September 29, 2020

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02/01 Links Pt2: Bret Stephens: The Persistence of Anti-Semitism; Amnesty’s Travel Boycott: Unpacking the Baggage; Poll Shows Little Support for Anti-Israel Boycott in the UK

From Ian:

Bret Stephens (NYTs): The Persistence of Anti-Semitism
Book Review: ANTISEMITISM Here and Now By Deborah E. Lipstadt
Another guise is anti-Zionism, which pretends that one can malign Israel as a uniquely diabolical and illegitimate state, guilty of Nazi-like atrocities, and still be acquitted of anti-Semitism. The leading Western voice for this view is the British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has repeatedly joined hands with virulent anti-Semites who share his pro-Palestinian, anticapitalist views — all the while insisting that he opposes racism. Lipstadt makes short work of that defense.

“Is Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite?” she asks.

“My response would be that that’s the wrong question. The right questions to ask are: Has he facilitated and amplified expressions of anti-Semitism? Has he been consistently reluctant to acknowledge expressions of anti-Semitism unless they come from white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Will his actions facilitate the institutionalization of anti-Semitism among other progressives? Sadly, my answer to all of this is an unequivocal yes. Like Trump, Corbyn has emboldened and enabled anti-Semites, but from the other end of the political spectrum.”

This analysis — that the resurgence of anti-Semitism owes as much to its political enablers who aren’t openly bigoted as it does to its ideological practitioners who are — is the most valuable contribution the book makes to our discussion of modern-day Jew hatred. Still, Lipstadt misses something important by insisting that anti-Semitism “has never made sense and never will.”

Not quite. However irrational, cynical or stupid anti-Semites may be, most Jews nonetheless can be said to stand for certain ideas and attitudes. A particular concept of morality. A reverence for law founded on the idea of truth. A penchant for asking nettlesome questions. Skepticism toward would-be saviors. A liberal passion for freedom.

Anti-Semites tend to have the opposite set of views, for reasons that may be repugnant but are perfectly rational. The fundamental truth about anti-Semitism isn’t that it’s necessarily crazy. It’s that it’s inevitably brutish.

The conclusion to be drawn is that the enemies of the Jews, whether in Tehran or Virginia, will always be the enemies of liberalism — which is why the fight against anti-Semitism must also be a fight for liberalism. Lipstadt gets this, of course, even if she arrives at the point by a different set of stairs. Fair enough. She has written a book that combines erudition, clarity, accessibility and passion at a moment when they could not be needed more.

Stephen Pollard: I truly thought that anti-Semitism was over… I was wrong

That is one reason why Holocaust Memorial Day is so important – because as the survivors pass on, we need to retain a collective memory of what happened on European soil so recently.

But there is a deeper issue. Were those older generations, in those countries, uniquely capable of such evil? As a Jew, I grew up almost entirely unaware of anti-Semitism. It was indeed just history to me. My grandmas told me stories of pogroms in Poland and Lithuania. One kept a suitcase packed and stored in a cupboard “because you never know when we might have to leave”. I thought she was living in the past, that the Holocaust had somehow forced an end to anti-Semitism.

But I was wrong.

It was arrogance for me to assume that my generation, alone in history, was cured of that virus. Anti-Semitism is not called “the oldest hatred” for nothing. And slowly, I started to see it – and to experience it. A comment about being a “Jew boy”, not really British; a snide remark that we Jews stuck together and really ran the country. But I didn’t think too much about it. Half a dozen stupid remarks in 40 years is hardly a torrent.

That was then.

This, though, is now – when I have to block 2,000 people because otherwise my Twitter feed would be an even greater cesspit of anti-Semitism than it is. When people openly tell me that I should be in the gas chambers and that my children will not live to adulthood because Hitler’s work will be finished; when I am told I am running a Jewish paedophile ring; when I am said to be a paid agent of Israel, a foreign agent in a foreign land.

Yes, it’s just words. But the people who send such words are real. And my office has to have guards due to the threats.

Most of those who choose to attack me as a Jew on social media have one thing in common: they describe themselves as supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

If Mr Corbyn had taken real action, had attacked them with vigour and with purpose, things might be different. But he has not. Ever. He has chosen not to. Is it any wonder I am scared of what may come, if he ever takes power?

