February 18, 2018

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02/02 Links Pt2: The UN Makes the Case for an Anti-BDS Law; Melanie Phillips: What that Farrakhan picture tells us about antisemitism; IRS Apologizes to Pro-Israel Group for Biased Treatment

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/02/0202-links-pt2-un-makes-case-for-anti.html

From Ian:


The UN Makes the Case for an Anti-BDS Law
If there were any doubt about the need for Congress to pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, it was erased yesterday when the United Nations’ Office for the High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a report about companies doing business in the West Bank. The Geneva-based UN agency said it was examining the activities of 206 companies that are connected to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Though it didn’t name the companies, the intent was clear. The goal of the effort is to establish a list endorsed by the international community that would make it possible to boycott the 143 Israeli and 22 U.S companies cited as well as others.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein. Credit: U.N. Photo/Pierre Albouy.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was right to denounce the step as a waste of time and evidence of the UN’s anti-Israel obsession. But with this step, Congress’s obligation is also made clear. If it doesn’t pass the bill updating and expanding existing legislation banning discriminatory commercial boycotts of Israel, some Americans will be effectively boxed out of international commerce.

But while this ought to add urgency to the effort to pass a law that will stop the BDS — boycott, divest, sanction — movement from discriminating against Israelis and Jews in this fashion, the campaign on its behalf is bogged down by two deceptive arguments.

The first is the claim that boycotts of the settlements are both legally and morally distinct from boycotts of Israel as a whole.

The second is the assertion that the Anti-Boycott Act is an attempt to prohibit constitutionally protected free speech.

Both are fallacies.

Melanie Phillips: What that Farrakhan picture tells us about antisemitism

The fury was because many don’t accept that antisemitism is utterly deranged. Unspeakably, they believe the bad stuff said about the Jews is actually true and that the Holocaust has unjustly shielded them from rational complaint.

That’s why, when Jews call the anti-Israel madness “the new antisemitism,” they are accused of trying to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel. Their accusers actually think that claims such as the Jews have too much power/manipulate American foreign policy/further their own interests at the expense of others’ lives and so on are merely criticisms of true Jewish characteristics.

It was not enough, however, for other groups just to claim victim status. They had to knock the Jews off their victim perch altogether.

That’s because the Jews really are the world’s ultimate victims. So false “victims” had to deny Jewish victimization order to continue their dishonest leverage of guilt. Those who have made most murderous use of this strategy are of course the “Palestinians.”

So antisemitism, the most lethal bigotry in the world, became the prejudice that dare not speak its name. Those who continued to draw attention to it found themselves either ignored or deplored. Those who connived at or gave cover to it came to dominate the universities and media and culture – and one became president of the United States for eight years.

And now some of those who supported him are shocked – shocked! – to discover that their hero had feet of poisoned clay.

IRS Apologizes to Pro-Israel Group for Biased Treatment

A pro-Israel organization that found its nonprofit status subjected to undue scrutiny by the Obama administration’s IRS as a result of its advocacy on the Jewish state’s behalf reached a settlement Thursday with the Department of Justice that included a formal apology from the U.S. government for subjecting the group to unfair treatment, according to an announcement.

The Trump administration’s DOJ announced Tuesday that it had reached a settlement with Z Street, a conservative pro-Israel advocacy group that sued the government over allegations the Obama administration subjected the organization to unfair scrutiny as a result of its pro-Israel views. Z Street was just one of several conservative organizations to sue the U.S. government.

The case had been locked in court since 2015, when judges rejected the Obama administration’s claims that it did not act improperly.

“Z Street alleged that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applied heightened scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status received from organizations connected in any way to Israel, and applied this policy to Z Street’s application, resulting in delay,” the Justice Department announced in a press release. “The settlement agreement includes an apology from the IRS to Z Street for the delayed processing of the group’s application for tax-exempt status.”

DOJ lawyers issued a formal apology to the group over its unfair treatment and vowed equal treatment for groups of all political stripes.

David Collier: ICAHD bring antisemitism into the Church. The story of the ‘sick’ Israelis

Reverend Rosemary Fletcher and I have never met before. Nor have I been inside her church. When I arrived yesterday, about 50 people sat waiting for the event to begin. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) literature was spread over two tables near the entrance. The PSC have no interest in truth or peace whatsoever. They still have 9/11 truthers and Holocaust Deniers turning up at their AGM. When you see PSC literature inside a church then you know you are inside enemy territory.

