Abe Greenwald: The Democrats’ Growing Anti-Semitism Problem Right in front of their eyes.
On Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that freshman Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, will sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Some details about Omar: She supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) campaign aimed at destroying Israel. In 2012, she tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” This week, she went on CNN and defended her tweet. On Omar’s first day in office, she met with anti-Semitic Women’s March leader (and Farrakhan fan) Linda Sarsour.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee oversees House bills and investigations pertaining to U.S. foreign policy, and it has the power to cut American arms and technology shipments to allies. So, while the Democrats are distancing themselves from anti-Semitic activists who organize a march every now and then, they’re raising up anti-Semites to positions of power in the federal government.
Omar isn’t the only one. Rashida Tlaib, the freshman Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, posed for a picture with a Hezbollah supporter named Abbas Hamideh at her swearing-in ceremony in Detroit. She then dined with the man—who has railed against “criminal Zionists” and tweeted things like “Long live [Hezbollah leader] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah!” Tlaib herself has a history of tweeting out support for anti-Israel terrorists. And recently, when a group of senators opposed a bill protecting localities that boycott Israel, Tlaib said that they “forgot what country they represent.”
There is no cosmetic fix for the anti-Semitism that’s infusing the activist left and creeping into the Democratic Party. It runs to the ideological core of intersectionality—the left’s latest religion. By the lights of intersectionality, Jews are too powerful and too white to be the targets of bigotry. So an anti-Semite is perfectly suitable as an ally against some other form of prejudice—against, say, blacks or women. And when anti-Semitism appears on the left, progressives are ready to explain it away with an assortment of convenient nuances and contextual considerations: It’s not anti-Semitism, it’s anti-Zionism; consider the good work the person has done fighting for other groups; we don’t have to embrace everything someone says to appreciate the good in them, etc.
These new congressional Democrats were celebrated far and wide when they were elected. They’re young, outspoken, and many are female. But that just makes them extraordinarily effective ambassadors for a poisonous ideology.
Phyllis Chesler: The Women’s March is a con job
I have been marching for women’s rights for a long, long time — with my feet, my voice, and my pen. I am still doing so.
Currently, the most high-profile activity of the so-called “women’s movement” in the United States is one that saddens and outrages me. The Women’s March (and more specifically, the Women’s March leadership) in the US appears to have nothing to do with women or feminism. I never did care for the pussy hats, but I still supported the grassroots marchers, many of whom were serious and long-time feminists in their communities. The leadership, on the other hand, oddly seemed to have no track record in terms of fighting for women’s rights.
I am in mourning for a vibrant and radical feminist movement. This is not it. Rather, it is a shell game, a performance, a con job.
The Women’s March leadership consists of women completely new to the movement, who are branded in the same way that actresses or reality show celebrities are. They are savvy about procuring corporate funding, and even savvier about getting Hollywood stars — eager to virtue signal — involved. They stage events, not revolutions.
In recent years, progressive Jewish Zionists in the U.S. have been effectively removed – either through deliberately exclusionary language, verbal violence or physical unrest – from progressive activism. Now, the progressive camp has aimed increasingly forceful attacks against American Jews who identify as non-Zionist and even as anti-Zionist. The target now seems to be Jews as a people – with no reference to an individual’s specific positions on questions of Jewish nationalism or Israel.
In particular, Ashkenazi Jewish activists have been categorized as “white Jews,” attacked by Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory for “uphold[ing] white supremacy,” and accused of playing an ahistorically dominant role in the slave trade and mass incarceration in the U.S. Further, anti-Semitism is no longer allowed to remain a distinct form of discrimination, but rather a lesser branch on the tree of general bigotries.
Jews are seen as too institutionally integrated, too successful a minority (itself a favorite anti-Semitic trope), or, in other words, too white (and therefore too much the beneficiaries of “white privilege”) for anti-Semitism to be taken seriously. Yet, how inclusive and welcoming coalitions are towards Jews have always been the canary in the mine of liberal democracies.
Corbyn embodies the worst elements of 21st-century “contemporary” anti-Semitism, hiding behind the thin veil of “anti-Zionism”. Under Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semitism has spread like a virus within his Party, with Labour M.P. Frank Field stating that Labour leadership had become “a force for anti-Semitism in British politics”.
The Labour Party caused outrage in 2018 when they removed anti-Israel clauses from their code of conduct on anti-Semitism. In 2013, when describing British Zionist Jews, Corbyn stated that “having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony”. As a result of growing and unhindered anti-Semitism, many Jewish and non-Jewish members of the Labour Party have resigned, turning their back on a party that used to represent their values.
Corbyn has called terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”. He even laid a wreath at the “Cemetery of the Martyrs of Palestine” during an event commemorating members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, the group responsible for the murder and mutilation of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
The fact that Jeremy Corbyn could become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should fill those who detest bigotry and racism with absolute terror. Despite clear evidence of anti-Semitism, support for Corbyn hasn’t wavered, with many even rejecting accusations as Zionist or Jewish smears.
