Put BDS to the Test
Now, matters have come to their natural conclusion. The same student government has passed a resolution urging the University to divest from “companies that profit from human rights violations in Palestine and other communities globally.” Despite the nod to “other communities” and a gesture toward immigration issues at home, the resolution focuses on Israel. Erez Cohen, director of U of I’s Hillel, says that it “refers to Israel 11 times more than any other country mentioned.”
The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is not an anti-Israel campus. Given the opportunity to participate in referenda on related resolutions in 2017 and 2018, the student body rejected them by wide margins. There is good reason to believe Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, co-director of U of I’s Chabad, when he says that “this vote does not represent the values and beliefs of students and faculty at the University of Illinois.”
In 2017, proponents of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel succeeded, after years of failure, in passing a resolution at the University of Michigan. It was the norm then, and remains the norm now, not to try to reverse these resolutions. That’s a sensible strategy on some campuses, where, after a resolution has passed, anti-Israel activists can struggle to find a new campaign with the same propaganda value as divestment. Resources are often put to better use educating students and faculty on matters distorted by BDS propagandists, such as anti-Semitism, Zionism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But I thought then and think now that, at places like the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois, where BDS has struggled to win victories and has won those only by swaying small numbers of student legislators, it’s worth mounting a campaign to repeal or otherwise respond to anti-Israel resolutions. Anti-Israel activists benefit from a fight in which their forces return to the field after a battle is lost, confident that, if BDS ever wins, its campus opponents will retire from the field.
It is a challenge for campus BDS campaigns to find their footing after a win. But it’s also a challenge, as campaigners against BDS know from experience, to go back year after year, even after overwhelming victories of the sort they’d won at the University of Illinois, to hold the ground.
On some campuses, BDS activists, too, should be put to that test.
A Jewish girl was called a Nazi last night at a BDS vote. Her response, “We, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves and this time we will not stand by as our people again are threatened with slaughter by Hamas and their National SJP supporters.”
— BDS Report (@BDSreport) February 13, 2020
Joel Rubin, Sanders’ director for Jewish outreach, said Sanders would work hard to ensure Israel’s security and in securing a state for the Palestinians.
The evening included discussion of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Richman said that Bloomberg was opposed to BDS, believing it anti-Semitic and that Bloomberg adhered to the principles set forth by former Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky that the “three Ds” of anti-Semitism were delegitimization, demonization and double standards.
Rubin said although Sanders is opposed to BDS, the Vermont senator believes that “Americans have a constitutional right to participate in nonviolent protests.”
Rob Meyerhoff, a Steyer staffer, said Steyer, who has made climate change the focal point of his campaign for the Democratic nomination, also saw support for BDS as falling under the banner of free speech.
“I’m not a regular surrogate for Joe Biden,” Koretz said. “I just think he’s the right candidate for the right time.”
As for Bloomberg, Richman said, “He has the experience and the toughness to stand up to Donald Trump.”
While Rubin highlighted the extensive support Sanders has received across the country, Simonds called out some of those supporters. Without mentioning anyone by name, he asked Rubin to explain why Sanders has had political ties with anti-Zionists. In response, Rubin urged people to focus on Sanders’ words about Israel, not those of his supporters who may have made troubling remarks about the Jewish State.
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 14, 2020
As Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) introduced what she is calling a “progressive vision” for foreign policy, her foreign policy adviser demurred on a cornerstone of that vision: the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to economically isolate Israel.
At a briefing on Wednesday about the plan, which Omar is dubbing a “Pathway to Peace,” Omar aide Ryan Morgan declined to explain why the congresswoman opposes economic sanctions but supports BDS.
Omar left the event after offering brief remarks, leaving Morgan to participate in the panel discussion that followed in her stead.
“You’re asking me if I want to take the BDS question?” said Morgan. “No.”
Omar announced a package of bills that she says reflects “a bold progressive vision” for U.S. foreign policy. The discussion that followed was moderated by Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a new think tank backed by the billionaires Charles Koch and George Soros.
Both Omar and the Quincy Institute have faced accusations of anti-Semitism.
