David Friedman: President Trump leads the fight against antisemitism
Some say – with breathtaking error – that protecting Israel has nothing to do with fighting antisemitism. The State of Israel is the ultimate defense against this evil force. It is the sanctuary to which Jews fled when they were expelled from North Africa or escaped the former Soviet Union and had no place else to go. When Jews were singled out for execution on the tarmac in Entebbe, Uganda, it was Israel that saved them in one of history’s most daring rescues. When Jews were persecuted in Yemen and Ethiopia, it was Israel that brought them to safety on missions such as Operation Moses, Operation Solomon and Operation Magic Carpet. To this day, Israel helps support local governments and NGOs around the world in defending the Jewish people.
The recent rash of antisemitic attacks in the United States is repugnant and shocking. But apart from baseless pronouncements from armchair pundits and opportunistic politicians, they have nothing to do with the president. Quite to the contrary, President Trump, in empowering law enforcement, preserving individual rights to self-defense, supporting tighter security in schools and places of worship and advocating for more protective mental health policies, is directly addressing concrete measures to keep us all safer and more secure.
Many have called for a softening of our public discourse and more education regarding the evils of hatred as a means of reducing antisemitic attacks. As one who has spent the better part of the past three years in Israel, where regrettably such attacks occur far more frequently but with far less international coverage than attacks in the United States, I can’t help but doubt the seriousness of that plan. We can always use better education and more civility, but those who will commit acts of antisemitism are not going to be the ones who attend the course. I have yet to see anyone present an effective method to identify in advance and arrest or cure the unstable and hate-filled miscreants who are attacking Jews. As in Israel, the primary approach must be increased security, better surveillance and intelligence, self-defense and mental health reform. President Trump is exactly in the right place on these initiatives.
I have an important message for the Trump haters who think they are fighting antisemitism by fighting Trump: In five years, President Trump will be out of office and your hysterical hyperbole will not have made a dent in combating this evil scourge. Whatever other policy differences you may have with the president, if you truly oppose antisemitism, then you have a friend and ally in the White House.
Caroline Glick: A great – but fragile – triumph of Zionism
A decade ago, the anti-Zionist forces scored their greatest political victory. On June 4, 2009, the new American president Barack Obama delivered his “Address to the Muslim World,” at American University in Cairo. Before an audience that included a large contingent of Muslim Brotherhood members, specifically invited by the White House, Obama resonated their rejection of Jewish history and denial of the Jewish roots and rights to the Land of Israel.
In Cairo, Obama asserted that Israel’s establishment was a product of “a tragic history … Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust.”
Obama pointedly failed to utter a word about the nation of Israel’s historic ties to its homeland.
Instead, he announced that he would travel from Cairo to Buchenwald concentration camp. Jerusalem was not on his itinerary.
Obama’s speech was the single most hostile act any US leader ever took against the Jewish state. Speaking to a room full of Israel’s enemies, Obama resonated their lies and propaganda.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reportedly stunned by the existential hostility towards Israel and the Jewish people Obama displayed at Cairo. But once he recognized the nature of the problem Netanyahu spent the next ten years insisting on the truth. Despite catcalls of criticism from the Israeli left, from liberal American Jews, from the EU, and from the Obama administration, Netanyahu and the governments he led insisted on telling the truth about Israel and Zionism over and over and over again and insisted that the truth be acknowledged. At every opportunity, Netanyahu stated and restated that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and was never the capital of any other nation. He stated and repeated endlessly that Israel is the homeland and the nation-state of the Jewish people and was never the homeland or nation-state of any other people.
Over time, it made a difference.
Perhaps The New York Times, which buried the Holocaust in its inside pages when it even deigned to mention that unprecedented horror, will finally take notice of what happened at Auschwitz. Publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger, a proud American Reform Jew, fiercely opposed singling out Jews as victims of Nazi annihilation. Jews who were deported to death camps were identified in his newspaper as “persons,” not Jews. Its first published account of the Nazi extermination plan, duly identified as “probably the greatest mass slaughter in history,” appeared on an inside page at the bottom of a column of unrelated stories.
It got worse. In the summer of 1942, the Times cited a report by Szmul Zygielbojm of the Polish National Council documenting the slaughter of 700,000 Jews: “Children in orphanages, old persons in almshouses, the sick in hospitals, and women were slain in the streets.” For months, Germans had been “methodically proceeding with their campaign to exterminate all Jews.” But the Times front page that day featured articles about tennis shoes and canned fruit. Auschwitz horrors never received front-page attention.
The Times described the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in brief inside-page stories. Its first account, nearly three weeks after the revolt began, was four paragraphs long. Its solitary editorial about the uprising referred to 400,000 “persons” who were deported to Treblinka. There was no indication that those “persons” were Jews. As Sulzberger explained to a friend, “We chose to think of Jews as human beings instead of any particular religious group.” Only once in four years was the fate of Jews mentioned on the front page or as the subject of a lead editorial. Their horrific plight never qualified for the daily Times ranking of important events.