The talk was delivered by Tim Coldicott and lasted about 45 minutes. Tim is a perfect presenter for a church audience. He is well presented, well-spoken and looks like a caring and learned man. Presentation counts, especially if you need people to buy heavily into the content.

From the moment that Coldicott began to speak, to the moment he finished, he fed the audience an unforgivable and disgraceful demonisation of Israelis and Zionist history. I am used to distortion, I am also used to a heavy bias, or someone overcooking the Palestinian perspective of things. But this was more than that. Coldicott dehumanised the Israeli Jews, he ripped history apart, he scrubbed clean the streets of all Jewish blood and placed lie on-top of lie in an attempt to convince the audience, that to save Israelis from themselves, they simply had to destroy the Jewish state.

Paris Muslim accused of killing Jewish woman no longer charged with hate crime

A judge in Paris scrapped hate crime charges from the indictment of a murder suspect who confessed to killing his Jewish neighbor.

The move came amid a rise in reported violent anti-Semitic attacks in France.

The Paris Prosecutor’s office said it would appeal the dismissal Monday of the aggravated element of a hate crime in the trial of Kobili Traore, a 28-year-old Muslim man who on April 4 threw his neighbor, Sarah Halimi, to her death from the window of her third-story apartment.

The charge of murder aggravated by racial hatred was excluded from what is now the indictment against Traore by the examining magistrate — a function designed to oversee prosecutors and intercept flawed indictments before they form the basis of an active trial.

Francis Kalifat, president of the Jewish umbrella group CRIF, told Le Parisien daily that the examining magistrate’s move was “an insult” to Halimi’s memory.

Separately, the Interior Ministry of France on Wednesday reported a 7.2 percent decrease in 2017 in the number of anti-Semitic attacks in the country over 2016. The ministry recorded 311 cases. But of those, 97 were classified as violent assaults – a 25 percent increase over 2016, Le Figaro reported.

Jews and Poles don’t need to be enemies

That doesn’t excuse the massacre of Jews at Kielce or at Jedwabne in 1941. But Jews who are quick to lump the Poles in with the Germans need to understand there is a reason why Poles consider themselves to be victims, not perpetrators. Moreover, Poland’s victimization didn’t begin in 1939, but stretched back centuries as the great powers treated it as a pawn in their wars and alliances.

A willingness to dive back into conflict with Poland over the Holocaust ignores the enormous progress that was made to bridge the gap between the two nations in the postwar era. The heroic efforts of the late Pope John Paul II to combat endemic anti-Semitism both in his own nation and among Catholics everywhere deserve to be remembered with honor. The post-Cold War government of Poland also should be given credit for maintaining strong and friendly relations with Israel, something confirmed by its recent refusal to support the United Nations resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s stand on Jerusalem. Support for and interest in Jewish culture among Poles also testifies to the way Poland is changing.

Jews and Poles don’t need to be enemies anymore. To the contrary, given Poland’s delicate strategic situation and the ongoing attacks on Israel, they have much in common. So rather than engage in mutual condemnations, Jewish critics of the new law should speak with the same understanding and compassion for Polish suffering and sensibilities that they demand for their history.

The Polish Holocaust law is a foolish mistake. Like other nations, including Israel, they’d do better to avoid bills infringing even on hateful speech. But more than that, it would be a pity if arguments about history were to undo the progress that has been made to heal the historic rift between Jews and Poles.

Education Ministry vows it will ‘tell the truth’ to youth trips visiting Poland

The head of Israel’s Education Ministry said Thursday Israel will not halt high school student trips to Poland and that tour organizers will not be muzzled by a controversial Polish bill that prohibits blaming wartime Poles for the Holocaust atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.

The bill, which prescribes a prison sentence for anyone who refers to “Polish death camps” and forbids mention of Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust, has been pilloried by Israel as a form of historical distortion.

Speaking to Hadashot News, minister director Shmuel Abuav defiantly stressed that trips will continue and “the guides will tell the truth as it happened.”