Europe, including the United Kingdom, has a dark history when it comes to anti-Semitism. Theresa May must do everything she can to stop Corbyn from confirming the return of mainstream anti-Semitism to British shores. She has failed to deliver Brexit, and has ruined the reputation of the Conservative Party. If she does not resign, she is simply holding the door open for Jeremy Corbyn. A door which needs to remain firmly closed.
Lévy said that he could “understand that attitude, which is akin to an extension of our necessary and very healthy metaphysical pessimism.” However, citing a famous passage from the biblical Book of Exodus about the new pharaoh who “did not know” Joseph — the respected Israelite leader who had lived in Egypt — and who subsequently enslaved the Jews, Lévy argued that “Israel’s alliance with a mercurial, inconsistent American administration” was fraught with risks.
That Biblical passage,”coupled with the wisdom of our ancestors and sages,” Lévy said, “offers us useful lessons of caution in the face of the temptation to throw ourselves heedlessly into the arms of Donald Trump.” Quoting the French writer Jean Cocteau’s maxim, “I don’t believe in love; I believe only in evidence of love,” Lévy noted, “In this case, the opposite applies.”
“Gestures of friendship are fine, but what are they worth if they are not grounded in a deep, basic friendship that comes from the heart?” he asked. “Defending Israel at the United Nations is obviously important. But what if that defense is not based on a true Ahavat Israel (love of Israel)? That is the question.”
Much of Lévy’s activity in the last decade has been devoted to advocacy on behalf of the Kurds — a nation of more than 30 million people split between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Asked about the prospects for a change of regime in the Islamic Republic — whose own Kurdish population is almost 12 million — Lévy called for policymakers to “to be consistent and think things through.”
Said Lévy: “You can’t say ‘Iran is our enemy,’ and then authorize specific countries and companies to purchase its oil. Nor can you pretend that you want to overturn the Iranian regime while simultaneously abandoning the Kurds, who are our true allies in that battle, our real boots on the ground against renascent Persian imperialism.”
Alas, he continued, “that is precisely what the West is doing.”
On the viability of regime change in Iran, Lévy said that “at the risk of disappointing my compatriots, I continue to believe it’s possible.”
“I am a man of the left, a liberal,” he said. “But on this point — on the possibility and the necessity of provoking changes of regime — the American neoconservatives are right. We have to have the courage to acknowledge this.”
Ben Shapiro: We Must Go After Bigots on Both Sides
Last week, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was interviewed by The New York Times. King has a long history of racially tinged comments — comments that could plausibly be interpreted as either racist or as awkwardly phrased but not racist. But his interview with the Times destroyed any vestige of such vagary, as he explained, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
Obviously, this is out-and-out bigotry. White supremacism is a grave evil — the declaration that whites are innately superior to others is by definition discriminatory. So is white nationalism, which is based on the assumptions of white supremacism. Ironically, King embraces the arguments of the political left when he suggests that Western civilization is coincident with and springs from racial discrimination.
That’s why I called on Congress to censure King; I maxed out by donating to his political opponent and called on others to do so, too. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) denounced King’s comments and said there would be consequences from the Republican caucus. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) tore into King and silent Republicans in the pages of The Washington Post. The National Republican Congressional Committee already had announced it would cut ties with King last October.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is openly anti-Semitic. Last week, she accused members of Congress of dual loyalty to Israel thanks to their support for anti-BDS legislation. Tlaib is a supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, and a defender of CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill, who called for the destruction of the State of Israel. This week, it emerged that Tlaib hosted Abbas Hamideh, a pro-terrorist artist, at her swearing-in in Detroit; she also invited him to a private dinner. Hamideh has openly called for the destruction of the State of Israel and embraced the leadership of Hezbollah. Thus far, no comment from Tlaib.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted in 2012, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” Democratic leadership has been silent.
Walker proselytizes Icke’s gospel, and she has been doing so since 2012 or 2013. Faithful disciple that she is, she even made a pilgrimage to see her guru guy, touch the hem of his garment and bask in his vibes. The charming couple had a photo taken to memorialize the occasion.
Alice Walker – such a pleasure to meet this wonderful campaigner for freedom. pic.twitter.com/MZKd18jpT8
— David Icke (@davidicke) September 27, 2016
Abulhawa also repeats Walker’s false assertion that she’s called an anti-Semite, “slandered” and condemned solely because of her support for Palestinians and BDS, and that Icke is also slandered by this accusation. Walkers’ assertion, though, is nothing but a red herring waved around to distract attention from the vile doctrines and myths that Icke propagates and that Alice Walker avows are real—that is what precipitated this particular eruption of outrage against Alice Walker, not her support for BDS and the Palestinians.