The Times can never erase its inexcusable dereliction of journalistic responsibility. At the upcoming Auschwitz memorial observances, it will be interesting to read its coverage of what it buried in insignificance 75 years ago, along with the six million murdered Jews who were deemed too inconsequential for notice in its pages.
The head of the Muslim World League, Mohammed al-Issa, along with an entourage of prominent Muslim religious leaders, on Thursday joined counterparts from the American Jewish Committee on a landmark interfaith tour of the former Nazi extermination camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The world had to ensure that “these kinds of horrible crimes” will never “happen again,” Issa, the secretary-general of the Mecca-based MWL and a former Saudi justice minister, said at the end of the visit.
Organizers said it was “the most senior Islamic leadership delegation” to visit the site of a Nazi death camp. The AJC said that Al-Issa led a delegation of 62 Muslims, including 25 prominent religious leaders, from some 28 countries during the “groundbreaking” visit. At one point, they prayed with their heads pressed on the ground at Birkenau, the largest part of the camp and the most notorious site of Germany’s mass murder of European Jews.
The two groups embarked on the tour amid a flurry of hugs and warm handshakes just days ahead of the 75th anniversary of the camps’ liberation by Soviet troops.
The delegation will continue on to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw on Friday, then visit the city’s Nozyk Synagogue and a local mosque, and share in an interfaith Shabbat meal.
Interfaith delegation to Auschwitz including Muslim World League head Mohammed al-Issa, January 23, 2020. (Yaakov Schwartz/ Times of Israel)
At the death camp, the group was shown the gruesome evidence of the horrors the Nazis inflicted on the camps’ prisoners, which included some 1 million Jews, 75,000 Poles, 21,000 Roma, 14,000 Soviets and around 15,000 others, such as Jehovahs Witness and homosexuals, according to the Auschwitz Memorial Museum. The trip culminated in a memorial service between the former gas chambers and crematorium, at which both Jewish and Muslim prayers were offered on behalf of the Holocaust victims.
HE Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa and delegates from the @MWLOrg_en and @AJCGlobal visited @AuschwitzMuseum today in an interfaith mission marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. #Auschwitz75 pic.twitter.com/PjvYZXCblu
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 23, 2020
Islamic Scholars Visit Auschwitz-Birkenau; Dr. Ahamd Abadi of Morocco: We Must Learn the Lesson of the Holocaust to Prevent such a Tragedy from Repeating pic.twitter.com/P2LY1t9yMy
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) January 24, 2020
Part of “Never Again” is having a continuous homeland for the Jewish people, so that we can escape persecution no matter where it is in the world. I will always spread the truth about Israel, educate my peers, and combat antisemitism for the sake of the survivors, for the sake of my mom, and for all of us.
Pro-Israel students should not need to spend their college experience combating antisemitism and anti-Zionism. Antisemitism, or antisemitism masked as anti-Zionism, has no place on college campuses. I dream of a future where my peers can be normal college students, just like anyone else.
I participated in the StandWithUs (SWU) “Israel In Focus” international conference, held January 17-19 in Los Angeles, where we were asked to raise our hand if we had ever experienced antisemitism. Nearly 500 hands instantly rose, and I was no exception. During my years at Santa Monica College (SMC), I have been harassed, cyber-bullied, and made to feel unsafe on campus. I am on the Board of SMC’s Students Supporting Israel (SSI) chapter, and our events were protested; we were called white supremacists and Nazis; and we were excluded from the progressive community on campus.
During the conference, I was not only inspired by the speakers, but also by the over 500 high school and college student leaders. I was inspired by a high school student who finally gained the courage to wear a “mem” around her neck to represent her identity — based on an Instagram campaign “Why I Wear My Star,” conceived by two SWU high school interns after the Poway synagogue shooting. I was also inspired by my friend Ryan Ang, who although not Jewish, wears a kippah everyday to experience the reality that Jews face.
Recap: Over 45 World Leaders Commemorate Auschwitz Liberation in Jerusalem
Vice President Mike Pence said at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Thursday: “Today we pause to remember…the greatest evil ever perpetuated by man against man in the long catalogue of human crime.”
‘When soldiers opened the gates of Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, they found 7,000 half-starved, half-naked prisoners, [and] hundreds of boxes of camp records that documented the greatest mass murder in history. Before the war was over, in its five years of existence, more than 1.1 million men, women, and children would perish at Auschwitz.”
“We must be prepared to confront and expose the vile tide of anti-Semitism that is fueling hate and violence all across the world….We must also stand strong against the leading state purveyor of anti-Semitism, against the one government in the world that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The world must stand strong against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
US VP Pence at Holocaust Event: Must Stand Strong Against Iran/We Cannot Let History Repeat
“The magnitude of the genocide that was visited upon the Jewish people defies comprehension and can make those of us who live in the shadow of those indescribable events feel hopelessly inadequate. The scale of the evil was so great, the impact so profound, that it threatens to obscure the countless individual human stories of tragedy, loss and suffering of which it was comprised. That is why places like this, and events like this, are so vitally important.”
