Sohrab Ahmari: The New Old European Obsession Some things never change.
Does Europe still want its Jews, and can the Jews still find belonging in Europe? Ask the likes of Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, and they will answer firmly and decisively in the affirmative. Yet their assurances ring hollow amid a resurgence of Europe’s old and unhealthy obsession with Jews.
The latest signs came this month from Brussels and Warsaw, which nicely illustrated both the geographic span of Europe’s Jewish obsession and the diverse forms it can take depending on the political context.
Start with Brussels and the European Parliament. The EU legislative body is hosting a conference on February 28 on Israeli settlements–a perennial Brussels bugbear, despite the fact that a few Jewish communities in the West Bank are far from the region’s most pressing issue. Among the speakers is the Qatari-born Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti. The invitation to Barghouti came courtesy of Ana Gomes, a Portuguese member from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-largest bloc in the European Parliament.
As European Jewish leaders noted in a letter to Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, Barghouti advocates a total economic, cultural, and academic boycott of Israel and denies the Jewish state’s right to exist. Barghouti says he opposes a “binational” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the ground that such a solution “makes two problematic assumptions: that Jews are a nation, and that such a nation has a right to exist as such in Palestine.” Barghouti, in other words, isn’t just another critic of the settlements but a bigot, who would invite Europeans to isolate the Jewish people and their state.
Economic boycotts of Jews have a long and odious history in Europe, but they are now getting a replay at the European Parliament under the respectable guise of high-minded Israel critique.
Even more confounding, the South Africans turned to Iran for help. In April 2016, when there was still enough time for a smart plan to make a difference, South Africa’s water minister visited Tehran. She brought home a memorandum of understanding in which Iran agreed to help develop South Africa’s water infrastructure.
Unlike Israel, Iran is not known for its water-management expertise. Anger over water shortages was a feature of the recent Iranian protests. Even before the South African visit, a former Iranian agriculture minister predicted that as many as 50 million Iranians—around two-thirds of the population—would need to be uprooted because of growing water scarcity.
As in South Africa, Iran’s water shortages can’t be blamed only on the weather. Water infrastructure projects in Iran are controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which diverts water to favored ethnic and political groups. In Tehran largely untreated sewage is discharged into nearby waterways, a waste of water that creates health hazards. Years of regime-encouraged overpumping of groundwater has left agricultural districts without water for crops.
Two months after the South African water minister’s Iran trip, Israel brought a team of water professionals to Cape Town. Neither the mayor, also strongly hostile to Israel, nor any senior municipal official would see them.
If the South Africans are snubbing the Israelis out of solidarity with the Palestinians, they might want to consider this: The Palestinian Authority has worked with Israel on a range of water projects since 1995. Israel offers training for Palestinians in wastewater management, infrastructure and security. Israel also provides the Palestinian Authority with more than half the water for domestic consumption by Palestinians in the West Bank. And it pipes more than 2.5 billion gallons of water into Hamas-controlled Gaza each year.
Why does South Africa feel compelled to be so anti-Israel? The question has no rational answer.
Many British Jews, as the Jewish Chronicle put it, recognized that the Turks were the “real protectors of the Jews in the East” and were understandably wary of Russia’s threats to intervene.
But Disraeli’s actions were not, as his critics suggested, the result of his “Jew feelings” or a reflection of an “Oriental indifference to cruelty” but a realpolitik calculation, strongly shared by Queen Victoria, that Russian expansionism posed a danger to British interests.
Even Disraeli’s eventual triumph — at the Congress of Berlin in 1878 he thwarted Russian designs on the Balkans — did not satisfy Gladstone, who continued to charge that Britain’s Jews had proved themselves “opponents of effectual relief to Christians.”
Watching Disraeli in Berlin, Bismarck proved more complimentary: “Der alte Jude, das ist der Mann [the old Jew, he is the man],” he remarked.
“One Nation” conservatism has gone through many iterations since Disraeli’s day. It is, though, a testament to the longevity of its appeal that, the morning after he was reelected in 2015, David Cameron pledged to lead a “one nation” government.
