MLK’s Legacy Is about Moral Clarity, Not Easy Analogies
Recently, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the civil rights movement, which King led, and the struggle for Palestinian statehood, have been analogized and morally linked in ways that might have surprised King himself. These tortured analogies reject everything King represented. After all, he preached peaceful and “passive nonviolent resistance,” a strategy that most Palestinian leaders have never embraced. Too many Palestinian leaders are dedicated to eradicating Israel, not living beside it.
Despite widespread slanders of ethnic cleansing, there is no genocide against the Palestinians. Their people, in fact, have doubled in population since 1967. Nor are Israel’s practices, as Michelle Alexander assesses in the New York Times, “reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and Jim Crow segregation in the United States,” surely not when Arabs serve on the Israeli Supreme Court and can live, work and eat anywhere they choose, vote freely in elections and are represented in parliament.
The only nation in the Middle East where civil rights exist for racial minorities, homosexuals and women is Israel. It is to Israel where Ethiopian Jews were airlifted from Sudan, and where an Israeli-born Ethiopian woman was in 2013 crowned Miss Israel. It’s also in Israel where a forest is named for Martin Luther King.
If she wants to invoke Dr. King’s name, maybe she should consider what he would say about the dictatorship created by Mahmoud Abbas, who is now serving the 11th year of his four-year term. What would he say about the Palestinian Authority’s silencing of its critics by jailing, torturing, and sometimes killing them? What would he say about the “honor killings” of women who have violated someone’s ideas of moral behavior? And what about their persecution of homosexuals, or the denial of women’s rights, freedom of speech, and the persecution of Christians by Hamas and Palestinian groups in the West Bank?
I am fed up with the hypocrisy of people who claim to be concerned about the human rights of Palestinians but are silent when it comes to their mistreatment by their fellow Palestinians or, in the case of places such as Lebanon and Syria, by their fellow Arabs. Why doesn’t Alexander have anything to say about the slaughter of Palestinians by Bashar al-Assad? Does she believe King would look the other way as she does? I think not.
Paragraph after paragraph of her article is filled with vitriol. She says that Israel will not discuss Palestinian refugees; that’s a lie. Since 1948, Israelis have offered to allow tens of thousands to return — but no Israeli from any political party would accept the idea that Palestinians have a “right” to return, thus destroying Israel as a Jewish state.
Alexander also trots out the tired canard of comparing Israel to South Africa. This specious argument has been rebutted ad nauseum, but it is as odious and malignant as Holocaust denial.
Finally, Alexander says that “the days when critiques of Zionism and the actions of the State of Israel can be written off as anti-Semitism are coming to an end.” King saw things differently. When a student attacked Zionism during an event in 1968, King responded: “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”
Dozens of British cultural figures have signed a letter calling on the UK’s national broadcaster, the BBC, to push for relocating the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest from Israel to another country.
The letter, which was printed in the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, cited Israel’s human rights record in the West Bank as the reason.
“Eurovision may be light entertainment, but it is not exempt from human rights considerations – and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” read the letter, which was sent ahead of the UK choosing its entry for the international song contest.
“The BBC is bound by its charter to ‘champion freedom of expression,’” the letter continued. “It should act on its principles and press for Eurovision to be relocated to a country where crimes against that freedom are not being committed.
“The European Broadcasting Union chose Tel Aviv as the venue over occupied Jerusalem – but this does nothing to protect Palestinians from land theft, evictions, shootings, beatings and more by Israel’s security forces,” it said.
Among those who signed the letter were British musicians Peter Gabriel and Roger Waters; actors Julie Christie, Miriam Margolyes and Maxine Peake; directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh; and writers Caryl Churchill and A.L. Kennedy.
A letter by 50 British cultural figures calling for the BBC to press Eurovision not to hold their 2019 song contest in Israel was dutifully published in the Guardian on Jan. 29th. The letter, replete all the predictable canards by a who’s who of anti-Zionist activists (aka, the ‘I hate Israel’ rubber stamp brigade), is also promoted in a separate Guardian article published the same day by the paper’s Music Editor.