Chapo tweeting like Nazis? Surely not. (He later deleted this). pic.twitter.com/v5gMSmuFfW
— Wallace Wylie (@WallaceWylie) February 13, 2020
Melanie Phillips: Holocaust memorial and BoJo on The View
I took part this week on Sky TV’s The View, the politics show hosted by Adam Boulton. Because of Boris Johnson’s government reshuffle that morning, the show was broadcast from outside 10 Downing Street to capture all the comings and goings. That would have been great, except for the small fact that it was raining and freezing cold! We were also plagued by a man in the street who, during the Brexit agony, had constantly interfered with outside broadcasts by bellowing through a megaphone about stopping Brexit and now seemed determined to continue his role as a public nuisance by playing at deafening volume from the street just outside the Downing Street gates The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum. Over and over again.
You can watch my appearance – and hear for yourself the deafening background accompaniment – below. There are two segments divided by a short break at around 10 minutes in. During the first part I talk about the controversy over the Holocaust memorial planned for Jubilee gardens in Westminster (which I wrote about here); and in the second part I am joined by Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk, to discuss how Boris Johnson is doing so far.
As a progressive, I’ve been involved in social activism for as long as I can remember. From beach cleanups in middle school to protests in high school to physically threatening public events in college, I’ve spent my life standing in solidarity with those most negatively affected by social injustice. With all that said, I am a staunch supporter of the State of Israel and believe every self-identified progressive should be, too.
As I have written before, the Jewish people are not just a religion but an ethnoreligious group, one that is indigenous to Judea (the modern-day West Bank). This has been proven by genetic, archaeological, and historical findings. The crux of this issue, however, is legal: despite the United Nations calling the West Bank “occupied territories,” the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples applies to Jews with surprising accuracy. The declaration defines indigenous rights as those “which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources.”
The political and economic structures that Jews share are the Jewish Agency, which was responsible for the legal, internationally recognized purchase of the land that now encompasses the State of Israel, and other such groups under the umbrella of the World Zionist Organization. Jewish social institutions include community centers, synagogues, and Jewish federations. Jewish influence on history, philosophy, and religious scholarship needs no introduction.
Included in the category of indigenous Jewish institutions is the land from which Jews get their name: the Kingdom of Judah, later known to the Romans as Judea (6-135 CE). The same archaeological evidence that points to Jewish indigeneity to Israel does so specifically to the ancient Kingdom of Judah, i.e., the modern-day West Bank, not the Green Line.
From 1940, attempts were made to deport foreign nationals from Libya. About half the 2.542 French nationals were Jews, expelled to Tunisia and interned as enemy aliens in camps. Fifty died in allied bombing at la Marsa, among them 13 members of Maurice Roumani’s family. In this important article in Haaretz, he traces the effects of antisemitic laws on Libyan Jews during World War II.
I was a child when I was deported in a truck together with my parents from Benghazi to Tunisia, and I was a witness to the bombing of La Marsa, a suburb of Tunis, on March 10, 1943. Thirteen members of my family were killed there, among them my grandmother, aunts and uncles, and other relatives.
For many years, I have probed the circumstances of the bombing, and in the course of my searching, I discovered and reconstructed from archives new details about the evacuation and deportation of Libyan Jewry to French North Africa during World War II.
The beginning lies in 1938, when fascist Italy under Mussolini enacted the Racial Laws against the Jews. Although Libya was under Italian rule, the laws were not implemented there, thanks to the country’s Italian governor-general, Italo Balbo, who considered the Jews to be an important element in Libya’s economy, and tried to downscale the discriminatory measures taken against them.
Following the tragic death of Balbo, in 1940, two temporary governors were appointed and dismissed in rapid succession, before the appointment of Gen. Ettore Bastico, in July 1941.
That September, Bastico demanded that the 7,000 foreigners in Libya, among them several Jews, be transferred to Italy. Bastico claimed that their loyalty was dubious and that their presence was aggravating the food shortage. The Italian Interior Ministry vetoed the idea, citing insufficient prison space, a lack of construction materials for new concentration camps and transportation problems. The ministry suggested that the “dangerous nationals” be interned in concentration camps in Libya itself – and if not, the French and Tunisian citizens (Jews and Muslims alike) among them should be deported to their countries of origin: Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
How do you draw something you’ve never seen? How can you bring to life a world you were never part of? Those were the questions facing cartoonist Carol Isaacs as she embarked on her graphic novel, a tribute to the home her parents fled before she was born,
The Wolf of Baghdad, which follows that city’s Jews from the turn of the last century to the brutal Farhud pogrom of 1941 and their eventual departure, is a beautiful, startling piece of work, and a valuable contribution to the literature on the experiences of Jews in Arab lands.