Singling Out the Jewish State

There are 43 countries with official state religions, and another 40 that give one religion preferential treatment over other faiths. Of the former group, 27 countries enshrine Islam as their state faith, and 13 do the same for Christianity—including nine countries in Europe. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) does not seem to have a problem with any of them; one would be hard-pressed to recall a single word of criticism. But she does have a problem—a big one—with the world’s only Jewish state—a tiny country, home to just under nine million people—recognizing itself as, well, the Jewish state. Why the double standard? Maybe it’s not the obvious.

Omar’s most recent public criticism of Israel came during an interview on Yahoo News’ “Through Her Eyes” on Tuesday. After Omar lamented how the United States strongly supports Israel and has a policy that “makes” Jerusalem “superior” to the Palestinians, whatever that means, host Zainab Salbi pressed her to provide specifics. Omar pointed to Israel’s Jewish nation-state law, which was passed last year and affirms that Israel is the “nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, religious, and historic right to self-determination.”

“When I see Israel institute a law that recognizes it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it, and we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle,” Omar said. “If we see that in any other society, we would criticize it. We would call it out. We do that to Iran. We do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion.”

Perhaps Omar can provide examples of her colleagues in Congress “calling out” Christian countries in Europe for affirming the prominence of Christianity or, more controversially, doing the same for Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East—such as her native Somalia—that define Islam as their state religion. Has she ever questioned whether Denmark is still a democracy because its constitution recognizes the Lutheran church as the state religion? Has she ever called out Jordan for establishing Islam as the religion of the state? It’s not even worth going into Omar’s asinine attempt to compare Israel, a true democracy, to Iran, an Islamist theocracy that abuses minorities.

In her interview, Omar went on to say, in a wonderful show of irony, that she is “aggravated” by “those contradictions,” apparently blind to her own double standard. She does not seem to understand, or knows but will not acknowledge, that Israel’s nation-state law, which is similar to constitutional provisions in several European countries, neither creates individual privileges for any Israeli citizens nor infringes on the individual rights of any citizens. Moreover, Israel has never even officially proclaimed Judaism as the state religion. Palestinian Basic Law, meanwhile, states that “Islam is the official religion in Palestine” and that “the principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be the main source of legislation.”

So we are left with a question: why single out Israel?

U.N. Censors Israeli-Made Wine During Holocaust Event

The United Nations is again facing accusations of anti-Israel bias for erasing from display the location of an Israeli-made bottle of wine during a recent Holocaust remembrance event, according to pictures provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

During a U.N. Holocaust memorial event sponsored by Austria and Norway earlier this week, an Israeli-made wine was served. However, “Golan Heights Winery,” where the wine was produced, appears to have been blacked out on the label so it can no longer be viewed, according to pictures.

The apparent whitewashing of the wine’s origins was first caught by Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices, whose members attended the event and posted photos on Twitter.

Bayefsky, who has long tracked and called out anti-Israel bias at the U.N., said the blacking out of the wine’s label represents another instance of U.N.-driven discrimination against the Jewish state—especially hypocritical on UN Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Poll Shows Little Support for Anti-Israel Boycott in the UK

A recent poll shows that there support for anti-Israel boycotts is low in the United Kingdom, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Wednesday.

Despite a number of high-profile celebrities who advocate for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign — notably former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters — only ten percent of those surveyed advocated boycotts of Israel.

In contrast, 46 percent of the 4,005 respondents disagreed. The poll was conducted by the Ipsos MORI company during 2016 and 2017 on behalf of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and the Community Security Trust.

The poll also found a strong correlation between those who advocated for boycotts of Israel and those holding opinions considered to be anti-Semitic.

The respondents who supported boycotts of Israel or who believed that Israel is an apartheid state were also more likely to believe one or more “traditional anti-Jewish tropes.”

Only five percent of those who supported boycotts of Israel believed none of the anti-Semitic stereotypes. However, 58 percent of those who supported boycotting of Israel believed five or more of those tropes.