We’ve shown that the Guardian has consistently published such pro-BDS letters by British ‘artists’ over the years – missives which amplify and grant credibility to what are extremely marginal – not to mention almost always unsuccessful – anti-Israel campaigns.
As far as the content of the letter, there’s not much new, save the bizarre suggestion that all of Jerusalem (not just the formerly Jordanian controlled “eastern” section) is “occupied”, and the completely baseless smear that West Bank Palestinians live under “apartheid”.
In its modern guise, the ‘apartheid’ charge took flight in the early 2000s after the UN sponsored anti-Israel hate-fest in Durban, but it is, at root, the product of Soviet and PLO propaganda dating back to the early 1960s – that is, before Israel ‘occupied’ even one square centimeter of West Bank land. The late antisemitism scholar Robert Wistrich wrote (A Lethal Obsession, 2010), that “the constant visual and verbal comparison in the Soviet media between Israel and South Africa was [driven] by Moscow’s campaign to win influence in black Africa” – a propaganda campaign wedded to their broader efforts to cast Zionism as an inherently racist ideology.
Last year, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Mohammad al-Issa, in his capacity as secretary-general of the Muslim World League, wrote an unprecedented open letter to the director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum expressing Muslim sympathy for the victims of the Holocaust. The following May, Issa—formerly Saudi Arabia’s justice minister—made a historic visit to the museum. Marking this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which fell on Sunday, he writes:
For decades, . . . some have chosen not to see what really happened wherever the Nazis and their henchmen wielded power. Instead, they deny the horrors of a diabolical plan to implement a hateful idea of racial purity that ultimately led to the murder of millions of innocent men, women, and children—including six million Jews. . . .
I urge all Muslims to learn the history of the Holocaust, to visit memorials and museums to this horrific event, and to teach its lessons to their children. As adherents of a faith committed to tolerance, coexistence, and respect for the dignity of all mankind, we share a responsibility to confront those who would carry Adolf Hitler’s torch today, and to join hands with people of goodwill of all nations and faiths to prevent genocide wherever it threatens innocent lives.
We can only do this if we are armed with the truth. We Muslims share the sentiment expressed by Elie Wiesel in the words engraved in stone on the walls of the Holocaust Museum, “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.” As the Holy Quran commands, “O you, who believe, be upright for God and be bearers of witness with justice!”
Clifford D. May and Toby Dershowitz: Crimes without punishment in Argentina
For more than a decade, Alberto Nisman had been investigating the worst terrorist attack ever committed on Argentine soil: the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds wounded.
Four years ago this week, the federal prosecutor was putting the finishing touches on a report that would accuse then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and a dozen others of helping cover up the Islamic Republic of Iran’s responsibility for the attack.
On Jan. 18, the day before he was to present that report to Argentina’s Congress, Nisman was found dead in the bathroom of his locked 13th-floor apartment. A .22-caliber bullet had been fired at close-range into his head.
Kirchner initially called his death a suicide – even though his fingerprints were not found on the Bersa pistol left close to his body, and there was no gunpowder residue on his hands.
Just over a year ago, however, an investigation by 28 forensic experts and law enforcement officials conclusively determined that he did not kill himself. In fact, they were able to deduce, two people roughed him up, sedated him, and then shot him.
Who were those people? And from whom were they taking orders? Argentines attempting to answer such questions place themselves in danger.
Fellow panelist Hannah Giorgis, a culture writer for The Atlantic, may think it’s a “fundamental misreading” of intersectionality to think that it excludes or even vilifies straight white men and other people who don’t suffer from multiple oppressions; but there are plenty of real-life instances in which people deemed “privileged” for their group affiliation are required to act with ceremonial deference or express public contrition in progressive spaces. It may be a total misconception (according to Young) that intersectionality’s purpose is to identify the winners of “the world’s worst contest,” aka the most oppressed; but in actual intersectional activism, moral authority does seem to depend on who is seen as occupying the most downtrodden position. Witness, for instance, suggestions that Jews should mute their objections to anti-Semitism coming from prominent African-American figures because the Jewish community in America is privileged compared to blacks.