Some who have sympathy for the Palestinian cause—and BDS in particular—would not take kindly to Alice Walker if they realized she believes in the “reptilian agenda,” the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and Holocaust revisionism, so it’s best to obfuscate that. Now Abulhawa has swooped in to defend Walker at all costs, truth be damned. Abdulhawa is good at practicing tu quoque; but what Abdulhawa doesn’t examine are the facts with respect to Alice Walker.
All of this takes on added significance because just a few days ago, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute decided against conferring the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award on Angela Davis because of her support for BDS and accusations that she is an anti-Semite. This, of course, is causing a furor. In my opinion, the matters of Alice Walker and Angela Davis should not be conflated. Walker, while also a supporter of BDS, has a raft of blatantly anti-Semitic statements to answer for that have nothing to do with BDS or Palestinian rights; and if she can link her case to that of Angela Davis, she can, I fear, successfully muddy the waters and deflect the discourse away from Icke.
To add yet another layer of ugly and ironic insanity, David Duke has given Walker a glowing endorsement, calling her a “courageous black woke womanist.” The notorious Holocaust denier David Irving even gives a tip of the hat to her in his newsletter, which reads thus:
“Blacks don’t like them either: Alice Walker, answering backlash, praises the bravery of anti-Semitic author [David Icke]. Jewish groups including the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] have been monitoring Walker’s talks and writing for years.”
I’m sure that Irving included the comment about the ADL to cement Walker’s credentials as an anti-Semite, and he’s also cynically messing with her, just as David Duke did. (h/t T. Nash)
Growing up a mixed-race Jewish girl in 1980s New Jersey, I know I would have found the newly announced Jewish board members of the Women’s March—scholar Yavilah McCoy, a black Orthodox Jew from a convert family; April Baskin, an ambassador for multiracial Jews; and transgender activist raised Hasidic Jew Abby Stein—a thrilling validation.
It surely would have been for my mother, the only black mom at my shul and a lapsed Catholic who dutifully made hand-grated latkes from her mother-in-law’s recipe while Jewish moms shamelessly brought in Ore-Ida. It would have been, I hope, to our temple’s music director, who could only come out by dying of AIDS. And, as the girl who couldn’t find a salon to style my frizzy, intolerably multiracial hair for my bat mitzvah, I would have known I wasn’t alone.
But when I got the email announcing the three leaders, I couldn’t enjoy the moment at all. Despite calls for unity, even leaning into the chaos, all I see is another dig by the Women’s March at those pesky Jewish feminists who happen to be white.
For those who haven’t been following, three of the public faces of the Women’s March—organizers Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Carmen Perez—have had close ties to the Nation of Islam, and its nutty, virulently anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan. But the animus of the leaders, it turns out, is not only for Jews, but, in particular, white Jewish women. (Bob Bland, a white woman who is not Jewish, has long been a public face of the March.) As a recent Tablet article detailed, this was not a coincidence.
The Women’s March movement and its first demonstration in January 2017 was a spontaneous, grassroots campaign against the incoming US president, Donald Trump, his comments about women, allegations of sexual harassment against him, and more broadly to promote women’s rights.
But a pall has been thrown over the movement and its 2019 march scheduled for this Saturday in the US and around the world, due to concerns that have risen regarding how Jewish women in the movement have been treated and problematic associations of some of its leadership with antisemitic figures.
Several alternative marches have been organized for Saturday in several states and cities in light of these problems, including in New York.
Rachel Druck, a Givatayim resident and activist in the Pantsuit Nation Israel Facebook group, was one of the organizers of the Women’s March Tel Aviv 2017, which espoused the same sentiment of protest against Trump and advocacy for women’s rights as the US chapters of the movement did.
But Druck says the troubling associations that the Women’s March leaders have engaged in and the revelations regarding how Jewish women in the movement were treated are “painful” and have reduced the initial energy and enthusiasm for it.
Druck said that because of what has transpired she did not feel comfortable organizing a Women’s March in Tel Aviv in 2019, and noted that other previous organizers had not taken up the mantle either.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Why I refuse to walk with the Washington Women’s March
I walked away from the Women’s March on Washington two years ago absolutely electrified by the promise of what a movement built around sisterhood and solidarity could accomplish.
Today, sadly, I must walk away from the national Women’s March organization, and specifically its leadership.
While I still firmly believe in its values and mission, I cannot associate with the national march’s leaders and principles, which refuse to completely repudiate anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. I cannot walk shoulder to shoulder with leaders who lock arms with outspoken peddlers of hate.
Instead, this weekend, I will join a movement of women around the nation who are participating in local marches that have distanced themselves from those national Women’s March leaders who still ally with bigotry.
I am not alone. Teresa Shook, who launched the movement with her viral Facebook post, has publicly called for the co-chairs to resign, writing that Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Tamika Mallory “have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform” of the march.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, EMILY’s List and the Democratic National Committee I once led are among the groups distancing themselves from the national event. The Washington State Women’s March rebuked the national group, noting its leaders’ failure to “apologize for their anti-Semitic stance.”
Contrary to recent media reports, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) is scheduled to participate in the Women’s March Saturday.