Perhaps more remarkable still, both Cameon’s defeated opponent – the Labour leader, Ed Miliband – and his successor in Downing Street, Theresa May, have both attempted to don the “one nation” mantle.
Disraeli’s conservatism was deeply held. The purpose of the Tory party, he believed, was “to maintain the institutions of the country” — the monarchy, the Church of England, the aristocracy. But that belief also necessitated knowing when it is best to reform in order to preserve.
It is this philosophy of governing that has been perhaps Disraeli’s greatest legacy to the Conservative party and which has allowed it to become the most electorally successful political party in the world.
In the second incident of its kind in recent weeks, a US delegation visiting the West Bank had to be rescued by Palestinian Authority policemen after being attacked with eggs by Palestinian protesters.
The delegation included New York City Council members and civil society groups that were in Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Center for Policy and Research Survey (PCPRS), a local polling company.
“America is the head of the snake” and “Americans are not welcome in Palestine,” the protesters chanted as they tried to force their way into the offices of the center. Others chanted: “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” and carried placards denouncing both the US and Israel.
As the delegation members were being whisked out, some of the protesters threw eggs at them. No one was hurt.
PA anti-riot policemen, some of them wearing masks covering their faces, escorted the US guests to a police van that took them to a secure location.
Amid strained relations between Israel and Poland over a controversial Polish law, Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Wednesday it was considering issuing a travel advisory, urging Jews to limit their visits to Poland.
Earlier this month, Poland sparked international criticism, including from Israel and the United States, when it approved a law that imposes potential jail terms on anyone who publicly suggests the country was complicit in the Holocaust.
Some three million Jews who lived in pre-war Poland were murdered by the Nazis during the occupation of the country, accounting for about half of all Jews killed in the Holocaust.
Poland’s nationalist ruling party says the new law is needed to ensure that Poles are also recognized as victims, not perpetrators, of Nazi aggression. It notes that the Nazis also viewed Slavs as racially inferior and that many Poles were killed or forced into slave labor during the German occupation.
“In wake of the controversial new Holocaust Law in Poland and the anti-Semitism it has unleashed that has left the Jewish community shaken, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is considering issuing a Travel Advisory for world Jewry,” the organization said in a statement.
“A Travel Advisory would urge Jews to limit their travel to Poland only to visit ancestral graves and Holocaust-era death camps,” the NGO named after legendary Nazi hunter who died in 2005 said.
A prominent Jewish-American foundation removed a video from YouTube which had sparked outrage in Poland and beyond on Wednesday with its provocative use of the term “Polish Holocaust” to protest a controversial new Polish law criminalizing some comments about the Holocaust.
The private Ruderman Family Foundation also launched a parallel campaign calling, as people do in the video, for the United States to sever its ties with Poland, an ally in NATO where the US has recently deployed troops.
The Boston-based foundation put out the video on Wednesday in reaction to the new Polish law, which criminalizes falsely attributing the Holocaust crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland. The measure has angered Israel and Jewish communities elsewhere, where it has been seen as an attempt to whitewash the actions of Poles who killed Jews during World War II.
The provocative use of the term “Polish Holocaust” in the video was seen as hugely offensive to many in Poland. Many of Nazi Germany’s death camps, like Auschwitz, were located in German-occupied Poland but after Jews, Poles accounted for the largest number of victims.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has declared that it would engage in an international campaign to denounce Polish President Mateusz Morawiecki, who told participants at the Munich Security Conference on Feb 17, 2018, that Nazis were not the only perpetrators of the Holocaust – there were Jewish perpetrators as well.
Morwaiecki was essentially quoting the Ph.d. thesis of Mahmoud Abbas, who has ruled the Palestinian Authority for 12 years.
The Center for Near East Policy Research obtained a copy of that doctoral thesis by photocopying the it from Al Quds University, a 20 minute distance from the Center’s office on Hillel Street in Jerusalem.
The title of Abbas’s doctoral thesis is “Zionist leadership and the Nazis.”, whose blurb is as foo “The secret ties between the Nazis and the Zionist movement leadership.”. Abbas’ dissertation was written in 1982 when Abbas was a fellow at the Patricia Lumumba Institute for Oriental Studies in Moscow.