The tense relationship between intersectionality and Jews was the main focus of panelist and Lilith magazine digital editor Sarah Seltzer, whose comments on the subject were a striking example of reality avoidance. Seltzer asserted that the numerous articles published in the last year or so about intersectionality’s Jewish problem were partly “provocations that started on the right,” though some people later joined in in good faith. (The collage of headlines projected overhead to make her point included an article in The Forward by Batya Ungar-Sargon, who is anything but right wing, and Benjamin Gladstone’s Tablet essay arguing that intersectionality should include Jews—one can only hope that these writers at least got the good-faith presumption.) Seltzer mentioned “disagreements” surrounding the Women’s March and talked about the challenges of coalition-building. But anyone listening who didn’t know what these “disagreements” were about—serious allegations of anti-Semitism against several Women’s March leaders as well as the organization’s extensive links to the virulently anti-Semitic and homophobic Nation of Islam and its leader, the Rev. Louis Farrakhan—would have remained entirely in the dark.
Seltzer acknowledged that trying to fit American Jews into the intersectional framework was complicated, given that they “benefit from white privilege” but may also face violent bigotry; but, she added breezily, “that doesn’t mean that [they] can’t fit in at all.” (How reassuring.) She also sarcastically remarked that many of the people “trashing intersectionality” were in fact doing intersectional work by asking, for instance, how their Jewish identity interacts with their feminism or progressivism. The “gotcha” moment wasn’t really a gotcha, though, since quite a few or those critics have explicitly said that they agree with intersectional analysis as such and simply want it to include Jews.
Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said that he withdrew his organization’s support from the Women’s March over “a host of concerns” during an interview on Fox News’ “Special Report.”
Perez’s comment came after host Bret Baier pressed him on the DNC’s originally vague reasons for withdrawing support.
“Was it because of concerns of anti-Semitism?” Baier asked, in reference to controversy over the ties of the group’s co-chairs to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and allegations of anti-Semitism.
“We had a host of concerns,” Perez said, “and we wanted to make sure that we were clear in our values.”
He then outlined the DNC’s platform on a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Baier also brought up former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s recent op-ed in USA Today where she said that she could not participate in the Women’s March because of “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,” Wasserman Schultz wrote.
Baier also asked Perez if he was concerned about anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party, especially in light of Rep. Rashida Tliab’s (D., Mich.) ties to anti-Semitic leaders.
In an interview on International Holocaust Memorial Day, a former archbishop of Canterbury lamented a “deplorable” rise of antisemitism in Britain in recent years.
Lord George Carey told i24 News that the matter was a particular problem in the Labour Party, which has been roiled by a number of antisemitism scandals since far-left MP Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015.
“The weakness of his statements can give the impression that he is, deep down, someone who doesn’t like Jewish people,” Carey said of Corbyn. “I hope he might say that’s not the case. But I fear he’s not giving clear leadership to his own party in condemning, from within his own ranks, people who speak out against Jewish people.”
Asked about the role of the media and the Church in fostering anti-Israel sentiment, Carey noted, “Christians are to blame as well. I think of Israel as a wonderful, sophisticated, democratic society surrounded by undemocratic nations. We must support one another.”
“I think we need to do more is to educate Christians who go on these pilgrimages [to Israel and the West Bank] to see this is not the total story,” he added.
“What they don’t realize is what is happening to Jewish communities in their own land who are sidelined and, in a way, persecuted by Palestinians,” he stated. “So we’ve got to get a much more balanced view of what’s going on.”
“We can do far more,” said Carey. “And we ought to be in the forefront whenever there’s a deed done against Jewish people. … We ought to be there with our Jewish friends side-by-side with them.”
Popular culture has given rise to the misconception that as I am a person of straw, that material accounts for all the contents of my stuffing, but the real figure seldom gets higher than one twenty-fifth of my total volume; the remainder consists of contentions that Israel-haters trot out to demolish problematic claims that Israel advocates have not in fact made, then declare victory in the argument.
On occasion the composition shifts, as some contents settle, get blown away, or otherwise escape the confines of my clothes. New material most often represents the “stop calling legitimate criticism of Israel antisemitism” variety, but here and there I get treated to “a Jewish theocracy isn’t the answer to Muslim theocracies” or “why don’t you condemn Israeli displacement of Palestinians.” My favorite, tough, has to be the “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” that get bandied about. If I had a funny bone they would definitely be located there.