The Women’s March Iowa shared an announcement Wednesday saying Gillibrand will be the keynote speaker at the event in Des Moines, even though a Buzzfeed article Tuesday suggested that Gillibrand was “avoiding” the Women’s March. A story in the Washington Times said she was “abandon[ing]” the event after accusations of anti-Semitism, correctly noting she would not attend the march in Washington, D.C.
After publication of this article, Gillibrand’s campaign told BuzzFeed that Gillibrand’s attendance at the Iowa march did not mean she condoned anti-Semitism.
“Senator Gillibrand strongly condemns anti-Semitism from anyone, in all forms, and believes it has no place in a movement for women’s empowerment or anywhere else,” her campaign said in a Thursday statement. “She is looking forward to being in Iowa and will not turn her back on the thousands of Iowa women who are joining this locally organized march to advocate for the issues that deeply impact them and their families. This powerful and meaningful march is about the hardworking women in Des Moines and across the country, and she can’t wait to join them.”
“Some of the Democratic Party’s brightest new stars believe Israel is a rogue state that should be treated like apartheid South Africa.”
So opens an analysis piece published by Buzzfeed News on Wednesday, documenting the dramatic shift in attitudes toward Israel inside the Democratic Party. Support for Israel is no longer a bipartisan issue, the article asserts, and the stage on which this paradigm shift will play out is the Democratic presidential primary.
“The young progressives who have ascended to power within the Democratic Party over the last few years want to force what were once fringe views into the mainstream, and significantly change US policy toward Israel,” the article’s authors, Emily Tamkin and Alexis Levinson, write.
They cite a Pew Research poll last year that found just 27% of Democrats said they sympathized with Israel, down from 38% in 2001. (Republican sympathy, meanwhile, has climbed from 50% to 79% in the same time frame.) Younger voters are also drastically less supportive of Israel than older voters.
According to Tamkin and Levinson, Democrats — and in particular, Democratic 2020 hopefuls — will now find themselves pitted against pressure from opposing sides: On the one hand, there are pro-Israel organizations such as AIPAC coupled with the “Democratic old guard” on Capitol Hill — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel — who are ardent supporters of Israel. On the other hand, candidates will need to withstand pressure from the increasingly vociferous progressive wing of the party, including those who oppose the anti-BDS bill purportedly on First Amendment grounds such as senators Bernie Sanders and Dianne Feinstein, and further, those who, like the new Muslim members of Congress Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, are outspoken supporters of the BDS movement itself:
They are part of a revitalized progressive wing that represents a new generation of potential Democratic voters looking to force presidential candidates to grapple with what it actually means for the US to support Israel in the run-up to 2020. That wing is demanding that Democrats who are seeking the presidency debate the country’s stance toward Israel — in the same way that they would debate something like health care policy — rather than treating it as a foregone conclusion.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — who supports the boycott Israel movement and who once said that Israel “hypnotized the world” — was appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.
The assignment, chosen by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will give a vehement critic of the Jewish state a voice — and a vote — on the powerful panel that oversees US foreign policy and foreign aid.
The freshman Democratic legislator announced the posting on Twitter, saying the assignment would put her on a panel that “oversees all foreign assistance, national security affecting the country’s foreign policy, treaties, peacekeeping and war powers.”
While Omar did not mention Israel, she did stress her eagerness to work toward fundamentally changing America’s relationship with another Middle Eastern ally.
“We need to investigate how foreign governments and their lobbyists have violated our laws,” she said. “And we need to reign in arms sales to human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) defended an old tweet on CNN Thursday, denying it could be offensive to Jewish Americans. The tweet has offended Jewish Americans.
In 2012, Omar tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world,” calling its behavior “evil.”
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 16, 2012
With the tweet displayed on screen, CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked Omar what she would say “to Jewish Americans who find that deeply offensive.”
“Oh, that’s a really regrettable way of expressing that,” Omar replied to the direct question. “I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans.”
The comment is reminiscent of the anti-Semitic idea of unnatural Jewish influence and control over the world. Various Jewish Americans have criticized Omar for the tweet, such as the New York Post‘s David Harsanyi, who said she “used a well-worn anti-Semitic trope about the preternatural ability of a nefarious Jewish cabal to deceive the world.”
When previously pressed about the tweet, Omar accused those offended of themselves being bigots. “These accusations are without merit,” she replied to one. “They are rooted in bigotry toward a belief about what Muslims are stereotyped to believe.”
Omar campaigned as supportive of Jewish issues. During a debate in a synagogue, she expressed opposition to oppose the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement directed at Israel, but she reversed course once elected. The Jewish Daily Forward described the “change in tune” as “a bait-and-switch to many Jewish Minnesotans.” (h/t MtTB)
House GOP leaders call on Democrats to denounce Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic rhetoric following her elevation to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. https://t.co/nSpYrdQBKf pic.twitter.com/wInZDr4HLW
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) January 17, 2019
Students on British campuses who protest Israel typically do so not out of an opposition to specific government policies or anger toward a recent spate of violence. The level of hostility displayed indicates a fundamental rejection of the principle of Jewish self-determination. A case in point was a student filmed at the Mazzig protest proclaiming, “We don’t need no Jewish-majority state” in the 21st century.