“I have long drawn inspiration from the selfless actions of my dear grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who in 1943, in Nazi-occupied Athens, saved a Jewish family by taking them into her home and hiding them. My grandmother, who is buried on the Mount of Olives, has a tree planted in her name here at Yad Vashem, and is counted as one of the Righteous among the Nations, a fact which gives me, and my family, immense pride.”
HRH Prince Charles Addresses the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem
President Putin at Holocaust Event says we must be vigilant not to miss signs of hatred
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s prime speaking slot at a Holocaust commemoration event in Jerusalem this week was generating controversy even before the longtime leader took the podium. His remarks Thursday at the event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army has done little to quell it.
Speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, Putin claimed that 40 percent of the Jews who died in the Holocaust were citizens of the Soviet Union. Historians called the claim absurd.
“It’s completely false,” Jan Grabowski, a historian at the University of Ottawa, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview.
Jelena Subotic, a professor of political science at Georgia State University and the author of “Yellow Star, Red Star: Holocaust Remembrance After Communism,” called Putin’s claim “ridiculous and not based on historical fact,” noting the that the “consensus” among historians is that about 1 million of the 6 million Jews murdered were from the Soviet Union.
In recent months, Putin has engaged in a war over Holocaust complicity with Poland, whose president, Andrzej Duda, declined to attend the Jerusalem event because he was denied a speaking slot. Putin has accused Poland of cooperating with Germany in 1938, while Duda has charged Russia with downplaying its own role in invading the Eastern European nation in cooperation with the Nazis the following year.
Melanie Phillips: A Polish-Russian row over commemoration of the Holocaust
The current Auschwitz row has provoked claims that this Polish revisionism is being promulgated by “populist” nationalist politicians. In fact, it has a deeper cultural lineage.
For more than two decades, Poland has denied the centrality to the Holocaust of the Jewish genocide by claiming that the Nazis murdered the Jews in Poland because they were Poles. Denying the victimization of the Jews as Jews enables Poland to deny its own anti-Jewish past.
Ever since the country was liberated from Communist oppression, it has tried to construct a national identity around its status as a victim of both Nazism and the Soviet Union. But in trying to deny their country’s anti-Jewish past, Poles repeatedly indulge in anti-Semitism.
Both before and during World War II, attacks on Jews were fueled by the belief that the Jews were behind Soviet communism. This has developed into the now widespread accusation of “Jewish-Bolshevism” that makes use of Jewish texts to support obscene claims of Jewish responsibility for the Holocaust.
In an interview in Tablet, Elżbieta Janicka, a Polish historian who focuses on Polish anti-Semitism, has spoken of how a conference on Polish Holocaust studies held in Paris last year was disrupted by a group of Poles who distributed anti-Jewish propaganda, harassed participants and subjected to them to crude anti-Semitic remarks, all under the noses of Polish state representatives.
The French minister of science sent an official protest note to the Polish minister of science. In return, she was advised to deal with French anti-Semitism. Now the conference organizers have prepared a lawsuit.
Last year, the Polish prime minister himself made a notorious comment that Jews were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust. Challenged about this on the BBC, he refused to retract his words and merely implied that he was referring to Jewish collaborators in what he agreed were “terrible times.”
This Auschwitz row is effectively holding the memory of the Jewish dead hostage to international politics. It tells us yet again that, despite such commemorations, too many still regard the Jews as little more than a troublesome and even despised impediment to their own agendas.
The attention of the Israeli media was captured on Wednesday when French President Emmanuel Macron was caught on camera yelling at Israeli security guards at the entrance of a church in the Old City of Jerusalem, but according to a new report, Macron is actually dependent on an Israeli defense system.
According to a report published on Thursday by the Israeli news site Mako, Macron’s French Air Force plane — his equivalent of the famous US Air Force One — carries an advanced anti-missile system co-developed by the Israeli company Elbit Systems.
The Directional Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) is a laser-based system that uses a beam to jam the homing systems of heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles.
It is one of the most advanced defense systems in the world and is currently being installed on the new plane set to become Israel’s Air Force One.
It is also used by the Italian and Brazilian Air Forces.
Yad Vashem has partnered with Facebook to remember victims of the Holocaust via the “IRemember Wall,” an online commemorative project connecting members of the public with adults and children murdered by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.
The project, marking the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, randomly links participants with one of the names found in Yad Vashem’s database of four-and-a-half of the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust. After being matched, the names appear together on Yad Vashem’s IRemember Wall, now available in six languages.
For a second consecutive year, social media giant Facebook says it will use its platform to extend the outreach of the project and encourage global awareness of the Holocaust. In 2019, the partnership enabled Yad Vashem to reach some 700,000 Facebook users in 149 countries.