It wasn’t always like this. When I first began my career as a straw man, most of my stuffing was in fact straw. But the reality of economics meant that the ubiquity of fallacious arguments about Israel soon rendered straw expensive by comparison, and the farmer knows his finances. Now the straw is mostly for aesthetics around the seams and at the hems.
My colleagues and I have discussed this, and we agree that for the foreseeable future there’s little chance we’ll go back to being predominantly straw: there are just too many fallacious arguments wielded against Israel, with more manufactured all the time. One of the straw men in a neighboring field reports that almost half his stuffing consists of “ethnostate,” “new Nazis,” “right to resist military occupation,” and “illegal under international law,” and that he hasn’t seen actual straw in almost fifteen years. One guy a few fields over has never seen the actual stuff; he’s made entirely of discarded “anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism” contentions.
Israel has sent a larger proportion of academic researchers to the United States compared to any other country, relative to the size of national population, according to a US State Department survey.
The number of Israeli researchers working in America reached 1,725 in 2017—an increase of 5.6 percent from the previous year—according to the US State Department’s Institute of International Education’s Open Doors data portal.
The extent of the academic talent is demonstrated in that the number is equal to the entire faculty of two to three typical Israeli higher-education institutions, and 625 more than the entire senior faculty of Israel’s biggest: Tel Aviv University.
The survey consists of people doing tentative academic activities and not matriculated as students at American colleges and universities. They also don’t consist of folks working full-time in teaching or business research.
The state of Florida sanctioned the global vacation website Airbnb for its decision to boycott West Bank settlements and placed it on its list of scrutinized companies.
“Israel has had to face scrutiny like no other country,” Florida governor Ron DeSantis said.
“Airbnb made a conscious decision to discriminate against the Jewish people and as Governor I have an obligation to oppose policies that unfairly target the world’s only Jewish State and our greatest ally in the Middle East,” he said.
“Our action today solidifies the State of Florida’s resolve to stand with Israel, and if Airbnb does not denounce their previous policy of discrimination, we may be compelled to explore additional action,” DeSantis said.
John Kuczwanski, a spokesperson for the state board of administrations, said there was a 90-day review period. During that time, Airbnb will have to explain to the state of Florida that its policy “does not discriminate against the State of Israel or Jewish people,” Kuczwanski said.
He explained that according to Florida law, any company that engaged in Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment actions can be placed on that list.
The state of Florida is prohibiting investing in publicly traded companies on that list, he said, adding the state can also not contract them for services, Kuczwanski said.
But companies on the list can still engage in commercial activities in the state of Florida, he said.
The decision last week by the Boston Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) to pass a resolution declaring that any member organization supporting the BDS movement could be expelled from the council has generated a wider discussion among Jewish leaders as to where to draw red lines when it comes to Israel.
The resolution, adopted overwhelmingly by a vote of 62-13 with eight abstentions, resolves that no member of the JCRC “shall partner with — in particular by co-sponsoring events primarily led or co-led by, or by signing on to statements primarily organized or co-organized by — a self-identified Jewish organization that declares itself to be anti-Zionist.”
The resolution was primarily in response to a move by one of its members, the Boston Workmen’s Circle, which has aligned itself with the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace group.
David Bernstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) — an umbrella group made up of 125 community relations councils and 17 national Jewish agencies — told JNS that his organization fully supports the move by the Boston JCRC.
“[It] is very in line with what JCPA would do as well. We would not support an organization that openly embraces BDS or denies Israel’s right to exist,” he said.
A Canadian Jewish organization has been stripped of its charity status following a government audit that found it had provided support to “foreign armed forces,” according to documents obtained by Global News.
The Beth Oloth Charitable Organization, based in Toronto, had been a registered charity since 1980 and was one of richest in Canada, with more than $60-million in revenues in 2017.
But federal regulators said some of its activities were not charitable under Canadian law, such as “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Israeli armed forces.”
