October 21, 2019

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02/15 Links Pt2: David French: America Chooses Morality over Money to Support Israel; The two-faced women who hate Israel – and Jews; Phillips: The unique disorder of hatred now destroying the Left

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2019/02/0215-links-pt2-david-french-america.html

From Ian:


David French: America Chooses Morality over Money to Support Israel
America’s long support for Israel — often in the face of fierce criticism from key allies and painful economic reprisal from the Arab world — represents an enduring, bipartisan commitment to moral clarity in the Middle East. For the quarter century following Israel’s founding, it was subjected to repeated, genocidal threats to its existence. It has served as a homeland for the Jewish people even as Arab nations rendered life intolerable for more than 800,000 of their Jewish citizens, sometimes destroying communities that existed for centuries. Israel took in hundreds of thousands of refugees, receiving them as the world’s only Jewish state.

When the attempts to invade Israel and destroy it with brute military force ended (for now, at least) with the signing of the Camp David accords, terror campaigns continued and escalated to a point that the United States (or its more anti-Israel allies) would never tolerate. Even today — with all its military might — its citizens live under a terror-threat level experienced by few other nations, and (unlike other nations) it exists in the midst of a region full of people who express feelings of outright hatred for its right to exist. Not long ago, an ADL survey found that a full 74 percent of citizens of North Africa and the Middle East harbored anti-Semitic attitudes.

Moreover, it faces a unique level of international hostility, with the United Nation Human Rights Council condemning its actions far more than it condemns all other nations combined. There exists a concerted international effort to boycott Israeli companies and academies, divest resources from Israel, and sanction Israel. Many of the founders and leaders of the BDS movement hope ultimately to eradicate Israel as a Jewish state.

WSJ: Why Do So Many American Politicians Support Israel?

American attitudes toward Israel have been shaped far more by debates among non-Jews than by the influence of Jewish organizations. The most important reason public officials support Israel is that the public does. In fact, approval is at a 17-year high, with 74% of adults reporting a favorable opinion.

Public support for Israel is not a new phenomenon. Surveys conducted between 1947 and 1949 showed that nearly three times as many Americans sympathized with Jews over Arabs in the conflict in former Mandatory Palestine.

American approval for Israel has deep historical roots in the Christian understanding of America. Leaders of Puritan New England predicted the demographic return and political revival of the Jewish people in the biblical promised land. In 1845, John Price Durbin, a Methodist who served as chaplain of the Senate and president of Dickinson College, insisted on “the undoubted fact of the restoration of a Jewish state in Palestine.”

In 1891, the evangelist William E. Blackstone presented a petition to President Benjamin Harrison calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Ottoman Palestine. Americans who signed included Supreme Court Chief Justice Melville Fuller, future president William McKinley, titans of industry and finance like John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, and the editors of dozens of major newspapers.

It Is Anti-Semitic to Oppose Israel’s Right to Exist

Israel should be challenged and scrutinized in the same way as any other country. Yet other countries, no matter how they came into being or how they behave, do not have their legitimacy or right to exist questioned or their outright destruction called for. Anti-Zionism should not be conflated with mere criticism of Israeli policy. Anti-Zionism rejects the very idea of a Jewish state.

Zionism is the belief in the right to self-determination of the Jewish people (a right guaranteed to them by international law) in their historical and spiritual homeland, Israel. It acknowledges the Jewish people as indigenous to the land and Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, although all citizens, including Israel’s 20% Arab population, have equal civil rights. For most Jews, Zionism is core to their identity.

Had a Jewish homeland been set up anywhere else, for example in Uganda, then the accusation of colonialism would have legitimacy. But in the Land of Israel, where Jewish people are the Tangata Whenua – a Maori term that means “people of the land” – accusations of colonialism are made to delegitimize the Jewish presence in their ancestral homeland.

Anti-Zionism has become the new form of anti-Semitism. The state of the Jews has become the Jew of the states. Yet Zionism is not just an idea but a reality whose elimination would mean 6.5 million Jews facing the prospect of ethnic cleansing and a return to homelessness.