The novel shows, for example, the Jewish family matriarch wearing the abbaya, the full body cloak worn by Iraqi women in public in the early 20th century. There are scenes from the souk and in the Jewish Quarter, of children sleeping on roofs during sultry summer nights or swimming in the Tigris, along with heartrending images portraying the terror as anti-Jewish prejudice closed in.
It’s a portrait of a disappeared world. Isaacs undertook exhaustive research to ensure her illustrated Baghdad reflected the one her family knew. She spoke to many relatives, in some cases relying on testimony recorded decades earlier, including that of her father.
“We had hardly any photographs, as you didn’t bring many out, and none showing where people lived,” she explains, “I found this wonderful book on Jewish houses in Baghdad; I tracked it down to a second-hand store in Jerusalem, to see how the houses actually looked, because they were quite specifically built to certain designs.”
The US Dept. of Education is investigating Harvard and Yale universities on suspicion of failing to report an estimated $6.5 billion that came from China and Saudi Arabia, among other foreign entities, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday (Education Department Investigating Harvard, Yale Over Foreign Funding).
The investigations are being spearheaded by a bipartisan group in Congress concerned about the influence of the Saudis and particularly the Chinese on higher-education institutions, and conducted by a coalition of federal law enforcement, the National Institutes of Health, and the departments of Defense and Energy.
The WSJ report cites a DOE report that describes US higher-education institutions as “multi-billion dollar, multi-national enterprises using opaque foundations, foreign campuses, and other sophisticated legal structures to generate revenue.”
The two university, and by extension all Ivy League schools, are accused of vigorously soliciting funds from foreign governments, companies and individuals who are openly hostile to the US and looking to steal classified research and “spread propaganda benefiting foreign governments,” according to the DOE report.
The DOE report also expressed its concern that with all this illegal cash coming in from clandestine sources, students are still paying through the nose in tuition, as “such money apparently does not reduce or otherwise offset American students’ tuition costs.”
Renowned Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan was charged Thursday in a Paris court with two additional counts of rape, in addition to the two existing charges, the RFI news site reported.
Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford’s St. Anthony’s College, was accused of raping two women in 2009 and 2012, though after a long time of denying any sexual contact with his accusers, he claimed in hearing in October 2018 to have had consensual sex with them.
He has been on a leave of absence from Oxford since November 2017.
A grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ramadan became one of the most influential intellectuals on Islam in Europe, in spite of being surrounded by controversies.
If, on the one hand, he was attacked by radical Islamists for some of his views, including advocating bridging the gap between Islam and modern society, on the other his critics noted that on some occasions he appeared to justify Islamic terrorism.
One of the initial two accusers is a disabled woman identified as Christelle in media reports, while the other is feminist activist Henda Ayari.
Long-time @UNHumanRights official Jean Ziegler was this rapist’s biggest supporter & pressured the University of Geneva into giving Ramadan a PhD even though his thesis was rejected for distorting the violent nature of his grandfather’s Muslim Brotherhood.https://t.co/PKOuarxX3b
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) February 13, 2020
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) rejected a BDS resolution passed by the student government in the early hours on Thursday morning.
“Illinois Student Government (ISG) is an independent organization that can pass non-binding resolutions on any topic it chooses,” said the university in a statement. “It provides students the opportunity to engage in discourse on issues such as this one that have been debated around the world for centuries, but does not represent the university administration.”
“ISG resolutions are non-binding, and the university has no plans to act on this one,” continued the statement. “We are committed to dialogue and to supporting students as they navigate challenging conversations about diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to plan programming designed to build understanding of different perspectives on complex and divisive issues.”
The resolution called on the university to divest from “companies that profit from human-rights violations in Palestine and other communities globally,” as well as from firms that provide weaponry and technology to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a copy of the resolution obtained by JNS ahead of the vote, which included endorsements from half of the student government’s leadership committee.