The report’s authors observed that it “would be wrong to regard agreement with either the apartheid or boycott statements as being anti-Jewish under all circumstances,” as 16 percent of those who believed that Israel is an apartheid state showed no acceptance of anti-Jewish sentiments. However, they observed, “the fact remains that agreement with either statement positively correlates with anti-Jewish sentiment.” (h/t Zvi)
Survey: Relationship between antisemitism and calling for boycott of Israel” (PDF)

Report finds clear link between antisemitism and hostility to Israel

A new report has established a clear link between antisemitism and hostility towards Israel, finding that the strongest holders of antisemitic views tend to support boycotts of Israel or consider it an apartheid state.

Jonathan Boyd, executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and the report’s co-author, said that people who hold “traditional antisemitic views” about divided Jewish loyalties or the nefarious use of power are more likely to back ideas of boycott or apartheid than those who do not hold them.

“That does not mean that everyone endorsing these ideas [apartheid and boycotting] is necessarily an antisemite,” Dr Boyd added.

“Indeed the data also indicate that some people who hold these views about Israel exhibit no particular hostility towards Jews at all.

“But it does indicate that Jewish people, the majority of whom are broadly supportive of Israel, are right to be cautious here.” The paper — jointly published this week by JPR with the Community Security Trust — was based on a survey of 4,000 people in Britain carried out by Ipsos Mori between late 2016 and early 2017.

Among people who strongly agreed or tended to agree with five antisemitic ideas presented to them, 58 per cent viewed Israel as an apartheid state: while of those who identified with six or more antisemitic ideas, 52 per cent were in favour of a boycott.

NGO Monitor: Episode 11: Amnesty International’s Campaign Denying Jewish History

This week Amnesty International published a new report targeting tourism to holy and historic sites in Israel and the West Bank. Amnesty’s BDS campaign attacks the Western Wall, City of David, and the Cave of the Patriarchs, alleging that visitors to the sites and companies that advertise them are complicit in committing war crimes. On our latest episode, NGO Monitor exposes the antisemitism behind this campaign.

Host: NGO Monitor Chief of Staff Naftali Balanson

Guests: Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller and Managing Editor Becca Wertman

Honest Reporting: Amnesty’s Travel Boycott: Unpacking the Baggage

Amnesty International has launched a new campaign against Israel, taking to the media to call for a travel industry boycott of Jewish homes and businesses in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Its attack includes a petty, sniping op-ed in The Independent by Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK, specifically calling out the online travel sites TripAdvisor, and Expedia.

As would be expected, it’s a hostile screed with excessive baggage that needs unpacking.

Settlements: the key obstacle to peace?

Allen’s piece focuses on the Jewish communities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which she describes in no uncertain terms:
The settlements are the source of half a century of systematic injustice, discrimination and other human rights violations perpetrated by the state of Israel and settlers against the Palestinian people.

While the West Bank’s status is a complex issue, describing Jewish communities on this land as the “source” of human rights abuses implies that the Israeli-Arab conflict began with the Six-Day War of 1967. This is patently untrue. Amnesty and Allen may not want to admit it, but the conflict significantly predates 1967, well before charges of “illegal occupation” were ever leveled at Israel.

Indeed, terror attacks launched from the Jordanian-controlled West Bank in 1950’s and 60’s weren’t about settlements — they were about Israel’s right to exist in any borders.

Anti-Zionism is Antisemitism

The way modern anti-Zionism is expressed engages with antisemitic tropes, but at the movement’s heart is a form of racial hatred. By describing yourself as an anti-Zionist, you are positioning yourself against a persecuted minority’s right to self-determination. Ironically, this position is often held by the very same people who advocate for the Palestinian right to self-determination. Why treat the Jews differently to the Palestinians? To the Scots? To the Catalans? The reality is that anti-Zionism singles Jewish people out as some kind of exception, and attempts to deprive them of rights all other groups around the world posses. It also seeks to deprive Jews of their cultural and ethnic history, as it denies that they are a people indigenous to the land of Israel. Jews originated in the Middle East. Independent Jewish States existed for over a thousand years, and the majority of Jews only left those areas because of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Anti-Zionists describe Israel as a white/European colonialist venture and frame it in the wider context of imperialism, but the question is: How can an ethnic group colonise its own historic land that it was exiled from through ethnic cleansing and genocide? It has been proven that Jews genetically originated in the Middle East, and are actually more closely related to the Palestinians than they are to non-Jewish Europeans.