Melanie Phillips: The unique disorder of hatred now destroying the Left

Although her fellow Democrats denounced her, their reaction has been wholly inadequate. A statement signed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats called on Omar to apologise for her “hurtful” comments.

“Antisemitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception,” Pelosi said. “Omar and I agreed that we must use this moment to move forward as we reject antisemitism in all forms.”

No apology can ever expunge the evil of antisemitism. For this doesn’t merely cause hurt or offence: it directly adds to the demonic discourse that continues to make Jews both within and outside of Israel the target of murderous hatred. Requiring an apology is to help the antisemite get herself off the hook with a mere slap on the wrist.

If that. In Tablet magazine, Yair Rosenberg said Omar deserved “dialogue not denunciation.” He hailed Omar’s “genuine self-awareness” when she reflected upon being accused of antisemitism in 2012 after tweeting: “Israel has hypnotised the world; may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”

But this “self-awareness” merely consisted of saying she could identify with her Jewish critics because experiencing antisemitism was like experiencing “white privilege.” Well no, it’s not; there’s no comparison.

She made no acknowledgment that she had perpetrated malicious incitement against the Jews. Indeed, straight after the “unequivocal” apology for her latest barb about sinister Jewish influence, she doubled down on her bigotry by “reaffirming” the “problematic role” of AIPAC as a political lobby.

This is an individual who clearly believes that Jews are a manipulative force controlling the world. And yet certain liberal Jews want to “move forward” now that she has “apologised” – and even to open up a dialogue with her.

The proper way to “move forward” with antisemites is to remove them from public life. Yet Omar will remain on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Melanie Phillips: Crazy world antisemitism, Faustian pacts, revolutions eat their own

Please join me here in discussion with Avi Abelow of Israel Unwired about the latest goings-on in our crazy world. We were talking about the remarks by an official from Human Rights Watch who was peddling conspiracy theory and antisemitism, and the enduring nature of “Jewish conspiracy” theory. We discussed whether Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was making deals with political “devils” through his alliances with sundry nationalists, populists, autocrats and worse. We talked about the great controversy that has boiled up in America over an apparent slide from abortion to infanticide. And we mused over how revolutions always eat their own.

Spectator Books: Deborah Lipstadt on anti-semitism and what you can and can’t say about Israel

In this week’s Spectator Books, Sam is joined by Deborah Lipstadt — the historian who herself made a piece of history when she defeated the Holocaust denier David Irving in court. In her new book Antisemitism Now, Professor Lipstadt returns to the fray to look at the worldwide uptick of antisemitism in our own day and age. Sam asks her why she felt the need to write this book and frame it in the way she did, how antisemitism differs from other forms of prejudice, and what you can and can’t say about Israel.

Podcast: Jonah Goldberg on Marx’s Anti-Semitism

So wrote Karl Marx, the intellectual father of Communism, in his “On the Jewish Question.” Though he was a descendant of rabbis on both sides of his family, his father had converted to Lutheranism, and Marx absorbed the classic anti-Semitic tropes slandering the Jews as wicked and usurious. In fact, as Jonah Goldberg has argued in the pages of Commentary, Marx “hated capitalism in no small part because he hated Jews.”

In this podcast, Jonah Goldberg sits down with Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to discuss his April 2018 essay, “Karl Marx’s Jew-Hating Conspiracy Theory.” In a conversation that touches on everything from medieval history and political theory to economics and psychology, Goldberg makes the case that Marxism is less a vision of economics than a conspiracy theory according to which a Jewish bourgeoisie exploits global labor to satisfy its own avarice. From here, Goldberg helps us follow the Marxist logic to its conclusion: if Jews are the exploiting, moneyed interest in society, then antipathy toward Jews is redemptive, leading the way to the secular utopia of a world after capitalism. Thus do Marx’s ideas offer a repackaging of classic anti-Semitism, mankind’s oldest bigotry, that endures to this very day.

Has a turn left affected the Democrats’ long-standing consensus on Israel?

Early in the 2020 presidential race, an ever-growing field of Democratic hopefuls has begun to reflect a leftward shift in the party, competing for progressive voters on healthcare, immigration and taxes.

But has that turn left affected the Democrats’ long-standing consensus on Israel? An early survey of those running for their party’s nomination suggests not.