Abbas’ thesis is that the Zionist movement worked hand in hand with the Nazis, people, collaborating with them for the Jews’ destruction because the Zionist leaders viewed “Palestine” as the only legitimate place for Jewish immigration.
NGO Monitor: Oxfam, NGOs and the Halo Effect
For over fifteen years, I have studied the “halo effect” that shields humanitarian and human rights NGOs (non-governmental organizations) from accountability. The term refers to a bias whereby a person or organisation is pre-judged favorably on the basis of a single trait or label, while other aspects, including actual behavior, are off the radar.
Due to the halo effect, powerful groups such as Oxfam International, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and World Vision are not scrutinised, in sharp contrast to businesses or political organisations of comparable size and influence. Journalists, government officials, and academics tend to give these groups a free pass, accepting their self-image as non-political idealists and altruists. Moral failings, including discrimination, racism, and antisemitism, are ignored or explained away. NGOs, with hundreds of thousands of employees, are subject to the same frailties as any other institution, but without checks and balances.
While NGO misbehavior crops up periodically, the latest scandal involving UK-based Oxfam International, has highlighted the urgency of accountability for NGOs. The serially abhorrent behavior of Oxfam officials – procuring underage prostitutes in Haiti – has broken through the halo. The demand by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) that Oxfam withdraw from bidding on government contracts until it is satisfied that the NGO has sufficient safeguards to prevent similar cases in the future speaks to the gravity of the situation.
Oxfam is not the only body that is culpable for covering up or ignoring these crimes. In 2008, when the Swedish government considered funding an Oxfam project in Chad managed by Roland Van Hauwermeiren – Oxfam’s former head of operations in Haiti and the man at the center of the current scandal – it was informed of his 2004 resignation from the British NGO Merlin for sexual misconduct while working on aid missions in Liberia. Stockholm responded to the tip by handing Van Hauwermeiren $750,000 from Swedish taxpayers.
This was prime example of the damage caused by the NGO halo effect. The fact that van Hauwermeiren moved from Merlin to Oxfam to the French humanitarian organization Action contre la Faim highlights a broken system, incapable of policing itself and ensuring that abusers are stopped.
In December, a seventeen-year-old Palestinian named Ahed Tamimi hit and slapped an Israeli soldier during a protest. The soldier did not respond to the provocation, but that evening Tamimi was arrested at her home and remains in custody. Enemies of Israel immediately praised Tamimi for her courage, and she has recently won the sympathy of such American celebrities as the comedian Sarah Silverman. Yet, as Jonathan Tobin explains, Tamimi is anything but an innocent victim:
Even at the tender age of seventeen, Tamimi is a veteran provocateur whose main purpose is to create anti-Israel propaganda. Like the last few generations of Palestinian children, she has been sent out by her family not to protest, but rather to seek confrontation with heavily-armed Israelis and get them to respond to insults—and even forceful, often violent attacks—so as to create more martyrs for their cause.
Though she has been lucky to escape injury, in that sense Tamimi is no different from the hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian children who have been sacrificed on the altar of hate for Israel by their parents. From the first intifada that started in 1987 until now, kids have been told to attack Israeli soldiers with fists, knives, lethal rocks, and even firebombs in order to get the soldiers to shoot or beat them.
The goal is nothing less than to force the Israelis to hurt children while the cameras roll. Tamimi’s been playing this game for years. . . . [She] is no peacenik or mere advocate of a Palestinian state. In addition to her efforts to anger Israeli soldiers, she has made numerous public statements supporting terrorism—like her aunt’s [participation in the bloody 2001 Sbarro’s bombing]—and calling for Israel’s destruction. Yet that hasn’t stopped some on the left from treating her as not merely a heroine but a role model for the world’s youth. . . .
The Washington Free Beacon has been banned from covering and reporting on all events related to the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, a Jewish communal organization, following its publication of remarks made by Pennsylvania Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb at an event that the Federation says was off the record and closed to the press.
The Free Beacon first unearthed the comments by Lamb, who is currently running for Congress in a special election next month, in a Feb. 12 report that quoted the candidate accusing Israel of “terrorism” and the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Lamb said at the time it was “disheartening to see” support for Israel being expressed in the pages of his college newspaper.