He pointed to new curricula drafted by the ministry in response to the Polish bill, which examines the murders of over 2,000 Jews by Poles before and after World War II.

“No law will silence the instructors and guides, or the story we must tell the younger generation,” Abuav told the television station.

Some 40,000 Israeli high school students will visit Poland this year for purposes of Holocaust commemoration, he noted. The students visit Nazi sites associated with the genocide of European Jewry such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp site.

UN Watch: The U.N.’s Anti-Israel Blacklist: Myths & Facts on the “Settlements Database”

On March 24, 2016, at its 31st session, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted resolution 31/36 entitled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

The resolution requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close consultation with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, to produce a database of all business enterprises that “directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements.” The database is to be updated annually.

The High Commissioner was instructed to submit the data in the form of a report to the Council at its March 2017 session, but he asked for the deadline to be delayed until December 2017. This deadline was missed by a month, and the report was submitted on January 26, 2018, but the database itself was not included due to a lack of resources, wrote the High Commissioner. His office identified 206 companies that fit the criteria of Resolution 31/36, but the office had not been able to communicate with all of them and expected the database would be published at some future date

Irish Ambassador: Government Does Not Support Ban on West Bank Settlement Goods

Irish Ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly has told officials in Jerusalem that the Government does not support an initiative to ban the sale of goods from West Bank settlements.

Ms Kelly was summoned to the foreign ministry on Wednesday for what was termed a “clarification”, even though the Seanad voted on Tuesday night to indefinitely postpone a vote on the private member’s Bill introduced by Senator Frances Black to criminalise the sale of settlement products.

It was stressed at the meeting that the Bill was a private initiative and did not have the backing of the Government.

The proposal, Ms Kelly said, was not part of the BDS (boycott, disinvestment, sanctions) campaign which the Government opposes.

Rodica Rodian-Gordon, the Israeli foreign ministry’s deputy director general for western Europe, underscored Israel’s opposition to the Bill and said any measure promoting a boycott of settlement products could be considered a BDS Bill.

EU blasts ‘settlement tourism’ near Jerusalem’s Old City

A European Union report lambastes Israel for tourism development in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.

The report from the EU’s heads of missions in Jerusalem and leaked to British daily The Guardian, describes archaeological sites in and near the Old City, including in Silwan’s City of David and in a planned cable car from the First Station to Mt. Zion to the Old City’s Dung Gate, “as a political tool to modify the historical narrative and to support, legitimize, and expand settlements.”

That historical narrative the report says is being advanced by Israeli tourism development in the area was based on the claim of “historic continuity of the Jewish presence in the area at the expense of other religions and cultures.”

“East Jerusalem is the only place where Israeli national parks are declared on populated neighborhoods,” the Guardian quotes the report as saying, a reference to the growth and development of the City of David site atop the earliest known settlement areas in ancient Jerusalem. Critics say the development of the site, which is a popular tourist destination, is part of a process of displacing the Palestinian residents in the area, which is part of the larger Arab neighborhood of Silwan.

The report charges that the Elad organization, which runs the City of David Site, promotes “an exclusively Jewish narrative, while detaching the place from its Palestinian surroundings.

Silenced: Outdoor Muslim Call to Prayer Banned by German Court

The complainants – who live just 900 metres from the mosque – said they felt affected by the muezzin’s reputation for being against religious freedom. Their legal counsel stated: “This lawsuit is not only about the loudspeaker permit, but in particular about the inherent messages that are publicly distributed in the muezzin call.”

“It’s a chant in a key that’s disturbing to us, but it’s all about the content of the call, which sets Allah above our God as a Christian, and I as a Christian who grew up in a Christian environment do not accept it,” the newspaper quoted the 69-year-old plaintiff.

According to the Westfalen Post, a Christian Syrian neighbor of the mosque also complained about the Muezzin calls, but was “massively threatened” by his Muslim neighbors and withdrew his complaint.

The muezzin call violates the permit’s mandated prohibition on disseminating “negative religious liberties,” the attorney argued, meaning that no one should be coerced into any particular faith – which the attorney argued is the case with the muezzin call, asserting an Islamic call to public prayer is made at the expense of other religions.