For the most part, declared candidates have aligned themselves with conventional Israel policy views – opposed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, in favor of robust military aid and cooperation and supportive of a two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.

While they do not shy away from criticism of the Israeli government, their positions stand in contrast to an increasingly vocal wing of the party in favor of the boycott movement, opposed to aid and supportive of a one-state solution that would fundamentally undercut the project of Israel as a Jewish state. No Democratic candidate thus far holds any of these far-left views.

Cory Booker
Booker has repeatedly voted for Israel aid and also supports federal legislation that pushes back against the BDS movement – a position that took some time for Booker to reach, and to the Right of most of the field.

The New Jersey senator has deep ties to the Jewish community, including a long-standing personal relationship with Shmuley Boteach, a prominent rabbi with conservative policy views on the Jewish state. The two engaged in heated debates ahead of a critical vote on the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, and, to Boteach’s dismay, Booker ultimately chose to support the agreement.

Caroline Glick is hoping to turn her words into reality – interview

Glick pointed out that the vast majority of Palestinians, in Areas A and B, have not lived under Israel military law since 1996, and she opposes the idea that their future is Israel’s responsibility.

“The Palestinians live under autonomous rule right now. They have a government that they elected. They were supposed to have new elections years ago, but that’s their issue. They live under self-rule. Why should we take that from them?” she asked. “They could live under autonomous rule or confederate with Jordan.”

She has been a strong supporter of Trump, but is concerned about what his upcoming peace plan could bring – in part because it could lead Netanyahu to leave the New Right out of his coalition, but more because of its broader possible implications.

“It’s mystifying that [Trump administration officials] think there’s a deal to be made, when there so obviously isn’t one from the Palestinian perspective,” she said.

And she’s skeptical about Israel’s stronger ties with the Arab world in recent years being a basis for a peace deal, saying: “We can’t idealize it; they are what they are. We don’t know how long these common interests are going to be maintained. You have to bear in mind: Why are the Saudis participating in conferences with Israelis?… [Because] they’re concerned about Iran.”

Trump’s “deal of the century” is likely to “cause us headaches” – but Glick said that Israel will still have to review it seriously and “see if there’s anything to work with.”

Still, she said that Trump’s administration has been “friendlier to Israel than any other.”

Anti-Israel internship can get you credit at Syracuse

Two majors at Syracuse University offer college credit to students who intern for an organization that promotes the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Both the Citizenship and Civic Engagement (CCE) and the Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition majors at Syracuse University dole out college credit to students who intern for the Syracuse Peace Council (SPC), which describes itself as an “antiwar/social justice” group. The University says that the Syracuse Peace Council “educates, agitates and organizes for a world where war, violence, and exploitation in any form will no longer exist.”
“[Hamas has] done a lot of good for Palestinians”

Speakers at a recent event hosted by the Syracuse Peace Council, however, made statements contradictory to the group’s stated mission. For example, at the off-campus forum titled, “Palestine Behind the Wall,” one speaker expressed support for Hamas, which the U.S. State Department designated as a “foreign terrorist organization” in 1997.

“[Hamas has] done a lot of good for Palestinians,” former Syracuse University faculty member Julia Ganson said at the event. (h/t MtTB)

German Anti-Americanism, the Holocaust, and the Jews

Toward the end of last year, a star reporter at the prestigious German magazine Der Spiegel was revealed to be a serial fabricator. Over a dozen of his articles turned out to have two things in common: numerous, often obvious, and easily disprovable fictions and an unflattering depiction of the U.S. To Bruce Bawer, the popularity of these articles, and the credulousness of readers and editors, are further evidence of the prevalence in Germany of a species of anti-Americanism—also borne out by polling data—that cannot be entirely separated from attitudes toward Jews:

For Germans, demonizing America is a handy way of dealing with—or, rather, not dealing with—their own history. In 2014, Eric T. Hansen, an American freelance writer based in Berlin, . . . observed that anti-Americanism is not only “socially acceptable in Germany,” but it’s “downright politically incorrect to miss an opportunity” to put America down. He offered a theory: while the loss of World War II had rendered anti-Semitism verboten, “the resulting vacuum was soon filled by anti-Americanism.” I’m not going to argue with that.