Within living memory of the #Holocaust, after which the world said #NeverAgain, #antisemitism has returned. But what is antisemitism and why should its return be cause for grave concern, not only for Jews but for all of us? #HolocaustMemorialDay #Auschwitz75 #HMD2020 pic.twitter.com/kmcI4MUrLX
— Rabbi Sacks (@rabbisacks) January 24, 2020
Photographer & filmmaker Luigi Toscano spent a whole year meeting with hundreds of Holocaust survivors around the world to share their stories in this traveling photo exhibition for public spaces, now facing the UN in Geneva. The project was also made into this documentary film. pic.twitter.com/mEQQAdXkRW
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) January 23, 2020
Amid the recent uptick in anti-Semitism in the United States and other Western countries, last week’s U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) hearing on the subject offered hope for a better future.
Testifying before the USCIRF panel in Washington, DC, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, acknowledged on the record that parts of the United Nations are indeed anti-Semitic.
For decades, a group of UN ambassadors representing the world’s most oppressive governments have colluded to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist as the eternal Jewish homeland. This scheme started with the passage of a 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, continued at UN human-rights conferences-turned Israel hate-fests and manifests today with the Jewish state being targeted by more resolutions and condemnation than all other UN members combined.
At the Capitol Hill hearing, titled “Global Efforts to Counter Anti-Semitism,” Shaheed stated that the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) permanent Agenda Item Seven is a “problem” in that it is “used to vilify Israel,” conceding that it has proven “counterproductive in many ways.”
Contrary to what its name implies, the UNHRC is comprised of some of the world’s worst human-rights violators, with Libya, Sudan and Venezuela being among the 14 countries most recently appointed to it. Item Seven puts Israel under the microscope at UNHRC sessions, while the remaining 192 countries are collectively considered under a different item.
A German journalist for the publically-funded broadcaster ARD is under fire for writing a commentary that will be welcomed by right-wing extremists, because it condemns the behavior of Israel and Russia as unworthy during the remembrance of the liberation of Auschwitz, a prominent German Jewish leader alleged.
The commentary of the journalist, Sabine Müller, on Thursday triggered outrage on social media. The German Green Party’s member of the European Parliament Sergey Lagodinsky wrote on Twitter: “Not serious… Incredible chutzpah. There is so much weirdness in this commentary.”
Ran Ronen, a member of the executive committee of the nearly 100,000-member Central Council of Jews in Germany, tweeted: “Ms. Sabine Müller, who talks about party and unworthy behavior from Israel, crosses every line of reason and morality.”
He added that the commentary falls into the sector of right-wing extremism, noting with apparent sarcasm that “Right-wing radicals should complain again that they have no friendly media.”
The Bild journalist Filipp Piatov termed Müller’s commentary “bad style” and as someone who has forgotten her history.
Müller wrote that “What was unworthy, however, was how Israel and Russia partially seized this commemoration day. How they celebrated their own political and memorial private party before the official event – with new verbal attacks against Poland and demonstratively lengthy bilateral talks between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and [Russian] President Vladimir Putin.”
In contrast to her criticism of the “egoism” of Netanyahu and Putin, she wrote that Steinmeier “lived up to the expectations of the first speech by a German head of state in Yad Vashem and, as a representative of the country of the perpetrators, delivered an impressively sensitive and clear speech – in English, mind you. A speech about German guilt and responsibility.”
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) January 23, 2020
Tensions over weekly anti-Israel protests outside an Ann Arbor synagogue and what some view as anti-Semitic hate speech reached a new level Tuesday night, with bickering between City Council members.
At one point during a tense discussion at the Jan. 21 meeting, Ali Ramlawi, D-5th Ward, walked out in frustration, saying, “Tell me when you want to work on what’s on the agenda.”
Council Member Julie Grand, D-3rd Ward, had just criticized him for accepting a $25 campaign donation in 2018 from Henry Herskovitz, who has led weekly protests outside the Beth Israel Congregation on Washtenaw Avenue for over 16 years.
Herskovitz spoke out at the meeting, taking issue with Council Member Zachary Ackerman calling him an anti-Semite at the council’s last meeting.
Herskovitz, who maintains he’s standing up for Palestinians being oppressed and killed by Israel, said Ackerman, D-3rd Ward, hasn’t countered any of his arguments.
It’s reminiscent of a scene from an old Looney Tunes cartoon where Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog exchange a friendly good morning as they clock in before doing battle.
“Did he counter the claim that most Jewish holidays portray Jews as victims in an alleged hostile world? Again, no,” he said. “What he did do is call me a racist.”
Herskovitz leads protests with signs carrying messages such as “Resist Jewish Power,” “Jewish Power Corrupts,” “No More Holocaust Movies,” “Boycott Israel,” “Stop U.S. Aid to Israel” and “End the Palestinian holocaust.”
Ackerman, who is Jewish and grew up in the congregation Herskovitz has targeted, publicly responded Tuesday night.