The final vote was 20 in favor, nine against and seven abstentions.
Daphne Anson: Muddy Waters
“I’m also clearly not an antisemite” says aged band frontman and veteran Israel knocker Roger Waters straightfaced, alleging an unwarranted smear campaign “beyond belief” against Jeremy Corbyn, and remarking that the “rich and powerful” who own the media may be on their way to controlling “everything”.
Whatever can he mean?
Assange has a long history of alleged antisemitism from forging ties with Holocaust deniers, mocking Jewish Twitter users and calling a Jewish reporter ‘a rat’ – the WikiLeaks director has a Jew-hating past and it’s not surprising that @jeremycorbyn is a supporter. https://t.co/jSFwHzby9w
— GnasherJew®גנאשר (@GnasherJew) February 13, 2020
When you’ve developed the habit of describing antisemitic terrorists not as “antisemitic” nor “terrorists,” but rather as “impatient” and “nettlesome,” the muscle memory can easily take you to Point C, where you ignore and erase examples of antisemitism in the U.S., too. Because if you hesitate to note that Islamic Jihad, with its bomb vests and rocket squads, is antisemitic, why would you do so for Alice Walker, with her Pulitzer Prize? If you’ve learned to ignore Hamas’s claim that Jews control world governments, why would you second guess the antisemitic allegation when choosing a cartoon to feature in your newspaper?
To be sure, anti-Israelism isn’t the only cause of the newspaper’s foggy vision when it comes to antisemitism. Its handing of Jewish concerns is also influenced by domestic politics, identity politics, and the unique nature of antisemitism as a bigotry that purports to “speak truth to power,” a slogan embraced by many journalists. But as long as the newspaper’s narrative encourages reporters to ignore, downplay, or whitewash antisemitism by anti-Israel actors in the Middle East, we shouldn’t be surprised to find the same in coverage of antisemitic anti-Israel actors domestically.
None of this is to say the New York Times is institutionally antisemitic, or that the paper always ignores antisemitism. Undoubtedly, the newsroom is full of reporters who deplore anti-Jewish bigotry, and who will (and indeed do) periodically cover physical assaults on Jews in Brooklyn. But that reassurance only goes so far. The Times did not support, nor did it completely overlook, the Nazi persecution of Jews in the 1940s. And still, it now acknowledges its culpability in downplaying the slaughter of Jews in Europe.
The 2020s are not the 1940s. But in its contemporary journalism, the paper is culpable for helping a candidate who blamed American Jews for war in her quest for national office, and is responsible for spreading some of the beliefs that motivated the Poway shooter.
Americans, and especially Jews, deserve better. The newspaper’s editorial board put it well after the publication of the antisemitic cartoon: “the appearance of such an overtly bigoted cartoon in a mainstream publication is evidence of a profound danger — not only of anti-Semitism but of numbness to its creep, to the insidious way this ancient, enduring prejudice is once again working itself into public view and common conversation.”
Now it just needs to put that lesson into practice.
The subject of the call, and the backdrop for the baseless accusations, is Fleifel’s anxiety over having signed a petition asking the band Radiohead not to play a concert in Israel. He is afraid that, having signed the petition, he will be “red-flagged” and not allowed into what he refers to as “Palestine” in the future.
But it doesn’t take long for the conversation to veer into conspiracy theory territory. At about 3 minutes in, Faris says, “the program of ethnic cleansing is carrying on, and the Israelis keep telling us openly that the job will be finished at some point, including all the Palestinians inside Israel and everywhere else.” The claim that Israel is engaging in ethnic cleaning, while baseless, is a common one in anti-Israel circles and a staple of the antisemitic boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS). Faris, however, takes the canard a step further, claiming that Israel is – openly – planning to ethnically cleanse Palestinians not only in Israel, but also “everywhere else.” How Israel plans to accomplish such a feat, he doesn’t say.
It gets worse. Closer to the end, Fleifel wonders why he “poke[d] the bear,” with the “bear” obviously being a metaphor for Israel. Faris then tells him, “the bear is behind every regional war that’s happened in the last 70 years, pushing a sectarian agenda. The bear has got you so f***ed, that you don’t know left from right.”
Really? Israel is behind the civil war in Syria? Behind Iran and Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen? Behind Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait?