Israel has approached the same problem by the simple measure of limiting calls to prayers from mosques, including one restriction prohibiting the use of loudspeakers at all hours.

Supporters say the restriction is needed to prevent daily disturbance to the lives of hundreds of thousands Israelis.

70 years on: The bombing of the ‘Post’ offices, and the paper’s legacy

Three young staffers at the Palestine Post that day in 1948; three lives spared.

Alexander Zvielli, Mordecai Chertoff and Marlin Levin were all at work on the evening of February 1 that year. In separate interviews before they all passed away over the last decade, they recalled the harrowing attack that claimed four lives.

“At 24, nothing can happen to you,” Chertoff told The Jerusalem Post in 2010, reminiscing about the time when his life story and Israel’s history ran on the same path without a road map. “You’re immune to every illness, every bullet.”

That immunity includes surviving unscathed the deadly explosion of a stolen British army truck loaded with a half-ton of TNT planted by Arab terrorists, outside the Post’s offices on Hasolel Street (now Havatzelet Street), just off Zion Square. The blast killed four people, including three Post employees, wounded several dozen and destroyed the two adjacent buildings.

“I remember that Marlin Levin, an editor, was sitting in someone else’s chair who had gone to Tel Aviv that day,” said Chertoff. “When the explosion came, a piece of metal from the window came flying across where Marlin would have usually been sitting. It would have taken his head off.”

One employee died immediately, and Chertoff said that two others later succumbed to their wounds.

Pro-Israel Groups Call on Feds to Pull Funding from Anti-Israel Middle East Programs

Fourteen advocacy organizations are calling for federal funding to Middle East studies centers to be pulled if the programs do not end their anti-Israel and anti-American “indoctrination.”

The letter to the Senate HELP Committee charge that the 16 Middle East studies centers receiving funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Opportunities Act are “being misused to promote biased, one-sided, and anti-Israel programming,” in violation of a requirement for the programs to “reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views.”

Title VI funding was rolled out in 1958, a product of the Cold War era effort by the Department of Education to ensure Americans obtained sufficient knowledge in foreign language and international studies to respond to national security threats. The diversity requirement was added in 2008.

The coalition of Jewish and Zionist organizations behind the letter are advocating for the Senate to approve provisions adopted in the House’s reformed Higher Education Act, passed in December as the PROSPER Act, which call for institutions to adequately assure it will adhere to the diversity policy and for a modified evaluation policy to be instituted to ensure compliance.

Title VI-funded Middle East programs include those at Georgetown University, whose center has been dubbed the “Islamic outpost on the Potomac,” and Columbia University, where Middle East studies professors are currently boycotting a bookstore for its recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, was insistent that centers must lose their federal funding if they do not make a “concerted effort to diversify.”

San Francisco State University Faces Second Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination Against Jewish Students

Two Jewish students are pursuing a civil rights lawsuit against San Francisco State University for alleged discrimination that left them feeling threatened and alienated from campus life.

“SFSU has a long and documented history of institutionalized anti-Semitism,” charged the complaint, filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of San Francisco on behalf of students Charles Volk and Liam Kern.

The lawsuit, which also targets the Board of Trustees of the California State University (CSU), warned that Jews at SFSU are “often afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes.”

“Jews on campus face racist slurs and epithets,” asserted the plaintiffs, who are represented by attorneys from The Lawfare Project — a nonprofit focused on cases alleging antisemitic discrimination — and the legal firm Winston & Strawn.

SFSU’s Jewish community is confronted with “blood libels that can be traced directly to the notoriously hateful forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the complaint continued, “displays and events on campus that equate them with Nazis and baby murderers; deprivations of their rights to speak, listen, and assemble; threats, harassment, intimidation, and bullying.”

The Story of the Students Supporting Israel Movement

Right before New Year, SSI hosted our third national conference in San Diego, California. Our student leaders from all across the country came to meet each other and learn how to be even more proactive and a better representative of the Jewish State. Our own background or which campus or city we came from did not matter as we all gathered around the factor that unites us, the care and passion for Israel. As one student wrote in her reaction to the conference, “prior to the conference I always cared about Israel, but now I am a proud Zionist”.