Jeremy Corbyn has audaciously referenced the “horrors of the past” in comments in Parliament on the Holocaust that are insulting to the Jewish community.
The Labour leader told MPs: “Next Monday we will be commemorating National Holocaust [Memorial] Day. It’s a time for us all to reflect on the horrors of the past and remind us of the evils of Nazism, genocide, antisemitism and indeed all forms of racism which we must always all be implacably determined to root out wherever it appears.”
The remarks were particularly audacious, given that Mr Corbyn has spent his time in office cultivating antisemitism in the Labour Party — quite the opposite of working to “root it out wherever it appears”.
Moreover, on Holocaust Memorial Day in 2010, Mr Corbyn hosted and chaired an antisemitic event that compared Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, in contravention of the International Definition of Antisemitism.
A year later, on Holocaust Memorial Day 2011, John McDonnell, a fellow beckbench MP who would go on to serve as Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mr Corbyn himself respectively proposed and seconded an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for the word “Holocaust” in the name of the day to be replaced with “Genocide”, thereby removing its particular signifiance for Jews.
Given Mr Corbyn’s record and his consistent refusal to address the institutional antisemitism in his Party, much less learn the lessons of the Holocaust more generally, his remarks on “the horrors of the past” is empty and hollow.
Holocaust Memorial Day is next Monday and last Tuesday the Holocaust Educational Trust held an event in parliament hosted by Matt Chorley. Parliamentarians attended the event to hear from survivors, educators and a speech from the acclaimed historian Sir Antony Beevor. The event was invitation only.
Eyebrows were raised by those who noticed that in the audience was Apsana Begum, the newly-elected MP for Poplar and Limehouse. Guido understands she was not invited, which is hardly surprising given her troubled relationship with the Jewish community. She sat through the speeches and hopefully learnt something.
Three other MPs dropped into the event uninvited;
1. Nav Mishra, MP for Stockport – Labour NEC member on the JC9 slate, who has supported Pete Willsman. Voted against IHRA at the NEC, and sat on NEC disputes panel.
2. Paula Barker, MP for Liverpool Wavertree – yet to speak out on the abuse that drove Luciana Berger out of the party which led to her getting the seat.
3. Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside – yet to speak out about the abuse that drove Louise Ellman out the party.
These three MPs went over to a banner, took some selfies with the banner in the background and according to a witness immediately left. Guido suspects that the pictures were taken to be shared on social media on Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday. For all her faults Apsana Begum actually listened to what was said, the other three MPs are just cynically virtue signalling.
A scandal has erupted at the Party branch of the new pro-Corbyn MP, Sam Tarry.
Last week, at the Cranbrook and Valentines branch of the Labour Party in Mr Tarry’s Ilford South constituency, a motion was carried declaring that there was “no antisemitism in the Labour Party” and attacking the Board of Deputies of British Jews as being “consistent in its support for the Conservative Party”, accusing it of “illegally interfering in the Labour leadership contest.”
Alex Holmes, the vice-chairman of the Ilford South Labour constituency who spoke against the motion, reported that he was labelled an “agent of a foreign power” for doing so and described the gathering as “the worst Labour meeting I have ever attended.”
Three councillors condemned the motion and the atmosphere, saying: “Last night Cranbrook and Valentines Branch Labour Party passed a motion that minimised the scourge of antisemitism in the Labour Party…There are reports that members who spoke against the motion were bullied and antisemitic tropes were used at the meeting. Let us be clear: we utterly condemn this motion and believe that all accusations of abuse and antisemitism should be investigated. There is no place for antisemitism in the Labour Party and we expect swift action to be taken against anyone responsible.”
Mr Tarry said that there were “conflicting accounts of what happened and what was said” and described the allegations as “very serious”, but did not go further. His failure to condemn the motion elicited significant criticism, with another Labour MP reportedly saying that this was Mr Tarry’s “first test since being elected on stamping out antisemitism in his local party” and concluded: “so far he is failing badly”.
A former British diplomat who has promoted a series of conspiracy theories, including that Israelis might have been behind the Salisbury poisoning, has been invited to address SNP activists https://t.co/uC5MvhLeRr
— The Times Scotland (@thetimesscot) January 21, 2020
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has been listed alongside neo-Nazis groups such as National Action in an internal anti-extremism guide for counter-terrorism police.
The PSC was listed under “left-wing and associated single issue groups” in a leaked document from June 2019 from Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) whose senior coordinator said it “has been used by Prevent”.
CTP is a collaboration of UK police forces working with intelligence partners to prevent, deter and investigate terrorist activity, while Prevent is a Government programme “to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”.
Other groups listed in the anti-extremism guide, which included groups’ signs and symbols, were environmental charities such as Greenpeace, as well as the Extinction Rebellion movement. Many employ only peaceful tactics.
PSC director Ben Jamal said his organisation’s inclusion on the CTP list was “shameful,” adding that it was “further evidence of the threat to free speech posed by the Prevent strategy”. PSC tweeted that it was “grotesque”.