Alexander Grau, a German philosopher, [maintained] in a cogent 2014 article [that] while Germans may attribute their anti-American sentiments to their distaste for a given American leader or American policy, “German reservations about the U.S. are older and deeper. The new anti-Americanism is an old anti-Americanism,” founded in 19th-century hostility to mass society, mechanization, and a “ruthless capitalism” associated in the German mind with both America and—ahem—“international financial Jewry.”

How, in Grau’s view, does World War II play into this? West Germans knew America had saved them from Soviet conquest, and were (at first) thankful. But that gratitude eventually curdled into an “anti-American neurosis” that led them, in later years, to express “solidarity with the most obnoxious autocrats in the world,” from Saddam Hussein to Bashar al-Assad, simply because they were America’s enemies.

Prof. Phyllis Chesler: The two-faced women who hate Israel – and Jews

Many Westerners seem to believe that oppressed Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh women are by definition, frightened, submissive, peaceful, and quiet.

Is this true of face-masked or hijab-wearing women who purposely stand right next to other women at prayer and who blow them and their young children right up?

How quiet were the young women in hijab who refused to allow Nonie Darwish to speak at Wellesley by repeatedly coughing loudly, then getting up, one by one, to leave their row and the room, only to return to continue their demonstration?

How peaceful are those mothers and mothers-in-law who beat and humiliate their daughters and daughters-in-law daily, who death threaten them when they refuse to veil, marry an odious first cousin, marry out of caste, make friends with infidels, or venture beyond their own communities?

Memoirs that are painful to read confirm the extraordinary cruelty of mothers and older female relatives who preside over their daughters’ FGM procedure and/or who refuse to allow surgery to correct for deadly infections. I wonder where Representative Ilhan Omar stands on the issue of FGM given that she is a Somali-American and the practice is pandemic among Somalis.

Has anyone asked her about this? Well, I am doing so here.

Yes, I am talking about Representative Omar, among others who are perhaps, unexpectedly, and extremely angry, even aggressive. Were she to behave this way at home or in a mosque—God knows what might happen to her.

How to Criticize Israel Without Being Antisemitic

In recent years, Jews have increasingly found themselves at the center of political debates in America and Britain, often in relation to Israel and Jews’ connections to Israel.

While criticism of Israel and advocacy for Israel is not inherently antisemitic, much of it departs from the realm of fair comment and crosses the boundary into antisemitism. But, when this is pointed out, Jews are often accused of ‘playing the antisemitism card’. This makes light of bigotry, and undermines the ability to separate between legitimate criticism and illegitimate smears. In the absence of a single universally accepted definition of antisemitism, perhaps this list of things to remember will help people who want to fairly criticize Israel without falling into antisemitic canards or tropes.

1. Israel, and Israelis, exist
Israel is not a theoretical model; there are real people involved. Many of us desperately want peace and security. Whatever we say or believe, our human rights are not conditional. We aren’t an abstract idea, don’t suggest putting thousands or millions of real lives at risk.

2. Jews are not the same as Israel
Jews have a wide range of opinions, and many Jews around the world aren’t really aware of what’s going on in Israel. If individual or Catholics in general shouldn’t be attacked for the actions or positions of the Vatican, and if most people agree that Muslims should not held responsible for terrorism, then Jews should not be conflated with Israel. Don’t blame “Jews” for Israeli policies you don’t like.

3. Criticize specific policies
Vague assertions of Israeli control or evildoing echo centuries of vague assertions of Jewish control and mendaciousness. Both are smears, putting Jews and Israelis on the defensive against pernicious claims that are hard to pin down. If you want to honestly criticize Israel, do so by addressing specific issues and acts.

Sanders Called Omar to Provide ‘Personal Support’ Amid Outrage Over Anti-Semitism

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I. Vt.) pledged on several phone calls to stand by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) as she navigates the anti-Semitism quandary she’s created, according to reports Thursday.

Jewish Insider reported Thursday morning that Sanders, who is Jewish, shared his support with participants of on an off-the-record conference call.