How do such abhorrent actions arise amongst British students?
With the BBC’s prominence as a breaking news source on social media, British students have been inculcated with a highly distorted vision of Israel. On campus, students of my age grew up reading extensive reporting on Operation Protective Edge in 2014, characterized by stark omission of the facts on the ground. Coverage of the conflict was marred by the BBC’s repeated failure to showcase the barrage of rockets fired at Israeli homes and city centers – a total of 4,897 rockets in 2014. Trusted news source The Guardian frequently prints opinion pieces rationalizing Palestinian terrorism and portraying Israelis as violent. Ill-informed students in Britain go into university with the impression that Israel is an inherently evil aggressor in a one-sided conflict. With such unchallenged media coverage, who should blame them?
But there are more sinister political elements at play.
Organizations in the UK, including charities and political advocacy groups, are often funded by networks linked to Palestinian terrorist entities. These include Friends of Al-Aqsa and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. On campus, these organizations play a prominent role in both isolating pro-Israel students, and indoctrinating well-meaning but uninformed individuals into blind support for anti-Zionism.
Opposition to Israel is engendered into the very fabric of several prominent British universities. At King’s College London and University College London, employees of the student unions organized aggressive protests against Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev and former Israeli deputy prime minister Dan Meridor respectively. At King’s College London most recently, CAMERA’s Arabic research team revealed the student union’s support and mourning for 19 Hamas, Fatah, PFLP and Islamic Jihad terrorists killed during Gaza border riots over the summer.
On January 17, the Toronto Star prominently published an op-ed by Dr. Izzeldine Abueliash entitled “A father’s tribute a decade after losing his daughters in Gaza”.
Regarding the tragic circumstances that saw the deaths of three daughters of Palestinian doctor Izzeldine Abuelaish, and his niece ten years ago, Israel’s Beersheba District Court said that Palestinian terror groups bore direct responsibility for the girls’ deaths by fighting from within a civilian population and storing weapons in the building where they died.
According to the Times of Israel, Justice Shlomo Friedlander said in his ruling that Israel Defense Forces’ shells hit the building in the midst of a battle in the area because figures on the roof the building were suspected of acting as lookouts for terror groups and directing fire (sniper and mortar shells) at IDF forces. In addition, there was evidence that secondary explosions were apparently caused by weapons stored at the site, albeit without the Abuelaish’s knowledge, which may have killed his family members.
Notwithstanding, the IDF accepted responsibility for the deaths of Dr. Abuelaish’s family members and Dr. Abuelaish himself accepted the IDF’s findings and thanked Israel for carrying out an honest investigation. “We all make mistakes,” he said previously, adding that he hoped that such an error would never be repeated.
In 2018, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided a number of grants to Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGO), including $218,000 to Breaking the Silence for “bilateral support.” The government documents specifically note how the Breaking the Silence project will adhere to Dutch foreign policy objectives, including supporting “change agents” and “freedom of expression.” (See Appendix 1.)
One of Breaking the Silence’s objectives listed in the funding document states that its efforts will include encouraging “diaspora Jewish communities to voice their opposition to the occupation.”
This objective marks a major escalation in the NGO political agendas funded by European governments, and is reflected in a number of specific activities.
During this grant period, Breaking the Silence was a key partner in the US-based organization’s IfNotNow’s campaign targeting Birthright Israel. IfNotNow, which describes itself as a “movement working towards an American Jewish community that stands for freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians by ending its support for the occupation,” organized individuals to “walkoff” their Birthright Israel trips in “protest” during the summer of 2018. Breaking the Silence is seen escorting participants off their trips and taking them on tours of the West Bank.
Additional objectives listed in the grant document include contributing to a “strong, value based, anti-occupation voice in the Israeli media” and cultivating “a cadre of Israeli opinion shapers that are motivated to promote a value-based opposition to the occupation” and a “public and political environment more receptive to HR and anti-occupation messaging.” Breaking the Silence will also use the Dutch funds to “increase opposition in the international arena to Israel’s prolonged occupation of the oPt” through challenging “key international public figures…to respond.”
On January 22, 2019, Hebrew University Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian will speak at an event in Amsterdam about “Technologies of Violence at Damascus Gate: Jerusalemite Children Write against ‘Combat Proven’ Dispossession.” Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s research includes antisemitic themes popularized by NGO activists. In this narrative, Jews are not only “blood thirsty” but “greedy,” killing children to make money by selling weapons.
The three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sponsoring the event promote discriminatory anti-Israel campaigns. For example:
Gate48 supports BDS, and in July 2018 signed a Jewish Voice for Peace letter condemning the IHRA definition of antisemitism and anti-boycott efforts.