In a move to foster academic exchange between Israeli and American universities, 28 professors from the U.S. recently traveled to Israel for the Jewish National Fund-USA’s Faculty Fellowship Program.
To date, the program has brought 300 full-time U.S.-based academics to Israel, seeking to link the scholars with Israeli professors from their respective disciplines.
Michael Dutch, professor of business management at Guilford College in North Carolina, was struck by Israel’s “innovation, resilience, friendliness of the people and the sheer history of the nation.”
“The world hasn’t given Israel any favors; they haven’t treated the Jewish population well, but Israel is a thriving country nevertheless. I don’t know how you could come to Israel and not be impressed.”
“There are wonderful opportunities to interact academically; you need to come here and see it.”
On the afternoon of January 22nd the BBC News website published a report headlined “‘Go outside’: France’s Macron berates Israeli police at Jerusalem church”.
The BBC’s description of that “Jerusalem church” is as follows:
“The Church of St Anne, which dates back to 1138, is the best-preserved Crusader church in Jerusalem. According to Christian tradition, the crypt enshrines the home of the Virgin Mary and her parents.
It is located in occupied East Jerusalem, to the north of the hilltop site known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.”
The Church of St Anne is located in Jerusalem’s Old City. As we see, the BBC continues its long-standing practice of promoting the partisan political narrative according to which the Old City is categorised as “occupied East Jerusalem” without the provision of any of the essential context concerning Jordan’s belligerent attack on parts of the city and the subsequent nineteen-year occupation.
LISTEN This morning @NickFerrariLBC covered the ongoing row about @OrlaGuerin’s dreadful BBC report from @yadvashem. I sincerely hope that Ms Guerlin takes the time to listen to this caller – the daughter of a survivor of Auschwitz- to fully understand the damage her words do! pic.twitter.com/U1HdqrbOdv
— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) January 24, 2020
Belgian police will open an online hotline for reporting antisemitic and racist incidents, and some Jews hope it will replace the country’s discredited anti-discrimination agency.
Michael Freilich, a Jewish member of Belgian parliament, announced the hotline’s opening Wednesday.
Going in person to a police station is intimidating for many victims, and Belgian Jews no longer trust UNIA, the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities, and its hotline, Freilich is quoted as saying.
Recently, the right-leaning government of the Flemish Region — one of Belgium’s three states — pulled out of UNIA to set up its own anti-racism body.
In 2017, the Region’s Forum of Jewish Organizations said they “lost all confidence” in UNIA over its lawyer’s defense of a Palestinian man accused of hate speech for calls to slaughter Jews at an anti-Israel rally. The same UNIA lawyer later helped convict the Palestinian.
A man screamed “Hitler did a great job in Auschwitz by killing all the Jews” at several Jewish pedestrians on Cazenove Road in Stamford Hill.
As the world spends the week commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz and preparing to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, antisemitism expressed with reference to the Holocaust endures.
The incident took place at 12:15 on 23rd January and was reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.
If you have any more information, please contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: CAD3104 23/01/2020.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.
Germany will launch a year-long campaign celebrating and explaining Jewish life and culture in 2021, in the face of what the Central Committee of Jews in Germany described as an “explosion of anti-Semitism” in the country.
The joint initiative by the Central Committee of Jews in Germany, Catholic, and Protestant churches, and other groups will include a broad variety of cultural and historical exhibitions about Jewish life and faith in the country as well as festivals, special postage stamps, and the production of a Jewish food guide.
“Beyond the memory of the Shoah [Holocaust], we want to show how Jewish life has shaped our country in countless ways,” said Abraham Lehrer, deputy leader of the Central Committee of Jews in Germany.
The first mention of Jews in Germany appeared in an edict by the Emperor Constantine in 321 AD, saying they should be admitted to the city council in Cologne.
Felix Klein, the government’s antisemitism commissioner, told journalists in Berlin on Tuesday that “Germany and Judaism belong together, and are a centuries-old, important pillar of our secular society.”
As well as commemorating Jewish people’s historical place in Germany, the project, called “321-2021: 1,700 years of Jewish Life in Germany,” is an attempt to counteract the rising anti-Semitism in the country. Giving people a chance to discover more about the Jewish community in Germany will hopefully overcome prejudices against Jews, Lehrer said.
Lehrer said that “very few know what Jews are and what Jewish life is.” He added that the year-long initiative is not about forgetting the Holocaust, but enlightening people about how much Jews have contributed to German science, culture, and society over the centuries. (h/t Zvi)
The German government on Wednesday handed three works of art stolen during the Nazi occupation of France back to descendants of their original owner, collector and Jewish lawyer Armand Dorville.
It was part of a program to return artifacts looted by the Nazis, included two paintings “Dame en robe du soir” (Woman in an evening gown) and “Portrait d’une dame” (Portrait of a woman) by Jean-Louis Forain. The third was a drawing by Constantin Guys, a Dutch-born Frenchman who worked as a Crimean War correspondent.