This is simply an unhinged conspiracy theory, one worthy of noted antisemites like Henry Ford, Mel Gibson, or David Icke. Yet not only did the Atlantic choose to feature it, it’s in a film labelled a “documentary.”
Incredibly, Faris claims, “in reality, most people in Europe think that Palestinians are Islamist cockroaches that need to be stamped out. That’s what most people have been fed in the news.” Of course, anyone who follows the work of CAMERA affiliates UK Media Watch, BBC Watch, and ReVista de Medio Oriente knows that this is the opposite of the truth.
What’s far more common in the media is the victimhood narrative that the film embraces when Faris tells his friend, “as a Palestinian, you’re already so beaten down … it’s a state of occupation and terror,” and that “you’re trying to articulate that you have some agency, whereas in true reality, you’re absolutely powerless.”
— (((David Lange))) (@Israellycool) February 14, 2020
We have in the past all too often had cause to note that the BBC’s implication that there is one unified and representative Palestinian voice which aspires to a two-state solution is inaccurate and misleading. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad obviously do not hold that aspiration – their aim is the destruction of Israel. Readers may recall that three years ago, however, the BBC rejected a complaint on that issue.
We have also noted the BBC’s failure to inform its audiences of the existence of voices from within the Palestinian Authority and Fatah which do not align with the narrative it promotes.
Examining the BBC’s claim of Palestinian support for the two-state solution
Fatah officials contradict the BBC’s ‘two-state’ narrative
Palestinian Media Watch has documented another such recent example provided by a member of Fatah’s central committee, Tawfiq Tirawi.
“Who said that we are for a state [on the borders of] 1967? Who said this? In Fatah, this does not exist in our constitution and our charter! They [Israel] want Beit El and Ma’ale Adumim (i.e., Israeli towns in the West Bank) to be Israeli, and we say that Nazareth, Haifa, and Acre (i.e., Israeli cities) are Palestinian, and they will remain Palestinian! Our Palestinian land is from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. I dare any Palestinian, any senior Palestinian official, or any Palestinian leader to reduce the Palestinian map to the West Bank and Gaza! He would not be able to walk one meter in the streets of our Palestinian cities among our people! … Arab brothers… Be with the Palestinian people, the people that lives on land that is all holy and that is all waqf land (i.e., land that is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law.)” [Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi, Feb. 2, 2020]
BBC audiences will of course continue to be denied knowledge of such views because they contradict the politically motivated narrative that the corporation has chosen to advance.
This was his reference to Iran-made Hamas rockets targeting Israeli civilians: ‘occasional projectile.’ https://t.co/eHSTnJuY4l
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 13, 2020
One entry specifically instructs BBC journalists not to use the terminology favoured by an invading country.
The northern part, occupied by Turkey, is not internationally recognised, so do not refer to “North Cyprus” – the term the Turks have chosen. Instead, say northern Cyprus, describing it either as Turkish-occupied or Turkish-controlled. And we should speak of the Green Line – not “the so-called Green Line”.”
The exception to the rule in that BBC policy is of course its permanent employment of a term that the Jordanians invented some seventy years ago after they invaded, occupied and later annexed foreign territory – without recognition from the international community. The BBC refers to Judea & Samaria exclusively as “the West Bank” and its website even has a tag for that term.
So much for BBC consistency, impartiality and ‘progressiveness’.
Most people associate February 14 with love and romance. Yet hundreds of years ago Valentine’s Day saw a horrific mass murder when 2,000 Jews were burned alive in the French city of Strasbourg.
The year was 1349 and the Bubonic Plague, known as the Black Death, was sweeping across Europe, wiping out whole communities. Between 1347 and 1352, it killed millions of people. Historian Ole J. Benedictow estimates that 60% of Europeans died from the disease. One Italian writer recorded what the plague did to the city of Florence, where he lived: “All the citizens did little else except to carry dead bodies to be buried… At every church they dug deep pits down to the water-table; and thus those who were poor who died during the night were bundled up quickly and thrown into the pit.”