What started as an idea of a few students in Minnesota, is today the largest pro-Israel grassroots student movement that was built from the campus grounds and up. Just like in the past years Students Supporting Israel was an organization that changed the way pro-Israel students on campus operate, in the years to come Students Supporting Israel will be the organization to raise the next generation of Zionist, community and political leaders.

We hope that future students will have the ability to step into their college campuses knowing that we are the ones who control the conversation, and that this future generation of leaders will not remember a time when Israel was losing its image in the academia due to the lack of grassroots work. The new generation of activists created by SSI will continue to inspire their communities by nonstop work, creative minds, unlimited passion, freedom of expression and no fear.

Intersectionality Is Making Teen Vogue’s Editors Stupid

As it’s often applied today, intersectionality is a convenient shortcut that tells its adherents what to think, and relieves them of the burden of learning about and thinking through issues for themselves. Such a shortcut may be attractive to those who lack the time, will or intellectual curiosity to make informed decisions. Once you know you support women’s rights, or are against racism, or believe in rights for LGBTQ people, you need not bother delving through centuries of history of Muslim-Jewish relations, or the history of the land that was named Palestine by a colonial power, or even two decades of negotiations since Oslo. You can ignore the fact that it is Jews that are indigenous to the region, and that for over a millennium, Jews and Christians who lived in Muslim-majority lands lived as second class citizens in a kind of Middle Eastern Jim Crow. While Crenshaw originally pushed people to think harder about issues, to dig deeper and learn more, when it comes to Israel, today’s intersectionalists push people to think and learn less.

Which brings us back to Teen Vogue. Its outgoing Editor-In-Chief Elaine Welteroth’s background is as a fashion and beauty editor. (She is leaving, apparently, to pursue a career in acting.) Emma Sarran Webster, the author of the March article that purported to be a summary of “What You Need to Know” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict also, as CAMERA wrote previously, billed herself as an expert on health and beauty with a “deep love for social media and cat videos.” Isis Briones, the writer who interviewed Khatahbeh, and who wrote about the model Amena Khan, mainly covers celebrity gossip.

Yet, despite employing writers with no expertise in the area, the magazine has determinedly pursued an anti-Israel agenda. Teen Vogue is not interested in presenting a balanced view of the issues, in which the point of view of both Israeli and Palestinian women and girls are taken into account, so that its young readers may come to their own conclusions. Teen Vogue, apparently, doesn’t trust that its readers will come to what it has already decided is the correct position.

In 2014 Crenshaw told The New Statesman that she coined the term intersectionality to address “invisibilities” in feminism. As CAMERA demonstrates daily, it is the suffering of Israelis – Jewish and non-Jewish, women and men – that is invisible in today’s media landscape, including in the pages of Teen Vogue.

If Teen Vogue wants to be taken seriously as a publication that goes beyond fashion and celebrity gossip, its next editor will need to better educate herself or himself so that the magazine can present a balanced point of view and inform, rather than indoctrinate, its readers.

South Carolina Man Fined for Flying an Israeli Flag

Keith Woodard is proud to be an American. An Air Force veteran, he flies the Stars and Stripes outside his West Ashley, South Carolina home, illuminated by spotlights. He’s also proud to be Jewish, which is why he flies the Israeli flag as well. The latter, however, seems to have incensed his developer-run community association, which now, according to Woodard, fines him $25 each month.

Just what might Woodard’s transgression be isn’t clear. The developers, Pulte Homes, told The Post and Courier that Woodard’s actions were in violation of the “community’s governing documents that all homeowners agree to when they buy a house,” but Woodard is arguing that the bylaws aren’t specific and that none of his neighbors complained about the Israeli flag.

“If I’m in a position where I don’t want people to know we’re a Jewish family,” he said, “then I’m in the wrong country.”

The homeowners’ association, he said, also gave him trouble when he put up blue holiday lights for Passover, arguing that he had put up Christmas lights out of season. A spokeswoman for Pulte told the newspaper that said Woodard was informed he could submit an application for temporary decorations, adding that “The governing documents does apply to flags, so all homeowners need to submit for approval for flags and any decoration on the exterior of the home.” Woodard, on his end, took to Facebook and urged supporters to call the management company and give them “a piece of your Jewish mind.” God bless America.