They are among hundreds of looted items logged for return to owners or their descendants by German-Austrian collector Cornelius Gurlitt, who died in 2014. The Nazis engaged his father Hildebrand — who was part-Jewish — to sell items either stolen or confiscated from Jewish owners.
Dorville died in 1941 and his collection was distributed to museums and private collectors.
The family was unable to flee occupied France and most members were killed by the Nazis, who occupied the country from 1940-1944.
Several close relatives of Dorville’s brother Charles perished at Auschwitz.
This Hungarian hamlet offers many attractions to visitors from abroad: a picturesque landscape, historical sights. The region in which it lies is even recognized as part of UNESCO’s world heritage program for its centuries-long culture of winemaking.
But the latest influx of visitors to Bodrogkeresztúr are coming for a very different reason – and are shining a light on the village’s history.
Bodrogkeresztúr is fast becoming a major pilgrimage site for Jews around the world who want to pray at the grave of a rabbi in hopes of miraculous intervention. Their presence in the village – which had a significant Jewish population until its deportation in 1944 – has sparked a delicate debate among the locals. Some would like them gone, viewing them as foreigners as well as Jews. Others argue that they have a right to return.
The debate is particularly loaded in Hungary, where far-right politicians often say that Jews have no place. Such views resonate strongly in poorer, rural communities. Estimates of the prevalence of anti-Semitism among Hungarians vary: András Kovács, a professor at Central European University in Budapest says about 30% hold such views, while the New York-based Anti-Defamation League puts the rate at 42%.
Judit Kuknyó, a mother of four who regularly crosses paths with the religious Jewish groups at the local food store, is not concerned by the newcomers. “They have their traditions and holidays, we have ours,” she says. She is baffled by peers who cast them as “strangers.”
“I think they are afraid of the unknown and forget that this used to be a Jewish village,” she says. “[The villagers] just want to come back to what used to be theirs.”
Yeshaya Steiner, also known as Rebbe Shaya’la, lived in Bodrogkeresztúr in the early 20th century. The Jews of Kerestir – the Yiddish name of this verdant village – were ardent believers in his wisdom. Rebbe Shaya’la gained fame as a miracle worker; tens of thousands of Central European Hasidic Jews visited his court regularly until his death in 1925. Miracles ascribed to him fill three books: They range from curing sick children to saving marriages.
“The soul lives forever, whoever will come to me to pray after my death, I will help,” he predicted.
The revival of Judaism in Hungary, increasingly digitally savvy believers, and the designation of religious sites on Google Maps and Waze have given him fresh fame. Many here link the publication of a book on Rebbe Shaya’la’s miracles in English to the increase in visitors. (h/t Zvi)
Prince Charles has hailed the “Israeli geniuses maintaining the entire structure of the NHS” at a reception hosted by the Britain’s ambassador.
The heir to the throne met innovators, cultural figures and business leaders from across Israeli society at the event to which guests were invited “come rain or shine”. In the end, hundreds of guests packed into every corner of the residence’s garden where a specially-erected structure kept guests dry as they clamoured to shake the Royal’s hand.
After a sombre day dominated by remembrance of the Shoah, Charles showed a light touch that delighted the gathering at the end of the final day of his first official tour.
“It’s been fascinating to hear about so many of the cooperative ventures that are taking place between both our countries,” he said. “From what I gather it sounds as though Israeli geniuses are maintaining the entire structure of the NHS, along with a great deal other remarkable technology developments.” A large percentage of medicines used in the NHS originate in Israel, while the Jewish state is also at the cutting edge of medical advances.
He also pointed to the defence and security cooperation between the two countries and said: “I feel a particular closeness not only because I am the same age as the state of Israel – having been born in 1948 – but also the fact my grandmother is buried on the Mount of Olives.”
He drew the biggest applause of the night as he thanked guests for their warm welcome and added: “Thank you for your very kind welcome and it was particularly encouraging to hear one person say that they thought certain things about the British mandate weren’t too bad after all.” (h/t Zvi)
People are fascinated by King Solomon and his fabled wisdom, fantastic wealth, and tantalizing liaison with the beauteous Queen of Sheba. For 3,000 years, there have been numerous efforts made to locate King Solomon’s mines, and in the last year alone, there have been two cable television documentaries investigating recent discoveries confirming that the legendary mines are in Timna Park, located deep in the deserts of Southern Israel. This is the most important archaeological breakthrough since the naming of King Solomon’s Pillars there 90 years ago by world-famous archaeologist Nelson Glueck.
For the last 70 years, many archaeologists assumed that King Solomon was at best a minor local chieftain, simply because no credible evidence had been found documenting his Biblical realm in 900 BCE. However, discoveries beginning 10 years ago at Timna, led by Erez Ben-Yosef, a young articulate archaeologist (who sports a leather hat but does not carry a bullwhip), have upended these theories. Ben-Yosef examined the 1,000 copper mines at Timna and found materials which could be carbon-dated. He was quite surprised to find that they were from 900 BCE, corresponding with the specified period of Solomon’s rule in the Bible.