The Canada Revenue Agency also identified a list of other problems such as funding projects in the occupied territories, which it said was contrary to Canada’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This is an animus, of course, which suffuses Europe more broadly, though it does not prevail here in America. Palestinians maintain that the crux of their dispute with Israel is the land on the West Bank that Jordan controlled in 1967 and lost when it chose to join the Arabs’ attack — land that Palestinians say they need to create their own state.
Israel counters with three points. First, in 2000-2001 and then again in 2008, it effectively offered Palestinians all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and a capital in East Jerusalem in return for an agreement to make peace, which the Palestinians rejected each time. Second, Israel actually withdrew 14 years ago from the Gaza Strip, also seized by Israel in defending itself against the 1967 attack, and ever since has been treated to thousands of rockets fired by Palestinians at Israeli civilian centers. And third, while Palestinian leaders assure the West sweetly that all they seek is a state on the land outside the 1967 borders, many of them assure their own people firmly that their real plan is to proceed from there to eliminate Israel altogether.
If business executives are skilled at anything it is sniffing out snow jobs and con artists, and Boston’s business leaders are as adept at detecting balderdash as anyone anywhere. Last week several waves of the city’s leaders endorsed a letter to Ireland’s opposition party, urging it to rethink its bill. The measure, they pointed out, simply blows past Israel’s “intractable challenge” with the Palestinians and criminalizes trade with it. Because the bill may well violate American law, it could, if enacted, interfere with trade between Massachusetts and Ireland, harming Americans and Irish alike. It would drive Palestinians and Israelis even deeper into their respective corners, driving a resolution of the conflict further away. And it is morally offensive, singling out the Jewish state on a premise which is intellectually dishonest. Bob Popeo, Boston’s peerless lawyer and power broker, deployed his characteristic bluntness on the subject. “This is the most outrageously blatant piece of anti-Semitism,” Popeo told the Boston Herald, “that I’ve seen in the past few years.”
Those protesting the Irish bill are a Who’s Who of Boston’s most prominent Irish-American civic leaders. They include Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Suffolk Construction head John Fish, community icon Jack Connors, Liberty Mutual chief David Long, Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy, the New England Council’s Jim Brett and State Street Corp. President Ronald O’Hanley. They are part of an honor roll of leaders not easily cowed by political fashion or gulled by fast talk, and they hail from a community that knows wrong and dumb when it sees them.
If it does, there are some questions you ought to be asking your PR manager. It’s time for employers to step up.
– Has your company made an official statement about the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill now before the Irish parliament?
– Should the bill become law what actions will your company take?
– If an official statement has not been made, why not?
The express aim of the bill is to criminalise the importation into Ireland of “settlement goods produced” or “services provided in whole or in part by an illegal settler.” An “illegal settler” is said to be a person whose presence in an occupied territory “is being or has been facilitated directly or indirectly by the occupying power.”
It is very likely that an Israeli company operating in Ireland and certain that the Israeli parent company employ staff who live in areas that the bill declares to be illegal or are using some product coming from there. The executives of these companies could face prison sentences of up to five years and/or fines up to €250,000.
A statement from your company pointing out the consequences of this bill to their operations could be loss of Irish jobs or even closing operations could be effective in persuading both the parliament and the Irish public that passing this bill would not be in their interest.
According to one account, HSBC decided to divest “following a year-long campaign that included regular demonstrations in front of the bank’s 40 branches in Britain and emails from 24,000 people.”
Elbit Systems is publicly traded in the United States and Israel; the company is an Israeli-based international defense outfit that employs nearly 14,000 people. It is active in developing new technologies for defense, homeland security, and commercial aviation applications, as well as others.
Who Profits — a radical Israeli non-profit — built a website with a database on all the companies that have investments or involvement in enterprises located over the Green Line, or in Israeli security companies in general. The site encourages international firms and foreign governments to divest from such companies, including Elbit.
Who Profits’ activities have included sending a letter to the Norwegian government in 2009 — when the New Israel Fund (NIF) was giving them money — demanding divestment from Elbit Systems, due to its involvement in the construction of the Israeli security fence. The Norwegian government eventually decided to divest from Elbit. Signatures to that letter included other organizations funded by the New Israel Fund — including Machsom Watch, Mossawa, and Social Television Syncopa.