“It was disheartening to see the add [sic] in the DP the other day which read, ‘Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel,'” Lamb wrote. “There is no doubt that both sides of this conflict have committed wrongs, but if this latest attack is not terrorism, I don’t know what is.”
When asked about those comments last week by an attendee at an event sponsored by the Pittsburgh Jewish Federation at the South Hills Jewish Community Center, Lamb claimed to have “absolutely no memory” of the remarks and seemed to suggest the comments may have been planted or forged, though he offered no evidence.
IsraellyCool: What the Heck Are JStreet and IfNotNow Thinking?
In 2011, I posted: “If Israel has to do so many awful things to keep existing, then maybe it shouldn’t?” This post was in response to a conversation I had with a pro-Israel activist who claimed that Israel built the security fence, attacks Gaza and Lebanon, and “occupies” the Palestinians, in order to defend itself and continue existing.
I have come a long way, but still understand the mentality of my anti-Zionist counterparts. With so many pressures from all different directions on campus, it’s a miracle anyone stays pro-Israel, because the facts aren’t exactly presented in great abundance.
For those who wonder what in the world these anti-Zionist, non-Zionist, post-Zionist, (or whatever new term they come up with) Jews are thinking and feeling (consciously and subconsciously), look no further, because I used to hang out with these people.
“I want to be part of something BIG! I was in the BLM movement and women’s marches, and I crave more, I crave a cause that relates to me in some way as a Jew. I love the attention I get from the social justice crowd from going against what I was programmed to support growing up. I love being a hero. My parents had Vietnam, now I have this to give me a sense of purpose. That feeling that I’m making a difference is so priceless!”
SSI: A Voice on Campus
On Wednesday, December 27th, over 60 students from across the country met together in San Diego, California. This was the first time many students, including myself, attended Students Support Israel’s national conference. Most, if not all of these students, are either current SSI board members or students trying to start the movement on their own campuses. Already a member of the SSI of SMC chapter, I personally hoped to network with other SSI members and learn about what they do differently on their campuses in comparison to ours. A pro-Israel organization, SSI’s mission is to “be a clear and confident Pro-Israel voice on college campuses, and to support students in grassroots Pro-Israel advocacy.”
Over the years, members of multiple SSI chapters have been successful in attaining student government positions, in addition to passing a variety of resolutions in favor of Israel on their college campuses. With their success, the goal of SSI’s national conference is to further broaden and utilize the skills their participants use on campuses throughout the nation. The purpose of the conference is to give students another skill to place in their toolbox. More importantly “[…] we were all able to learn from each other and I found a lot of value and inspiration in that,” says Doreen Benyamin, board member of the SSI chapter at Columbia University.
On Thursday morning, students had the chance to hear from Sally Abrams, a prolific writer, speaker, and co-Director of the Speakers Bureau for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Abrams emphasized the idea that “the pen is mightier than the sword.”Abrams handed out an outline to help guide students in their writing efforts.
Rock’n’roll BDS-hole has recently been touring Australia, during which time he managed to blast a bunch of music legends for the crime of playing in Israel.
He also found time for an interview with Waleed Aly of The Project. Naturally, the subject of his BDS’ing came up, including the question as to why he focuses on Israel and not other countries.
His response is instructive.
This is a very weak answer, almost a non-answer. It is essentially “because the palestinians want it.” Hardly a satisfying response as to why he will still play in places like Russia.
It is also a different response to one he has given in the past (which incidentally also explains why he does play in Russia)
IsraellyCool: Terror Supporter Reem Assil Opening Up a New Restaurant
Terror supporter Reem Assil is the subject of yet another piece – this time in the San Francisco Chronicle – with news that she is opening a new restaurant.
The name derives from an Arabic phrase for hospitality, which Assil said succinctly embodies the spirit of her new concept. At Dyafa, customers will get treated like family, she said.
Conceptually it’s a notable departure from her year-old bakery Reem’s California. The popular East Bay spot specializes in “street food” like man’oushe, while Dyafa, Assil said, will use the lens of fine dining to take a deeper dive into the oft-misunderstood nuances of Arab cuisine and culture.