This year, Ben-Yosef made further revolutionary discoveries of food, dung, and pristine clothing amazingly well-preserved by the region’s dry climate, which was also carbon-dated to the Solomonic period. Based on multi-disciplinary investigations, Ben-Yosef concluded that the copper mines formed part of an extensive economic/industrial system operated by the Edomites, a local tribe also described in the Bible. Furthermore, it appears the Edomites smelted copper ore and traded it in exchange for passage through Solomon’s territory. As part of the trade, Solomon also supplied luxury foods—not available locally—to Edomite artisan smelters at the mines. Ben-Yosef states that “if King Solomon had mines, they were of copper, and were here [at Timna].”
Copper was the most valuable mineral of that age, equivalent to oil in our day. Experts now believe that Solomon traded copper from Timna’s mines for the gold and silver used in the Temple in Jerusalem and his cities.
Israeli security firm Elbit on Tuesday said it had successfully tested a new system for fighting fires from a high altitude.
They system, which the company calls “HyDrop,” proved its effectiveness recently in a field demonstration during an exercise with the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority, the company said.
HyDrop is “an innovative solution enabling high-altitude high-precision aerial firefighting,” the company said. It uses pellets instead of liquid, and guides aircraft to a specific release point for an accurate drop.
During the recent demonstration, two firefighting aircraft extinguished a burning field from an altitude of 500 feet, over four times higher than the current average altitude for firefighting sorties.
With the HyDrop system, the two aircraft each released 1.6 tons of 140-gram biodegradable liquid pellets, which were guided by a computed ballistic trajectory to precisely hit their target, with a saturation of one to two liters of liquid per square meter.
In a recent test, a fixed-wing aircraft dropped 95 percent of its payload on its target from an altitude of some 152 meters (500 feet).
Soldiers, reservists and permanent staff rescued and provided medical treatment to thousands in 29 IDF humanitarian aid missions worldwide. The first mission was in 1953; the most recent ended on December 14, 2019. The ethos of the IDF – of the State of Israel – is that human life comes first. The Home Front Command search and rescue teams, doctors, and other military personnel responded quickly, effectively, and compassionately to natural disasters and other crises. The IDF remained at the locations for days, months or years. The IDF humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians, described below, continued for 5 years.
People, not politics
The IDF values human life over political or religious differences. IDF humanitarian aid is based on Jewish values. United Nations (UN) Ambassador Danny Danon spoke at a 2019 UN exhibit on Israel’s humanitarian aid efforts:
For Israel, human life will always take priority over politics. Jewish tradition teaches that when you save a life, it’s as if you have saved an entire universe. Crisis and tragedy do not discriminate, so neither can we. Let us protect life by any means necessary, and together build a stronger and more caring world.
The IDF aid mission was the first to arrive after a bomb exploded near the US embassy in Kenya in 1998 and in Mexico in 2017 after two earthquakes killed 469 people and left 250.000 homeless (IDF website). Danon said:
Despite years of provocation and rocket attacks, Israel is always the first to arrive when human life is involved.
Juan Ramón de la Fuente, Ambassador to the United Nations, spoke at the UN exhibit. He said:
Other countries can ‘absolutely’ learn from Israel’s rapid reaction time and its ability to be on site, build field hospitals and have the necessary human resources and infrastructure in place mere hours after a natural disaster occurs around the world.
Ten experts from the Home Front Command provided IDF humanitarian aid in Albania from December 4-14, 2019 after an earthquake killed more than 50 people and injured 3,000. The IDF reported that as a consequence of the aid, schools and hospitals reopened and more than 1,600 families moved back to their homes.
Christian. Israeli. IDF Officer.
Film director Quentin Tarantino spoke to Yediot Achronot in a full-length interview published last week about his new “wonderful” life in Israel with his wife, Israeli singer and model Daniella Pick, who is pregnant with their first child.
The “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” director told the publication, “Really, my life here [in Israel] is so wonderful.”
He said he has some “short trips” back to the United States planned for the Oscars awards ceremony, but his family will be in Israel before and after Pick gives birth.
His time in Israel so far has been “great” he said, adding, “I love the country, and the people are really nice, very nice to me, and they seem excited that I’m here.”
According to Yediot, Tarantino and his wife live in Ramat Aviv Gimel, a tony residential neighborhood in northwest Tel Aviv.
He is excited about the birth of his child and described his life with Pick—saying they have a routine where he writes, she makes lunch, he writes more, and they watch movies together—and added, “Really, it’s very, very pleasant.”
When asked how he feels about the missiles fired from the Gaza Strip, Tarantino said, “I’m not scared at all. Like everyone else here, I don’t really notice it.”
Tarantino just won a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” and in his acceptance speech, he thanked Pick in Hebrew. He said the birth of his child will encourage him to learn more Hebrew.
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