FFIPP promotes BDS campaigns, bringing Omar Barghouti to teach its interns about this form of discrimination. FFIPP also meets with PFLP-tied NGOs and other prominent BDS groups. Its board members include Richard Falk, Judith Butler, and Hanan Ashrawi.
Palestine Link supports the Kairos Palestine document, which characterizes terrorist acts as “armed resistance” and “Palestinian legal resistance,” denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, seeks to mobilize churches worldwide in the call for BDS, compares Israel with the South African apartheid regime. Palestine Link also supports BDS.
Additionally, the speaker herself has numerous NGO connections. In 2014, she signed the highly inflammatory “open letter to the people in Gaza,” published in The Lancet medical journal and authored by NGO activists who promoted David Duke videos. The letter accused Israel of carrying out a propaganda campaign that “justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre” and ignored Hamas’s crimes of rocket fire and terror tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory.
— NGO Monitor (@ngomonitor) January 17, 2019
Four calendar years after the passage of the divestment resolution at the UCC’s General Synod, there is no objective proof or measure available for people to determine the extent to which the denomination’s leaders have achieved the stated goal of the resolution — to stop the UCC from profiting from companies that it believes are harming the human rights of Palestinians. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence that suggests things haven’t changed. The names of proscribed companies still show up on the relevant schedules of investments almost four years later.
The denomination set up a formal system or set of rules on how to deal with Israel-related investments. At first glance, it looked like this formal system would demand action and sacrifice from the UCC, but in practice, the rules were so riddled with escape hatches and loopholes that they were essentially meaningless. They demanded nothing from the UCC. The only rules that mattered were those that the UCC’s General Synod declared Israel had violated.
That’s probably the way the people involved in the fiasco wanted it. Despite everything, when it comes to Israel, UCC money managers are still able to invest as pretty much as they always did even as they talk about being in “covenant” with the General Synod or “aligned” with its resolutions. Despite this, anti-Israel activists in the denomination, can nevertheless claim their church is part of the BDS movement. And the denomination’s leaders in Cleveland bask in the media attention the BDS controversy has generated for their dying church. Everybody got what they wanted without paying any costs. The only people who paid any cost for the UCC’s actions were Jews whose homeland was defamed as the charade played out.
The bottom line is what it has been for a long, long time.
Rules are for Jews, not for Christians who judge them.
Last month the BBC aired reports from the Gaza Strip presented by Radio 4’s Mishal Husain which included multiple references to issues concerning water, electricity and sewage.
As was noted here at the time:
“…listeners heard that “more than 90% of the population don’t have access to safe drinking water” and that “the desalination system in Gaza has broken down” because of “electricity”. No effort was made to clarify the full background to those statements or to explain that – as the BBC knows – the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip (and resulting problems with water and sewage) has nothing to do with “the blockade”.”
The portrayal of those issues focused mainly on framing them as being primarily attributable to Israel’s counter-terrorism measures while no effort was made to explain the role of Hamas terrorism in bringing about those measures. The effects of Hamas’ financial prioritisation of terrorism over civilian welfare, its chronic mismanagement of services and utilities and infrastructure and the influence of the Hamas-Fatah split on the situation in the Gaza Strip were not adequately explained in the BBC’s reporting.
Like other BBC reporters before her, Mishal Husain did not bother to clarify that the “shortage of clean water” in the Gaza Strip is the result of years of over-pumping.
The episode scheduled to be aired on the morning of January 16th is titled “On Tour: Tel Aviv” and its synopsis suggests that viewers may see a departure from the disabilities and travel genre.
“Nadeem Islam visits the city of Tel Aviv in Israel, also known as The Miami of the Middle East. Wandering the sunny boulevards and beaches with his deaf Israeli guide Omer, they take in the beautiful Bauhaus architecture and a show at the famous Nalaga’at theatre of the deafblind. Nadeem has a Muslim background, and Omer is Israeli – will international signing be a bridge for them to meet in the middle and discuss the issue of Israel and Palestine?
Nadeem also takes on a couple of deaf volleyball champions, meets a deaf Holocaust survivor, learns the Israeli fingerspelling alphabet, and joins Tel Aviv’s Pride march – one of the largest in the world!”
The BBC Academy’s ‘style guide’ of course tells BBC journalists that “in day-to-day coverage of the Middle East you should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank – rather, it is still an aspiration or an historical entity”.
Remarkably BBC Two appears to believe that this particular episode of its half-hour travel show should include a political discussion simply because its British presenter “has a Muslim background”.
Now there’s a stereotype for you.
As stated BBC Watch submitted a second complaint and the reply received (also by complainant Mr Stephen Franklin) includes the following:
“Thank you for taking the time to contact us again. We are sorry to learn that you were not satisfied with our earlier response.
It was our intention to say that the figures within the region have been in decline over the last few decades, which is accurate, but on reflection we can see that that [sic] the way the script was worded meant listeners could have understood that we were referring to the present day state of Israel.