It’s important to note that these facts don’t discredit the Palestinian right to self-determination. To ensure peace in the region, it seems just to create a strong and secure Palestinian state that can exist alongside a peaceful and secure Israeli State. That is not what anti-Zionists advocate. When Marc Lamont Hill calls ‘from the River to the Sea Palestine will be free’, he is calling for Israel’s destruction. That ideology is based on a one state solution, and that state isn’t Israel. Where would the seven million Jews go when Israel is destroyed?

Natan Sharansky created a ‘3D Test’ to check whether criticism of Israel was antisemitic, based on three tenets – demonisation, double standards and delegitimisation. This is a very useful practical tool for understanding anti-Zionism.

Despite what several uninformed people may argue, Anti-Zionism is a modern day expression of antisemitism because it seeks the destruction of the only Jewish state in the world. It is entirely different to fair criticism of Israeli policy and it uses language rooted in antisemitism and it treats Israel (and therefore Jews) using double standards, in other words differently to other nations. Anti-Zionists not only choose to ignore similar (or even worse) events in other parts of the world, they seek to deprive Jews of something to which every single other group in the world is entitled: self determination. That is why anti-Zionism is antisemitism. Pure and simple.

Ronn Torossian: Accusing Israel of war crimes

In other words, the radical leftist organizations are sending a clear message to the IDF and the Israeli government: Either start prosecuting soldiers yourselves, or we will assist the international community to turn Israeli commanders and soldiers into men wanted on war crimes charges.

Its worth noting that the IDF is regarded as one of the most humane armies in the world.

Adalah – another grantee of the New Israel Fund – was involved with encouraging the UN to open an investigation against Israel. The initiative for the establishment of the commission of inquiry was a joint effort by Adalah and a coalition of anti-Israel organizations including Mezan, Badil, Al-Haq and Association for Civil Rights in Cairo –organizations that advocate the destruction of Israel, and some of which spread virulently anti-Semitic messages.

Adalah representative Attorney Soheir Asaad told the UN debate on the commission of inquiry that Adalah demanded not only the opening of an international inquiry, but also a promise that “the recommendations and results of the investigation be implemented so that Israel not be able to evade the consequences of its actions, as it has done in the past.” Now, thanks to Adalah’s actions, the commission of inquiry’s foundation document states that one of its objectives is “to put an end to the immunity and ensure accountability, including criminal personal responsibility and command responsibility.”

According to NGO Monitor, in the past decade the New Israel Fund has transferred $22 Million Dollars to Adalah, B’Tselem and Yesh Din.

Is accusing Israel of war crimes, denying her right to self-defense, and enabling Hamas terrorists really what American Jewish donors to the New Israel Fund seek?

These 9 things are ‘officially Islamophobic’ after UK councils adopt new definition

Oxford City council has this week become the latest in the UK to officially recognise the APPG definition which states:
“Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”

The two other councils to adopt the definition are in London.

The list below states examples of Islamophobia that the councils now deem as unacceptable:

• Calling for, aiding, instigating or justifying the killing or harming of Muslims in the name of a racist/fascist ideology, or an extremist view of religion.
• Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Muslims as such, or of Muslims as a collective group, such as, especially but not exclusively, conspiracies about Muslim entryism in politics, government or other societal institutions; the myth of Muslim identity having a unique propensity for terrorism and claims of a demographic ‘threat’ posed by Muslims or of a ‘Muslim takeover’.
• Accusing Muslims as a group of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Muslim person or group of Muslim individuals, or even for acts committed by non-Muslims.
• Accusing Muslims as a group, or Muslim majority states, of inventing or exaggerating Islamophobia, ethnic cleansing or genocide perpetrated against Muslims.
• Accusing Muslim citizens of being more loyal to the ‘Ummah’ (transnational Muslim community) or to their countries of origin, or to the alleged priorities of Muslims worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
• Denying Muslim populations, the right to self-determination e.g., by claiming that the existence of an independent Palestine or Kashmir is a terrorist endeavour.
• Applying double standards by requiring of Muslims behaviours that are not expected or demanded of any other groups in society, eg loyalty tests.
• Using the symbols and images associated with classic Islamophobia.
• Holding Muslims collectively responsible for the actions of any Muslim majority state, whether secular or constitutionally Islamic. (h/t Nate)