At Least Five Imams in America Have Called for the Death of Jews; Where’s the Outrage?

How is that a mere 75 years after the Holocaust, after many cities in Europe have once again turned into places where it is an act of bravery for a Jew to walk down the street with a kippah on his head, that so many people in America — including Jews –are so ambivalent to such raw antisemitism?

Can it be political correctness — or the “soft bigotry of low expectations”? Why is it that when white supremacists chant “Jews will not replace us,” that the mainstream media and practically all mainstream Jewish groups and organizations immediately decry the antisemitism? Yet, after five imams call for the murder of the “filthy” Jews, our collective response is so indiscernible that it can’t even be picked up on CNN?

It cannot be politically correct to ignore raw Jew-hatred or calls for genocide — no matter who is making those statements.

The reality is that there are many Muslims, particularly in the US, who find such raw Jew-hatred and incitement repugnant. Therefore, ignoring such hatred simply because the speaker is Muslim is — in and of itself — racist. If we do not ignore white supremacists chanting “Jews will not replace us” (which we shouldn’t), then we certainly should not ignore sermons by racist imams either, particularly those who are trying to incite their congregants to murder Jews.

So, unless the Jewish community in America wants Jewish life in America to start resembling Jewish life in many parts of Europe — where violent attacks against Jewish life and property are becoming ubiquitous — we better start treating all antisemitic rants as equally repugnant, and demanding of all people what we demand of ourselves. After all, does anyone doubt that if a rabbi were caught on tape saying such things in a mainstream synagogue in the US, that he would be fired in under 24 hours? Meanwhile, not one of these five imams have been fired. Not one.

Austrian Freedom Party Politician Resigns Over Neo-Nazi Scandal

A high-ranking official from Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) resigned on Thursday, yielding to mounting pressure over his association with a group accused of being neo-Nazis.

The FPO, which says it abandoned Nazi ideology espoused by its founders in the 1950s, entered government last month as a junior partner of Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives after coming third, with 26 percent of votes, in elections in October.

Its top candidate in regional elections in Lower Austria held last Sunday had been fending off a scandal after a newspaper revealed that a fraternity that he used to help lead had distributed a songbook that joked about killing Jews.

Udo Landbauer, re-elected to the regional assembly, initially rejected President Alexander Van der Bellen’s call for him to step down, and his party, many of whose officials are also members of right-wing fraternities, stood by him.

But on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Freedom Party in Lower Austria confirmed a report by Austrian news agency APA that Landbauer had resigned from all political posts. She declined further comment.

Amid anti-Semitic wave in Europe, Iceland mulls circumcision ban

Lawmakers in Iceland submitted legislation on Tuesday that would prohibit male circumcision and make it a crime punishable by up to six years in prison, despite circumcision being a religious imperative in Judaism and Islam.

By introducing the bill, Iceland may have set a dangerous precedent that limits Jewish religious observance, even while Europe is seeing a worrying rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

The bill, which bans “removing sexual organs, in whole or in part,” was introduced in Iceland one day after an 8-year-old boy wearing a kippah was attacked in France.

The bill describes circumcision as a “violation” of children’s rights that must be categorically banned unless medically justified. Female genital mutilation, sometimes called female circumcision, has been illegal in Iceland since 2005.

Eight members of the Althing, the Icelandic parliament, proposed the bill, which received support in both the coalition and opposition. According to the bill, “Children’s rights must always take precedence over the right of parents to raise their children according to religious laws.”

Exploring France’s anti-Semitic attack problem

The attack on Monday against a Jewish schoolboy indicates France’s growing problem with anti-Semitism. In the latest incident, an 8-year-old boy was walking to an evening class just outside Paris when he was set upon by two teenagers.

It’s far from an exceptional case. Earlier this month, a Jewish store in Paris was targeted by arsonists and a 15-year-old Jewish girl had her face slashed around the same neighborhood as where this boy has now been attacked. In another incident last September, a Jewish family was held hostage as a gang ransacked their home looking for hidden jewelry and money (a typical anti-Semitic trope is that Jews horde expensive items).

More brutal attacks have also occurred. In 2012, three children and a teacher were killed in an attack on a Jewish school in southern France. Four innocent people were also murdered in January 2015, when a terrorist stormed a Kosher supermarket.