There’s also evidence that organizations supported by the NIF were integral in influencing Airbnb to remove listings for homes in Israeli “settlements.” Shame on the funders of the New Israel Fund. Those who support Israel — and decent people everywhere — must oppose all anti-Israel boycotts, and disassociate themselves from the NIF.
On Holocaust Memorial Day – January 27th – the results of a survey showing among other things that 5% of UK adults do not believe that the Holocaust happened were published by the UK’s Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
In a Tweet relating to that survey BBC employee Masoud Behnoud wrote (as confirmed by a professional translator):
“This [lack of knowledge about the Holocaust] happens in a situation where the financial and political power of Jews has been publicising/promoting it [i.e. knowledge about the Holocaust] for half a century.”
As we have unfortunately had cause to note here on numerous occasions in the past, the BBC has editorial guidelines on the personal use of social media.
While those guidelines do not include any specific mention of the topic of the promotion of antisemitic themes on microblogs run by BBC employees – apparently because the BBC does not expect to be employing people who engage in that or any other form of racism – they do state that people “identified as a BBC staff member or BBC talent…should not post derogatory or offensive comments on the Internet”.
In a letter published in the Ottawa Citizen on January 28, only one day after International Holocaust Remembrance Day, letter writer Michael Price outrageously claimed Israel carried out a genocide of Palestinians akin to the Nazis systematic murder of 6 million Jews. See the letter appended below. In so doing, Mr. Price trumped up libelous claims that Jews – who were once the victims of the Nazis in the Holocaust – then became the victimizers carrying out a genocide of Palestinians. There’s no foundation to this inflammatory claim. It should be noted that comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy and actions to that of the Nazis fits the European Union’s, U.S. State Department’s and Canada’s Ottawa Protocol’s working definition of antisemitism.
As Deborah Lipstadt, professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at the Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University noted, comparing “Jews to Nazis is not only ill-informed, it demonstrates a certain prejudice – antisemitism – which will never help resolve the situation. Whatever one thinks of Israeli policy, to describe it as akin to the Nazi policy of murdering all of European Jewry is to engage in antisemitism and a form of Holocaust denial.”
Commentaries like Mr. Price’s only serve to fan the flames of hatred against Jews and are not worthy of publication by a respected newspaper like the Ottawa Citizen.
A Jewish man was ‘brutally’ beaten last night by three unidentified assailants Brooklyn, New York.
The attacks were allegedly racially charged due to the fact the assault was unprovoked and nothing was stolen from the victim.
A Jew brutally beaten last night in Brooklyn. Nothing stolen. Antisemitism is alive and well in NYC. Time for a hard look at who is doing it and its cause. This has been going on in NY long before Charlottesville or 2016 just ask anyone visibly Jewish. pic.twitter.com/z86dz32YBL
— Motti Seligson (@mottiseligson) January 30, 2019
This is not the first time New York Jews have been subjected to antisemitic attacks, there have been a slew of these attacks in recent years.
Early in January, a Jewish man was attacked by a group of ‘teenage black males’ in the Crown Heights area of New York.
The young man, 19, was “violently assaulted,” as Collive reported, and is being investigated by the New York Police Department in conjunction with the Hate Crimes Task Force.
One member of the group of teens approached the Jewish man as he walked past a local laundromat and asked him, “Do you want to fight?” The teenager then began to punch the Jewish man in the face and knocked him to the ground, according to Collive.
A man accused of opening fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October , killing 11 people and wounding seven others, was indicted Tuesday on additional counts that include allegations of hate crimes.
A federal grand jury added 19 charges to the 44 counts previously levied against Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania.
Thirteen of the new counts are hate crime violations and the others accuse him of obstructing religious beliefs and discharging a firearm during crimes of violence.
Messages left for Bowers’ lawyers were not immediately returned.
The indictment said Bowers posted criticism of a Jewish charity on a social media account and linked to a page that said Dor Hadash, one of the three congregations in the synagogue building, hosted refugee-related events.
“You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided,” Bowers posted on Oct. 10, the indictment said.