“I talked to Ilhan last night to give her my personal support,” Sanders reportedly said. “We will stand by our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

Jim Zogby, the host of the call, declined to provide any other details. Zogby is co-chair of the DNC’s Ethnic Council and founder of the Arab American Institute.

Omar has been under scrutiny this week after she wrote a series of ill-advised tweets concerning Jewish Americans, Israel, and the United States government. Omar peddled in anti-Semitic stereotypes, mischaracterized a pro-Israel lobbying group, and garnered praise from the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Omar shared a tweet from far-left journalist Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald claimed McCarthy was “defending a foreign nation’ and “attacking free speech rights of Americans.”

Ilhan Omar Defender Denies Arab and Muslim Antisemitism

Then comes the writer’s attempt to deny antisemitism in the Muslim or developing world:
But Omar wasn’t talking about “Jewish Money,” reflecting a deep, wicked feeling about “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” This is absurd and it is a Western thing.

Is Tharwat seriously suggesting that this antisemitic trope is limited to the West? While The Protocols of the Elders of Zion may have not have been written in the Arab and Muslim world, it has been imported, translated, and spread there — and has become accepted by tens of millions.

He continues:
What lots of Americans don’t understand is that anti-Semitism — the charge thrown causally at anyone who offers the slightest criticism of Israel — is an alien concept for most Muslims, since Arab/Muslims think of themselves not just as Semitic people, but also as indirect victims of the Holocaust atrocity, which led to establishing the Jewish state in the heart of the Middle East, beheading the nation of Palestine.

So much offensive nonsense in one paragraph.

  1. The term antisemitism does not refer to a hatred of people from a linguistic branch (Semites), but was coined specifically to refer to Jews and only Jews. To attempt to redefine the term is to attempt to diminish it and excuse hatred of Jews by Arabs.
  2. There’s plenty of antisemitism in the Arab and Muslim world — it certainly isn’t an “alien concept.”
  3. Claiming that Arabs and Muslims are “indirect victims of the Holocaust” is an appalling form of revisionism, and diminishes the very real victims of that crime against humanity.
  4. Claiming that the Holocaust was responsible for the establishment of the Jewish state “beheading the nation of Palestine” is a blatant attempt to deny Jewish historical rights in the Middle East, and to falsely present Israel as the product of European “colonization” at the expense of indigenous natives.

Hollywood Rallies Around Ilhan Omar: ‘I’m a Jew; She Was Right About AIPAC’

Many political figures, even Democrats, accused her of perpetuating harmful anti-Semitic tropes.

Hollywood celebrities, however, had a different opinion.

“I’m a Jew; she was right about AIPAC,” comedian Michael Ian Black said, adding, “Also, I’m an American; I’m right about the NRA.”

“Trump’s criticism of Omar is ironic given how many times he has made anti-Semitic comments or hesitated to denounce such rhetoric,” Mia Farrow remarked.

Left-wing director Judd Apatow responded to Vice President Mike Pence’s condemnation of Omar, snarking, “Pocahontas is cool? Nazi’s are good people is cool? Mexicans are rapists is cool? Africa is a shithole is cool? Grab em by the pussy is cool? Gotcha.”

Rosie O’Donnell re-tweeted a similar criticism of Trump, simply adding, “ImpeachTrumpNow.”

Linda Sarsour Tells Jews What’s Good For Them

After The Forward, a leftist site that covers Jewish issues, issued a fundraising statement touting its coverage of anti-Semitism in the wake of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic statements, leftist icon, Women’s March leader, and famed lover of the Jewish people Linda Sarsour decided to tell Jews exactly which Jewish organizations met her standards and thus were the best organizations to support.

Sarsour tweeted, “Instead of donating to The Forward, support the work of progressive Jewish organizations on the front lines: @JFREJNYC @jewishaction @jvplive @jewsofcolor & I am sure there are many others. They make the progressive left whole.”

Why Jews should listen to Sarsour remains a mystery; her history is redolent with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic behavior, as has been amply documented. Where should we begin?

Let’s start in 2012, when Sarsour tweeted, “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

All About the Benjamins: Omar Advances Interests of Iranian Donors

A top contributor to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) helped sponsor a “No War On Iran” campaign, which featured calls for Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.