Remembering the Jewish martyrs of Iraq

Fifty years ago, the remaining few thousand Jews in Iraq endured a period of extreme anxiety and terror as nine innocent Jews were hanged in Liberation Square in Baghdad. Scores more disappeared. David Kheder Basson, chairman of the Academics from Iraq in Israel, drew up a list of the victims for the Arabic media Elaph and Akhbar, and posted the articles in English translation on Facebook. Here is an abridged version, combining Parts 1 and 11.

January 27, is a day with a painful memory for the Jews of Iraq. It is the day when 9 Jews were executed fifty years ago. Their bodies were hanged from the gallows in al-Tahrir Square in Baghdad and Um al-Broom in Basra. There was also a 10th victim whose father was Jewish.

In the first five years of the Baath regime (1968-1973), the remnants of the Jews of Iraq, numbering around 3000 people, were subjected to a vicious campaign of executions, killings, tortures, kidnapping and ad-hoc arrests, aside from discrimination and persecution.

In the autumn of 1968, a frenzied campaign against the Jews of Iraq began. Dozens of Iraqi Jews from all social classes and ages were arrested again. Some of them were accused of spying for Israel and subversion. The government carried out campaign of executions and physical liquidation in prisons. The Jews were helpless in a game that its real aim was to intimidate the Iraqi people and Baath opponents by picking the most vulnerable minority in Iraq, knowing that no one will dare to object or to voice protest.

Fred Maroun: Arabs owe Jews a lot more than 250 billion dollars

We Arabs have so far fought Israel for over 70 years with two openly stated objectives: Either destroy Israel by force, or destroy Israel by transforming it into an Arab state through a “solution” that would see Palestinian so-called refugees join the Jewish state.

If we had destroyed Israel, we would have entered history as responsible for another genocide of the Jewish people, not long after the Holocaust. By resisting and defeating the coalitions of Arab armies that attempted to destroy it, Israel prevented us from becoming the second Nazis of history.

And if we had succeeded in changing Israel into an Arab state, we would have found ourselves with one more failed Arab state, where democracy is fictional and where torture, muzzling of the press, and political assassinations are not.

Instead of this, Israeli Arabs live in a world-class country, with extensive economic opportunities and democratic freedoms. Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria and Gaza could have achieved those benefits too, if they had chosen peace over war.

Israel gives its Arab citizens equal rights even though the Arab world violently expelled practically all its Jews. Israel welcomes Arab visitors even though Israelis are banned from most of the Arab world.

Dem 2020 Hopeful Buttigieg: Omar ‘Just Wrong’ for Comparing Israel to Iran

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Peter Buttigieg (D.) challenged comments Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) made about Iran and Israel during his appearance on ABC’s “The View” Thursday.

Co-host Meghan McCain asked Buttigieg, a likely 2020 presidential candidate, about his views on Israel and Omar’s comments.

“The idea that what’s going on is equivalent is just wrong,” he said, pointing out that the Iranian regime executes gay people.

During a Yahoo interview released Wednesday night, Omar lamented that the United States strongly supports Israel and considers the Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East, a democratic state. “When I see Israel institute a law that recognizes it as a Jewish state and does not recognize the other religions that are living in it, and we still uphold it as a democracy in the Middle East, I almost chuckle,” she said.

Interviewer Zainab Salbi asked Omar about how the U.S. could “work productively toward a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Omar focused on criticizing Israel, likening it to Iran, a violent theocracy and leading sponsor of terrorism. “If we see [something like the nation-state law] in any other society, we would criticize it. We would call it out. We do that to Iran. We do that to any other place that sort of upholds its religion,” she said.