That clarification reads as follows:
Unfortunately, however, despite that clarification the programme itself is currently still available online in its original and inaccurate form and with no link provided to the clarification.
Residents of a village in rural England were shocked by the recent discovery that a local “phone-box library” was stuffed with antisemitic and Nazi literature.
According to The Daily Mail, such miniature libraries are a common way for residents of East Winch to share books, but no one expected the precise kind of literature that recently appeared.
Among the books found were The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry, White Power by American neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell, and other texts advocating racism and antisemitism.
The Daily Mail quoted local resident Bobby Tate as saying of the troubling situation, “I asked myself, am I living in a Nazi village?”
“There are a few of these phone boxes in Norfolk,” he recounted. “They are used to exchange books and are like an unofficial library. I have driven past it hundreds of times. So, I was walking past it so I decided to have a look. I opened the door and one of the first books I saw was Mein Kampf.”
On Thursday, it was revealed that the elderly anti-Semitic Florida man who allegedly tried to burn down his Miami Beach condo, shouting he was “going to burn down the building with all the f***ing Jews,” had an assortment of Nazi memorabilia in his home.
According to the Miami Herald, items found in the home of Walter Stolper, 73, who was arrested in July 2018, included a Santa Hitler mug, another mug with an oath to Hitler, a knife with a Nazi emblem, a SS flag, a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf,” a framed Nazi eagle logo, a seeming Nazi calendar, and a mug of a smiling Nazi holding a young girl. The Herald reported that the items along with surveillance video of Stolper hauling a shopping cart loaded with gasoline will form part of the case against him.
The mug with the oath to Hitler read, “I swear to you Adolf Hitler as Fuhrer and chancellor to the German Reich, loyalty and courage. I vow to you and to the superiors appointed by you, obedience until death, so help me God.”
The arrest report stated that a witness saw Stolper hauling plastic containers with gas to the apartment; police discovered Stolper had poured gasoline down the condo’s chute starting from the 15th floor as well as the hallway. Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez acknowledged, “We do believe that we were minutes away from a potentially deadly situation.” He added, “We received a tip yesterday. He had been acting strangely saying a lot of derogatory comments towards the Jewish community. We later learned there was a pending eviction for him … This is an individual that our intelligence unit intercepted with two filled gasoline tanks as he was coming back into the apartment building.“
The Criminal Court in the French town of Bobigny on Thursday sentenced notorious anti-Semite Alain Soral to one year in prison after he was found guilty of inciting racial hatred against Jews, Ben Cohen reported in The Algemeiner.
Soral wrote in March 2018 on his website Equality and Reconciliation: “Jews are manipulative, domineering and hateful.” The platform is known for its extreme anti-Semitic and nationalist content.
After the verdict, a lawyer for the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), Ilana Soskin, said: “we will continue to prosecute Alain Soral as soon as he makes anti-Jewish statements.”
The French Union of Jewish Students (EUJF) also welcomed the verdict, posting on Twitter that “Justice has put a new stop on this little propagandist of hatred.”
Soral has several times been convicted of provoking racial hatred. His last court appearance just a month ago left with him with a $5,000 fine for publishing anti-Semitic material on his website.
Soral was originally a communist and later worked for the far-right National Front (NF), before leaving the party and co-founding his own platform, Equality and Reconciliation, together with another notorious French anti-Semite, Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday calling on the European Union and its member states to establish practices to identify and recover works of art and cultural goods such as books, manuscripts, and ritual items looted during the World War II and the Holocaust.
The resolution notes previous estimates that there were 650,000 pieces of art looted during the war, with approximately 110,000 works still missing.
The World Jewish Restitution Organization which helps recover Jews recover property lost and stolen during the Holocaust, welcomed the passage of the resolution, saying it was an important message of support for Holocaust survivors.
“Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, this is a powerful declaration of support by the European Parliament for Holocaust survivors and their families in their decades-long quest for justice from the largest cultural theft in history,” said Gideon Taylor, WJRO Chair of Operations.
“WJRO has long called for heightened provenance research and removal of the many obstacles that survivors and their families face in recovering what was so wrongfully taken from them.”
I’ve never much cared for the phrase “The Chosen People.” It just strikes me as a little braggy. My preferred nickname has always been “People of the Book.” It sounds serious and studious, and lends itself to the type of interpretation you might find — with lengthy footnotes — in a very important book.
I’d like to think that early 20th century Polish-Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum had this double-meaning in mind when he first implored his colleagues, likewise trapped in the Warsaw Ghetto, to “get everything down on paper.” But as the remarkable film “Who Will Write Our History” shows, levity wasn’t exactly his top priority.
Ringleblum’s group, code-named “Oyneg Shabes” (Enjoyment of Sabbath), was a collection of writers, artists, social critics, economists, teachers, rabbis, statisticians and others that lived in (or were brought to) the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Ringelblum recognized the enormity of what was happening and felt the best thing he could do was to keep a record — a true record — and hope that some day it could be of use to mankind.