All of this has led French Jews to take special precautions to protect themselves. They travel in groups for added security and sometimes conceal the testaments of their heritage; avoiding wearing kippahs or Stars of David. In some areas, Jewish community activists have organized self-defense groups to protect their friends and family.

This speaks to something. While we talk much about no-go zones in France, the real problem is not no-go zones, but rather no-man’s-land zones: areas free to travel but fraught with perceivable risk. The challenge here is not so much a threat to life, but a perishing of the French right to the pursuit of happiness.

Why does France, a modern democratic society, have such a problem here? A few reasons. First off, France has a distinct problem with the integration of its Muslim youths. The blending of France’s generous welfare state and the relative disinterest of the French social establishment in Muslim social mobility has led young French Muslims to feel detached from their own society. They keep to themselves in homogeneous communities; often poor, run down, gang-controlled tenements, basking in a narrative of victimhood and anger.

The Rise of Australia’s Activist Far Right. How Far Will It Go?

Not long ago, the activist far right comprised a motley assortment of anti-Islam groups and individuals rallying in cities across Australia railing against Islamist terrorism, Muslim immigration and the Islamisation of Australia.

Today, the activist far right scene has been sharpened and galvanised into something much bolder, more militant and potentially threatening to Australian society.

Within Australia, the far right contains a wide diversity of views, and is composed of a multitude of groups of varying sizes and aims. Many tend to be active predominantly online or within-house, rather than publicly on the streets.

Out of this melange, three main political streams of thought have emerged in the contemporary activist far right in Australia. These streams may be described as civic “patriots,” nationalists and racialists.

These streams define themselves according to their own idiosyncratic ideas about identity, about who “qualifies” as an Australian and what constitutes the ideal demographic make-up of Australian society. Notions of race and culture, multiculturalism and integration, are pivotal in these streams.

There is some overlap in their beliefs, some membership exchange, and at times a great deal of hostility between them. A brief summary of the underlying ideas and modus operandi of the groups in each stream follows.

Chelsea Football Club pulls red card on antisemitism

The 40,000 soccer fans who packed London’s Stamford Bridge Stadium for Chelsea FC’s Premier League game against AFC Bournemouth on Wednesday took a break from the customary pregame chants for their team and against their rivals and stood silently and respectfully as the home team showcased its new campaign to counter antisemitism.

While the pitch’s center circle was covered by a banner calling for an end to the age-old expressions of Jew-hatred, a video appeared on the stadium’s jumbo screens, launching the Blues’ new tolerance-promoting campaign.

Images of the team’s star players, management, staff and fans, interspersed with prominent figures from Israel and the local and international Jewish community were shown. All those depicted were holding up signs reading “Say No To Antisemitism,” a clear message of support and acceptance for the Jews in the crowd and rejection of the ugliness that is increasingly tarnishing the beautiful game.

Real Madrid soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo joins MDA campaign

Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency first responder organization and Abbott Israel have joined forces with soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo for a new campaign encouraging Israelis to donate blood.

Star Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo, a regular blood donor, is featured in the “BeThe1” campaign, part of a nationwide blood drive that will take place at dozens of blood donation sites across Israel.

Blood donations are vital in order to save lives, but many people are unaware of this until they or their loved ones are in critical need. Few people know that 234 million operations that require blood transfusions take place worldwide annually. In fact, 1 in every 7 people who are hospitalized requires a life-saving blood transfusion.

Whilst 108 million blood units are collected annually across the world, only a small percentage of the billions people who are eligible to donate actually do so. For those requiring a blood transfusion, the need is even greater as the blood has a very short shelf life. It is only by means of a steady, regular stream of volunteer donors that the required supply can be guaranteed.

For this reason, Real Madrid soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo, has joined Magen David Adom’s campaign. Israel’s national rescue service along with Abbott Israel are cooperating in order to promote and raise awareness of the subject, as well as encouraging younger members to join the pool of regular donors.

Caitlyn Jenner’s Shoutout to Israel

Caitlyn Jenner – the sportsperson formerly known as Bruce Jenner – has been in Ireland. And in a speech about LGBT rights, she mentioned Israel’s stellar human rights record.

