.

“We have no better friends in the world than the evangelical community, and the evangelical community has no better friend in the world than the State of Israel,” said Netanyahu, who also remarked that Jews and Christians share history, values and heritage.

“And when you come to Israel today, you see a country that welcomes you as brothers and sisters. You see a country that values religious freedom. You see a country that is pride of our past and carries our values to the future,” said the prime minister. “You see a country where the ideal was that every person is born in the Image of God. This is the original idea of equality, in the ancient world, thousands of years ago.”

“These are the values that produced our modern civilization. And they’re anchored in the faiths that we hold dear,” continued Netanyahu. “These are also the faiths, the values that create the future. Israel is seizing the future. We now have an opportunity in Brazil to seize it together.”

Netanyahu also invited the leaders to Jerusalem.

Son of Brazilian President number 1 fan of Prime Minister Netanyahu

During his five days in Brazil, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken repeatedly about positive ties with new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. But the Bolsonaro who has shown Netanyahu the most love during this trip is the president’s son, Eduardo.

Eduardo, a popular politician in his own right who was re-elected in October to a second term as a federal deputy after garnering the most votes in history, gushed in a Facebook post that he was honored to have been the first to greet Netanyahu when he landed in Brazil on Friday.

In a Facebook post on his page late Friday night, he thanked the incoming Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Ambassador to Brazil Yossi Shelley “for having given me the honor of being the first person in the line of officials to greet the Israeli premier. An unforgettable moment for me.”

Bolsonaro, whose social media outlets over the last number of years have been filled with pro-Israel posts, wrote that the Jews “returned to their land” in 1948 after 2,000 years of exile. He noted that Brazilian diplomat Osvaldo Aranha presided over the UN General Assembly during the 1947 debate on the Partition Plan and helped ensure it would pass.

“After Hitler chased the Jews across Europe and Nazi Germany was defeated in 1945, the Jews continued without a territory or a state,” he wrote, then briefly explained the role that Aranha played in ensuring the passage of the Partition Plan that led to the creation of Israel.

Aranha, a strong supporter of partition, postponed the UN vote by a couple of days to ensure that it would get the necessary votes needed to pass, and lobbied heavily for its passage.
“After 2,000 years of exile the Jews returned to their land on May 14, 1948,” he wrote. “Today, on December 28 2018, the country is marking another special date: this is the first time that Israel’s prime minister set foot in Brazil since the establishment of the State of Israel.”

In November, Bolsonaro traveled to Washington and met with US President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. During that meeting, he reiterated his father’s campaign pledge that Brazil would move its embassy to Jerusalem.
“The question should not be whether we will do it, but when we will do it,” Bolsonaro said. “We don’t know the date for the relocation or when it will happen, but we have an intention to do so.”

In May 2016, he posted on Twitter a picture of himself and his brother, Carlos, on a family trip to Israel. He was wearing a T-shirt that said “Israel Defense Forces,” and his brother wore one that read “Mossad.” Over the picture he wrote: “A first world country that values its armed forces and police.”

Israel & Brazil: Historic Friendship, Promising Future

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