Bubonic Plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is most commonly spread by fleas that live on rodents like rats and mice. The disease still exists, and sickens thousands of people each year, including a handful of people in the United States and other developed countries. Caught early, Bubonic Plague is treatable with modern medicines. In the Middle Ages, of course, no medical treatment existed to mitigate the Plague’s devastating effects. It’s estimated that about 80% of people who contracted the Plague in Medieval Europe died.
The Massacre of Jews at Strasbourg, by Eugene Beyer
The first major European outbreak of Plague occurred in Messina, Italy, in 1347, and it spread rapidly from there. Historians estimate that the largest wave of Bubonic Plague – the pandemic that was dubbed The Black Death – originated in Central Asia. As it began sweeping through European communities, terrified people cast about for someone to blame. Jews were a natural choice. As the Black Death advanced, Christians turned on the Jews in their midst, accusing them of spreading the Plague by poisoning Christian people’s wells.
A Jewish organization based in Toronto sounded the alarm on an auction website promoting the sale of Nazi relics for profit, the CBC reported.
Avi Benlolo, CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies, said that “there aren’t any laws against selling Nazi memorabilia. We’ve seen it happen on many occasions. Our position is it is quite revolting to sell memorabilia from a genocide.”
Following intense criticism from the organization, the website that was hosting the auction, Encans en Ligne Montreal, on QuebecHiBid.com, removed all advertisements for WWII-era items as of Wednesday, despite the presence of several bids for some of the Nazi relics.
Some of the items included metal badges with swastikas, a statuette of a Nazi imperial eagle and two daggers. In an email responding to the criticism, the company that hosted the auction noted that “we have removed all German items from our online auction site. Not being experts in the field, we accepted the objects because our client advised us that they were just items from WWII that he inherited.”
After the closure of the auction for Nazi memorabilia, the items were returned to their owners, who were advised to donate them to educational institutions or museums.
The San Diego Padres’ new spring training cap unveiled last week will only be worn briefly following an outcry from fans who think the logo looks like a swastika.
“Following our offseason uniform rebrand and the overwhelmingly positive response from Padres fans, we’ve decided to wear our regular season brown caps with the gold ‘SD’ for the majority of spring training,” Wayne Partello, the team’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
Partello did not mention the controversy over whether the logo on the spring training hats looks like a swastika.
A judge at a student robotics contest in Long Island last weekend was caught on video uttering an antisemitic remark in front of the competitors.
The derogatory slur — “God d*** Jews” — was said after a student from Woodmere Middle School referred to a former church building that had been bought by the United Hebrew Community of New York.
The tournament, organized by First Lego League, a national organization headquartered in New Hampshire, took place at Mineola High School on Sunday and drew participants from various school districts.
Yan Vilensky, who filmed the incident, had accompanied his son to the event.
“There were about 14 kids in the group, a very diverse group of different races, faces, and religions, and some of the kids’ eyes went up when they heard the comment,” Vilensky told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
“I got so angry because it was inappropriate and disgusting to say something like that in front of children,” he recalled. “But I kept filming because I didn’t want to ruin anything for the children. It’s not their fault, so I had a delayed response to this.”
After the incident, Vilensky reached out to a number of school administrators and Jewish organizations.
Copenhagen Imam Mundhir Abdallah: I Was Found Guilty of Hate Speech after Sermon Translated by MEMRI
On February 8, 2020, Imam Mundhir Abdallah, a Copenhagen-based cleric who has previously been found guilty of hate speech and given a suspended sentence of six months following a MEMRI translation of a sermon he delivered (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7605), was interviewed on Al-Waqiyah TV (Lebanon), which belongs to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international pan-Islamic organization. Imam Abdallah explained to the interviewer that the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy, which he referred to as the embassy of the “entity of the Jews,” had filed a police complaint against him after Danish media sources “distorted” MEMRI translation of sermon he had delivered in which he said that a rightly-guided Islamic caliphate should wage a real war to uproot Israel and liberate Palestine (see MEMRI TV Clips No. 6013, No. 6033, No. 6689, No. 6695, and No. 7407). Claiming that MEMRI belongs to the State of Israel, he elaborated that his sermon had been about the political issue of Palestine, that it was not about Jews and antisemitism, and that Islam has no problem coexisting with non-Muslims under Islamic rule, but that the Jews’ “propaganda” had convinced the Danish media that he had been calling for the killing of Jews everywhere in the world. In addition, Imam Abdallah said that he is the first person who has been tried for violating the law in question, which he said was passed in 2016 and which he said oppresses Muslims and controls what imams can say in mosques. He added that his verdict had been unanimously upheld even after being appealed. Furthermore, Imam Abdallah said that Western governments and societies believe Islam poses a threat to their disintegrating and empty societies that are “gnawed at by individualism and selfishness” and whose moral and spiritual values have shattered. He added that this is the reason Western youth turn to homosexuality, suicide, and drugs, and he compared the Danish government’s treatment of Muslims to the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims. Imam Abdallah also referred to Danish civilization as a “civilization of AIDS.” The show host mentioned that an Australian cleric affiliated with Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ismail Al-Wahwah (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7893), had been banned from entering Europe because he had made statements similar to Imam Abdallah’s statements.