Iran executes gay citizens and abuses minority groups. Iran has hanged gay men in public from construction cranes. In contrast, Israel hosts the largest pro-gay “Pride Parade” in the Middle East. The June 2018 occurrence drew more than 250,000 participants.

Buttigieg, an openly gay public official who lives with his same-sex partner, decried the comparison.

“People like me get strung up in Iran,” he said.

Labour MPs Blast Corbyn Ally for Protecting Party Members Accused of Anti-Semitism

A leading ally of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, has been accused by Labour MPs of protecting members of the party accused of anti-Semitism from punishment, The Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday.

Formby has been on the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) for seven years. She was strongly backed by Corbyn in her bid for general secretary, and her appointment cemented the leader’s control of the most senior posts in the party.

Concerned Labour MPs laid down an 11-point motion on Monday, questioning Formby’s methods in tackling the allegations of anti-Semitism that have skyrocketed under Corbyn’s leadership. Three Labour MPs told the Chronicle that they suspect Formby of using her influence to protect members accused of anti-Jewish hate from appearing before a disciplinary panel for investigation.

A senior Labour figure highlighted to the Chronicle a recent decision by the party to reject a complaint made by the prospective parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet, Emma Whysall, who was called a “stooge for the Zionist Israeli government” by a fellow Labour member. Whysall had come under fire because the Jewish Labour Movement had endorsed her candidacy.

The criticism of Formby comes on the heels of the decision to readmit ex-MP Jim Sheridan, who was suspended last year for writing on Facebook that he no longer had “respect and empathy” for British Jews because they were working to undermine Corbyn’s leadership, into the party.

Why the BDS Movement Is Winning

The BDS movement has never been about boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. That’s why those proclaiming a victory against the BDS movement are fundamentally misguided.

The focus on BDS’ failure to orchestrate a significant boycott against Israel displays a deep misconception regarding the movement’s actual long-term objectives and consequences. In every way that matters, the BDS movement has the upper hand, while its Zionist opponents remain tragically oblivious to their crushing defeat.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the organized effort to boycott the Jewish state has a simple yet subtle goal: to redirect and change the conversation surrounding the Israeli-Arab conflict.

In this regard, the BDS movement has been exceptionally successful. While BDS may not actually manage to isolate Israel in the international arena, it has dominated and overshadowed the entire Middle East debate. In the diplomatic world, in global institutions, in intellectual circles, and on college campuses, the name of Israel and Zionism is now inexorably linked to apartheid, malevolence and oppression.

Church Activists Promote Palestinian Propaganda — Not Peace

Get ready.

Israel will soon be subjected to a withering campaign of lies and misinformation broadcast by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and many of its member denominations in North America and Europe.

The pretext for this attack will be the departure of its activists from Hebron. On January 29, 2019, the WCC announced that these activists, who operated as part of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine Israel (EAPPI), would be withdrawn from the city.

The WCC’s decision comes on the heels of a decision by the Israeli government to expel the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). The expulsion came after a TIPH observer was videotaped vandalizing Israeli cars, and another video surfaced showing a TIPH observer striking a Jewish child. The EAPPI abandoned Hebron after Im Tirtzu, an Israeli non-profit, began filming its activists as they bird-dogged Israeli soldiers in the city.

When the WCC announced the departure of its activists from the city, WCC General Secretary Olav Fyske Tveit declared, “The WCC accompaniers are currently prevented from fulfilling their role as a peaceful protective presence in Hebron.”

Don’t believe a word of it.

IsraellyCool: SGU Medical Student Walid Khass: Another Future Doctor Jews Should Have Concerns About

Meet Whalid Khass.

A student at the St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine, Walid seems to be giving Lara Kollab a run for her money when it comes to doctors or future doctors you really might have concerns about, especially if you are a Jewish, considering SGU is affiliated with the Jewish Hospital in Ohio and the Bergen Regional Medical Center in New Jersey.

For a start, Wali hates “Zionists.” Like really hates them, even boasting of beating them up.

But like so many before him, Wali just can’t hide the fact that he isn’t “just” anti-Zionist.