“No one appointed him,” historian Samuel D. Kassow says in this mesmerizing film that is half-documentary/half-reenactment. He just did it.
Ringelblum was working at the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the last remaining infrastructure for the enormous Jewish community in Warsaw prior to and during the time of the ghetto. There he was able to collect grand scale information concerning the movements of people, but also smaller stories of individual indignities that could easily slip through the cracks. Combined they form the true picture of Nazi atrocities and institutionalized anti-Semitism.
“Who Will Write Our History?” is an unusual movie. It is based on Kassow’s 2007 book of the same name, but director Roberta Grossman (and producer Nancy Spielberg, younger sister to Steven) mix talking head interviews, historical footage and “scenes” with actors, sets and high stakes drama. It’s not easy to thread this type of formalist needle, but Grossman maintains a level of urgency that is (and I hate describing movies about the Holocaust this way) quite entertaining. Ringelblum assembling his team is almost like a Shoah “Ocean’s 11.”
Everyone knows plastic is bad for the environment. That’s why bioplastics – plastics made from renewable sources like plants or old waste – were invented. But these bioplastics can’t be created everywhere since the plants they use require fresh water, a scarce resource in many countries.
One such country is Israel, which does not have a surplus of fresh water. Other countries suffering from the same problem are China and India, whose size and resulting plastic consumption is very bad news for the planet.
This is the problem researchers from Tel Aviv University wished to resolve by developing bioplastic polymers derived from microorganisms that feed on seaweed. These can be bred in salty seawater without impinging on scarce freshwater resources.
The result is a biodegradable polymer that produces zero toxic waste and recycles into organic waste. The study that led to it, carried out by Alexander Golberg and Prof. Michael Gozin from Tel Aviv University, was recently published in the journal Bioresource Technology.
“Plastics take hundreds of years to decay. So bottles, packaging and bags create plastic ‘continents’ in the oceans, endanger animals and pollute the environment,” said Golberg, a senior lecturer at TAU’s Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences.
One August morning in 2014, Yariv Adan, a senior product manager for Google in Zurich, was riding his motorcycle to work on a scenic mountain road when things went very wrong. His accident left him with an injured spine, a cracked scapula, broken bones and torn muscles.
He has learned to live with the paralysis of his right arm. But the pain, his constant companion, was a different story.
“Imagine presenting or interviewing with strong pain. Imagine waking up multiple times every night because of pain. Imagine pain always there with you — on your vacation, kid’s birthday, long business trip, when you drive, when you kiss — e-v-e-r-y day for the rest of your life,” Adan wrote in a blog post in March 2018, describing his situation.
Then one day his second cousin Ariel Assaf, an Israeli-US serial entrepreneur who sold his data-center analytics startup Cloudoscope to Hewlett Packard, complained to Adan that he was looking for his next “significant” project and was having trouble coming up with an idea worth pursuing.
They tossed a few ideas around, and then decided that perhaps Adan’s predicament was a challenge worth taking up.
“Talking to him I realized just how frustrated he was about his pain and about how little modern medicine had to offer him,” Assaf said in an interview with The Times of Israel in Tel Aviv, where he now lives. Not only that, Adan described to Assaf the frustration of the doctors themselves, who felt helpless regarding his pain.
Dov Lipman: What truly makes Israel great
I have a confession to make.
This column was supposed to focus exclusively on the elections. I was going to criticize the egos that are preventing parties from running together – both within the Right, Center and Left blocs. I began translating the story related in the Talmud about Yarovam ben Nevat, the wicked king who God implored to repent and promised him the World to Come along with King David. But God took away this opportunity when Yarovam asked Him, “Who will go first? Me or King David?” That demonstration of ego and self-centeredness destroyed him.
I was going to go one by one among the party leaders on how they are putting themselves before their ideals and, in the process, destroying themselves.
And then I left my computer and went to the gym for a workout. The television on my elliptical was tuned to Hakochav Haba (Rising Star) – the competition to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision Song Competition, which will be held in Tel Aviv. And a group called the Shalva Band (from the Shalva National Children’s Center in Jerusalem) performed.
Two blind singers – Annael, an immigrant from France, and Dina, an immigrant from India – sang “The Sound of Silence,” accompanied by Tal and Yair, two percussionists who have Downs syndrome, Yosef, the drummer, who has Williams syndrome, and Guy, the keyboard player who is visually impaired.
The Shalva Band had already advanced through the first two rounds of the competition – as the judges emphasized, based on the merit of their music, and not because they have special needs. But this third performance brought the judges to tears. It was special and even startling to see the raw emotions of seasoned music stars, including guest judge Itai Levy, who was so overwhelmed by emotion that he could not speak.
All the judges said that the Shalva Band should represent Israel in the Eurovision contest, and that Israelis would be so proud if they stood before the world and performed on behalf of Israel.
— The Mossad (@TheMossadIL) January 16, 2019
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