And while her support of terrorist Rasmea Odeh is mentioned in the piece, Odeh is described as an “activist”, and Assil as a victim of nasty behavior, in fear for her life.
Note her words: “We need to normalize struggle.” She is trying to normalize terrorism. And I hate to say it – she seems to be doing this with some success. The fact Reems is so popular – notwithstanding the huge mural of a murderous terrorist defiantly hanging on the wall – that she is now opening another restaurant, is a testament to this.
Al Jazeera Arabic TV is once again facing sharp criticism from Palestinians in particular, and Arabs in general, for interviewing an Israeli official.
On Tuesday night, the Qatari-owned network hosted Avichay Adraee, IDF spokesperson for Arabic Media, on its popular The Opposite Direction program.
The TV show is hosted by Faisal al-Qassem, a Syrian-born media personality famous for his provocative style and staunch criticism of Arab governments and heads of state.
It was not the first time that Al Jazeera (in Arabic) had come under attack for hosting Israelis.
The station is one of a few Arab media outlets that has been hosting Israeli government officials and political analysts and journalists for many years. But each time an Israeli appears on one of its shows or news broadcasts, Al Jazeera is denounced by a large number of Arabs for “providing a platform for the Zionist enemy” and “promoting normalization” with Israel.
Adraee was invited to appear on the show to debate retired Syrian army officer Salah Kairata.
Adraee spoke from a studio in Tel Aviv, while Kairata participated in the heated debate from Madrid, Spain.
CAMERA’s Israel office yesterday prompted correction of an Associated Press article from the same day which had incorrectly identified eastern Jerusalem as Palestinian territory. The Feb. 21 article (“Palestinian leader calls for peace conference by mid-2018”), had stated:
The Palestinians are furious at President Donald Trump for overturning decades of U.S. policy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ignoring that east Jerusalem is Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 war that the Palestinians want as the capital of their independent state.
Jerusalem was never Palestinian territory. From 1948 to 1967, it was occupied by Jordan. Before, that it was part of the British Mandate. The Nov. 29, 1947 partition plan had called for Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum, an international city administered by the UN for 10 years, at which point the city’s status was to be decided in a referendum. Before the British Mandate, the city was under Ottoman control, and so on. Going back through history, at no point was any part of the city “Palestinian territory.”
PreOccupiedTerritory: NY Times Writer Exceeds Annual Quota In 2nd Acknowledgment Of Palestinian Fault (satire)
An editor for the Paper of Record faces potential disciplinary action for going beyond the permitted limit in an editorial draft of one acknowledgment per twelve-month period of the fact that Palestinian leadership bears primary responsibility for its people’s troubles, a source within the organization disclosed today.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not reveal the name of the New York Times editor, but reported that the offending member of the roster was called onto the carpet by Managing Editor Dean Baquet for violating the policy in an editorial draft that almost made it into publication last week, by devoting more than a perfunctory half-paragraph to the deceptions, corruption, intransigence, incitement, and general unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to arrive at a negotiated peace agreement with Israel. It also, according to the source, acknowledged the relative unimportance of Israeli policies in Palestinian daily life under the autonomous Palestinian Authority, an observation that only token right-wing op-ed columnist Bret Stephens is allowed to make.
“This person got in some real hot water, because the same thing almost happened last June,” recalled the source. “I think the only reason there wasn’t a dismissal on the spot is that there was another editorial waiting in the wings to replace the one that they had to pull out. You should have seen the fury on the managing editor’s face when this was brought to his attention.”
This is not the first time that Sarah Helm has been guilty of journalistic inaccuracies about Israel. From her mythical “busloads of Ukranian immigrants” to Israel being “whisked” straight to settlements, to her misleading implication that Israel is responsible for the medical crisis in Gaza, to the pure invention of land ownership statistics in Jerusalem, Sarah Helm has consistently been guilty of shoddy journalism about Israel.
But it is important to note not only the specific issues with the article, but the flaw in the overall thrust. The article attacks Trump for his stance on the refugees, and blames Israel for the creation of the refugee issue, but the Palestinians are presented as agency-less and passive victims. The responsibility for the humanitarian situation in Gaza lies first and foremost with Hamas, the terrorist regime ruling there, who choose to funnel money into weapons and tunnels rather than hospital and schools. Why are there Palestinians born in the same refugee camps that their grandparents lived in, when this has not happened to any other refugee groups?