Relatives of Victims Seek Holocaust Compensation From Belgium’s Railway

Descendants of Holocaust victims in Belgium are pressing the country’s railway company SNCB to compensate them for its role in the deportations of Jews during the Holocaust, following the examples of France and the Netherlands.

Between Aug. 4, 1942, and July 31, 1944, some 25,628 Jews and Gypsies from Belgium were deported from the Dossin barracks in Mechelen to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. A total of 28 convoys were chartered by the SCNB, making the Dossin barracks the antechamber of the death camps.

Narcisse Rulot, the director of SNCB at the time, was considered antisemitic and pro-Nazi. Campaigners say his complacency in allowing the Germans to transport Jews via SNCB greatly aided in the suffering and deaths of thousands of people. “I carry everything that comes,” he said, “I do not look what is in the closed cars.”

The Belgian railway apologized in 2012 for its wartime role, but for many relatives of victims this was not enough.

According to Nico Wouters, a historian and expert on the topic, the archives that would prove the railway’s part in the deportations are missing, most likely having been destroyed. “Legally, we are in limbo, we do not know precisely the procedure set up by the Germans for the execution of deportations by the SNCB,” he added.

Those who have looked into this issue agree that the directors of the time did nothing to prevent the deportation of Jews from Belgium.

At Reichstag, Holocaust survivor calls Germany bulwark against intolerance

A prominent Holocaust survivor on Thursday said that Germany has learned from its Nazi past and become a bulwark against intolerance.

Speaking at a memorial event in parliament commemorating the 6 million European Jews murdered in the Holocaust, Israeli historian Saul Friedlander asked Germans to “continue fighting for tolerance and inclusiveness, humanity and freedom, in short for true democracy.”

The 86-year-old, who survived the Shoah in a Catholic boarding school in France and whose parents were killed in Auschwitz, warned that anti-Semitism and authoritarianism are on the rise again.

“Anti-Semitism is only one of the scourges which one nation after the other will now be slowly afflicted with,” Friedlander said. “Xenophobia, the temptation of authoritarian practices of domination and especially a further intensifying nationalism are everywhere in the world on the rise in a worrisome way.”

Germany’s parliament holds a special session annually to mark the day, commemorating not only victims of the Holocaust but also those who helped the persecuted and others who resisted Adolf Hitler’s tyranny.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day fell this year on Sunday — 74 years after the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland on January 27, 1945.

Friedlander said he first hesitated whether he should speak in the German parliament but then agreed because “like many people worldwide I see in today’s Germany a Germany that has fundamentally changed.”

Sausage museum plan at site tied to ex-Nazi camp sparks outcry in Germany

Plans to build a sausage museum at an annex of the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald Thursday sparked protests over a “lack of historical awareness” in Germany.

An association called Friends of the Thuringer Bratwurst had announced plans to move the Bratwurst Museum from its current location in Holzhausen to Muehlhausen, where a theater and a hotel will also be built.

But the Muehlhausen site was once part of the Buchenwald camp, where the Nazis imprisoned almost a quarter of a million people between 1937 and 1945.

Around 700 Jewish women were held in the outlying location that is to be redeveloped into a tourist attraction.

The prisoners had been sent from the Auschwitz death camp to work in a weapons factory nearby, and warned that they would be returned to the death camp when they could no longer work.

Rikola-Gunnar Luettgenau of the Buchenwald memorial foundation said the redevelopment plan showed a “lack of sensitivity” and a “lack of historical awareness.”

He said the foundation does not automatically rule out any plans to re-use the site.

Jewish Leaders in Crown Heights Urge NYC Authorities to Probe Circumstances Behind Spate of Antisemitic Violence

Leaders of the Orthodox Jewish community in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn on Thursday called on the New York City Police Department and other local authorities to “thoroughly investigate” the factors underlying a spate of antisemitic violence that began last year.

The community is again reeling after two separate assaults took place within minutes of each other in the early hours of Wednesday morning. In the first incident, a 22-year-old Hasidic man who was walking in the street and speaking on his cellphone was punched in the face and then kicked while on the ground by a group of youths. The same assailants then attacked a 51-year-old Hasidic man just minutes later, dragging him to the ground and beating him severely.