Omar, who recently was condemned by Democratic leadership in the House for anti-Semitic comments on Twitter and forced to apologize, has received $6,000 from Home Creations, a homebuilder in Oklahoma.

The company was Omar’s sixth highest contributor, behind liberal groups MoveOn.org, SEIU, and Emily’s List, among others. Omar’s office did not respond to request for comment about the donations.

Jalal and Mohammad Farzaneh, brothers and natives of Iran, founded Home Creations in 1981. They have contributed heavily to Democrats over the past two decades. Jalal Farzaneh recently shared articles defending Omar on social media for “telling the truth about the Israel lobby.”

Jalal Farzaneh appeared as a member of the group “Americans Against the Next War” in a 2012 campaign asking the Oklahoma City area to call congress to “resist calls for war on Iran.”

The group put up three billboards that read, “Tell Congress, NO WAR ON IRAN.” At an event announcing the campaign, Farzaneh argued there was no evidence Iran was building nuclear weapons.

Yisrael Medad: A Historical Note On That Accusation of “Privilege”

Should Jews being angry at being accused of possessing “white privilege”?

Or any privilege that seems to justify hate and anti-Semitism?

Sure.

Look what I found in this book:

Think about that.

Nothing new.

NGO Monitor: Episode 13: Hen Mazzig: What makes BDS activists tick?

How does BDS market itself in different settings around the world? NGO Monitor’s Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller sits down with Israel activist Hen Mazzig to take a closer look at the ideologies, emotions, and misinformation driving anti-Israel activism at the grassroots level.

Host: NGO Monitor Director of Research Yona Schiffmiller

Guest: Pro-Israel Activist and Communications Consultant Hen Mazzig

Revisiting a BBC report from November 2018

On November 13th 2018 the BBC News website published a report which included the following statements:
“…the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out what it called a wide-scale attack against military targets belonging to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

It said they included Hamas’s military intelligence headquarters in northern Gaza and “a unique vessel” in a harbour in the south of the territory.

The building housing Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV was also bombed after being evacuated. The IDF said the outlet “contributes to Hamas’s military actions”.”

A report published by the Israeli Security Agency on February 13th clarifies the background to that quoted IDF statement concerning the strike on the Al Aqsa TV building.
“The Shin Bet security service on Wednesday accused the Palestinian Al-Aqsa broadcaster and Gaza-based journalists of acting as agents of the Hamas terror group’s military wing in an effort to recruit young Palestinians with Israeli ID cards to carry out terror attacks inside Israel.

According to the security service, the Al-Aqsa television station was used to pass clandestine messages to Hamas operatives in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, using quotes from the Quran or subtle gestures by the presenters. […]

The BBC examines conspiracy theories – but not its own

Conspiracy theorists are not considered too outlandish to be quoted or interviewed by the BBC and BBC phone-in shows do not eschew callers who promote conspiracy theories either.

In December 2015 BBC Radio London allowed a phone-in conspiracy theorist thirteen minutes of air-time and the same station repeated the exercise – in the name of ‘free speech’ – just months later.

“In relation to the Brussels attack two days previously, from around 22:17 ‘Steve in Streatham’ told listeners that:

“This is a terrorist false flag. Anyone who knows about false flags will know that these covert operations include Israel’s Mossad, the CIA and MI5 to blame other countries for their agenda in the Middle East and this is what’s going on time and time again. […] Those Zionists out there that are doing all this, they wanna blame certain sections of people to achieve their agenda of taking over the Middle East….””

So before the BBC publishes its next article purporting to inform audiences on the topic, perhaps it should take a long look at its own record of mainstreaming a variety of Middle East related conspiracy theories and seriously consider the question of how that practice contributes to meeting its obligations to audiences.

Anti-Semitic Posters Placed on Jewish Center at Tufts University

Tufts University is investigating the discovery of two-dozen anti-Semitic posters at its campus Hillel Center, an incident the school’s president has condemned as “profoundly disturbing and hurtful.”