Belgian prosecutors said Wednesday they are investigating an apparent attempt to intimidate a lawyer representing one of the victims in the trial of a suspect in the 2014 shooting attack at the Brussels Jewish Museum.
The Brussels prosecutor’s office said that a baseball bat and fake Kalashnikov assault rifle were left on the lawyer’s desk after a theft at his office Tuesday. A laptop computer containing the case file of Mehdi Nemmouche, who stands accused of shooting dead four people at the museum, was stolen from the lawyer’s office.
State broadcaster RTBF named the lawyer as Vincent Lurquin, who was representing a woman who was at the museum when the attack happened.
“It’s part of a lawyer’s work and we mustn’t scare the jury,” Lurquin told RTBF. “The investigation is underway. We should continue calmly, without hatred or fear, for us and for the jury.”
Prosecutors say they are investigating the theft and intimidation, described as “threat by symbols.”
A prosecutor in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki has ordered an urgent investigation into the destruction by unknown vandals of a local Jewish memorial.
Prosecutor Evangelos Zarkantzias instructed police Monday to treat the attack on a monument marking a former Jewish cemetery as a breach of Greece’s laws against racism, which carry harsher penalties than ordinary vandalism.
The University of Thessaloniki, on whose campus the monument stood, said it would be rebuilt. Greece has strongly criticized the attack, and a protest Monday at the site was attended by government officials and Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris.
The centuries-old cemetery was razed during the World War II German occupation of Greece, and the university built on its site.
Thessaloniki’s large Jewish community was almost entirely wiped out by Nazi forces.
A hearing was held on Thursday at the Constitutional Court of Belgium in a lawsuit challenging prohibitions on the ritual slaughter of animals in two regions of the Western European nation.
One shechita ban was implemented in Flanders earlier this month and another is set to go into effect in Wallonia this summer.
Lawsuits against the bans have been filed by the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations (CCOJB), in cooperation with The Lawfare Project think tank, and the Coordinating Council of Islamic Institutions in Belgium.
The plaintiffs argue that the bans violate religious freedoms guaranteed by the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Yohan Benizri — the president of the CCOJB — stated, “We will carry on fighting for our religious freedom using every legal means at our disposal. Belgium is our home, but the message sent by banning kosher slaughter is that we are not welcome in our own country. That should be a concern not just for Jews or Muslims but for all who value living in democratic societies in which the rights and freedoms of minorities are safeguarded.”
Brooke Goldstein — the executive director of The Lawfare Project — said, “Belgian Jews have not given up their fight against this assault on their religious freedom and nor have we. We remain hopeful that Belgium’s courts will recognize it for what it is — discrimination and hostility against minority faith communities — and act accordingly.”
US tech giant Intel Corp. has made a bid of $5 billion to $6 billion in a cash and stock deal for Israel’s Mellanox Technologies Ltd., a maker of servers and storage switching solutions, according to Hebrew-language press reports.
The bid represents a 30 percent premium on Mellanox’s closing price on Nasdaq last night, financial website Globes said.
The news of Intel’s interest follows press reports last year of other firms bidding for the Israeli firm, including Microsoft and US tech firm Xilinx Inc.
In 2017, New York activist investor Starboard Value LP acquired a 10.7 percent stake in Mellanox in a bid to improve its performance and push it to explore a potential sale.
They’ve traveled around the globe and dined at some of the best restaurants in the world. But this group of celebrity chefs and foodies are delighted to be spending a week exploring Israel’s culinary world.
Beginning Monday, a selection of some of the most famous chefs in the United States began arriving in Israel for a week of adventure, experiences and most of all, food.
The “celebrity chef Birthright,” as the trip has been dubbed, is made up of competition TV show judges, renowned restaurateurs, acclaimed writers and other culinary luminaries. Those include Top Chef’s Gail Simmons, Amanda Freitag and Marc Murphy of Chopped, writer and restaurant reviewer Ruth Reichl and restaurateurs Jonathan Waxman and Nancy Silverton, among others.
The trip is the brainchild of Herb Karlitz, who has worked for 25 years in the culinary marketing world, designing and executing events, festivals and programs highlighting celebrity chefs and haute cuisine. That put him in the perfect position to gather together a group of high-profile faces and show them the culinary depths of Israel.