Steven Spielberg’s film production company has acquired the rights to a soon-to-be published novel about the unlikely friendship between an Israeli father and a Palestinian father who each lost a daughter to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“Apeirogon” by Colum McCann, will be published by Random House on Feb. 25. Its acquisition by Amblin Partners was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, which did not say what the company paid for the rights.
The novel, which tells the story of how the fathers turned their grief into activism, has been named a most anticipated book of 2020 by The New York Times.
“Steven Spielberg and his company have always operated at the cutting edge of storytelling,” the Dublin-born McCann, an international bestselling author, told the Hollywood Reporter. “Their work is fueled by a deep moral concern. They go to the core of the issues of our day. I’m delighted that the story of Rami and Bassam will be in their hands.”
United Hatzalah: 4 medics. 4 people saved. 4 friendships. A must watch.
This is a very emotional movie of 4 friendships that evolved from medics and the people they saved. Get the tissues, you are sure to cry. (h/t Yerushalimey)
This Friday, I will be at a minyan for morning prayers. It will be the 19th of Shevat — 18 years since the journalist and musician Daniel Pearl was murdered in Pakistan by Islamic terrorists because he was a Jew. I will remember Danny’s warm, encouraging smile, and I will speak the kaddish in his memory.
Hating Jews is, sadly, an outsized and grotesque part of the human story. But, on that day in 2002, when evil embodied in man stole from us the future of Daniel Pearl, he left us with words that can help us shape and determine our future, yet unrevealed.
After Danny’s murder, his parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl, published a book, I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl. In it, Dr. Pearl recalls Danny’s last words: “Back in the town of Bnei Brak, there is a street named after my great-grandfather, Chayim Pearl, who was one of the founders of the town.”
In 1924, Danny’s great-grandfather knew he had to return to his ancestral home. He left behind the hatred endured in exile, purchased a sandy plot in the land of Israel, and brought his wife and four children to a place where he was free to build a better life for his family, and to help fashion a better future for the world.
Danny’s father, Judea, believes that Danny freely chose to recount the actions of his great-grandfather as a rebuke to those who were about to murder him and steal his life. Danny wanted his murderers to know that — in contrast to their destruction — Jews plant and build and toil to fashion a better world, a better future for all people.
Fourteen years ago, 23 year-old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in Paris by a gang who believed that ‘all Jews have money’.
On Wednesday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe awarded the 2020 Ilan Halimi prize during a ceremony at the Hotel Matignon marking the anniversary of his death as reported by AFP.
The prize was created in the memory of Halimi and rewards initiatives launched by youths under 25 that contribute to the fight against antisemitism.
During the ceremony, Philippe warned against the spread of antisemitic stereotypes, saying that those ideas can lead to actions, as it was the case for Ilan’s death.
Among the initiatives selected was Vitrollywood which was launched by the Vatos Locos organization from Vitrolles, in the south of France. Through the project, young people create videos promoting the fight against discriminations.
“Ilan Halimi has become a symbol, a symbol that this must never happen again,” said Myriam, one of the project members, in a video shared by Phillipe.
#OnThisDay, 14 years ago (2006), #IlanHalimi, a young Frenchman, was kidnapped, tortured & murdered, for one reason only – he was Jewish. Sadly, 14 years later, Antisemitism & Jew hatred still permeates through #France.
May Ilan’s memory never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/myxFtxkEAG
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) February 13, 2020
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