The posters featured militarized pigs, with one especially provocative one showing three pigs armed with ammo and napalm, respectively labeled “local police,” “National Guard,” and “Marines.” It said, “Destroy Israeli Apartheid Forces And Amerikkkan Pigs Which Fund it. Free Palestine.”

Rabbie Naftali Brawer told CBS Boston affiliate WBZ-TV some of the posters were posted on Hillel windows to face inward to show it was a clear targeting of Jews:
Many of the images date to the 1960’s and the Black Panther Party, but Rabbi Naftali Brawer says some were posted on Hillel windows facing inward, and “we were clearly targeted as a Jewish center.”

“That’s being investigated. We have no reports of these flyers having been posted elsewhere on campus, only at the Hillel,” Tufts spokesman Patrick Collins told WBZ-TV.

Outcry in Croatia as Anne Frank’s diary dropped from school curriculum

Thousands of Croatians have signed a petition blasting the Education Ministry for dropping The Diary of Anne Frank from the school curriculum.

The petition has garnered over 4,000 signatures since its inception earlier this week.

The petition’s description states that The Diary of Anne Frank has “disappeared from the list of textbooks [and] we do not know why.

“We know that this work is extremely important in understanding how far human evil can develop in a dark time. We believe that the Holocaust is not an issue that can be skipped,” the petition says, calling for it to be re-instituted and reinstated into the curriculum.

In a statement, the Croatian Society of Writers also criticized the move. “The fact that The Diary of Anne Frank is no longer on the list…finds this…worrisome,” calling it “the best-known diary in world literature.”

Education Minister Blazenka Divjak responded to the outcry in a statement on Facebook adding that she would “accept the criticism” about the issue and would send out a questionnaire to teachers in elementary and secondary schools asking their thoughts on recommendations for required reading materials.

Holocaust survivors and Nazi descendants unite in March of Life conference

The Fourth Annual March of Life conference is set to take place between February 15-17 in Tuebingen, with friends and supporters of the March of Life movement attending the conference, which runs under the slogan “Living Memory – Reconciled into the Future – An audible voice against Antisemitism.”

The March of Life was founded in 2007 by Jobst and Charlotte Bittner, bringing together Jews and Holocaust survivors with descendants of Nazi perpetrators to fight antisemitism and express support for the State of Israel.

“For ten years, March of Life has enabled and motivated tens of thousands of people around the world to be an effective voice against antisemitism and Jew hatred through their personal confrontation with the Shoah and by working through their own family histories,” Jobst Bittner said.

“New nations and cities are added every year, making the March of Life a dynamic, growing movement – and yet we are only at the beginning,” he added.

Since its inception, the march has taken place in 22 nations and more than 400 cities in partnership with Christians and Jews from around the world.

Ilan Halimi remembered in France as the fight against hate continues

Ilan Halimi, the French-Jewish youth who was murdered at age 23 in Paris by a gang who believed ‘all Jews have money’ in 1996, was remembered on Wednesday when an award named after him was given to French high school students.

Halimi’s mother, Ruth Halimi, expressed her hope that the award will “give hope to France.”

The Dijon High School students took on extra courses that focused on genocides in the 20th Century and Holocaust denial. After immersing themselves in these issues, they jointly created a series of lectures aimed at students under the headline “Understanding yesterday to comprehend today.”

The students won after being pitted against 70 other groups around the French Republic. They were awarded the Ilan Halimi award by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe.

Honoring Halimi, the national award is presented on behalf of DILCRAH, a special joint-office of the French government that combats all forms of hate crimes, from antisemitism to racism and LGBT discrimination.

Did Abraham Lincoln Tell American Rabbis That He Was of Jewish Ancestry? And If So, Why?

In 1863, Isaac Mayer Wise—American’s foremost rabbi at the time—led a delegation of Jewish leaders to the White House where they met with President Lincoln. According to Wise’s account, the president stated that “he believed himself to be bone from our bone and flesh from our flesh” and “supposed himself to be a descendant of Hebrew parentage.” Wise further claimed that Lincoln “preserved numerous features of the Hebrew race, both in countenance and character.” Stuart Schoffman writes:

[T]he learned consensus stands [that] Lincoln spoke to Wise metaphorically, and the Jewish roots are merely a tantalizing rumor, like Ulysses S. Grant keeping kosher. . . . And yet, if Isaac Mayer Wise, grand panjandrum of American Reform Judaism and founder of Hebrew Union College, said Lincoln looked Jewish, and took seriously his claim of Hebrew ancestry, why on earth haven’t dogged scholars picked up the bone of our bone and run with it? . . .