It is certainly not due to a lack of money or political will to help Palestinian refugees on the part of the international community, but because of a cynical exploitation of the refugees to “keep the wound fresh” for decades, and what is starting to approach a century.
But articles like Helm’s absolve the Palestinian leadership of any blame, and lambaste Israel and America for perpetuating the suffering of the Palestinians. This will lead to no re-examination of attitudes from the Palestinians, but will further entrench maximalist positions. If and when the journalists like Helm write articles lambasting Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, for mistreating its people by prioritising war against Israel over the humanitarian needs of its own people, then life might improve in Gaza.
Until that moment, there is nothing to stop Hamas from continuing its current policies, which are causing dire results for Gazans. Israel and America are not to blame for everything, and journalists should ask hard questions not only from those countries, but from the Palestinians themselves.
Billy Graham, the giant of American evangelism who was exalted by Jews for his championing of Israel at its hour of need and then condemned when a nasty anti-Semitic streak was revealed, died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, on Wednesday, aged 99.
Graham was a counselor to Democratic and Republican presidents and, with his massive arena appearances, was a precursor of the Protestant televangelism that helped reshape the American religious and political landscapes. His son, Franklin, is one of US President Donald Trump’s highest-profile religious supporters.
The elder Graham was an early and avid backer of Israel. A tour of the country in 1960 raised the country’s profile among American evangelicals, establishing the seeds of strong pro-Israel support that persist in that community until now. In 1967, he urged Israeli leaders not to yield to diplomatic pressures that could endanger the country’s security; such entreaties, commonplace now on the American right, were unusual at the time. He made a film, “His Land,” about Israel that continues to be screened among pro-Israel evangelicals.
Graham also was a champion for the Jews persecuted in the former Soviet Union and counseled his evangelical brethren not to proselytize Jews.
“Just as Judaism frowns on proselytizing that is coercive, or that seeks to commit men against their will, so do I,” Graham told an American Jewish Committee delegation that met with him in 1973.
Petah Tikva-based DreaMed Diabetes has developed cloud-based software that uses machine learning to help doctors and healthcare professionals better monitor their patients with type 1 diabetes. The firm has received a CE mark from the European Union, which means it can start marketing its product in Europe.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to enter cells and provide them with energy. When there is a deficiency of insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, causing life-threatening complications.
The condition affects more than 90 million people worldwide and the global market for diabetes-related products is expected to reach $20.7 billion in 2022, an increase of more than 60 percent over 2017. Despite global efforts, type 1 diabetes has no cure to date and its treatment primarily focuses on managing blood sugar levels with doses of insulin.
Whereas patients used to be required to prick their fingers to monitor their blood sugar levels via glucose meters, new technology has seen the sprouting of continuous glucose monitors (CGM), whose sensors function round the clock and can generate around 288 glucose level readings a day with no finger pricking needed.
A major Israeli security company that manufactures the radars for the Iron Dome missile interception system has sold 100 units of the radar to nine countries for a total of about $2 billion, an official in the company said, according to a report published on Thursday.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has sold its multi-mission radar to countries including Israel, Canada, and India, said Eyal Shapira, director of Air surveillance and counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) at ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of IAI, according to the Calcalist news website.
More units of the radar are to be purchased soon by the Czech Republic, Shapira reportedly said Wednesday.
The radar is used as part of the Israeli air defense systems Iron Dome and David’s Sling. Shapira was quoted saying the system is capable of detecting drones and planes in addition to missiles.
Earlier this month, an Iranian drone entered Israeli airspace near the Jordanian border, before it was shot down by an Israeli attack helicopter. In response to the drone incursion, Israeli jets attacked the mobile command center from which it was operated, the army said at the time.
Director Sam Pollard can’t believe the acclaim being heaped upon his new film about the late Sammy Davis Jr.