Two suspects — 18-year-old Navar Walters and 20-year-old Teshon Bannister — were arrested on hate crimes charges later on Wednesday, while police continued to look for a third suspect believed to have been involved in the attacks.

Both the victims were subsequently discharged from hospital after receiving medical treatment.

Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, the founder of the Crown Heights-based Jewish Future Alliance, told The Algemeiner on Thursday he was urging authorities to probe more deeply into the circumstances behind the attacks.

“We’ve had many instances over the last two months, and when you see a spike in this kind of hate crime, you have to assume something deeper is going on,” Rabbi Behrman said. “Maybe someone is preaching hate.”

Gay French Muslim teen to perform in Israel for Eurovision

The 19-year-old singer representing France in this year’s Eurovision song contest said he will perform in Israel in May, death threats be damned.

Moroccan-French artist Bilal Hassani said he won’t back down despite the threats over his planned appearance in Tel Aviv. Hassani, who is gay and known for his gender-bending stage get-ups, also has received threats because of his sexual orientation.

“I can’t wait, I heard the life is really exciting over there in Tel Aviv. I can’t wait to see the sun and I can’t wait to visit,” he told Israel’s Channel 12.

Hassani has filed a police report about the threats, according to Channel 12.

Israel is hosting the 2019 contest based on singer Netta Barzilai’s victory in the 2018 competition in Portugal.

Pro-Palestinian activists have called for boycotting the competition. Earlier this week 50 artists, musicians and filmmakers called on the BBC to ask for the music competition to be held in another country, citing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The 19-year-old singer was born to a Moroccan Muslim family in Paris.

Netta releases her first post-Eurovision song

Israeli Eurovision champion Netta Barzilai released her first original song since “Toy” on Friday, titled “Bassa Sababa.”

The song title, which is Hebrew slang based on Arabic, translates loosely to “Bummer Great.” But that’s the closest thing to Hebrew in the song, whose lyrics are mostly English and a touch of Arabic-sounding gobbledygook.

The video for the song, which was shot at 13 different locations in Kiev and cost close to 1 million shekel to produce, features Barzilai dressed as a pink rhinoceros. The song is a pop anthem infused with electronic beats and featuring the singer’s signature looper.

“Stop!/ Call your mama/ Run/ Tell her I’m a Rhino/ My killer girls are coming/ If you won’t hide you’re done,” she sings. “Stop!/ Hold the trigger/ Watch/ My Horn is bigger
I win/ I love my thicker figure/ I grew a thicker skin.”

Barzilai, who spent several years living in Africa as a child, said the rhinoceros is close to her heart.

“I learned this year from my fans that I’m stronger than I think I am,” she said in a statement released with the song Friday morning.

“The light and the joy within me and the people around me can conquer all the darkness that comes from inside and out. A rhinoceros is an animal with a very thick skin, that protects itself and its herd by attacking, not feeling.”

Rising anti-Semitism brings secular UK Jews closer to their roots

For most of her adult life, Rachel Riley was only vaguely aware of her Jewish ancestry.

A moderately famous daytime game show television host, Riley, 33, is one of countless unaffiliated Jews in the United Kingdom — a country with 250,000 Jewish citizens and where synagogue attendance is at a historic low.

“When I was a kid my mum would give us pepperoni pizza,” she told The Times of London in an interview published Saturday, pointing out that she didn’t keep kosher.

On Hanukkah, she added, “We’d light the menorah candles but we didn’t go to synagogue and I’ve never done Friday night [Shabbat].”

But after experiencing anti-Semitic abuse online for criticizing Britain’s liberal Labour party — whose far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn has been called anti-Semitic for his rhetoric and anti-Israel views — Riley was compelled to speak out, including in parliament last week, against the proliferation of that hatred and about how it has affected her own family.

“My family came over in the pogroms. For centuries Jews have been persecuted and kicked out of countries,” she said in the Times interview.

Riley’s revisiting of her Jewish identity is part of a larger process that is creating “an unparalleled unity and sense of solidarity amongst Jews of all persuasions” in the United Kingdom, the London-based Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog group told JTA.

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