In this case, there may indeed be more to it. Educated speculation has it that Lincoln was of Melungeon stock, an ethnic mélange possibly derived in part from Muslims and Sephardi Jews who landed with Spanish explorers in the American southeast in the 16th century and migrated to Appalachia. According to Elizabeth Caldwell Hirschman, a professor of marketing at Rutgers University and the author of the 2005 monograph Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America, not only Lincoln but also Daniel Boone was of Judeo-Melungeon lineage. “Anyone who looks at photographs of Abraham Lincoln,” she wrote, “is no doubt struck by his distinctively Semitic features.”

Raised as a Protestant in Tennessee, Hirschman converted to Judaism after discovering her own Melungeon roots. Her intriguing book, alas, makes no mention of Lincoln’s remark to Isaac Mayer Wise in 1863.

Israel inks multi-million-dollar deal with Italy for training helicopters

The Defense Ministry announced Thursday it will purchase seven training helicopters from an Italian defense contractor in a multi-billion-dollar deal that will see Rome buy an equivalent value of Israeli military technology.

Hebrew media reports estimated the deal to be worth $350 million and include 20 years of aircraft maintenance from Italian contractor Leonardo.

The Italian-made AW-119 training helicopters, known in Israel as Sayfan, will replace the Israeli Air Force’s current Bell 206 training aircraft, which it bought in 1970.

The two countries reached a similar reciprocal procurement deal for trainer jets in 2012, when Israel purchased three Aermacchi M-346 jets manufactured by Leonardo for $1 billion. Rome, in exchange, purchased an equivalent value of Israeli aerospace technology, including satellites and surveillance planes.

US vice president honors Jews, Poles who resisted Nazis

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence paid homage Thursday to the suffering of the Jewish and Polish people under German occupation during World War II with visits to memorials honoring their suffering and heroism.

The heavily symbolic visits to a city destroyed by Adolf Hitler’s forces were gestures of friendship to two of America’s closest allies, Israel and Poland. They came a day before Pence will make his first visit to Auschwitz, the memorial site where Nazi forces killed 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, in what was then occupied Poland.

Pence first joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in honoring the wartime Jewish insurgents who rose up against Nazi German forces in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943.

Joined by their wives, the three took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising memorial. A cantor recited a prayer in Hebrew as the three couples faced the dark memorial, with representatives of Poland’s small surviving Jewish community in attendance.

Pence and Netanyahu then held talks in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, located on the same square in the heart of the former ghetto, which tells the story of 1,000 years of Jewish life in Polish lands.

Netanyahu wrote in a museum guest book: “May the spirit and heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto Jewish resistance fighters who staged the first organized uprising against Nazi occupation in all of occupied Europe be an eternal reminder of the dangers of powerlessness in the face of tyranny.”

Israel brings tourists to Entebbe for first time since legendary hostage rescue

For the first time since 1976’s hostage crisis and subsequent Israeli commando raid, an Israeli plane carrying tourists landed Thursday at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport.

Some 250 Israeli nationals came to the African country for a three-day visit, the East Africa Business Week website reported.

They flew in on a Boeing 777, operated by El Al’s subsidiary Sun D’Or.

The airport is now known as the Old Entebbe Airport, as opposed to Uganda’s main Entebbe International Airport.
First Israeli plane lands at Entebbe airport since 1976 raid, February 14, 2019 (Screen grab via NTV)

“On July 5, 1976, I was 10, and like all the Israelis I woke up in the morning and heard about the daring operation that was carried out in Entebbe to free the hostages,” flight captain Itzik Gerber told Channel 12 news.

“If an angel came and whispered in my ear that 13 years later I would fly planes that participated in the operation and that 42 years later I would land at Entebbe as a captain, I would have laughed out loud,” he said, referring to his military service prior to flying planes for Israel’s national carrier.



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