“My goal is for them to have this amazing experience in Israel, very organic, and return to the United States almost as ambassadors, unofficial ambassadors for Israel and its food,” Karlitz told The Jerusalem Post at the kick-off breakfast in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning. Karlitz said he has been planning this trip for more than two years, after visiting Israel and realizing how much he wanted this story to be told.
ABC has ordered pilots of two new shows based on two different Israeli TV series.
On Monday, the US network announced that it was picking up remakes of the series Until the Wedding and The Baker and the Beauty.
Until the Wedding, known in Israel as Ad Hahatunah, ran for two seasons on Reshet beginning in 2008. ABC described the show as “the story of how one couple’s decision to get married can affect everyone in their lives.”
According to Variety, the show will be written and produced by Becky Mode (SEAL Team, Smash), with Reshet officials Nelly Feld, Avi Zvi and Ami Amir also serving as executive producers.
Back in October, Keshet announced that ABC was looking into a remake of The Baker and the Beauty, which was known in Israel as Lihiyot Ita (Being with Her). On Monday, ABC said it had also ordered a pilot of the remake.
The series, which first aired in Israel in 2013, features a famous and wealthy Israeli supermodel who meets and falls in love with a working class baker from a Yemenite-Israeli family. The show has already found overseas success, airing on UK’s Channel 4 before being picked up by Amazon Prime.
When death knocked at her door, Hanni Weissenberg refused to answer it. Living in Berlin in 1943 — when the Nazis tried to wipe out every last Jew — she evaded them, dyed her hair blonde, and assumed a new identity as a widow.
On Sunday, the 94-year-old spoke about her experience after a screening of the film “The Invisibles” at Landmark 57 in midtown Manhattan.
“For the longest time, I thought that I was the only one who dared to do this,” she told the audience through an interpreter.
She wasn’t. It is estimated that 7,000 Jews hid in Berlin, and that between 1,500 and 1,700 survived. The film focuses on Weissenberg (her last name is now Levy) and three others: Ruth Arndt found a job as a housekeeper for a German who hosted parties for Nazis; Cioma Schonhaus worked as a passport forger and hid in the Afghan embassy; and Eugen Friede became involved in the resistance by helping to create anti-Nazi leaflets — he pretended to be a relative of the family he moved in with.
Director Claus Rafle, who also spoke after the film, said that he decided to do a docudrama, combining survivor interviews with re-enactments by actors so that it would be more engaging.
In most cases, such an attempt becomes flimsy. Here, however, it works well.
After World War II began, Portugal ordered its embassies and consulates not to issue visas to people “of undetermined, contested, or disputed nationality,” and especially not to stateless Jews. But Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese consul-general in the French city of Bordeaux, simply refused to follow these orders, as Richard Hurowitz writes:
[When] in May 1940 the Nazi Blitzkrieg swept into France, tens of thousands of people descended on Bordeaux by train, car, bicycle, and even foot. Crowds formed at the Portuguese consulate. . . . On June 17, Paris fell. Sousa Mendes became more and more tortured by what he saw. In front of the great synagogue of Bordeaux, he met Chaim Kruger, a young Polish rabbi with his family crowded along with thousands of Jews in the square. Sousa Mendes offered to help, but his request for visas for Kruger and his family was rejected. Sousa Mendes assured the rabbi he would do everything in his power to get the necessary papers.
“It’s not just me that needs help,” the rabbi told him, “but all my fellow Jews who are in danger of their lives.” The words hit Sousa Mendes like a thunderbolt. For three days, he took to his bed in despair. . . . Then he emerged full of energy. “From now on I’m giving everyone visas,” the diplomat declared. “There will be no more nationalities, races, or religion.”
“I cannot allow all you people to die,” he told the refugees.
The man in the much publicized Holocaust photo has been only recently identified as Rabbi Moshe Hegerman, the Rabbi of Olkusz in Poland. Brought to the town square for execution he asked to let him say first Kaddish for his slain brethren. The soldiers laughed while watching him pic.twitter.com/1NWQRZs9fH
— History Lovers Club (@historylvrsclub) January 30, 2019
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