But with the multifaceted legacy left by the performer — from breaking down barriers faced by African-Americans, to converting to Judaism in the wake of a gruesome 1954 car accident — maybe Pollard shouldn’t be so surprised.
Davis’s story made its reappearance in the new documentary, “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me,” the opening night feature at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival on January 24.
None of the 10 films Pollard, a longtime collaborator with Spike Lee, has made in the last 15 years have been met with “such a huge response and popular reception,” he said. The feedback, he said, has been “mind-boggling.”
Maybe that’s because Davis had such mind-boggling talent. “I think he should be remembered as one of the greatest performers of the 20th century, up there with [Frank] Sinatra, Nat ‘King’ Cole, those great performers,” Pollard said.
United Hatzalah received an award from the Panama Homefront Command on February 5, 2018, honoring the lifesaving aid the Israeli voluntary first-response organization has helped provide to the small Central American country in recent years.
President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer accepted the award, presented by José Donderis, chief of SINAPROC, Panama’s response agency in charge of helping to protect the population against damage from disasters.
“The task of saving lives is the highest priority of first responders in both organizations who have shown professionalism and teamwork,” said Donderis, who received a blessing from Chief Rabbi of Panama David Perets at the award ceremony.
Beer expressed pride in bringing the award back to display at the United Hatzalah headquarters in Jerusalem. “The relationship between what you at the Homefront command do and what the United Hatzalah of Panama volunteers do every day is incredibly successful and one of a kind,” he said.
Donderis praised the work of Beer’s organization and said he looks forward to continuing to save lives together in Panama.
The clip “Things Not To Say To Jewish People,” created by the UK’s BBC Three television station, features a group of Jewish people discussing the topics of eating bacon, keeping kosher, “the weird hats” or skullcaps, known as yarmulkes, and other topics.
The group also addressed the stereotypes that Jews “run the world” and are stingy. They agreed the misconceptions are “blatantly antisemitic” and “hurtful.”
“They always say something about money when I say I’m Jewish, all the time,” said one participant in the video, while another added, “They’ll say things like ‘Oh, so you’ve got loads of money. So you’re stingy. Oh classic Jew.’”
Another person added, “This guy was a stranger and he was like, ‘Oh you’ll pay for it. You’re Jewish, you’re rich.’ And I was like, ‘No, I’m not gonna pay for you because, oh I guess another stereotype that you’re stingy as well.’”
In 1996, renovation work on a humble bookshop in Guildford revealed a stunning medieval chamber, forgotten beneath the ground for some 700 years. Archaeologists have interpreted it as a Jewish synagogue dating back to 1180, making it the oldest synagogue in the British Isles.
Stone steps leading down from what was the medieval street level reveal that it has always been a secret place. This is no surprise: Jewish people were treated appallingly in medieval Britain because of their faith and were considered legally to be the property of the king. Their oppression peaked in the reign of Edward I, who passed oppressive laws before banishing Jews altogether from several towns in 1290 with the Edict of Expulsion.
King Edward’s campaign against the Jews gathered pace in the 1270s, right around the time the Guildford synagogue was abandoned, the archaeological evidence suggests.
The chamber itself was ornately decorated with four columns, niches, a stone bench surrounding the whole chamber, and there is also evidence of a tiled floor. This all suggests that is was a high-status site. (h/t Zvi)
The hand of the Prophet Isaiah himself may have created an 8th century BCE seal impression discovered in First Temple remains near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, according to Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar.
“We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation,” said Mazar this week in a press release announcing the breathtaking discovery.
Mazar’s team uncovered the minuscule bulla, or seal impression, during renewed excavations at the Ophel, located at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The discovery was published on Wednesday in an article, “Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?” as part of a massive March-June issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review dedicated to its recently retired founding editor, Hershel Shanks.
The clay impression is inscribed with letters and what appears to be a grazing doe, “a motif of blessing and protection found in Judah, particularly in Jerusalem,” according to the BAR article.
The oval-shaped bulla, however, is not intact. On its legible portion, there is an inscription with First Temple Hebrew letters that seem to spell out the name l’Yesha’yah[u] (Belonging to Isaiah). On a line below, there is the partial word nvy, which presumably spells out “prophet.” (h/t Elder of Lobby)
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