“In my community, in the trans community, the L, the G, the B and the T, the T portion is the most underfunded by far. I really judge a people and a country by the way they treat the LGBT community, I just have to say Ireland has done such a good job when it comes to these issues.

“There’s other countries around the world, in fact I’ll be in Israel, who have done a wonderful job in the face of civil rights, when what’s happening in the L, the G, the B or the T, they’ll hang you; it’s an amazing thing.”

Caitlyn is set to receive the Champion of Israel and LGBTQ Rights Award on March 8 in New York. Naturally, this has sent the haters into conniptions.

British Defense Chief Praises Israel as ‘Beacon of Light and Hope’ in Middle East

The United Kingdom “will always be Israel’s friend,” British Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson pledged on Tuesday at a London gathering.

Speaking at the Conservative Friends of Israel’s Annual Parliamentary Reception, Williamson — the 41-year-old MP for South Staffordshire — hailed Israel as a “beacon of light and hope, in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt.”

“We shouldn’t underestimate how difficult it is to keep that light bright and burning” he went on to say.

Williamson asked: “If we are not there to stand up for a country, whose views and ideals are so close, or are simply our own, what are we as a nation? What are we in politics, if we cannot accept and celebrate the wonderful blooming of democracy that is Israel, but instead always turn to a narrative of spite, envy?”

Britain and Israel, Williamson noted, have “a strong and firm relationship of working together. It’s a relationship of partners…It’s a partnership of equals, a partnership of friends.”

An Interview With Israeli Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar

Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar is recognized the world over for her incredible finds in Jerusalem that verify the biblical record. She has a rich history with Herbert W. Armstrong College and theTrumpet.com. The college first dispatched students to Jerusalem to support Eilat in 2006. Since then, dozens of Armstrong students have volunteered on Dr. Mazar’s excavations in both the City of David and the Ophel.

Our history with the Mazar family and Jerusalem archaeology began long before 2006; in fact, it began almost 40 years earlier, in 1968. The relationship began when Herbert W. Armstrong, the chancellor of Ambassador College and the editor in chief of the Plain Truth, visited Jerusalem, met with Israeli authorities, and agreed to support a massive excavation (the “Big Dig”) at the foot of the Temple Mount. From 1968 to 1976, hundreds of Ambassador students traveled to Jerusalem and volunteered on the dig. And guess who was in charge of the “Big Dig” and a close friend of Mr. Armstrong. Benjamin Mazar, Eilat’s grandfather. As a young girl, Eilat Mazar worked closely with the Ambassador students on her grandfather’s dig and has many fond memories of working alongside the “ambassadors.”

Dr. Mazar is currently leading another excavation on the Ophel. As is now custom, Eilat is supported by Armstrong students and alumni: 11, to be exact. I visited Dr. Mazar and the students in Jerusalem last weekend. During the visit, we broke out the microphone and I sat down with Dr. Mazar to discuss the Ophel dig, as well as some of our fondest memories from the past 50 years.

Below is a condensed and slightly edited transcript of our conversation at the Ophel dig site on January 28:

Remembering a warrior poet who embodied the Israeli experience

Haim Gouri was perhaps Israel’s best example of its unique brand of warrior-poets, birthed of a search for meaning through the fires of the Jewish people’s traumas and the country’s early wars.

It’s impossible to sum up the life of Gouri, a man of letters who in many ways embodied the competing personalities of Israel — fighters yearning for land but also peace — into a handful of pages, but a day after his death Wednesday, papers try their hand at remembering who he was and what he meant and encapsulating it into the format of a daily.

The tabloids Israel Hayom and Yedioth Ahronoth devote a combined dozen pages to Gouri, and through all the remembrances and eulogies there is also a profound sense of loss for a mythological Israel of yore he personified, as if he were the last living breath of those who built the country, especially those of the pre-state Palmach militia. Yedioth Ahronoth, which includes a caricature of him joining other poetic Palmach alums on a cloud, calls him “The last national poet” and Israel Hayom says he was “The last of the giants.”

Haaretz’s straight-up obituary of Gouri notes that “Gouri’s poems were the poems of the Israeli national ethos, and many of his poems became inalienable assets of Israeli culture.”

Remembering Daniel Pearl



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